Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta

Sweet chilli chicken pasta is a quick, light and tangy pasta dish made famous by Vapiano, a German-Italian food chain. Inspired by Asian flavours, the sauce is made of fresh orange juice and sweet Thai chilli sauce. A fantastic meal, anytime.

5 stars

Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 20 mins


Pollo Piccante


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Sweet chilli chicken pasta is what you need to have on those nights when you just need something quick yet delicious after a tiring day.

The sweet, savoury and tangy flavours blend in so well with the pasta. For those who generally love Asian flavours, Pollo Piccante is a must try. In Italian, pollo brings the meaning of chicken while piccante means piquant.

East meets west pasta dish
East meets west pasta dish

When it was first introduced in Vapiano, an German-Italian food chain, I was skeptical. Using a dipping sauce as a pasta sauce didn't feel right somehow but to my surprise, I fell in love with the dish.

Since Vapiano's staff cook in front of the customers, it's easy to see what goes into the dish and to recreate them at home. To bring out the best in the dish, follow the tips below.

Is this pasta dish spicy?

Sweet chilli sauce may be bought or homemade. It is usually more sweet and tangy than spicy. An equal amount of orange juice is added to the dish to reduce any spiciness contributed by the sweet chilli sauce, if any.

Sweet chilli sauce and orange juice
Sweet chilli sauce and orange juice

It is suitable for those who don't prefer spicy dishes. The dish itself is made optionally spicy. Slices of fresh bird-eye chillies are added for some heat. Otherwise, chilli flakes or dried chillies may be added for the extra spice.

Fresh orange juice

I use only fresh orange juice in this recipe. You can opt for bottled orange juice as well.

Sear chicken breasts

Vapiano chefs start the dish by searing the chicken breasts. Browning the chicken meat gives it a charred texture which allows it to coat more sauce. Searing is done best in a non-stick pan.

If a stainless steel pan is used, do heat the pan over medium to high heat. Then, sprinkle a few drops of water and if they ‘dance’ on the pan, add oil.

This helps to season the pan to create a non-stick layer. However, if the water droplets hiss and evaporate, it means the pan is not properly heated yet.

Best type of pasta

The combination of sweet chilli sauce and orange juice is not as thick as the typical tomato or cream based sauce. Therefore, choosing pasta with strong patterns help to capture more sauce ensuring each pasta is coated thoroughly. My favourite has got to be fussilli as seen in the photos or gigli.

Tossed fussilli in sauce
Tossed fussilli in sauce

Cheese pairing

When you order this dish at Vapiano, parmesan cheese will be served along with it. If you don't like its pungent smell which can be quite off-putting, try using some shredded gauda cheese instead.

Its mild flavour and smell pair very well with the tangy sauce.


pak choi
80 g
chicken meat
garlic clove(s)
bird-eye chillies
160 g
2 l
0.45 tsp
1⁄2 tbsp
olive oil
1⁄4 cup
chilli sauce (sweet)
1⁄4 cup
orange juice
1⁄5 tsp
black pepper

Steps to Prepare

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 1 pak choi
    • 80 g chicken meat
    • 1⁄2 capsicum(s)
    • 1 garlic clove(s)
    • 1 bird-eye chillies

Cut chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Slice pak choi and bird-eye chilli. Discard the ends of the pak choi leaving behind the stem and leaves. Then, mince garlic. Finally, cut capsicum into cubes. A combination of red and yellow capsicums are used for a variety of colours.

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta Step 2

Step 2 of 4

    • 160 g pasta
    • 2 l water
    • 1⁄5 tsp salt

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Then, add salt and pasta. Immediately put the lid on. When the water begins boiling again, remove the lid and cook the pasta until al-dente. Follow the instructions on the package. It usually takes about 8 minutes.

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 1⁄2 tbsp olive oil

Heat pan over medium heat. Then, sear chicken meat until browned. Sauté chicken along with minced garlic, bird-eye chillies and capsicums.

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 1⁄4 cup chilli sauce (sweet)
    • 1⁄4 cup orange juice
    • 1⁄5 tsp black pepper
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Add sweet chilli sauce and orange juice. Stir well before adding cooked pasta and pak choi. Lower heat to minimum and allow the dish to simmer. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Cook until sauce is reduced. Optionally, serve pasta with shredded cheese.

Published: January 17, 2020

2 Discussions

Raymond White
4 years ago

Raymond White

This is fusion at its simple and very best. Two of my favourite foods - pasta and sweet chilli sauce

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Show us a food snap when you’ve tried it!

4 years ago


Vapiano is a German restaurant franchise company that offers Italian fast food. Pasta is an Italian dish. The alternative name Pollo Picante (lit. Spicy Chicken) is Spanish. The dish is certainly not Spicy Chicken but a pasta dish. The correct Spanish translation would be Pasta de Pollo con Chile Dulce. Interestingly, how does the alternative name could be Pollo Picante? One more thing, spicy is always spelt as picante in Spanish. Where does picanté with an accent on the e came from? One more thing. Cuisine is certainly not American. Pasta is Italian. The alternative name is Spanish. Restaurant is German. The sweet chilli is Asian. So, cuisine is Italian-Spanish-Asian? Please enlighten me, if I’m worth to be enlightened. BTW, the Guardian gave this dish a 9.8 and 9.8 it is :) Thank you for this inspiring international dish, Nyonya Cooking :)

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