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My Chicken Mac and Cheese is perfectly saucy, made with both stretchy mozzarella and sharp cheddar. It’s the comfort meal you’ve been craving! Try is straight out of the pot, or follow my easy additional instructions to bake it.
Mac and cheese has always been a top contender for my favorite comfort foods. The silky, cheesy sauce, soft noodles, it’s just a dream come true! I thought I’d bulk it up today and create a full meal packed with chicken for you.
This is also a fantastic way to sneak some healthy vegetables into yours, or someone else’s diet. Toss in some peas, broccoli, even sautéed mushrooms! Anything hidden in that cheesy sauce sauce will go down easy.
Keeps scrolling down to the recipe card for a list of FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump the Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Elbow pasta – AKA macaroni noodles.
- Chicken breast – You can also use precooked chicken; a great way to use up leftovers!
- Onion – White onion works best, but use whatever you have handy.
- Garlic – Use more or less as you prefer.
- Olive oil –Safflower, sunflower, canola, or avocado oils will work instead.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
- Flour –I used all-purpose flour. 1.5 tbsp cornstarch mixed with a bit of water will work for a gluten-free alternative.
- Milk – I used 2%, however any type you have is fine.
- Dried mustard – You can use regular mustard instead.
- Mozzarella cheese – Freshly shredded.
- Cheddar cheese – Medium or old, freshly shredded.
- Parmesan – Fresh is best!
How to make chicken mac and cheese
- Prep the pasta and chicken: Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Make the sauce: Add the onion to the same skillet and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir well, cooking for another minute. Whisk in the milk and dry mustard. Add the mozzarella and cheddar, then whisk until they’ve melted.
- Finish the mac: Add the chicken and pasta to the skillet. Stir everything well to combine. Taste for seasoning. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
Can I use other types of pasta?
This dish will work with many other types of pasta if you have some in the pantry you’d like to use up. The ultra cheesy sauce is just so delicious, it’s amazing with anything! This recipe works best with smaller shapes like farfalle, penne, shells, rotini, or scoobi doo.
What else can I mix into my mac and cheese?
This is the type of recipe I love to make to use up some ingredients I have hanging out in my fridge or pantry. Give some of these a try:
- Ground chicken or other meats such as beef, pork, or turkey.
What to serve with chicken mac and cheese
While this recipe has the filling carbs and protein you need, if you want some variety on the table I have some great ideas for you:
- Steamed Broccoli
- Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Brandy Glazed Carrots
Freshly baked bread:
Is my sauce too thin?
You might find that the sauce looks a bit thin, but don’t worry! It’ll thicken up as it simmers, and will also get substantially thicker when you add the grated cheeses.
Once the pasta is mixed in and has a chance to sit for 5-10 minutes and soak up some sauce and cool down, it’ll also thicken up quite a bit. After many years of mac and cheese mixing, I’ve found that thicker sauces can turn your mac and cheese into a bit of a brick. This is the trick for perfectly saucy mac and cheese.
Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated up to 4 days. You can reheat in the microwave, or covered in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes.
Leftovers will also last about 3 months frozen. It’ll be much easier to reheat if you let the leftovers thaw overnight in the fridge. Keep in mind freezing cooked pasta can make the texture softer.
Craving more dreamy pasta recipes?
- Creamy Cajun Pastalaya
- One Pot Hamburger Helper Lasagna
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Arugula and Walnut Pesto Pasta
- Chicken Pesto Caprese Pasta
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Pasta
- Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz elbow macaroni or penne, rigatoni, ziti
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken breasts skinless and boneless, cut in small pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the pasta from sticking together. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until no longer pink and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- In the same skillet add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir. Cook for another minute. Whisk in the milk and dried mustard. Add the mozzarella, cheddar cheese and stir it in. Continue to cook until the cheese has melted.
- Add the chicken and pasta to the skillet and stir everything together. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary with salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet then add 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs to it. Stir it all together and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle crispy breadcrumbs over mac and cheese.
- Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated up to 4 days. You can reheat in the microwave, or covered in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes.
- Leftovers will also last about 3 months frozen. It’ll be much easier to reheat if you let the leftovers thaw overnight in the fridge. Keep in mind freezing cooked pasta can make the texture softer.