Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is made with Cajun-seasoned cheesy noodles, tomatoes, and Cajun chicken on top! It is both a flavorful and hearty dish with just a little kick in each bite. If you would rather just start with the classic, I have the cheesiest Macaroni and Cheese recipe that will make you forget about the boxed variety!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Chicken: I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe. However, you could use chicken thighs, if preferred.
Cajun Seasoning: If you don’t have any on hand, make homemade Cajun seasoning. Homemade seasonings give you the most flavor, for sure! You will use it on the chicken as well as in the mac and cheese.
Pasta: Elbow macaroni is perfect for mac and cheese because of its unique shape and texture. It can hold on to more of the cheese sauce for the cheesiest bites. You could also use other varieties of tubular pasta for the best results. If you are feeling motivated, make your own homemade pasta to use!
Cheese: I recommend grating blocks of cheese when making this recipe. I used both sharp cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. If preferred, try it with your favorite cheese blends!
Tomatoes: Dice up a tomato or use a can of diced tomatoes, drained. You could leave them out if you don’t like tomatoes.
How to Get Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
To achieve the perfect creamy texture in homemade mac and cheese, it is important to follow a key tip: do not put the pan back over the heat to melt the cheese. Many people make the mistake of overheating the cheese, which can result in a grainy texture. The ingredients in the pan are already hot enough to melt the cheeses, so there is no need to apply additional heat. After stirring in the cheese, simply pour the mixture over the cooked noodles and let the cheese melt naturally as you mix everything together. This approach will result in a smooth and creamy texture that is sure to delight your taste buds.
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
You could certainly get the chicken made in advance. Once you have cooked the chicken, slice it and store it in an airtight container. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply heat it up when ready to top the macaroni and cheese.
How to Serve Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Once your ingredients are all mixed together, don’t forget about the Cajun chicken! Top the macaroni and cheese with your Cajun chicken slices and serve while hot. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you could even sprinkle on some parsley to give your Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese a little more color and flavor. This is a beautiful presentation and an even more beautiful flavor! Here are some delicious ideas to serve with the mac and cheese:
- Roasted Vegetables (like green beans or asparagus)
- Wedge Salad
- Garlic Breadsticks
Storing Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
If you have leftovers of Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, do not let them go to waste. You can store them in the refrigerator or freeze them for longer storage.
To Refrigerate: After the macaroni and cheese has cooled to room temperature, store it in an airtight container. It will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To Freeze: For longer storage, freeze the macaroni and cheese in a freezer-safe container. It will last up to 3 months. Be sure to label and date the packaging. When ready to enjoy, first, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente according to package directions, drained
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (735 g) whole milk, warmed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 cup (113 g) sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- ½ cup (56.5 g) mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- Season both sides of the chicken with Cajun seasoning.
- To a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add oil, swirling to coat the skillet. When hot, add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from heat.
- When cool enough, slice each chicken breast and place onto a place. Tent to keep warm. Set aside.
Mac and Cheese
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minute (or until the mixture turns light brown).
- Remove from heat. Gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.
- Return the pan to the heat. Whisk another 3-5 minutes or until thickened. Again, remove from heat.
- Add the Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.
- Add the cheeses, stirring to melt.
- Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine.
- Add diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Top with the sliced chicken breast.
- Season with salt and pepper, and top with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?
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