Indulge in the bold and spicy flavor of creamy chipotle pasta with a few simple steps. The smoky and spicy kick of chipotle peppers is perfectly balanced by the creamy sauce. This 30 minute instant pot recipe is perfect for a cozy dinner or entertaining guests. Everyone is going to love this creamy chipotle pasta.Jump to Recipe
Who doesn’t love a creamy chicken pasta? It's pure comfort food in the best way. This recipe is made in the instant pot which means very little effort is necessary and it's perfect for busy nights. The pasta resembles alfredo but packs way more flavor from the ranch and chipotle. I find that ranch and chipotle give a delicious and smoky combination that goes great with chicken and certainly on pasta too.
- Why You'll Love This Creamy Chipotle Pasta:
- What Is Creamy Chipotle Pasta?
- The Ingredients to Make Creamy Chipotle Pasta
- What Is a Chipotle Pepper?
- How the Creamy Chipotle Pasta Is Made
- How to Make Creamy Chipotle Pasta without an Instant Pot
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Must Try Variations
- Storing the Creamy Chipotle Chicken Pasta
- What to Serve with Creamy Chipotle Pasta
- Creamy Chipotle Pasta
Why You'll Love This Creamy Chipotle Pasta:
Bold and spicy flavor: This creamy pasta recipe has a deliciously smoky and spicy flavor that adds a bold kick to the dish.
Creamy and comforting: The creamy sauce in the dish adds a comforting and satisfying element to the pasta, making it the ultimate comfort food.
Versatile: The creamy chipotle chicken pasta recipe can be made with a variety of proteins and vegetables, making it a versatile dish that can be customized to your preferences.
Spice level is adjustable: If you have picky eaters at the table don't fret because you can easily tone down the spicy chipotle sauce by adding less adobo and less chipotle without compromising the delicious flavor.
Easy to make: The dish is easy to prepare in the instant pot and can be made in less than 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner option.
Perfect for entertaining: Creamy chipotle pasta is a crowd-pleasing dish that is perfect for entertaining guests and impressing friends and family any night of the week. It's a recipe that will certainly impress your guests.
Leftovers make a great lunch: Leftovers of this spicy chipotle chicken pasta recipe is delicious reheated for lunch the next day, making it a great option for meal prep.
What Is Creamy Chipotle Pasta?
Creamy chipotle pasta is a pasta dish that features a creamy ranch seasoned sauce flavored with chipotle peppers. The smoky and spicy flavor of the chipotle peppers adds a bold kick to the dish, which is then balanced out by the creaminess of the sauce. The pasta used can vary, but popular choices include rigatoni, penne pasta, fusilli, and linguine. The dish is often served with protein such as chicken or shrimp. While this recipe doesn't contain any extra veggies you'll commonly find this served with bell peppers or spinach.
The Ingredients to Make Creamy Chipotle Pasta
- Oil (vegetable or olive oil) - choose a light oil for sautéing
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs chopped into bite sized pieces
- Yellow Onion - white or sweet onion can be substituted
- Garlic - fresh garlic works best for this recipe and gives so much flavor, garlic powder can be substituted
- Chipotle peppers in adobo — have sensitivity to spice? Try reducing the amount of chipotle and adobo you use. You can use chipotle seasoning but it's not going to have the same smoky flavor that the adobo will bring and it will be more spicy.
- Ranch seasoning mix - I use the seasoning dressing mix
- Ranch dressing - Yes I’m talking about the salad dressing here
- Chicken broth - regular and reduced sodium will do I’ve used both and both are delicious I can hardly tell a difference. When I use regular chicken broth, I find that I don't need to add any extra salt.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream - this is a must for the creamiest results. If you try to substitute this you might end up with a chicken pasta that’s too runny.
- Rigatoni pasta
- Salt and black pepper to taste
What Is a Chipotle Pepper?
The ingredient that really shapes the flavor of this creamy chipotle pasta is the chipotle pepper in adobo. This is what’s going to give it that smoky flavor and add some heat. If you don’t already know, a chipotle pepper is a smoked and dried jalapeño. Chipotle peppers are one of my favorite items to cook with. It’s much better than a plain jalapeño if you ask me.
The adobo sauce that the chipotle peppers are found in is a sweet and tangy puree of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices. This creamy chipotle sauce packs a lot of flavor and adds to the depth of flavor in this fire roasted chipotle salsa. I love adding an extra tablespoon or two of this puree for added smokiness.
We won’t be using an entire can of the chipotle peppers in adobo for this recipe so I suggest keeping the chipotle pepper sauce and seasoning other items with it like rice, tacos, even soups. This will add that extra punch of smoky flavor and spice to any dish.
How the Creamy Chipotle Pasta Is Made
Step 1: Turn the instant pot onto the sauté setting and add the oil. Let heat before adding the chicken. While you’re waiting, season the chicken with a bit of the ranch seasoning on all sides. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken to the instant pot. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring well.
