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closeup shot of pasta in skillet
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5 from 6 votes

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!!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 731kcal
Cost: £2 / $2.50


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



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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!



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.


Calories: 731kcal | Carbohydrates: 81.25g | Protein: 40.03g | Fat: 27.21g | Saturated Fat: 6.877g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.084g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6.175g | Trans Fat: 0.342g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 813mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 10.5g | Sugar: 15.87g | Vitamin A: 1571IU | Vitamin C: 31.9mg | Calcium: 238mg | Iron: 2.09mg