BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese is the perfect fusion of two beloved comfort foods. The smoky and tangy flavors of barbecued chicken blend with the creamy, cheesy mac and cheese goodness. This dish takes mac and cheese to a whole new level, adding a delicious twist that will leave you craving more. The tender and juicy chunks of BBQ chicken add a satisfying protein element to the dish, while the rich and velvety cheese sauce envelops the pasta with its comforting flavors. Whether hosting a backyard barbecue, a family gathering or simply indulging in a cozy meal at home, BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese combine barbecue chicken’s smoky, tangy flavors with the creamy, cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese. This delicious twist on classic comfort food is perfect for those who love barbecued chicken’s rich, savory taste. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout, looking for a crowd-pleasing dish, or simply craving a comforting meal, this recipe will satisfy your taste buds. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese that will have your friends and family return for seconds.
To make BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese, gather the following ingredients.
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (your choice of flavor)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional toppings: chopped green onions, diced red onions, crispy bacon
- Cook the Macaroni
- Start by cooking the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Cook until done, then drain and set aside.
- Prepare the BBQ Chicken
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through with grill marks. Brush both sides of the chicken with barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of grilling. Remove the chicken from the grill and rest for a few minutes. Then, chop or shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Make the Cheese Sauce
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes to create a roux. Gradually pour in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens.
- Add the Cheese and Seasonings
- Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese to the saucepan. Stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add the garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings according to your preference.
- Combine the Pasta
- Add the cooked macaroni and chopped or shredded BBQ chicken to the cheese sauce. Gently stir until all the ingredients are well-coated with the creamy sauce.
- Serve and Garnish
- Transfer the BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese to a serving dish. Sprinkle chopped green onions, diced red onions, and crispy bacon over the top for added flavor and texture. The garnishes add a refreshing crunch and complementary flavors to the dish.
Serve and enjoy the BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
What Goes with BBQ Chicken and Mac and Cheese
BBQ Chicken and Mac and Cheese is a fantastic combination, and several delicious sides pair well with this hearty dish. Here are a few suggestions:
- Grilled vegetables, such as corn on the cob, zucchini, or bell peppers, add a fresh and smoky touch.
- A crisp and refreshing salad, like coleslaw or a mixed green salad, contrasts the rich flavors.
- Baked beans offer a sweet and savory element that complements the BBQ sauce.
- Garlic bread or cornbread is perfect for soaking up any remaining sauce and adding a buttery crunch.
- For a Southern-inspired feast, serve collard greens or macaroni salad on the side. Choose your favorite sides based on your preferences, and create a well-rounded meal that satisfies all taste buds.
Absolutely! You can easily make BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and ensuring that your other ingredients, such as BBQ sauce and cheese, are also gluten-free. Nowadays, a wide variety of gluten-free pasta is available in stores, made from alternative flour like rice, corn, or quinoa. Cook the gluten-free pasta according to the package instructions, and proceed with the recipe as usual. To ensure your BBQ sauce and cheese are gluten-free carefully read the ingredient labels or opt for certified gluten-free products. By making these simple substitutions, you can enjoy a delicious gluten-free BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese without compromising taste or flavor.
The practice of putting ketchup on mac and cheese is a matter of personal preference and can vary from person to person. While some might find the combination odd, others enjoy the sweet and tangy contrast it brings to the dish. The acidity and mild sweetness of ketchup can add a unique flavor dimension to the rich and cheesy mac and cheese, creating a balance that some find appealing. Additionally, for those who enjoy the taste of ketchup on other foods, such as french fries or burgers, it might be a natural inclination to try it on mac and cheese. Ultimately, the taste is subjective, and experimenting with different condiments and flavors is a fun way to customize your mac and cheese experience. So, if ketchup on mac and cheese is your thing, enjoy it guilt-free!
Absolutely! BBQ and cheese can create delicious harmony when combined. The smoky and tangy flavors of BBQ sauce complement the creamy and rich cheese qualities, resulting in a mouthwatering combination. The sweetness, spiciness, and depth of flavors in BBQ sauce can elevate the taste of the cheese, adding a unique twist to traditional cheese-based dishes. Whether it’s BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese or BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese, the combination of BBQ and cheese creates a delightful contrast that satisfies both savory and tangy cravings. So, next time you’re contemplating a BBQ-inspired dish, don’t hesitate to incorporate cheese for an extra layer of deliciousness.
The number of calories in BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese can vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes. However, on average, a BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese serving ranges from 400 to 600 calories. The calories primarily come from the pasta, cheese, BBQ chicken, and any additional ingredients or toppings used in the recipe. You can make some adjustments to reduce the calorie content, such as using lower-fat cheese or opting for whole-grain pasta.
Additionally, portion control plays a crucial role in managing calorie intake. Be mindful of serving sizes and balance your meal with healthier sides and vegetables to create a well-rounded and satisfying plate. Remember, enjoying BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese in moderation as part of a balanced diet can still be a delicious and indulgent treat.
BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese is a fantastic twist on the classic comfort food, taking it to a new level of flavour. The smoky barbecue chicken and creamy cheese sauce create an irresistible balance that will satisfy your cravings and impress your guests. Whether hosting a backyard gathering or looking for a comforting meal, this recipe is a winner. So, grab your apron, fire up the grill, and get ready to indulge in the irresistible combination of BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese.
Your taste buds will thank you!