Spicy Chicken Pasta Recipe with Jalapenos and Shells

Chicken dishes are among my favorites when it comes to getting a healthy dose of protein in a wide variety of presentations. There is something about chicken that makes it the perfect baseline ingredient no matter what you plan to add to it or what flavors you want to marry it with. My spicy chicken pasta is easy to make, absolutely fantastic and it makes the best leftovers so you save time making this favorite meal later in the week.

A white bowl with a serving of spicy chicken pasta in it.

With pork and plant-based proteins currently dominating menus all over, a straightforward go-to white meat chicken recipe is my top choice lately for a hearty and satisfyingly scrumptious meal. For me, It can’t get any better than a chicken-based skillet meal with spicy, creamy pasta.

Why Make This Spicy Chicken Pasta?

It may seem obvious to some who traditionally get a hankering for creamy spicy pasta with tender and meaty chunks of flavorful chicken breast. In my case, this type of dish is something I regularly have on the rotation. It’s my go-to, comfort food, recipe for a satisfying easy-to-make meal.

This pasta dish in particular is a favorite of mine because I think the whole recipe works great together as an efficient cost-friendly meal as well as a practical combination of ingredients to make the whole meal sing in blissful harmony.

Make this dish if you love pasta with cream sauce. It’s perfect for those who enjoy a little spice. The chicken adds a hearty component that is absolutely perfect for bulking up the dish with some protein in a very health-conscious way without tasting too healthy. I prefer to go a little heavy-handed on the Cajun spice because it’s my favorite seasoning and I love the color I can get from the sauce when I do that. From a visual perspective, it pops off the plate more. But if you don’t like your pasta too spicy, you can be more measured with your approach to making the spicy chicken pasta.

A polka dot bowl with a serving of spicy chicken pasta in it.

Make it Less Spicy

I love spicy food, but you don’t have to enjoy overly spicy food to like this dish. You can make it less spicy to suit your taste and still benefit from the amazing flavor profile the spicy chicken pasta provides.

First and easiest, you can always add less of the Cajun seasoning and keep your creamy sauce a little sweeter and less spicy. The other way to reduce the heat in this spicy pasta sauce is by taking the seeds out of those jalapenos. Most of the heat comes from those, so if you prefer to enjoy your spicy chicken pasta without the seeds, simply cut them out before adding jalapenos to the rest of the ingredients.

To properly seed the jalapenos, all you need is a paring knife and a cutting board. However, I advise you to wear gloves as well. If you don’t wear gloves to seed the jalapenos, at least be careful with your hands and be sure to wash them thoroughly before touching your face. Trust me. That sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is, so try to stay attentive to what your hands are doing while you deal with cutting peppers.

Taking the seeds out is pretty easy. Just slice the peppers down the middle and use the edge of your knife to trim away the seeds from the pepper. Then simply scoop or nudge them out and straight into the wastebasket or the kitchen sink. Continue to cut the peppers after the seeds are removed to get that jalapeno kick without too much excess spice.

An overhead shot of three bowls with spicy chicken pasta in them with 3 jalapenos placed beside the bowls.

Make it Low Calorie

Another way you may want to modify this meal is to make it low-calorie. The recipe already calls for boneless skinless chicken breast, which is a very healthy protein. You can make the rest of the meal healthier too with just a few minor tweaks. For example, heavy cream is not the healthiest choice, although it does yield the best results in making the creamy sauce. To make this a more health-conscious meal, try making a heavy cream substitute of your own. There are a few different ways to approach heavy cream alternatives, but my favorite way to go about it is with skim milk and cornstarch. Just add a tablespoon for each cup of milk to give it the thickness you need. I like this tip because most people keep corn starch somewhere in their pantry even if they aren’t using it.

In addition to substituting the heavy cream, you can also lighten up this recipe using Neufchatel instead of cream cheese. If you don’t know what Neufchatel is, it’s a cream cheese alternative you typically find right next to the real cream cheese on the shelf. Neufchatel is 1/3 the fat of the good stuff and it serves its purpose nicely, although you can’t expect it to be quite as good as the full-flavored version I have here.

Why Use Pasta Shells?

The pasta is incredibly important for this particular spicy chicken pasta recipe. I also enjoy fettuccini for a dish like this but the shells are so much better for catching all of that delicious sauce and making sure none of it gets left behind. When you cook something this good, even though it isn’t a lot of work, you don’t want your ingredients to go to waste. So, the shells are a great way to cut waste because they hold everything so well.

A close up photo of a fork with a bite of spicy chicken pasta on it.

How to Prepare the Chicken Breast for Spicy Chicken Pasta

When preparing your chicken, always be careful to keep your counter clean and wash your hands regularly. I like to cut my other ingredients up first and then flip the cutting board over to get the chicken. Flipping the board makes less to clean, but if you cut the chicken up first, you will be getting raw chicken juice all over your counter. That is inadvisable.

For the shells pasta, I like to cut my chicken to size so that they are the same size as the pasta before cooking. That means the cooked pasta shells will come out bigger than the chicken. That way you can manage more on your fork and produce an easier-to-manage bite that includes all of the incredible ingredients on your fork.


There are many variations that can be added to this pasta recipe. Below are a few simple ingredients that will enhance the flavor even more.

  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes


What To Serve With Spicy Chicken Pasta?

  • A side salad and garlic cheese bread or garlic knots are a good choice that pairs well with this dish.
  • A vegetable side dish like corn, green beans, broccoli and asparagus.

What type of pasta works well with this recipe?

All of the pastas listed below will work great with this recipe. I tend to enjoy those that actually hold in the sauce. Use your favorite or what you have on hand in your pantry.

  • Fettuccine
  • Penne pasta
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Bow tie pasta
  • Rigatoni
  • Rotini
A double collage photo of a white bowl with a serving of spicy chicken pasta in it and a forkful of the pasta on it.

Spicy Chicken Pasta Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Jalapeno
  • Onion
  • Cloves garlic
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Chicken broth
  • Medium pasta shell
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions on How To Make Spicy Chicken Pasta

  1. In a large skillet or large pot, over medium heat, add olive oil and butter.
  2. Once butter melts, add chicken cubes, onions, jalapenos, garlic, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and onions and jalapenos are tender.
  4. Add heavy cream, chicken broth and cream cheese.
  5. Stir until cream cheese has melted and sauce is creamy.
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese into sauce, stir, and add pasta.
  7. Cover and cook until pasta is cooked, approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with a side salad and garlic bread. Enjoy.
A three photo collage of spicy chicken pasta in a white bowl and a fork filled with a bite of the pasta recipe on it.

Try This Delicious Pasta Recipe Today

And here are a few delicious pasta recipes that can be found on the blog:

Spicy Chicken Pasta

Great Grub, Delicious Treats

If you love chicken and pasta, you are going to love this creamy, spicy chicken pasta recipe. It’s loaded with deliciously seasoned chicken, a cream sauce and pasta shells.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Servings 6

Calories 690 kcal


  • 2 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoons Slap Ya Mama
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounce cream cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounce medium pasta shells, about 2 cups uncooked
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded


  • In a large skillet or large pot, over medium heat, add olive oil and butter.

  • Once butter melts, add chicken cubes, onions, jalapenos, garlic, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

  • Cook until chicken is no longer pink and onions and jalapenos are tender.

  • Add heavy cream, chicken broth and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese into sauce, stir, and add pasta.

  • Cover and cook until pasta is cooked, approximately 15 minutes.

  • Serve hot with a side salad and garlic bread. Enjoy.


Nutritional values are approximate.


Please note that these values can change with different brands and any modifications made to the recipe. For the most accurate information, use a nutritional calculator with the exact brands and measurements.


Calories: 690kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 31gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 685mgPotassium: 599mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2317IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 243mgIron: 1mg

Keyword Chicken Pasta, Spicy Chicken Pasta

Here are a few pics that are perfect to save to your favorite Pinterest boards.

A close up photo of a forkful of spicy chicken pasta held above the bowl with the pasta in it.
A white bowl with chicken and pasta in it with another bowl in the background.

Enjoy, Terri

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