Chicken/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

BBQ Chicken Pasta

March 8, 2020 by Chris Collins

This BBQ Chicken Pasta is easy to make and uses simple ingredients. It’s saucy, cheesy, quick and absolutely bursting with flavour!

closeup shot of pasta in skillet

The Perfect Chicken!

Behind every great chicken pasta is perfectly seasoned, soft and juicy chicken. It’s one of the main ingredients here, so we need to get the most out of our chicken. 

Seasoning

It’s important to season the chicken well to not only to let the chicken shine, but also inject flavour into the sauce itself. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & Black Pepper

Butterflying Chicken

Here you’ll want to butterfly the chicken breasts right through to make 4 even sized thinner breasts. This will help them cook quickly and more evenly. It will also increase the ratio of seasoning to chicken

Once you’ve sliced the chicken, coated it in seasoning and a drizzle of oil, you just need to fry over medium-high heat until it begins to char and is just about cooked through. From there, allow it to rest (important to retain juices) then slice into thin strips.

Top Tip – Allow the chicken to come to room temp before frying. Frying meat straight from the fridge causes it to seize up and release too much moisture (meaning tough and chewy chicken).

How to make BBQ Chicken - 6 step by step photos

Making BBQ Chicken Pasta

Once you’ve got your chicken it’s a breeze from there. I recommend leaving the char/flavour from the chicken in the pan and starting from there.

Bacon

I highly recommend adding bacon to this pasta, not only for it’s crispy texture, but also to inject a gorgeous smoky flavour (which goes perfectly with BBQ sauce and chicken!)

BBQ Sauce

Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) the bulk of the sauce isn’t actually BBQ sauce. I use around 1/2cup, alongside chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. I find too much more overpowers the pasta and turns it too sweet/BBQ saucy. In all cases make sure you use a good quality BBQ sauce!

How to make BBQ Chicken Pasta (quick summary)

  1. Fry bacon.
  2. Add red pepper and red onion.
  3. Fry until charred/soft.
  4. Add chicken stock, chopped tomatoes and BBQ sauce.
  5. Add cooked pasta with a splash of pasta water.
  6. Stir in chicken and cheddar.

How to make BBQ Chicken Pasta - 6 step by step photos

BBQ Chicken Pasta FAQ

Can I use cooked/rotisserie chicken?

Sure! About 2 cups of diced/shredded chicken should suffice. I still recommend coating in the seasoning for extra flavour.

Can I reheat this pasta?

Yup! Tightly cover in the fridge then reheat on the stove, using leftover pasta water, chicken stock or just water to thin out as needed. Make sure chicken is piping hot.

What to serve with BBQ chicken pasta?

Honestly this is already quite a hearty dinner, so don’t feel like you have to serve with a side. But if I’m feeling extra hungry I usually go for Garlic Bread (or Cheesy Garlic Bread!)

spoon pouring pasta into white bowl with skillet blurred in background

fork digging into pasta in white bowl with skillet blurred in background

If you like the sound of this pasta then definitely have a ganders at my similar recipes!

Recipes using BBQ Sauce

Chicken Pasta Recipes

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full BBQ chicken pasta recipe shall we?!

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How to make BBQ Chicken Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

closeup shot of pasta in skillet

BBQ Chicken Pasta

This BBQ Chicken Pasta is easy to make and uses simple ingredients. It's saucy, cheesy, quick and absolutely bursting with flavour!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 731kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Deep Skillet
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Tongs
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Cheese Grater
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Jug (for stock)

Ingredients (check list):

Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, bring close to room temp (approx 7oz/200g per breast)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: Garlic Powder, Salt
  • 1/4 tsp each: Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (or to spice preference)
  • Olive Oil, as needed

