Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

I recently discovered a recipe for Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese that has quickly become one of my favorite comfort foods. This dish combines the classic creamy and cheesy goodness of mac and cheese with a spicy kick from Cajun seasoning and tender chunks of chicken.

A bubbling pot of creamy macaroni and cheese with chunks of spicy Cajun chicken mixed in, topped with a golden-brown breadcrumb crust

The recipe is fairly easy to make and can be customized to suit your spice preferences. I like to use a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheese for extra heat, but you could also use a milder cheese like mozzarella or Monterey jack. The Cajun seasoning adds a nice depth of flavor without being overwhelmingly spicy, but you could adjust the amount to your liking.

Overall, I highly recommend giving Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese a try if you’re looking for a new twist on a classic comfort food. It’s perfect for a cozy night in or for feeding a crowd at a potluck or party.

Origins of Cajun Cuisine

A bubbling pot of Cajun chicken macaroni and cheese simmers on a rustic stove, surrounded by fresh herbs, spices, and colorful vegetables

Cajun History

Cajun cuisine originated in Louisiana, specifically in the region known as Acadiana. The term “Cajun” comes from the word “Acadian”, which refers to the French-speaking settlers who were expelled from Canada in the 18th century. These settlers, also known as Acadians, eventually settled in Louisiana and developed a distinct cuisine that combined French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences.

The Cajun cuisine is known for its bold, spicy flavors and hearty ingredients. It was originally developed as a way for the Acadian settlers to make the most of the ingredients that were available to them in Louisiana, such as crawfish, alligator, and rice. Over time, the cuisine has evolved and become more diverse, incorporating new ingredients and cooking techniques.

Cultural Influences

The Cajun cuisine has been influenced by a variety of cultures, including French, Spanish, African, and Native American. The French influence is perhaps the most significant, as the Acadian settlers who developed the cuisine were originally from France. The Spanish influence can be seen in dishes such as jambalaya, which is similar to the Spanish dish paella.

African influences can be seen in the use of spices such as cayenne pepper and black pepper, as well as in the use of okra, which is a staple ingredient in many Cajun dishes. Native American influences can be seen in the use of corn, which is a common ingredient in Cajun cuisine.

Overall, the Cajun cuisine is a unique and flavorful blend of different cultures and ingredients. It has become an important part of Louisiana’s cultural heritage and is enjoyed by people all over the world.

Essential Ingredients

A bubbling pot of cheesy macaroni and Cajun-spiced chicken on a rustic wooden table. Ingredients like cheese, pasta, and seasonings are scattered around

Cajun Seasoning

To give the dish its signature flavor, Cajun seasoning is a must-have ingredient. A blend of spices and herbs, including paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and thyme, Cajun seasoning adds a spicy kick to the mac and cheese. You can either buy pre-made Cajun seasoning or make your own by mixing the spices in the right proportions.

Pasta Choices

The pasta you choose for your Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese can make a big difference in the final dish. Elbow macaroni is the traditional choice, but you can also use other types of pasta, such as penne or fusilli. Whatever pasta you choose, make sure to cook it al dente, so it doesn’t become mushy when baked with the cheese sauce.

Cheese Varieties

Cheese is the star of any mac and cheese dish, and Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is no exception. A blend of cheeses, such as cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan, works best to create a creamy and rich cheese sauce. You can also add a touch of cream cheese or sour cream for extra creaminess.

Chicken Preparation

To make Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, you’ll need cooked chicken. You can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or cook your own chicken breasts or thighs. To give the chicken a Cajun flavor, season it with Cajun seasoning before cooking. You can grill, bake, or pan-fry the chicken, depending on your preference. Once cooked, shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Cooking Techniques

Cajun chicken sizzling in a skillet. Cheese melting into creamy macaroni. A sprinkle of spices adds flavor

Roux Creation

To create a rich and flavorful base for the Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, I start by making a roux. I melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and gradually whisk in flour until the mixture turns golden brown. It’s important to constantly stir the roux to prevent burning and ensure even browning. Once the roux is ready, I add in diced onions, bell peppers, and celery to create a classic Cajun flavor base.

Cheese Melting Tips

The key to achieving a creamy and gooey mac and cheese is to select the right cheeses and melt them properly. I like to use a combination of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. To melt the cheese smoothly, I add it in small batches to the hot cream sauce and whisk until it’s fully melted before adding more. Overheating or boiling the cheese can cause it to separate and become grainy, so it’s important to keep the heat low and stir constantly.

Pasta Cooking Methods

To cook the macaroni to perfection, I bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add in the pasta. I cook it for about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions suggest, as it will continue to cook in the oven. It’s important to stir the pasta occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. Once the pasta is cooked, I drain it and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming mushy.

