Southwest Chicken Pasta Recipe – Lauren’s Latest

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Looking for an easy dinner recipe that’s packed with southwestern flavors? My Southwest Chicken Pasta is a delicious recipe featuring rotisserie chicken, bell peppers, sweet corn, a creamy sauce and plenty of southwest spices. This one-pot pasta bake is the perfect main dish or side dish for any night of the week, and it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.

southwest chicken pasta in a bowl with a bite on a fork

Why You’ll Love This Recipe!

This Southwest Chicken Pasta is a great way to spice up your dinner routine with its creamy sauce, tender chicken, vibrant veggies, and a little crunch from the tortilla chips. Bonus points for this recipe being a one-pot wonder if you have an oven safe pot, and it’s ready in under an hour start to finish! Perfect for any night of the week!

ingredients for southwest chicken pasta

Ingredients Needed For Southwest Chicken Pasta

Here’s a list of ingredients needed to make this tasty pasta dish:

  • Rotini pasta – or penne pasta (or really any pasta shape of choice), cooked al dente.
  • Butter – For a rich and creamy sauce.
  • Onion – I prefer yellow onion for a bit of sweetness.
  • Red and green bell peppers – Diced, for color and crunch.
  • Jalapeno pepper – Seeded and diced for a little kick. Adjust amount or omit based on how spicy you like.
  • Corn – Frozen or fresh kernels from three ears of corn.
  • Chicken stock – For a rich and flavorful base. Homemade bone broth would be perfect here.
  • Heavy cream – To make the sauce irresistibly creamy.
  • Cheddar and mozzarella cheese – Shredded, for that melty goodness.
  • Rotisserie chicken – Shredded. Feel free to cook your chicken fresh for this dish.
  • Tortilla chips – Crushed, for a crunchy topping.
  • Pantry staples and seasonings: garlic, all-purpose flour, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper

Variations

  • Protein: Substitute rotisserie chicken with ground beef or ground turkey.
  • Pasta: Try using whole wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta for dietary needs.
  • Cheese: Swap in Mexican cheese blend for a different flavor profile.
  • Vegetables: Add black olives, green chiles, or a can of black beans for more variety.
  • Spice: Use taco seasoning instead of cumin and chili powder for a different twist.
a serving spoon in chicken pasta

How to Make Southwest Chicken Pasta

For full recipe details, including ingredient measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here are step by step directions for making this recipe:

1. Preheat Oven

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

2. Cook Pasta

Bring a large oven safe pot (like a dutch oven) of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook pasta for half the time recommended on the box. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside. 

Pro Tip: This can be a one-pot recipe, but if you don’t have a dutch oven or other oven safe pot, feel free to transfer the pasta to a casserole dish and bake as shown in the images.

3. Saute Veggies

In the same hot pot, melt butter and sauté onions, garlic, peppers, jalapeños and corn until tender…about 7 minutes or so. Feel free to reduce or omit jalapeños if sensitive to spicy foods. 

4. Thicken Sauce

Sprinkle in flour and stir. Cook 2 minutes, then pour in chicken stock and whisk. Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Increase heat to thicken sauce. 

5. Combine

Turn off heat and add mozzarella cheese, one cup of the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, chicken and cooked pasta. Stir to combine.

6. Bake

Top with crushed tortilla chips and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Storage + Make Ahead Directions

Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until hot.

To Freeze: You can freeze the casserole before or after baking. Cover tightly in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking, and bake as the recipe card indicates.

To Make Ahead: Prepare as directed and store in the fridge up to a day in advance. Bake when ready to serve. If you are making ahead, you likely don’t have room in your fridge to store a dutch oven, ha! So, I would recommend baking in a casserole dish so that it fits in your fridge easier!

southwest chicken pasta in a bowl

What to Serve with Southwest Chicken Pasta

This dish pairs well with a simple green salad or one of these tasty salads:

chicken pasta in a bowl on a tablescape

More Tasty Casserole Recipes to Try!

Enjoy this easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for make ahead meal planning or family gatherings. The printable recipe card is below. Have a great day, friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

chicken and pasta in a bowl