Pasta

  • 10.5oz / 300g Penne Pasta, or other short cut pasta
  • 3.5oz / 100g Bacon, diced
  • 1 cup / 100g Cheddar, grated
  • 1x 14oz / 400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml BBQ Sauce
  • 1 medium Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 small Red Pepper, finely diced
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Butterfly your chicken breasts right through to create 4 thinner, equal sized breasts. Coat in 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder & salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Fry over medium/high heat for a few mins each side until starting to char and just cooked through the centre. Remove from pan and allow to rest. Just before needed, slice your chicken into thin strips, ensuring you cut at a slight angle and against the natural grain of the chicken.
  • Meanwhile, fry 3.5oz/100g bacon over medium heat in the leftover oil from the chicken (add more if needed) until it starts to brown. Add 1 finely diced medium onion and 1 finely diced small red pepper and continue frying until the bacon is crisp and the veg is soft and starting to char.
  • Pour in 1/2cup/125ml chicken stock, 1 can of chopped tomatoes and 1/2cup/125ml BBQ Sauce. Stir until fully blended then allow to simmer on low for 10-15mins, or until the tomatoes start to soften/burst and the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Meanwhile, add 300g/10.5oz pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Just before draining, retain a cup of starchy pasta water.
  • Combine pasta with sauce and pour in 1/4cup/60ml of your starchy pasta water. Once combined, stir through your chicken strips and 1cup/100g cheddar until the cheese melts and goes gooey. Thin out with a dash more starchy pasta water if needed. Season to taste.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Chicken Seasoning - Seasoning the chicken is a must. Firstly, it's one of the main ingredients so needs to shine. Secondly, it'll inject more flavour into the sauce. The sauce itself is very simple, so the seasoning from the chicken is very much appreciated!
b) Can I use cooked/rotisserie chicken? - Yes! I recommend using 2 packed cups worth (either shredded or diced). I also recommend still coating in the seasoning for the above reason. I usually fry it off in a little oil for a minute or just to lock in the flavours.
c) BBQ Sauce - The star ingredient, so make sure it's a good quality sauce. I personally feel 1/2 is plenty for this recipe, otherwise it gets a bit sweet and too BBQ sauce heavy, but work to preference after you've added all the ingredients if you feel you want more.
d) Leftovers - If you predict there's going to be leftovers I recommend saving some of the pasta water. Reheat leftovers on the stove using a splash of pasta water to thin the sauce. You could also use splash of chicken stock to loosen the sauce too, or water if that's all you have.
e) Calories - Based on sharing between 4 using 1 tbsp olive oil to coat chicken.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
BBQ Chicken Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 731 Calories from Fat 245
% Daily Value*
Fat 27.21g42%
Saturated Fat 6.877g34%
Trans Fat 0.342g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.084g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.175g
Cholesterol 103mg34%
Sodium 813mg34%
Potassium 1004mg29%
Carbohydrates 81.25g27%
Fiber 10.5g42%
Sugar 15.87g18%
Protein 40.03g80%
Vitamin A 1571IU31%
Vitamin C 31.9mg39%
Calcium 238mg24%
Iron 2.09mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy
    May 22, 2020 at 2:58 am

    5 stars
    I was feeding 4 adults, so doubled the recipe. Instead of using 2 cans of tomatoes, I used one diced tomatoes and one can of Rotel. Definitely a keeper. Wish I could print the recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 22, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Glad to hear it went down well, Kathy! If you look at the top of the recipe card, just underneath the ratings you should see the option to print 🙂

  • Reply
    Jere Cassidy
    March 8, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe looks very tasty and easy to make. I am adding this to my recipe box for those days I need a good pasta dish.

  • Reply
    Sally
    March 8, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    5 stars
    This looks AMAZING … as do so many of your recipes! Pasta is my favorite food group (HA!), but I’ve never had it with BBQ chicken – what a great idea – I can taste it now. Pinning for making soon!

  • Reply
    Anita
    March 8, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    5 stars
    A different kind of pasta for me, but I totally love it. Using store-bought rotisserie is perfect for this. 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      March 10, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Rotisserie chicken is certainly great for this!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    March 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    5 stars
    A delicious Dinner option and loved by my family any day. Chicken is always the best combination to it.

  • Reply
    Pam Greer
    March 8, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    5 stars
    This is so incredibly delicious! I make it even easier using rotisserie chicken when I don’t have the time to start the chicken breasts. Everyone loves it!

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