Behind The Butter/ Chicken/ Pasta/ Recipes

Stove Top Cajun Chicken Mac-n-Cheese

Are you craving cheese?

You look like you are craving cheese.

I’m pretty sure I always look like I’m craving cheese. Because it’s true. I am. Always craving cheese. Which is why last week I mixed together everything good in life and called it dinner. Leftover roast chicken? Check. Noodles? Check. Cajun spices? Check. Cheese sauce? Triple check.

I just wish you guys could have been at my house to witness Adam’s first bite of this cheesy delight after sitting for an hour and a half in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The poor guy seriously looked like he won the lottery or something. It’s just SO good. The combination of spicy Cajun chicken with creamy macaroni and cheese simply cannot be beat. And the fact that it comes together in under half an hour makes it the perfect weeknight meal.

Remember my Cajun chicken pasta earlier this year? Yeah….this stove top mac-n-cheese is that on steroids. So if you like that, you’re REALLY going to love this.

You’ll need some cooked chicken! Conveniently, I had just roasted a big one the day before {more on that to come!} so I had lots of yummy leftover meat.Β  You could also use one of those rotisserie chickens from the store. At my grocery store there are a bunch of different types of rotisserie chickens, and they actually make a Cajun seasoned one, which would be perfect for this recipe. If your local market doesn’t have that, don’t worry! Any rotisserie {or roast} chicken will do.

I used my favorite spice in all the land in this….and that is Tony Chachere’s. I don’t care what it is, Tony can always make it better. He’s my go-to guy.

This mac-n-cheese tasted great the evening that I made it, and was also wonderful the next day…and the day after that! I made a ton so Adam could take some home and to work for lunch. Apparently the only complaint was that I didn’t pack him a big enough portion.

Stove Top Cajun Chicken Mac-n-Cheese

serves 4

Print this Recipe!


8 oz dry penne or macaroni pasta

1 green bell pepper, small diced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 cup shredded or chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie or roast chicken works nicely)

1.5 tbsp butter

1.5 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

10 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese

2 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning

1/2 tsp dry mustard


Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Toss the cooked chicken with 1 tsp cajun seasoning. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium high heat. Add the green bell pepper and garlic and saute briefly—about two minutes. Add the flour and stir constantly until it starts to turn a dark golden color. This will take about three minutes or so.

When the roux starts to turn brown, add the milk and keep stirring. Cook, while stirring, for about five minutes or until the sauce starts to get thick. Add the cheese and mix to melt.

Add the remaining teaspoon and a half of cajun seasoning, as well as the dry mustard, to the cheese sauce and mix well. Then, add the chicken and cooked noodles. Toss to coat and serve.


20 minutes


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  • Kathryn
    September 19, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Ooh these are some great flavours all bundled up in a bow of mac and cheese. Love it!

  • Jen
    September 19, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Starting to see changes on your site! The print of wording and a ‘Wine Country Lovin” Tab! πŸ™‚

  • Lauren
    September 19, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I would put cajun and alfredo together but never would think about mac and cheese. Looks fantastic Jenna!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    September 19, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Omg omg why aren’t I your neighbor??! This is blowing my mind at the gym right now (aka worst place to read a food blog).

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    September 19, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Cooking of course makes one feel domestic but packaging leftovers for one’s boyfriend makes one feel even MORE domestic.
    Oh and this recipe shows your Wisconsin roots!

  • Jenna
    September 19, 2012 at 5:14 am

    This looks beyond good!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    September 19, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Ooh yum! Mac and cheese (as in the Kraft Dinner kind) was one of my favourite meals as a kid but all I did to it was douse my whole bowl in ketchup. Adult me is far wiser now and am LOVING your much more sophisticated homemade Cajun version… it’s happening in my kitchen soon! πŸ™‚

  • Beth @ Tasty Yummies
    September 19, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Oh my gosh, you are making me miss cheese a lot right now! Cajun mac and cheese is utter brilliance!

  • Abby@ Totes Delish Blog
    September 19, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Isn’t that the best compliment? “You didn’t make enough!!” Can’t wait to try this with some ketchup on top, it’s making me want lunch already!

  • OK Chick
    September 19, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Sounds easy enough. I love simple recipes. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Devon | the food bitch blog
    September 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    I’m pretty much always craving cheese… and pizza. Kinda works hand & hand. But macaroni & cheese works too.

  • Christina
    September 19, 2012 at 5:44 am

    You and your roux!

  • Faith @ The Cheap Girl's Guide to Chic
    September 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I agree – I pretty much ALWAYS want cheese. In every form.

  • Laura-Ashley
    September 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Just got your book in the mail yesterday evening and haven’t been able to put it down! I’m here sitting at work, sipping on my coffee and secretly reading away, haha. At this rate I should have it done by noon. Love your story!!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    September 19, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Oh yes! This looks like my kinda fall recipe. Super simple and oh-so cheesy ; )
    Thanks Jenna! Will definitely be giving this a try.

