BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese 

5 from 1 vote
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Two favorites all baked into one delicious casserole style meal. BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese is a family favorite. It makes for a great side dish or meal. You will wow your friends and family with one, and it’s the perfect make ahead meal for hosting, potlucks or for busy weeks.

Noodles with cheese and bbq chicken baked into it in a white casserole dish.
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Why make BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese

There are so many great reasons you will love this dish. Not only is it a family favorite it’s an unexpected change up from the usual. You will love this tasty, hearty meal.

  • Easy To Make. There are only a few simple steps to make this dish. It’s a classic mac and cheese recipe. You can cut back on time and effort and use rotisserie chicken if desired.
  • Customizable. You can choose your cheese flavors for this meal. I love pepper jack cheese and mix that in, spicy is my go-to like my Spicy Mac & Cheese. You can tone it down for kids by using Monterey Jack Cheese.
  • Meal Prep/Make Ahead Friendly. You can make this before hosting or a meal prep it for the week. Just add a little more milk before reheating.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make this recipe on a counter in small bowls.

All other ingredients and measurements can be found in the recipe card towards the bottom of this post. 

  • Chicken Breasts. Boneless skinless chicken breast is best for this recipe. To cut back on time and use a shortcut; use shredded Rotisserie chicken instead.
  • Seasonings. Salt, pepper, chipotle powder and garlic powder will be needed for both the chicken breasts and the cheese sauce.
  • BBQ Sauce. I use Kinders brand typically but any will work great. This is to flavor the chicken.
  • Franks Red hot. This is optional but I love the extra kick it give the chicken and the mac and cheese.
  • Butter & Flour. This is to make the mac and cheese sauce! It will make a roux to thicken things up.
  • Milk. Use whole milk, half and half or skim milk. Chicken broth will also work in place of the milk.
  • Cheese. I use Shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese but you can also use Monterey jack cheese.
  • Pasta. I use medium shells because they stand up best to the shredded chicken. You can use macaroni noodles if preferred.

Recipe Variations

Veggies. Feel free to add some veggies! Sautéed onions, bell peppers, jalapeños or roasted corn all make great add ins.

Gluten Free. Make gluten free BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese by swapping gluten-free ingredients. Use all purpose gluten free flour in place of the all purpose flour.

Steps To Make this Recipe

Are you ready to whip this up? Great! You will need some mixing bowls, a baking dish and a large pot for boiling and making the cheese sauce.

Steps to make this recipe on a plate and in a large pot with a whisk.

Step One. If you are cooking your own chicken, grab a large heavy bottomed pan or skillet. Add 1 tsp of oil to the pan and place on medium/high heat. Cut the breasts in half for a quicker/even cook. Coat the chicken with the chicken seasonings. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook on each side for about 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 165º internally. Let the chicken rest for 2 minutes. Start to cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

Step Two. Shred/chop the chicken, add to a large bowl and mix with bbq & hot sauce. set aside (photo 1-2).

Step Three. Once pasta is done, drain in a colander. Set aside. In the same pot, cook the mac and cheese sauce.

Step Four. Melt the butter in the large pot on medium/low heat. Add in flour and whisk well. Next, add in seasonings, milk and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and add the shredded cheese! Next add noodles and shredded BBQ coated chicken (photo 3-4).

White dish with cheese shells and bbq chicken in it.

Step Five. You can serve as is or take it up a notch and add the mix to a 9×9 casserole dish and pop into a preheated oven (400º) to bake. Feel free to add some extra shredded cheddar and bbq sauce drizzle before baking. Bake for about 15 minutes, pull from the oven, serve and enjoy.

White plate with pasta and cheese and bbq chicken mixed in.

What To Serve With BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese

Recipe Tips

  • Taste the cheese sauce! You may want to add a little more salt and pepper so be sure to taste as you go.
  • Make it a little healthier. Use chicken broth in place of the milk, and use low fat cheese and protein pasta.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Cook them al dente so they hold up well with the creamy cheese sauce.
  • Don’t over bake the mac & cheese, be sure to just lightly brown the top in the oven for the ultimate tasty mac & cheese.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make vegetarian BBQ Mac and cheese?

Yes, you can skip the chicken and just add a little drizzle of bbq sauce to the mac and cheese.

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes! You can make this ahead of time and warm it up in the microwave. Add 1-2 Tbsp of milk if needed to help spread the cheese a bit.

Other Chicken Dinners To Try

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Close up of mac and cheese with bbq chicken mixed in in a white baking dish.
5 from 1 vote

BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese

Two favorites all baked into one delicious casserole style meal. BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese is a family favorite. It makes for a great side dish or meal. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • 9×9 baking dish
  • Large pot

Ingredients 

BBQ Chicken

  • lb chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • ½ tsp salt , more as needed
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • cup barbecue sauce , more as needed!
  • 2 Tbsp franks red hot or any buffalo sauce, optional*

Mac and Cheese

  • 12 oz box shells, medium sized , about 2 cups of dry pasta. Gluten free pasta will also work.
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour , or gluten free all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • cup milk , use any milk of choice! Chicken broth will also work.
  • ½ cup water, chicken broth will also work.
  • ¾ cup cheddar, shredded
  • ½ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

Instructions 

BBQ Chicken

  • If you are cooking your own chicken; grab a large heavy bottomed pan or skillet. Add 1 tsp of oil to the pan and place on medium/high heat. Cut the breasts in half for a quicker/even cook.
  • Coat the chicken with the chicken seasonings. Add the chicken to the hot pan. Cook on each side for about 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 165º internally. Let the chicken rest for 2 minutes. Shred/chop the chicken, add to a large bowl and mix with bbq & hot sauce. Set aside. 

Mac and Cheese

  • Start to cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  • Once pasta is done, drain in a colander. Set aside. In the same pot, cook the mac and cheese sauce. 
  • Melt the butter in the large pot on medium/low heat. Add in flour and whisk well. Next, add in seasonings, milk (or broth) and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and add the shredded cheese! Next add noodles and shredded BBQ coated chicken.
  • You can serve as is or take it up a notch and add the mix to a 9×9 casserole dish and pop into a preheated oven (400º) to bake. Feel free to add some extra shredded cheddar and bbq sauce drizzle before baking. Bake for about 15 minutes, pull from the oven, serve and enjoy. Optional to garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes

  • Taste the cheese sauce! You may want to add a little more salt and pepper so be sure to taste as you go.
  • Make it a little healthier. Use chicken broth in place of the milk, and use low fat cheese and protein pasta.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Cook them al dente so they hold up well with the creamy cheese sauce.
  • Don’t over bake the mac & cheese, be sure to just lightly brown the top in the oven for the ultimate tasty mac & cheese.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can freeze these for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup of mac & cheese | Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 875mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 499IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 283mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 529
Keyword: BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
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