Homemade with jalapeños and parmesan cheese, Rattlesnake Pasta is made in a light Alfredo sauce and is full of flavor. It's incredibly easy and simple to make. The Alfredo sauce is made from a roux, allowing it to be lighter, yet still creamy and silky smooth.
Whether you've tried it at 54th street grill, J. Alexander's or somewhere else, Rattlesnake Pasta is a tried and true favorite. This copycat recipe will bring you right back to those flavors your fell in love with.
This was inspired by our other spicy pastas: Cajun Shrimp Pasta and Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta. For other fun pasta ideas try our Creamy Kale Pesto Pasta, Greek Spaghetti, and our Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta.
Need another quick and easy noodle dish? Try our Thai inspired spicy peanut noodles! Or try a quick meal like Big Mac Sloppy Joes.
Why I Love This Recipe
I love creamy and spicy together. It is absolutely delicious to me. Using a roux, it's able to be much lighter, yet still so smooth and creamy. I enjoy the bell peppers and different textures going on with the chicken, pasta and peppers. I love that my kids like eating this and that it is made easily in one pot, for easy cleanup. It's also great for entertaining as it is a more unique and fun recipe.
- boneless skinless chicken breasts - you could also use chicken thighs in this recipe
- olive oil - we like olive oil for this recipe, but any oil such as vegetable or avocado will work great also
- pasta of choice- I used penne
- butter - we have not tried this with plant based butter and can't recommend it
- yellow onion
- minced garlic- you could also use raw, finely minced
- all-purpose flour
- whole milk - this recipe does NOT work with a lower fat milk than whole milk. Generally a sauce like this would be made with cream or half and half and it's already been lightened up as far as it can go and still have a good texture.
- cajun seasoning - feel free to use more or less as desired
- red chili pepper flakes *optional and will add quite a bit of heat
- red bell pepper - any colored bell pepper will work, red, orange or yellow.
- green bell pepper
- jalapeños- fresh is recommended, but canned will work.
- parmesan cheese- real cheese, not the powder
See recipe card for quantities.
- While following the steps below, cook pasta according to package directions.
1. Heat oil on medium heat in a fry pan. Add cubed chicken breast and cook until done (165* F), stirring occasionally. While it cooks, mince (finely chop) the onion. Place in a bowl and set aside.
2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While it cooks, chop the bell peppers and slice the jalapenos.
3. Add flour and stir until combined. It WILL look weird, it will clump. The first time I made this I thought I was doing it wrong. Just trust the process.
4. Add 1 cup of the milk. Again it will look quite weird, and maybe a little gross. It will be separated.
5. Stir the milk in until it's combined. Repeat one cup at a time until all the milk is added and combined.
6. The mixture should be smooth (other than the onions). Add the cajun seasoning and chili pepper flakes if using, and stir to combine.
7. Add the bell peppers and jalapeños. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
8. Simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Stir enough to keep the sauce from scorching to the bottom. Not constantly, but often.
9. Stir in parmesan cheese until melted, then stir in chicken and pasta and combine. Enjoy your Rattlesnake Pasta!
Hint: Making the Alfredo a roux like this makes this smooth and silky and creamy, even though it's a much lighter Alfredo. You'll also find that it reheats so much better. No separation or gross little clumps!
- Jalapeños- feel free to use canned jalapenos instead of fresh. Use ¼ cup.
- Gluten Free- use gluten free noodles and gluten free flour for a gluten free version.
- Vegetarian - simply omit the chicken. See below for veggies to add if desired.
- Cream- feel free to use heavy whipping cream for a richer Alfredo sauce. It will still work great, it will just thicken more quickly.
- Less Spicy- omitting the seeds from the jalapenos can make a big difference in how spicy it is. You can also scale back the cajun seasoning, but you may need to add some salt if you do.
- Extra Spicy - increase the chili pepper flakes, or make it with serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and put the seeds in.