  • elizabeth @ chronic venture
    September 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

    ahh yum!! this looks perfect. I always love mac and cheese with a little something extra!

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human
    September 19, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I love this! Mac and cheese is a favorite at our house, and this will be a great twist!

  • jillian
    September 19, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Hi Jenna! The mac and cheese looks delishhh! Congrats on your book, from our author to another (can’t believe i can say that!). It is SUCH an accomplishment! I noticed on twitter that FSB and Anna are promoting your book — they promoted our last book, Leading at the Edge, and are working on our new book, Into the Storm (out in November!). They did a great job — I’m sure you’ll be pleased. I was so excited when I saw Anna tweeting about your book — I felt like I had a celebrity connection (you being the celebrity!!!!!!). I’m in Connecticut, will you be doing a book tour event in CT or NYC? I hope so! Again, congrats!

  • Maria
    September 19, 2012 at 7:00 am

    This. looks. amazing. I saw it and I was like, “there is no way I will have time to make this, ever.” But 20 minutes…totally doable. Thanks for the delicious recipe! Cheese makes life better.

  • Julie @ Sweetly Balanced
    September 19, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Thanks this looks amazing!!!! I can’t wait to try it. I’m a HUGE fan of any and all mac and cheese recipes. My most recent favorite is buffalo chicken mac and cheese so I’m excited to try this one since I loved the spicy kick that one gave.

    Thanks !

  • jenna k
    September 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Whoa, this looks spectacular. I went to the grocery store last night to pick up some Cajun seasoning for your jambalaya, and they were out of Tony’s. Clearly I’ll be making a trip to another store this morning. It is so essential.

  • Jill
    September 19, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Oh, wow. Yes, please!!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    September 19, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Ooohh this looks amazing!!!!!

  • Julianna @ Julianna Bananna
    September 19, 2012 at 7:44 am

    ohhh my gosh. think i just drooled on my keyboard. mac n cheese is one of my favorite foods and this looks absolutely delicious!!! πŸ™‚

  • Christine @ Take with Food
    September 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Perfect! I bought a rotisserie chicken and need ideas to get through it. This will be dinner tonight πŸ™‚

  • Carla
    September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Why are you doing this to us! What a way to wake up – drooling over your pic of mac and cheese!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    September 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

    This looks like an awesome weeknight dinner idea and love that you kicked it up with some cajun seasoning!

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks
    September 19, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Lord. Have. Mercy.

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
    September 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I’ve been craving something cajun lately, thanks!

  • Erin
    September 19, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Tony Chachere’s makes EVERYTHING better. This is a must try soon mac and cheese!

    Erin –

  • Dana @ Minimalist Baker
    September 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I’m in love I’m in love and I DON’T care who knows it! yummmmmm.

  • Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel
    September 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Simply incrediballs.

  • Jessica
    September 19, 2012 at 9:55 am

    OH YUMMM! Comfort food! I will try it this week. Thank you!!

  • Laurie@Aprons
    September 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I am hearing of macaroni and cheese in a variety of ways now, and this is definitely a new one. My daughter would probably like it – she loves mac and cheese just about any way. She recently had it fried? Doesn’t sound good to me:-)

  • eliz@thesweetlife
    September 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

    This looks like just the thing my post-baby, nursing self needs! Yum.

  • kim@hungryhealthygirl
    September 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I love that you added the chicken to the mac-and-cheese! My husband might actually go for that.

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
    September 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Mac & cheese is one of my favorite meals… I can eat it just about anywhere, at anytime. I love how you added cajun spices to yours. I’ve bookmarked this recipe and can’t wait to try it!

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    September 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    So next time I roast a chicken, this is definitely happening. πŸ™‚

  • ashley c
    September 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I cannot wait to try this! There’s a restraint(?) In Portland, OR where the wait is log and the waiters are horrible to you but they have the BEST canine Mac and cheese, but now I don’t have to visit them!

  • meghan
    September 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Whoa. I’m not even much of a pasta person but this just lured me out of my silent stupor. I mean…whoa. This stuff looks legit. And anything that can be made on the stove is a friend of mine – bonus!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    September 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I just bought a rotisserie chicken yesterday. I have all of the ingredients to make this in my kitchen. Tonight. I’m pretty sure I look like I’ve just won the lottery.
    PS. I too am always craving cheese.

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    September 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Love this! I’ve been craving cheese a lot lately … I would tear this apart! πŸ˜‰

  • Kari@Loaves and Dishes
    September 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Ya don’t have to be a ragin’ Cajun to love this! Yum!

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  • Caroline L.
    September 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    This seriously seems like the most genius dish of all time!

  • Karen @ Runner Girl Eats
    September 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Mac and cheese is hands down the best comfort food/my biggest temptation. I can not wait to try this! thanks!