Recipe Walkthrough

A sizzling skillet holds Cajun chicken next to a pot of bubbling macaroni and cheese. A sprinkle of spices and herbs adds a burst of color and flavor to the dish

Ingredient Assembly

To make Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, I start by gathering all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what I need:

Ingredient Amount
Elbow macaroni 1 pound
Chicken breast 2 cups, cooked and shredded
Butter 4 tablespoons
All-purpose flour 1/4 cup
Milk 2 cups
Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper 1/4 teaspoon
Cheddar cheese 2 cups, shredded
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup, grated
Panko breadcrumbs 1/2 cup

Cooking Process

Once I have all the ingredients ready, I start by cooking the macaroni according to the package directions. While the macaroni is cooking, I heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken until it’s no longer pink.

Next, I melt the butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, I whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute. Then, I slowly add the milk while whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. I continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.

Once the sauce has thickened, I add in the Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Then, I stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and grated Parmesan cheese until they’re melted and the sauce is smooth.

After the macaroni is done cooking, I drain it and add it to the skillet with the cooked chicken. Then, I pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and chicken, stirring until everything is well coated.

Final Touches

To finish off the dish, I sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Then, I bake it in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

And that’s it! Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious and satisfying comfort food that’s perfect for any occasion.

Serving Suggestions

A steaming bowl of Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese topped with crispy breadcrumbs and fresh herbs sits on a rustic wooden table

Side Dishes

When serving Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, I recommend pairing it with some tasty side dishes to balance out the flavors. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing is a great option. The crispness of the greens and the acidity of the dressing will cut through the richness of the mac and cheese.

Another great side dish option is roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower brings out their natural sweetness and adds a nice crunch to the meal. You can season the veggies with Cajun spices to complement the mac and cheese.

Garnishing Tips

To add some extra flavor and texture to your Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, try garnishing it with some of these toppings. Crispy bacon bits add a salty crunch to the dish, while sliced green onions add a fresh, oniony flavor.

For a little bit of heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes over the top. And if you’re feeling extra indulgent, drizzle some hot sauce over the mac and cheese for a spicy kick.

Remember to serve the mac and cheese hot and bubbly, straight out of the oven. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the traditional spices used in Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese?

Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is known for its bold and spicy flavors. Traditional spices used in this dish include paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. However, the spice level can be adjusted according to personal preference.

How can I make a quick and easy version of Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese?

To make a quick and easy version of Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, use pre-cooked chicken and pre-shredded cheese. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, and mix in the chicken, cheese, and Cajun seasoning. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

What type of cheese blends well in Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese for optimal flavor?

A blend of cheddar and pepper jack cheese works well in Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese for optimal flavor. The cheddar cheese adds a sharpness, while the pepper jack cheese adds a spicy kick.

Can Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese be made without meat, and if so, how?

Yes, Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese can be made without meat. Simply omit the chicken and add in some vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and celery for a vegetarian version. You can also add some black beans or lentils for added protein.

What is the best way to achieve a blackened effect on chicken for Macaroni and Cheese?

To achieve a blackened effect on chicken for Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, coat the chicken in a mixture of Cajun seasoning and olive oil. Heat a skillet over high heat and cook the chicken until it is blackened on both sides.

How can Velveeta be incorporated into a Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe?

Velveeta can be incorporated into a Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe by melting it into the cheese sauce. Simply mix Velveeta with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese, and stir until melted. Add in the cooked macaroni and chicken, and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Cajun-spiced chicken combined with creamy macaroni and cheese creates a flavorful twist on a classic comfort food favorite.


| – 8 oz macaroni pasta | – 2 chicken breasts, diced | – 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning | – 2 tablespoons olive oil | – 3 tablespoons butter | – 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour | – 2 cups milk | – 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese | – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese | – Salt and pepper to taste | – Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional) |


| 1. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, drain, and set aside. | 2. In a bowl, toss diced chicken with Cajun seasoning until evenly coated. | 3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. | 4. In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour to form a roux, cooking for 1-2 minutes. | 5. Gradually pour in milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. | 6. Reduce heat to low and stir in shredded cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. | 7. Add cooked macaroni and Cajun chicken to the cheese sauce, stirring until well combined. | 8. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). | 9. Transfer the mixture into a greased baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. | 10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. | 11. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired, then serve hot and enjoy! |


Adjust the level of Cajun seasoning according to your preference for spice.


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Cajun/Creole


  • Calories: 580 kcal
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 700mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 38g
  • Cholesterol: 125mg

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating