One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta


Just the food mash-up your family is craving.

One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Loren Wood; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

Would you believe this flavorful dinner comes together in just 35 minutes start to finish? You better! This One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta will satisfy your Tex-Mex and carb cravings for one indulgent dinner the whole family will love. There's actually a scientific reason why our brains are so fond of food mash-ups. The perfect blend of familiarity and novelty mixed with the anticipation and expectation of such mash-ups makes for a dopamine-boosting experience. This One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta will be the happiness-inducing food mash-up you've been looking for. Pepper Jack cheese and a little pasta water yield a sauce that's creamy but not too thick. Chili powder and cumin add just the right amount of smoky flavor. Feel free to add chopped jalapeños if you like a little heat, but otherwise, this Chicken Fajita Pasta is delightful as-is. If you're signed up for dish duty tonight, this One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta should be on the menu. All you need is a large cast-iron skillet. Serve Chicken Fajita Pasta family-style around the table, and voila! Go ahead and add this recipe to your list of family-friendly weeknight meals.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 (4-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½-in. strips

  • 3 small bell peppers (any color or combination), thinly sliced (about 5 cups)

  • 1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta

  • 2 ½ cups tap water

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

  • cup cream cheese

  • 6 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided


  1. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until seared on all sides, about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, and garlic powder; cook, stirring often, until peppers are slightly softened, about 4 minutes.

  2. Stir in pasta and water (some of the pasta will not be submerged in water). Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and cooking water is thickened, 12 to 14 minutes.

  3. While pasta cooks, preheat oven to broil, with oven rack about 6 inches from heat.

  4. Remove pasta from heat. Stir in cilantro, cream cheese, and 1 cup of the pepper Jack cheese, until cheese melts and mixture is creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Top evenly with remaining ½ cup pepper Jack cheese.

  5. Broil until cheese is lightly browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, and garnish with cilantro.

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