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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 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
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