Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Two cheese macaroni with sweet barbecue chicken throughout, topped off with a crunchy Panko breadcrumb mixture and a drizzle of barbecue sauce

Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from

I feel like this past weekend was a total blur. I honestly had to stop and try to remember what I did. Clearly nothing overly memorable if that’s the case. Tax appointment, lots of playing in the kitchen and hanging out with the family. Saturday was kind of a bust weather wise but Sunday totally made up for it. I can’t wait to share some of the recipes that came out of my kitchen this weekend. Of course you’ll have to wait a bit because I’m a few weeks out on posts and there are always new things being made so we’ll see when they all make it to the starring role here. Did you have a nice weekend?

I realized we’re also in the home stretch for school. Only 2 1/2 weeks to go until summer break officially kicks off! I’m getting kind of excited and am considering celebrating with a trip to the zoo that week. The kids will totally love it and it’s a zoo we’ve never been to. Fingers crossed it’s worth the visit. It’s a total downer when you make a special trip to a new place for it to only disappoint in a big way. Do you have any fun summer plans?

Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from

Clearly I’m not over the whole mac n cheese thing or barbecue sauce so I had to put them together. I don’t think it’s humanly possible, at least for me, to ever be over pasta or barbecue sauce. Oh and bacon because yes, that’s totally in there too. How could I not add bacon? I mean it goes with everything! Well… maybe not everything. I bet they wouldn’t taste so awesome with minty gum or sour patch kids.

It’s creamy, sweet and salty. It’s packed with flavor and variety. But the one thing you absolutely must know about this dish – it’s delicious but you 110% must love barbecue sauce or you probably won’t enjoy this quite so much. I don’t want to hear any ‘I tried this and didn’t like it because it tastes like barbecue sauce’. Well duh… there’s barbecue chicken in it. Mmmm. And there’s a glorious drizzle of barbecue sauce on top that seeps flavor into the rest of the dish while it bakes away in the oven. So you have to be a fan of barbecue sauce. Otherwise don’t come whining to me that you didn’t like it. ;) But I promise if you like barbecue sauce, cheese and bacon – you’ll love this!

Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from

More pasta recipes to try:
Three cheese skillet mac and cheese
Crispy baked ravioli
Spinach and mushroom lasagna rolls
Buffalo chicken stuffed shells
Italian sausage and ziti
Lobster mac and cheese
Havarti mac and cheese

Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Two cheese macaroni with sweet barbecue chicken throughout, topped off with a crunchy Panko breadcrumb mixture and a drizzle of barbecue sauce.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pasta
Servings: 6


For the chicken:

  • 1 chicken breast trimmed and pounded thin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp barbecue sauce

For the pasta:

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 7 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb pasta

For the topping:

  • 1/2 C plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Plus additional barbecue sauce for drizzling
  • *Optional bacon cooked and crumbled for the filling.


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine garlic powder, cayenne and barbecue sauce. Brush over trimmed chicken. Bake on a foil lined baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until no longer pink in the center and internal temperature registers at least 165°F with a meat thermometer. Cool and slice into small bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • In a double boiler over simmering water. Melt butter, whisk in flour followed by milk and heavy cream. Warm over medium heat until steaming. Whisk in salt and pepper, followed by Parmesan and cheddar cheese. Stir occasionally to create a smooth cheese sauce.
  • Drain pasta, transfer to a glass or ceramic 8x8 baking pan. Add chicken, followed by cheese sauce and optional bacon. Stir and toss to coat well.
  • Melt 1 tbsp unsalted butter, add to a bowl with remaining topping ingredients (minus barbecue sauce*). Toss to combine. Sprinkle over pasta.
  • Lightly drizzle barbecue sauce over Panko topping.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
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39 Responses to “Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. #
    nessa — June 10, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Really creative and perfect for summer entertaining!

  2. #
    Tracey — June 10, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Yum, it’s been WAY too long since I made homemade macaroni and cheese, this has me craving it big time! Shane would love the addition of the barbecue chicken :)

  3. #
    Tieghan — June 10, 2013 at 8:12 am

    My brothers would go crazy for this. Mac and cheese + BBQ chicken! Yes, they would love it!

  4. #
    Audra | The Baker Chick — June 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I love all those ingredients! This sounds like my dream mac & cheese!!

