Garlic Chicken Mac and Cheese


A hearty macaroni and cheese dish jazzed up with garlic and chicken. I get requests for this at EVERY potluck! I experimented to get this dish after eating out at Dave and Buster's in Philadelphia, PA. This is my take on it.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
8 servings


  • cooking spray

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder, or to taste, divided

  • 1 (16 ounce) package macaroni

  • ½ cup butter, divided

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 2 sleeves buttery round crackers (such as Ritz®), crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

  2. Prepare a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook chicken in skillet until no longer pink in the center, 5 to 7 minutes; season with 1 tablespoon garlic powder and transfer to a baking dish.

  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes; drain and mix with chicken in the baking dish.

  4. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook flour in melted butter until the flour is cooked and the mixture forms a roux, about 5 minutes. Stream milk into the pot while stirring to mix with the roux completely; cook until just about simmering, about 5 minutes more. Add Cheddar cheese in small amounts to the sauce and stir to melt completely before adding the next portion; cook and stir until thick and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and macaroni; stir to coat.

  5. Melt 1/4 cup butter in the skillet in which you cooked the chicken over medium heat. Stir remaining tablespoon garlic powder into the melted butter; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir crushed crackers into the butter mixture to coat; spread over the chicken and macaroni mixture in the baking dish.

  6. Bake in preheated oven until the topping is crispy, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

The garlic measurement is more a suggestion. Go for it if you love garlic; reduce it if you don't. It can also be made without garlic at all.

Do not use pre-shredded cheese. It's coated with cornstarch to prevent clumping and will change the texture and thickness of the sauce.

You can reduce fat and calories by using skim milk and part-skim cheese.

I usually use 8 ounces Cheddar cheese and 8 ounces of Colby-Jack. Mix it up. Pick your favorites. Even Swiss cheese works.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

851 Calories
45g Fat
69g Carbs
41g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 851
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 45g 58%
Saturated Fat 24g 119%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 775mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 590mg 45%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 495mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.