Our reader-favorite Cajun chicken pasta soup, adapted into an easy Instant Pot recipe! This variation has everything you love about the original – the rich flavors, the simple ingredients, the creamy broth – for a satisfying, filling, super delicious one-pot meal.
🔥 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- If you’re a fan of our stovetop cajun chicken pasta soup, then you’ll definitely love this Instant Pot version. It has all the ingredients and features you love about Cajun chicken pasta, but in soup-form. Plus, this variation is made in one pot instead of two, and you don’t need a stove to do it! Great if you’re batching meals for the week (or the freezer) and don’t have unlimited stove space, or if you just feel like doing a fewer dishes tonight.
- The flavors in this soup are deliciously deep and rich, and you only need a few ingredients to pull it off! If you look at the ingredients list, you might be thinking “Cheryl, where are all the spices? You only use Cajun seasoning.” Cajun seasoning is a blend of black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Depending on the brand you use, you might also have mustard powder, chili powder, or cumin in yours. So it’s true we “only” use Cajun seasoning, but that’s because of all the spices that go into it in the first place. Beyond that, we also use fresh ingredients to flavor the soup. It starts out with the holy trinity – a combination of onion, bell pepper, and celery – and from there we add fresh garlic and diced tomatoes. Round it out with savory broth and cheesy Parmesan, and there’s really a whole lot going on here.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Be sure to use chicken breasts that are even in size and thickness so they cook at the same rate! I like to use 4 4-ounce chicken breasts, or 2 8-ounce chicken breasts sliced into thin cutlets. That way there’s plenty of surface area to season, plus they’re thin enough to cook through quickly. Chicken tenders will also work!
- Make sure your heavy cream and parmesan are at room temperature before you add them into the Instant Pot! Cajun chicken pasta soup is so good partly because of how creamy it is, so the dairy ingredients are really important. If they’re cold or even just cool, they can seize or curdle in the hot liquid.
- Don’t use pre-grated parmesan. The pre-packaged shredded and grated cheeses you get at the store have starches added to keep them from clumping while they’re on the shelf. Those fillers can keep the cheese from melting like it’s supposed to, making the Instant Pot cajun chicken pasta soup gritty or grainy. Instead, buy a wedge of parmesan and grate it yourself. I promise, it’s worth the time and effort!
🫕 Creamy Soup Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again
- McAlister’s Chicken Tortilla Soup Copycat
- Shrimp and Corn Soup
- Oyster Brie Soup (from Hollywood Brown Derby)
- Zuppa Toscana
- Buffalo Chicken Soup
- Irish Potato Soup
- Keto Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Popcorn Soup
- Cheeseburger Soup
For the Cajun Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts see Notes
- Cajun seasoning to taste
For the Creamy Pasta Soup
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil avocado oil, olive oil, etc.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups holy trinity see Notes
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or 3 cups chicken broth + 1 cup water
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 1 cup uncooked ditalini or similar small pasta
- 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature; or half and half, at room temperature
- 1 cup grated fresh parmesan at room temperature
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- chopped green onions
- 2 cutting boards or large plate and large bowl
- Large plate
- Large wooden spoon
- Sharp chef's knife or 2 forks
For the Cajun Chicken
- Place 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts on cutting board. Season all sides of chicken breasts generously with Cajun seasoning. Set cutting board aside.
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to Instant Pot insert, covering as much surface as possible. Heat oil until shimmering.
- When oil is hot, place seasoned chicken breasts in Instant Pot. Sear chicken breasts 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, then flip chicken breasts over and sear 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Transfer seared chicken breasts to large plate and set aside.
For the Cajun Chicken Pasta Soup
- Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to Instant Pot insert. Let butter melt completely, then add 1 ½ cups holy trinity and stir to incorporate. Sauté vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender and fragrant.
- When vegetables are tender, add 4 cloves garlic (minced) to Instant Pot. Stir to incorporate, then sauté ingredients 30 to 60 seconds or until garlic is just fragrant.
- When garlic is fragrant, add 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth. Stir to incorporate, scraping any browned bits of chicken or vegetables off of bottom of insert.
- Add 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and 1 cup uncooked ditalini. Stir to incorporate, then return seared chicken breasts to Instant Pot.
- Secure lid on Instant Pot with valve in Sealing position. Set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure with 4-minute cook time. Instant Pot will pressurize, then cook time will begin.
- After 4-minute cook time ends, carefully Quick Release internal pressure. Remove lid from Instant Pot and set aside. Use caution – escaping steam will be very hot.
- Transfer chicken breasts to clean cutting board or large bowl. Chop or shred chicken as desired. Set aside.
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup grated fresh parmesan. Return chicken to Instant Pot and stir to incorporate. Simmer soup, stirring gently, 3 to 5 minutes or until cream is incorporated and parmesan is melted.
- Taste soup and adjust seasoning if desired. Portion soup into serving bowls, garnish with chopped green onions (optional), and serve warm.
- Chicken: Use chicken breasts that are the same size and thickness, to ensure they cook evenly. I like to use 4 thinly-sliced chicken breasts that each weigh 4 ounces. That way there’s plenty of surface area to season, and they cook faster.
- Holy Trinity: The Cajun and Creole version of mirepoix, a holy trinity blend is equal parts chopped white onions, green bell peppers, and celery. You can make your own trinity blend using ½ cup of each chopped ingredient, or you can buy pre-chopped trinity blends at the store.
- Dairy Products: Let your dairy products come to room temperature before using them in your soup. When cold or even cool dairy is added to hot liquids or hot cookware, the dairy products can seize or curdle. If the heavy cream and parmesan don’t incorporate well, or if your soup looks like it separated or curdled, your dairy products weren’t warm enough and/or were heated too quickly.
- Parmesan: Don’t use pre-grated, pre-packaged parmesan cheese. It contains starches to keep it from clumping, but they also keep it from melting well and can make the soup grainy or gritty. Instead, buy a block of parmesan cheese and grate it yourself.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.