That Spicy Chick

Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta

This Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta is easy to make, great for feeding a crowd or a hungry family, and incredibly delicious and comforting! BBQ chicken, veggies, and pasta get tossed in a luscious, spicy, and vibrant sauce! It’s then topped with plenty of cheese, baked until nice and bubbly, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion!

Large baking dish with Spicy BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

Hello friends!

Remember this mind-blowing BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza from a few months ago? Remember how simple and easy it is to make, lip-smacking tasty, and AMAZING it is?! Well a few weeks ago when I was making it for the gazillionth bazillionth time, I got to thinking, wouldn’t the mouthwatering spicy BBQ chicken taste AMAZING with pasta too?!

So…that thought led to action one night, and that’s how this Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta was born! It’s brilliantly spicy, a bit sweet, robust, and bold flavored, and it’s incredibly easy to make too!

This baby is a pantry staples + refrigerator crisper drawer + everyday spices and seasonings winner. It’s also flexible enough to be made with what you have on hand, and can be customized as needed.

A plate with a spoon and Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

Here’s what I used:

  • BBQ Sauce: My favorite store-bought BBQ sauce to make the tasty spicy BBQ chicken! (You can use whatever BBQ sauce you have in your pantry, or a homemade one too instead.)
  • Veggies: The sweet corn kernels and broccoli sitting in my fridge. (But you can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge that you want to use up – bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. would all work well!).
  • A can of chopped tomatoes. (Any canned chopped or crushed tomatoes will work. Even passata would be great!).
  • And the penne pasta in my cupboard. (Again, any pasta you have on hand will be A-OK in this winner dinner Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta dish!) 👍

I topped it with a fabulous combination of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese (any type of shredded cheese in a bag or freshly grated cheese you have on hand will do 👌) and baked it for a few minutes until everything was nice and melty and smelled WONDERFUL! Then finally, I garnished it with some chopped coriander and spring onion for a pop of bright green and herby flavor, and VIOLA!!

Easy Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta was made, served, and loved!

So what do you say to making some Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta for dinner tonight? I say yes, yes, and a thousand times YAAAAASS! 🙌

Front view of large baking dish with Spicy BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken: I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts. But feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or fillets if you like.
  • BBQ Sauce: You can use a homemade BBQ sauce or your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce. I use the latter for this dish because I’m all about quick and easy. And also because my favorite BBQ sauce is McCormick Grill Mates Chilli and Pepper BBQ Sauce! It’s spicy, rich, and bold, and that’s the way I like my BBQ sauce to be!
  • Spices & Seasonings: Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, smoked paprika (I like a hot one, but you can use sweet smoked paprika if you prefer), and some ground cayenne to taste. In addition to these mentioned spices and seasonings, you’ll also need crushed red pepper flakes for the pasta sauce for an extra kick of heat!
  • Olive Oil: Or any other cooking oil you prefer to use to cook the chicken and sauce.
  • Veggies: I used sweet corn kernels, broccoli, and red onion. But you can use whatever pasta friendly veggies you have in your pantry. Baby spinach, sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, etc. could all totally work in this dish. Also, feel free to swap the red onion for yellow or white onion, or even shallots if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Garlic: Because every pasta I make needs a nice garlicky kick!
  • Red Chilies: To heat things up! Feel free to deseed the chilies if making this milder, or leave them out completely if you’re not big on heat or are feeding children.
  • Canned chopped tomatoes: I used canned chopped Italian tomatoes with olive oil & garlic. But you can use any type of chopped or crushed canned tomatoes you have on hand. Passata would work well too. Alternatively, feel free to use fresh chopped tomatoes instead too.
  • Milk: To make the sauce slightly creamy and lovely! I prefer to use whole milk, but you’re welcome to use low-fat milk if you want to make this lighter. Or you can use heavy or single cream for half or all of the milk amount to make it creamier and richer!
  • Cheese: A wonderful and tasty combination of mozzarella, Parmesan, and sharp cheddar!
  • To Serve/Garnish: Some freshly chopped coriander and spring onion to brighten things up and add a herby sparkle! Alternatively, you can use fresh chopped basil leaves, parsley, or even mint leaves if that’s what you’ve got on hand.
A plate with a spoon and Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion. Dish of BBQ chicken pasta and bottle of BBQ sauce in the back.

