BBQ chicken mac and cheese in a bowl.

BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese

This BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe is thick, creamy, and delicious! It’s made with boness chicken thighs and a creamy cheese sauce. 

Prep: 25 minutesCook: 20 minutesTotal: 45 minutes
Fat 25 Carbs 60 Protein 25
Yield 8 1x


  • 1-lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1.5  teaspoons chili powder
  • 2.5  teaspoons garlic powder, separated 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ more, to taste), separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, separated 
  • 4 tablespoons butter, separated 
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk 
  • 2 cups broth (any kind)*
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1-lb., macaroni noodles 
  • 3 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (any kind)
  • Optional topping: fresh parsley


  1. Combine the chili powder, 1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt into a small bowl. 
  2. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of  the chicken thighs. Let the chicken thighs sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium/high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. 
  4. When the butter is bubbling, add the chicken thighs to the pot and cook them for 5-6 minutes on each side depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Remove the chicken from the pot when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF. Cover chicken thighs with tin foil and set aside. 
  5. Turn off the heat and remove any burn bits from the pot with a spatula. 
  6. Next, turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pot. 
  7. When the butter is melted, add the flour to the pot and stir the two ingredients together with a whisk until a crumbly paste is formed. 
  8. Slowly pour a little milk into the pot at a time, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens. When all the milk has been added whisk for around 1-2 minutes as it continues to thicken.
  9. Add the broth, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, and ground pepper to the pot and whisk everything together. 
  10. Pour the noodles into the pot and stir. Bring the milk to a boil stirring the noodles every 1-2 minutes so the noodles do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Turn heat to medium/low and let the mixture simmer for 7-8 minutes or until the noodles are cooked to al dente. Be sure to stir the noodles periodically!** 
  11. While the noodles are cooking, shred the chicken thighs with 2 forks. 
  12. Add ½ cup of BBQ sauce to a microwave safe bowl and cook on high in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or until the BBQ sauce is hot. Pour the shredded chicken into the bowl with the BBQ sauce and toss until the chicken is coated.
  13. When the noodles are cooked to al dente, slowly add the shredded cheese 1 cup at a time to the pot and stir until all the cheese has melted. 
  14. Finally, fold the shredded BBQ chicken into the macaroni and cheese.
  15. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

*Keep additional broth on hand in case you need to thin out the mac and cheese. 

** If the macaroni noodles have soaked up all the liquid and they still aren’t cooked to al dente, add ¼ cup more broth at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/8 Calories: 574 Sugar: 13 Sodium: 994 Fat: 25 Carbohydrates: 60 Fiber: 1 Protein: 25 Cholesterol: 62
Author: Linley HansonCategory: DinnerMethod: Stove TopCuisine: American

Keywords: BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese