The cheesiest, yummiest, chicken broccoli mac and cheese! This quick and easy mac and cheese is one of my family's favorite dinners and I'm sure it will be a success in your house as well. Your kids will love that they get to eat mac and cheese for dinner and parents will love that they snuck in some chicken and broccoli.
This recipe was first published on August 15, 2021.
Are you ready to make the creamiest, dreamiest chicken broccoli mac and cheese!? It is such an easy dinner recipe that your family will love. You can easily double the recipe if you have a bigger family. And leftovers re-heat easily.
This mac and cheese is made with cheddar cheese, parmigiano reggiano cheese and velveeta cheese. And before you get on my case about the velveeta, just chill, it gives the mac and cheese the perfect creamy consistency.
I've been making this recipe for over 10 years. It was one of the first recipes I ever published on my website back in 2017. This and these mad scientist m&m oreo cookie bars.
If I could describe this dinner I would lead with, kids love it! What's not to love though? You can get sneaky with the chicken and broccoli, they won't even care it's in there with all that creamy cheese sauce enveloping it.
You need 40 minutes to make this. While your chicken bakes the rest of the recipe is made in one single pot, stovetop. It's a pretty easy cleanup. I have an entire category of quick and easy recipes to browse, majority of them take no more than 30 minutes to make.
- chicken breast - you could substitute this out for chicken thighs, but I don't recommend using leftover or rotisserie chicken, in many tests it tends to disintegrate
- pasta - you can choose whatever shape you want
- broccoli florets
- velveeta cheese
- medium cheddar cheese - it's important to use medium cheddar and not sharp cheese, medium cheddar melts a lot easier and you don't want a clumpy grainy sauce
- parmigiano reggiano cheese - this is not the same as parmesan cheese from a green container, this is an actual block of parmesan that you will need to grate
- whole milk - another important ingredient, you must use whole milk and if you don't have any you can always substitute 1 ¾ cup 2% milk and ¼ cup heavy cream
- salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder - seasonings for the chicken
It's always important to be a smart cook in the kitchen, and time management is crucial when you are making an easy dinner.
The first step in this chicken broccoli mac and cheese it to bake the chicken. Poke a few holes in the chicken, rub in olive oil and seasonings and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Once it's out of the oven shred it with two forks.
While the chicken bakes you can make everything else.
Choose a pot that will be large enough to hold your final dish. Boil your pasta in there and during the last 4 minutes add in the broccoli to cook. Drain this and return your pan to the stovetop.
When heating up the milk and choose you have to use low heat. Don't be tempted to raise the heat up, you'll end up with curdled cheese sauce. It must be low heat.
Start with the milk and once it's warmed add in the velveeta, whisking until totally smooth. Little handful by little handful whisk in the medium cheddar and parmigiano reggiano. By the end it will be silky smooth.
To the cheese sauce add in the drained pasta, broccoli and shredded chicken. That's it!
Anything that holds sauce. Elbows, shells, bow ties - these are all great options.
You could, but then it wouldn't be this recipe and I couldn't tell you how it would turn out.
Yes! Leave off the seasoning and once it's out of the instant pot and shredded mix it with the seasonings.
I've honestly never tried but I don't think it would be successful.
More Pasta Recipes
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- 20 Minute Pumpkin Ravioli
- Sundried Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Shrimp Scampi
- Easy Stovetop Gnocchi Lasagna
- 1 ½ lb chicken breast
- 8-10 oz dry pasta
- 3 c broccoli florets (1 large head of broccoli)
- 6 oz velveeta cheese, cut in cubes
- 5 oz medium cheddar, grated using the small grate side
- ¼ c parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
- 2 c whole milk + more if it starts to get too thick
- ¼ tsp pepper
- olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place the chicken breast on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and seasonings, bake for 25-30 minutes once it done remove it from the oven and shred with two forks
- In a large pot, boil the pasta
- 4 minutes prior to the pasta being done (cook time depends on the pasta you chose - check the box) add the broccoli florets to the water
- Drain the pasta and broccoli
- In the same pan on lowest heat, add the milk and warm it up
- Add the velvet cheese to the milk, whisking until totally combined
- Whisk in the grated cheddar cheese and grated parmigiana cheese, little by little, once combined add another small handful in until all the cheese is in
- It should be completely smooth with no lumps (if there are lumps, something went wrong)
- Add the shredded chicken, pasta and broccoli to the cheese mixture and gently stir together
- Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, as it cools the sauce will start to thicken
Using whole milk prevents the cheese sauce from curdling
Make sure to add the cheddar cheese in slowly, on low heat (not all at once in a big clump)
Do not use pre-shredded cheese, it is crucial to use freshly grated cheese from a block
Medium cheddar melts easier than sharp, I highly suggest using medium cheddar cheese
Be careful using too much pasta without increasing the sauce. You will have a really dry mac and cheese if so.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 493Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 675mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 43g
This information comes from online calculators. Although moderncrumb.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.