HOW TO MAKE SPICY BBQ CHICKEN PASTA

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken:

First, we need to make the Spicy BBQ Chicken. You can do this in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker by cooking the chicken breasts with the BBQ sauce and some spices and seasonings for about 10 minutes. Then, either dice or shred the chicken according to your preference. Or you can use leftover baked or pan-seared diced chicken, or even shredded rotisserie chicken. Just mix the chicken with the sauce and the spices and seasonings and you’re BBQ chicken will be good to go! Bonus? If you use leftover chicken, the Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta becomes a ONE POT MEAL for a busy weeknight!! Hurrah! 🙌

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta:

Prep oven: Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.

Cook the pasta, corn, and broccoli: Bring a large pot (or use the same large deep sauté pan you’ll use for the sauce) of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and corn and cook until al-dente according to package instructions. Drain into a colander and set aside. (Optional: During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets if you prefer them to be slightly tender. I prefer my broccoli with a bit of crunch so add them directly to the sauce to cook. But it’s a matter of preference so feel free to add them to cook a little here now.)

Sauté aromatics: Heat olive oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant – about 2 minutes. Then add the red chilies and continue sautéing for another minute.

Make the luscious spicy sauce: Pour in the canned chopped tomatoes and use the back of your spatula or wooden spoon to press down on the chunks to flatten them and release their juices (or you can use canned crushed tomatoes or passata instead). Stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium-low and gradually pour in the milk. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cayenne, and crushed red pepper chili flakes to taste. Stir for a minute to combine.

Toss veggies, chicken, and pasta with the sauce: Add the broccoli florets and Spicy BBQ Chicken, stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes.

BBQ sauce diced chicken pieces in a pan with creamy spicy tomato sauce and broccoli florets.

Then add the pasta and corn and toss for 4-5 minutes until the pasta has heated through and everything is fully coated in the sauce.

Penne pasta and sweet corn kernels in a pan with creamy spicy sauce, BBQ chicken pieces, and broccoli florets.

Scatter with cheese and bake: Switch of the heat and transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top evenly with the freshly grated sharp cheddar and Italian Blend (or mozzarella) cheese. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove the dish from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Deep large sauté pan with penne pasta, spicy tomato BBQ sauce, broccoli florets, corn, and chicken pieces.

Serve!: Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander and enjoy!

Front view of large baking dish with Spicy BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

Full ingredient amounts/instructions in the recipe card below.

VARIATIONS

  • Make it vegetarian: Swap the chicken for veggie meat such as Quorn, Beyond Beef®, or Omnipork. Or use another plant-based or soy-based meat product instead of the chicken. You can also just use more veggies in the pasta dish and add the BBQ sauce and spices and seasonings for the chicken when you add the milk.
  • Make it vegan: Same as for making this vegetarian, but swap the milk for a dairy-free milk such as coconut or almond milk. If you’d like a creamier texture for the sauce, you can use cashew cream instead.
  • For gluten-free: Use a gluten-free pasta, and double check to make sure that the BBQ sauce you are using is gluten-free. Many BBQ sauces have vinegar included in the ingredients, and vinegar comes from gluten grains. So if you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, be sure BBQ sauce you are using is GF certified.
  • Add bacon: Simply because bacon makes everything taste better in my book! 🥓❤️
  • Use a different pasta type: As mentioned before, you can use any type of pasta shape you have on hand. For short-cut pastas, rotini, farfalle, small shells, and fusilli will all work great! For noodle type pastas, I recommend spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine. But honestly, don’t feel limited to just these suggestions. Any pasta that you have in your pantry will work fine. 👍
Spoon holding up a bite of Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta with corn and broccoli above a plate with pasta, and baking dish with Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta and bottle of BBQ sauce in the back.

CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD?