- Veggie Lovers- skip the chicken (or keep it), add one whole zucchini, one summer squash and 2 large handfuls of spinach at the same time you add the peppers and jalapenos.
- Meat Lovers - skip the bell peppers (but always keep the jalapenos!), decrease the chicken to 1 pound. Add 12 ounces of cooked shrimp (stirred in at the end) and 1 pound of Andouille sausage (cooked with the chicken).
Store this jalapeño pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use 1-4 Tablespoons of milk when reheating. Mix the milk in after it's warm for a wonderfully smooth texture.
This freezes really well! Sometimes I make a double batch for a freezer meal. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the freezer. Allow to thaw for a few hours then reheat in a pot. Add milk until it reaches the desired texture.
Take the time to make the roux as directed above. It only takes 2-3 extra minutes to make it more slowly and the texture is top notch. It's smooth and creamy. Not only is it smooth and creamy, but it reheats really well. It won't clump and separate like many Alfredo sauces.
It's just a fun name for this spicy pasta dish. It's made with jalapeños and has a southwestern feel to it.
Make yummy rattlesnake pasta by boiling your favorite noodles. Cook some chicken then make your roux using butter, garlic, onions, and flour. Make the sauce by adding whole milk and cajun seasoning. Add bell peppers and jalapeños, then finish it off with some parmesan cheese.
Rattlesnake Pasta is a delicious creamy, spicy pasta dish. It features chicken, bell peppers, jalapeños, cajun seasoning, a delicious creamy/ spicy sauce and, of course, pasta. It's so yummy!
Best Rattlesnake Pasta
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes.
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 onion finely minced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic or 4 cloves fresh, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3 teaspoons cajun seasoning* has different amounts of intensity and different amounts of salt. Season until it has the amount of cajun flavor desired. Depending how much salt is in your cajun you may need to add more salt to the sauce.
- 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes optional
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 3 jalapeños sliced. we leave our seeds in- for less spicy remove all or part of the seeds.
- 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese
- ***cook pasta according to package directions while completing the steps below***
- Cut chicken breasts into 1" cubes.
- Heat oil in a large fry pan/ skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, stirring occasionally. While cooking mince onion. Internal temperature of chicken should reach 165*F. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While it cooks, chop the bell peppers and slice the jalapenos. I like to leave the seeds in my jalapenos, for less spicy scrape out the seeds.
- Add the flour to the onion mixture and stir to combine. It'll be clumpy and odd looking.
- Add 1 cup of the milk and stir until combined. It will look weird. The first time I made this I thought I was doing it wrong. Trust the process.
- Repeat step 5 3 more times until all the milk has been added. At this point, it should be smooth other than the onion pieces.
- Add the cajun seasoning and the red chili pepper flakes if using and stir to combine. Add the bell peppers and jalapenos. Bring to a simmer, and simmer 5 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Then add the chicken and pasta and stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Add milk upon reheating until desired consistency is reached.
- Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw for a few hours then reheat in a pot over medium heat. Add milk when reheating until desired consistency is reached.
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
Our family has had this twice now and we all love it! A fun twist and great way to add some variation to pasta night! I love making it with the roux- it's easy to do and makes it so smooth and creamy. We love this jalapeno pasta!
My family loved the cajun spices in this delicious pasta! Definitely going on our meal rotation!
Always love making new pasta dishes and this was a hit. It was so delicious with the right amount of spicy! I will definitely be making this again!
This is seriously amazing! I love how flavorful it is!! We all gobbled it up!
This is the best pasta recipe around! My kids love this stuff. Thanks!!
I love a good copycat recipe. So much better to make it at home and this one is absolutely delicious. Great tip on using a roux- makes reheating it delicious instead of gross.
This is one of my new favorites! I added shrimp to the recipe, and it was a delicious dinner. Thanks for the awesome recipe.
MMMM my family loved this. We love the Rattlesnake Pasta at 54th Street grill, but this was better because it didn't upset my stomach. Thanks for the recipe without cream... yet it was sooo creamy!