  • Rachel Cooks
    September 20, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I love all things mac & cheese and this looks like it would be no exception!

  • Jean
    September 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I am SO making this…

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction
    September 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Jenna, this is the time of year I am swoooooning for comfy, cheesy mac & cheese. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve EVER had a cajun version before! I’m saving this for a lazy and cool fall night staying in with my boyfriend πŸ™‚

  • Barbara
    September 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    You’re right, that is everything good in life! Can’t wait to make (eat) it!!

  • erin @WELLinLA
    September 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Sad face for missing cheese… (okay, maybe even one small tear!). It looks delicious enough to tempt me to recreate a vegan version. Dairy and I are no longer friends and it pains me because we were SUCH great friends once-upon-a-time. I mean, c’mon, I grew up next to a dairy farm! Who knew this would happen…? πŸ™‚

  • Stephen @ Feeding My Folks
    September 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Am I craving cheese? Heck yes! There needs to be a 12 step program centered around my cheese addiction (not that it’s even curable!)
    Love the Cajun twist…looks like an awesome recipe!

  • Sherri
    September 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    This is what’s for dinner tonight. Thank you for another simple but delicious recipe. By the way, I picked up your book from my library today. After my happy dance, I made a beeline for an open chair and read it in one sitting. Wow!! Well done, Jenna. I laughed, I cried and I hope there’s a second book. Please come to Washington state (The FoodShed, Kingston, WA or Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA) so I can buy an autographed copy from you!

  • Lia
    September 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Ooooo! This looks perfect for fall/winter too. I’d sub for Daiya and those vegan chick’un treats. I need more cajun spice in my life.

  • Crystal
    September 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I made this tonight and it was a hit! I doubled the recipe so that could use the all of the rotisserie chicken. At first I had a little trouble getting the sauce to thicken, but once I added the cheese it was perfect. My 11 year old asked that I pack it in her lunch tomorrow:) Thank you!

  • Maggy
    September 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    ugh. this is one of THOSE meals…like when you hear it, you think yes…that is exactly what I want at this minute. Comfort food for the weekend – just on the edge of fal. Perfect.

  • Jen
    September 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I made this tonight…staying in on a Friday getting ready for a bike ride tomorrow…it was delicious! I have never thought to combine cheese and cajun, but this was amazing! Thanks!

  • robin
    September 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Great flavour! My sauce turned out a bit floury…any suggestions as to what I could do differently?

    • jenna
      September 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Cook the sauce longer – it will cook out the starchy taste of the flour πŸ™‚

      • robin
        September 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks! Will definitely try again…so good!

  • Katie @ peacebeme
    September 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I always want to make real mac and cheese but I have Celiac’s disease and I can’t do the flour! Any way I can sub corn starch or something?

    • Sara
      September 26, 2012 at 4:03 am

      Hi Katie. I made this recipe last night with brown rice pasta and used white rice flour instead of regular flour – worked perfectly. Thanks for a great recipe Jenna!

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  • Laura
    September 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Jenna. We made this last night and it is so delicious and easy and we loved the addition of the cajun seasoning! This will definitely be enjoyed countless times this fall and winter! Thank you

  • stephanie
    September 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

    If my store doesn’t have the cajun additive do you have a substitute suggestion?

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  • Stephanie
    September 30, 2012 at 8:11 am

    This is genius, Jenna! Made for a potluck and it’s the perfect cross between mac and cheese and a spicy cajun pasta. Big hit, thanks for the recipe πŸ™‚

  • KC
    October 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Planning to make this tonight! We have whole wheat penne in the pantry. Will that work, or is regular pasta better for this? Also, we usually use 2% cheese instead of regular, but I’m wondering if that will affect the dish too? Thanks so much! Eat Live Run is my favorite food blog! My husband thinks I know how to cook well thanks to you!

    • jenna
      October 2, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Nope — it will still be delicious!

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  • Jenni C
    April 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I just made this for lunch…and it’s AMAZING. So delicious. I didn’t have chicken, so I used smoked sausage instead. I cooked the smoked sausage in the Creole seasoning with the remaining 1/2 TBSP of butter. It smelled so good just with the seasoning. My fiance loves this too, although he says he can taste the mustard, even though I even half-ed it because he can ALWAYS taste mustard…next time I might just pass on it completely just for his sake. Thanks for a fantastic recipe, I will DEFINITELY make this again!

  • Alexa
    July 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I got engaged the night I made this mac and cheese! It was just that good.

  • Jennifer
    July 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Made this for my hubby and 5 year old. I was worried that the little one would not like it because of the cajun seasoning…but no worries! Everyone loved it!! Thank you!

  • Sarah
    September 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Currently eating this amazing recipe πŸ™‚ it is so yummy. It was easy with a unique twist. Next time I might try putting in some andouille sausage to give it a smoky flavor. Thanks for sharing!!