The spicy BBQ chicken can be made 1-3 days in advance. Store in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator if making ahead. For the pasta and sauce, you can make it a day in advance. Make it all the way through and sprinkle on the cheese. Then cool quickly, cover the dish with foil, and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake and garnish it the next day. Just be sure to take out the dish from the fridge 40-60 minutes before you bake it so that it’s not too cold when it hits the oven. Then bake (with the foil on) for 20-25 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes, until hot throughout and the cheese has melted. Garnish with the chopped coriander and spring onion and serve!

Freezing: I have not tried freezing this dish before baking, and prefer to make and eat it fresh. But if you do try freezing it, please report back and let us know how it turned out in the comments!

BBQ chicken pasta topped with melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese and garnished with chopped spring onion and coriander in a plate with a spoon, and in a large baking dish.

MORE PASTA FAVORITES

Looking for more delicious easy pasta recipes to add to your rotation? Below are some of my weeknight favorites!


If you make this recipe, leave a comment and review it below with a star rating! I always appreciate your feedback. Take a photo and be sure to tag it with @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick so I can see! 😉

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Plate witA plate with a spoon and Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta

This Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta is easy to make, great for feeding a crowd or a hungry family, and incredibly delicious and comforting! BBQ chicken, veggies, and pasta get tossed in a luscious, spicy, and vibrant sauce! It’s then topped with plenty of cheese, baked until nice and bubbly, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté, Bake
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (about 400 grams), boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried
  • 3/4 cup BBQ Sauce (homemade or store bought) – I used McCormick Grill Mates Chilli and Pepper BBQ Sauce)
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • ½ TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 TSP Smoked Paprika (Hot)
  • 1.5 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 1.5 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil you like)

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta:

  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil you prefer)
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta (I used penne, but any short-cut pasta or noodle type pasta will work fine.)
  • 1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels
  • 1 medium head Broccoli – cut into florets, rinsed thoroughly and dried
  • ½ Red Onion – finely minced
  • 6 Garlic cloves – finely minced
  • 26 Red Chilies (optional), to taste – chopped
  • 1 (400 grams / 14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (I used chopped Italian tomatoes with olive oil & garlic. But you can use any type of chopped or crushed canned tomatoes, or passata. Alternatively, you can use chopped fresh tomatoes if you have them on hand – you’ll need about two medium tomatoes.)
  • 1.5 cups Whole Milk (Use low-fat milk to make it lighter, or heavy cream or half and half for part or all of the milk amount to make the sauce creamier and richer.)
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt
  • 1.5 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika (I use La Chinata Smoked Paprika (Hot) because it’s incredibly robust, flavorful, and deliciously spicy! But you can use a sweet smoked paprika if you prefer.)
  • 1 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes, to taste
  • ½ cup freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ cup Italian Blend or Mozzarella Cheese (I use Tillamook Farmstyle Cut Shredded Italian Blend Cheese – which is a mixture of shredded low moisture part skim mozzarella and parmesan cheese)

To Serve:

  • 35 sprigs Coriander – roughly chopped
  • 1 Spring Onion – chopped
  •  

Instructions

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken:

  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pressure cooker over medium high-heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts, followed by the BBQ sauce, smoked paprika, and ground cayenne to taste. Then flip the chicken breasts and stir the sauce to mix up all the spices and seasonings.
  3. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes (about 2 to 3 whistles), then switch off the heat. Allow the pressure to release naturally (this will take around 8-10 minutes), then remove the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. Use tongs to transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then cut into bite-sized cubes (or shred with two forks if you prefer).
  5. Return the diced chicken back to the sauce in the pressure cooker and stir to combine.
  6. Set aside, or transfer to an airtight container if making ahead.

Note: Alternatively, you can use leftover baked or pan-seared diced chicken, or even rotisserie chicken. Just mix it into the sauce with the spices and seasonings. You’ll need about 2 to 2.5 cups of cooked chicken.

See Notes section below for Instant Pot cooking instructions.