Step 2: Add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Next, turn off the sauté setting and add the remaining ingredients in the order they appear on the list. Do not stir and mix the pasta. Simply ensure the pasta is submerged below the liquid by pressing down with a wooden spoon gently. Place the lid on the instant pot, turn the knob to the sealed direction and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Note that the instant pot won’t start counting down right away. It will take quite a few minutes before it reaches pressure.
Step 3: When the timer goes off the the instant pot natural release for 5 minutes. When five minutes is up turn the knob to the release direction and let it steam until the pressure has dropped and it is safe to open the instant pot. Stir the pasta and let sit for a few minutes. This will let the pasta cook a little longer and the sauce will thicken, trust me it will. After the sauce has thickened, serve immediately. Garnish with extra adobo sauce, bacon bits, green onions, and chopped parsley or fresh dill. If you're a cheese lover, feel free to fold in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Make sure to use fresh grated parmesan cheese for the best results. This will also help thicken the sauce.
How to Make Creamy Chipotle Pasta without an Instant Pot
Step 1. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Once heated add onion and garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes or until the onion starts to soften and become translucent.
Step 2. Add chopped chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until completely cooked through.
Step 3. To the cooked chicken add chicken broth, pasta, chipotle peppers, ranch seasoning, ranch dressing and heavy cream. Press the pasta under the liquid with a wooden spoon ensuring it's all covered. Add more chicken broth if needed.
Step 4. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Cook for 10-14 minutes stirring frequently until the pasta is al dente. Once done you should have a delicious creamy chipotle pasta sauce covering all the noodles.
Step 5. Remove from heat and serve immediately with bacon bits, dill, adobo sauce, and or scallions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different pasta?
You can definitely use a different type of pasta to make this creamy chipotle pasta recipe. Below are some great options for this easy pasta recipe. Keep in mind that the different pastas may have longer or shorter cooking times.
Penne: This classic pasta shape is a great choice for creamy sauces because its ridges help hold onto the sauce.
Fusilli: This spiral-shaped pasta also has ridges that help it hold onto the sauce. It's a great option if you want a pasta shape that's a little more interesting than penne.
Linguine: This long, thin pasta is perfect for creamy sauces because it helps coat the pasta evenly.
Farfalle: Also known as bow-tie pasta, farfalle adds a fun, whimsical touch to your dish.
Can I make this vegetarian?
Yes, it is easy to this recipe into a vegetarian chipotle pasta. Simply omit the chicken and proceed with the recipe. You can also use vegetarian chicken alternatives if you prefer.
Is this similar to the Cheesecake Factory chipotle pasta?
This recipe has similar flavors when compared to the chicken chipotle pasta recipe made at the Cheesecake Factory. However, there are many differences. First, the pasta used is penne instead of rigatoni. They also incorporate different types of vegetables such as bell peppers, asparagus, and peas. Unlike the other recipe, we added ranch to balance the spicy flavors of the chipotle and to create a more creamy sauce.
Must Try Variations
Vegetable chipotle pasta: Skip the chicken and add your favorite fresh veggies to the pasta dish. Some great options include diced zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute the vegetables with the onion and garlic, then follow the recipe as written.
Creamy chipotle shrimp pasta: Substitute cooked shrimp for the chicken in the recipe. Cook the shrimp in the skillet before making the sauce, then follow the recipe as written.
Chipotle pesto pasta: Add 1/2 cup of your favorite pesto to the spicy chipotle cream sauce for added flavor. You can use store-bought or homemade pesto.
Spicy chipotle pasta: If you like your pasta extra spicy, add a few dashes of hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the sauce. You can always add more chipotle to enhance the chipotle flavor even more.
Storing the Creamy Chipotle Chicken Pasta
The spicy chipotle pasta can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. To reheat, simply place in the microwave with a damp paper towel over top of the bowl and heat for 30 second intervals at a time, stirring in between. Continue doing this until the creamy chipotle pasta is fully reheated. The damp paper towel is essential for locking in moisture which can go away the longer it sits in the fridge.
For a more long term storage option, I recommend freezing in a freezer safe container. It can be kept for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat the chipotle chicken pasta, let it thaw completely in the refrigerator. Splash a little milk or heavy cream and microwave with a damp paper towel. Stir well to revive the creamy goodness.
What to Serve with Creamy Chipotle Pasta
If you're making this for dinner you’ll want to try these incredible, healthy, sides!
Creamy Chipotle Pasta
- Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lb chicken breasts or tenderloins cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo
- 3 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers
- 3 tablespoons ranch seasoning
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh dill
- adobo sauce
- bacon bits
- sliced scallions
- Turn the instant pot to the sauté setting and add the chicken. Top with a little of the ranch seasoning and sauté until the outside is cooked then cancel the sauté setting
- Add the broth, cream, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, ranch seasoning and noodles to the instant pot in that order. DO NOT STIR, but make sure the noodles are covered in the liquid. Do this by pushing down on the pasta to submerge it
- Place the lid on the instant pot and make sure it’s set to the sealed position
- Pressure cook for 5 minutes then natural release for 5 minutes then switch to venting and open lid
- Stir well and garnish with fresh dill, adobo sauce, bacon bits, and/or gre