Spicy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Spoon in plate with spicy chicken enchilada pasta garnished with green onion and cilantro.

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Spicy, smoky, full of robust tomato flavors, subtly creamy, and brilliantly cheesy! Everything you love about chicken enchiladas is in this easy one skillet Spicy Chicken Enchilada Pasta! It’s ready in just 30 minutes and perfect for any night of the week!


  • ½ medium Red Onion – finely chopped
  • 6 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 218 fresh Red Chilies (or 12 fresh Jalapeños), to taste – deseeded if desired, finely chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce / 425 grams) can Sweet Corn Kernels – drained, rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce / 425 grams) can Black Beans – drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup / 100 grams freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup / 100 grams freshly grated Pepper Jack Cheese (or Monterey Jack Cheese)
  • 12 ounces / 340 grams uncooked Short-cut Pasta (I used Tortiglioni, but any short-cut pasta will work)
  • 1.5 TBLS Unsalted Butter
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1.1 pounds / 480 grams Ground Chicken
  • 1 x 1 ounce pack Taco Seasoning Mix (store-bought or homemade, spicy or mild)
  • 1 can (10 ounces / 284 grams) Red Enchilada Sauce (spicy, medium or mild)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces / 411 grams) diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Medium Green Chilies (I used Muir Glen brand)
  • 1 can (14 ounces / 400 grams) chopped Tomatoes (I used Waitrose’s Italian Chopped Tomatoes with Olive Oil & Garlic)
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • ½1.5 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • ½1.5 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika (hot or sweet)
  • ½ cup / 125 grams Light Sour Cream (or regular sour cream)
  • To Serve (optional toppings): Chopped coriander (cilantro), chopped spring onion (scallion/green onion), sour cream, sliced avocado, sliced pickled or fresh jalapeños, pitted sliced black olives, lime wedges for squeezing, etc.



  1. Prepare the ingredients: Chop the red onion, garlic, and fresh red chilies (or jalapeños). Drain the cans of black beans and corn in two separate fine mesh strainers and rinse. Use a box grater to grate the sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses.

For the Spicy Chicken Enchilada Pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta in a pot (or use the same large deep pan you’ll use to cook the rest of the dish) of boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than the time indicated on the package for al-dente pasta. Drain and run cold water on top to halt the cooking process and prevent sticking.
  2. Preheat oven: Preheat broiler on high (or the oven grill setting).
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Heat the unsalted butter and olive oil in a large deep sauté pan or ovenproof deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is frothing, add the red onion and garlic. Sauté for a minute until softened and fragrant. Add the red chilies (or jalapeños) and sauté for 30 seconds to combine.
  4. Cook the chicken: Add the ground chicken and sprinkle the taco seasoning on top. Cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the clumps with your spatula, until just cooked.
  5. Build the sauce: Add the enchilada sauce, canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes, canned corn and black beans. Mix well to combine. Season with the kosher salt, black pepper, ground cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano flakes, and smoked paprika. Stir until combined well.
  6. Mix in the cheeses: Add half of the sharp cheddar and half of the Pepper Jack cheese. Mix until fully melted.
  7. Stir in the sour cream: Add the sour cream and mix until just combined. Remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Stir in the pasta: Stir in the pasta until combined well. Transfer to a 9×13-inch ovenproof baking dish and sprinkle the remaining sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses evenly on top. (See note 5.)
  9. Broil: Place the dish in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. To Serve: Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander. Serve immediately with any of your favorite toppings!



  1. Use a different protein. Lean ground beef, turkey, pork, etc. will work well. However, if using a fatty ground beef or pork, I recommend browning it first in the pan and removing the fat/grease released. Add the taco seasoning and stir to combine. Then transfer to a clean bowl and proceed with the recipe. Add the ground meat back into the pan in step 5 when you add the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  2. Use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Leftover boneless and skinless cooked shredded or diced chicken breasts or thighs can be used if you have it on hand. For a shortcut, buy a rotisserie chicken on your way back home from work and shred the meat to use in this dish instead. You’ll need 3 cups (about 1 pound/454 grams).
  3. Pasta type. Any short-cut pasta shape will work. Some great options are penne, small shells (conchiglie), cavatappi, fusilli, farfalle, ziti, etc.
  4. Adjust spice level to taste. Feel free to add more fresh red chilies (or jalapeños or other green chilies) ground cayenne, and crushed red pepper flakes to make this spicier. If dining with kids and wanting to make this spicy chicken enchilada pasta milder, omit or use less of the aforementioned spicy ingredients.
  5. Alternative ways for melting cheese topping. Use a large ovenproof pan so that you can place in the oven directly and don’t need to transfer to a baking dish. Alternatively, sprinkle the cheese over that pasta in the pan and cover. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese in 2-3 minutes.
  6. Make ahead and freezing instructions. Use and aluminum baking dish and make it all the way up to the point that you sprinkle the cheeses on top. Cover tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C and remove the foil. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the center of the dish has heated through. Turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has fully melted and is bubbling.
  7. See ‘Variations’ section in the post above if you’d like to customize this dish.


Keywords: spicy chicken enchilada pasta, chicken enchilada pasta, enchilada pasta