For the Spicy BBQ Chicken Pasta:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.
  2. Bring a large pot (or use the same large deep sauté pan you’ll use for the sauce) of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and corn and cook until al-dente according to package instructions. Drain into a colander and set aside. (Optional: During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets if you prefer them to be slightly tender. I prefer my broccoli with a bit of crunch so add them directly to the sauce to cook. But it’s a matter of preference so feel free to add them to cook a little here now.) 
  3. Heat olive oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant – about 2 minutes. Then add the red chilies and continue sautéing for another minute.
  4. Pour in the canned chopped tomatoes and use the back of your spatula or wooden spoon to press down on the chunks to flatten them and release their juices (or you can use canned crushed tomatoes or passata instead). Stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium-low and gradually pour in the milk. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cayenne, and crushed red pepper chili flakes to taste. Stir for a minute to combine.
  5. Add the broccoli florets and Spicy BBQ Chicken, stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the pasta and corn and toss for 4-5 minutes until the pasta has heated through and everything is fully coated in the sauce.
  6. Switch of the heat and transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top evenly with the freshly grated sharp cheddar and Italian Blend (or mozzarella) cheese. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove the dish from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  7. To Serve: Garnish with chopped coriander and spring onion and serve!

Notes

  1. Making ahead: The spicy BBQ chicken can be made 1-3 days in advance. Store in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator if making ahead. For the pasta and sauce, you can make it a day in advance. Make the dish all the way through and sprinkle on the cheese. Then cool quickly, cover the dish with foil, and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake and garnish it the next day. Just be sure to take out the dish from the fridge 40-60 minutes before you bake it so that it’s not too cold when it hits the oven. Then bake (with the foil on) for 20-25 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes, until hot throughout and the cheese has melted. Garnish and serve as indicated in step 7. I have not tried freezing this dish before baking, and prefer to make and eat it fresh. But if you do try freezing it, please report back and let us know how it turned out in the comments!
  2. Spicy BBQ Chicken Instant Pot Cooking Instructions: Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Select the ‘Sauté’ function on the instant pot. Once the pot displays ‘Hot’, add olive oil in the inner pot and heat for a minute. Place the chicken breasts in the pot, then add the BBQ sauce, ground cayenne, and crushed red chili pepper flakes. Then flip the chicken breasts and stir the sauce to mix up all the spices and seasonings. Select the ‘Cancel’ function and close the lid. Make sure that the vent is in the ‘Sealing’ position. Select ‘Manual’ and adjust the +/- buttons to set the cook time to 10 minutes. Once cooking has completed, allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove the lid. Use tongs to transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken back to the sauce in the instant pot and stir to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside.
  3. To make it vegetarian: Swap the chicken for veggie meat such as Quorn, Beyond Beef® or Omnipork. Or use another plant-based or soy-based meat product instead of the chicken. You can also just use more veggies in the pasta dish and add the BBQ sauce and spices and seasonings for the chicken when you add the milk.
  4. To make it vegan: Same as for making this vegetarian but swap the milk for a dairy-free milk such as coconut or almond milk. If you’d like a creamier texture for the sauce, you can use cashew cream instead.
  5. For gluten-free:Use a gluten-free pasta, and double check to make sure that the BBQ sauce you are using is gluten-free. Many BBQ sauces have vinegar included in the ingredients, and vinegar comes from gluten grains. So if you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, be sure BBQ sauce you are using is GF certified.
  6. Add bacon: Simply because bacon makes everything taste better in my book! 🥓❤️
  7. What pasta type to use: You can use any type of pasta shape you have on hand even though I used penne. For short-cut pastas, rotini, farfalle, small shells, and fusilli will all work great! For noodle type pastas, I recommend spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine. But don’t feel limited to just these suggestions – any pasta that you have in your pantry will work fine.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 plate
  • Calories: 613
  • Sugar: 14.2g
  • Sodium: 897.3mg
  • Fat: 19.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 69g
  • Fiber: 6.4g
  • Protein: 42.6g
  • Cholesterol: 103.1mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

A large baking dish with Spicy BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta with corn, broccoli, melted cheese, and garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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