  5. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — June 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Sounds packed full of flavor!

  6. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — June 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

    This has my name written all over it! Can’t wait to make this!

    Good luck on this last stretch of school! I’m a teacher and we finished up last week – woohoo!!

    • #
      Rachel — June 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Yay you! I wonder if the kids or the teachers are more excited for summer break? :)

  7. #
    marcie@flavorthemoments — June 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    What a great idea! Sounds like a winner to me.

  8. #
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? — June 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Oh my gosh I’d love to have a big bowl of this right now!

  9. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — June 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Oh wow, Rachel! This is definitely calling my name for dinner… especially since my husband’s away on a business trip and I could have it all to myself! Muahaha…

    • #
      Rachel — June 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      haha! I love the way you think.

  10. #
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — June 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

    This mac and cheese looks incredible!! Totally need this now!!

  11. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — June 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Brilliant. This sounds absolutely perfect for summer. (Especially in KC — where everyone I know is obsessed with BBQ!) :)

    • #
      Rachel — June 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Yes! Totally perfect then ;)

  12. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — June 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    This is my kind of mac and cheese…something added to spice it up a bit. Total yum.

  13. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Mac + cheese and BBQ chicken. Two of my favorite foods EVER. I don’t eat nearly enough mac & cheese. I’m thinkin’ I gotta change that real soon. This is comfort food at its finest, Rachel! And so creative!

    • #
      Rachel — June 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Clearly I’m a total sucker for comfort food ;)

  14. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — June 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Cheese, bacon and BBQ are my top three favorite foods! I have a feeling I am gonna love this recipe.

  15. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — June 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    The name of this should be “Heaven on a Plate”. You know I have to make this now. Matt already saw it and said the same!! You knew I would love this huh?!

    • #
      Rachel — June 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Of course I knew you’d like it! :)

  16. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — June 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    This is my kind of mac and cheese! I could so go for a big bowl of this right now! My hubby would go nuts for this too!

  17. #
    Sika — June 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, what a great idea, I have to try your recipe!

  18. #
    vanillasugarblog — June 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I miss pasta!
    Oh I miss it dearly after seeing this.

  19. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — June 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    i was telling jason about this in the car and how i wanted it and how good it sounded. i really like the concept and the way you incorporated bbq chicken into this. awesomeeee..although, i’m sure if i ate an entire pot of these, i wouldn’t be able to fit into those maxi dresses in the dressing room ;)

  20. #
    Mr. & Mrs. P — June 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Whoa!!!!! Need to make this asap.. We love mac n cheese

  21. #
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — June 11, 2013 at 1:54 am

    What kind of crazy person isn’t into barbecue sauce? This sounds amazing!

    • #
      Rachel — June 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      You’d be surprised! And thanks :)

  22. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — June 11, 2013 at 8:42 am

    You are my new best friend! This sounds so incredible.

    • #
      Rachel — June 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Haha! If you lived closer I’d have gladly shared.

  23. #
    Meghan — June 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Oh my goodness, I wish I had a bowl of this right now! Looks so good!

    • #
      Rachel — June 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks, Meghan!

  24. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — June 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Mmm, mac & cheese! My boys would be all over this!

    • #
      Rachel — June 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Gotta keep them fed and happy! :)

  25. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — June 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    oh you stop it. I want to eat all of that. right now. as i sit in the library.

    • #
      Rachel — June 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Once I hit ‘in the library’ I’ve only been able to think of Clue. “Claire, in the library with a candlestick” ;)

  26. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — June 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Oh my gosh. Is this for real? Want!!!

  27. #
    Nutmeg nanny — June 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Oh wow, this looks crazy delicious :) I love this recipe and I”m sure my husband will love it as well!

  28. #
    Lisa — August 25, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    What a dream come true!! I was casting about my kitchen for something to make for my house-full of men (14-year old twins, 19-year old, 21-year old & my husband!) and I thought, “Hey, bbq chicken tossed in with a homemade mac & cheese might be good…” So, of course, I asked Google if anyonen else had tried this, haha, and I am so grateful that you had!! It was an instant family favorite, with everyone asking when we could have it again, as soon as they tasted it. Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — August 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

      So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing! :)

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