French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is all the flavor of French Onion Soup with cheesy noodles and chicken. It’s the ultimate comfort food! Try my French Onion Deviled Eggs (yes, really!) for another recipe with a French Onion taste.
French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
I have been on a French Onion kick lately. It had been a while since my Homemade Onion Soup Mix, but lately, I have expanded to making French Onion Dip, French Onion Deviled Eggs, Skillet Onion Dip, and my French Onion Zucchini Bake. I told you, there have been a lot of French Onion dishes around here! I must confess, French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese has to be my favorite! Macaroni and Cheese has really grown up, as I like to say. The variations that are possible with cheesy noodles are endless and fun! Best of all, this dish is satisfying and filling enough to be a meal!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Onions: Look for two yellow onions to caramelize for this recipe. I will get more into that step next.
Pasta: I used elbow macaroni, the standard for macaroni and cheese. However, you could certainly use other kinds of pasta like cavatappi, penne, rigatoni, or other tubular pasta. Or, get creative and make your own homemade shaped pasta to use!
Chicken: Rotisserie chicken that has been shredded is my favorite choice when it comes to adding chicken. It is already cooked and can sometimes be found already shredded in your local grocery store. Or, use leftover shredded chicken if you have it on hand.
Cheese: Gruyere cheese is the best choice to blend in with the flavors of this dish. I used it with mozzarella in the cheese sauce as well as added more as the topping. If you can’t find Gruyere, substitute Fontina, Beaufort, Comté, Jarlsburg, or American Swiss.
How to Caramelize Onions
The first step in this recipe that needs attention is the process of carmelizing the onions. Caramelizing onions is an amazing way to pull out the naturally sweet flavor of a very simple ingredient. Yellow onions have a natural sweetness that explodes when you slow-cook them in butter or oil. The trick here is to take your time.
- Heat a skillet to medium-high heat before you add the oil, butter, and onions. Cover the onions, and cook on low for 25-30 minutes.
- After the onions have softened, increase the heat to medium and cook the onions until they are golden brown.
- Remove the onions from the heat, cover them, and set them aside until you add them to the macaroni later.
How to Get Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
I am on a mission to make sure no one has grainy homemade mac n cheese ever again… and in my research discovered this awesome tip. Do NOT put the pan back over the heat to melt the cheese. The ingredients in the pan are already hot enough to do the job of melting the cheeses.
If you get cheese too hot that is when you will end up with a grainy texture. After you have stirred in the cheese, pour the mixture over the cooked noodles, and watch the melting commence!
Topping Off French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
To put the finishing touches on your French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, it’s time to add the topping. Simply layer the top of the macaroni and cheese with shredded Gruyere cheese. Bake it in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, as well as a bit of fresh thyme for an added, subtle, taste. Serve this with my homemade breadsticks and garlic roasted asparagus for a complete meal!
Storing and Reheating Macaroni and Cheese
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.
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.
Reheating: To reheat an individual serving, add 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese, and then heat for 60-90 seconds in the microwave. You could also reheat it on the stovetop. To reheat a larger portion, place macaroni and cheese in an oven-safe dish. Pour in 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Stir well before serving.
French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (490 g) whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup (240 g) beef stock
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 cup (113 g) sharp Gruyere cheese, freshly shredded
- ½ cup (56.5 g) mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
- 2 cups (280 g) shredded rotisserie chicken
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup (28 g) Gruyere cheese, shredded
- thyme, chopped (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and when hot, add the oil, butter, and onions.
- Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes until the onions are softened.
- Turn the heat to medium, uncover, and cook until the onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally
- Cover and remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Mac and Cheese
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes (or until the mixture turns light brown).
- Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk and beef stock, whisking constantly.
- Return the pan to the heat, whisk another 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the cheeses and onion mixture, stir until all of the cheese is melted.
- Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine.
- Add the shredded rotisserie chicken and stir until completely mixed together.
- Top with ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- Bake, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Season with salt and pepper, and top with chopped thyme.
Did you make this recipe?
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