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Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese

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Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!

Even better? Today happens to be the Friday that my good friends, Michelle and David, are getting married!

Between the shower, bachelorette party, small wedding (tonight) and big reception (tomorrow), this week has turned into one mega celebration of the happy couple. Which I’m all for.  Because friends as cool as these two, who spent years cultivating cool and thoughtful and inspiring lives while being single into their thirties, then did the beautiful yet often hard work of merging those full lives together later in life, and have now become one of my favorite couples on earth…deserve to be celebrated in style.  Which…our friends just so happen to be mighty good at doing. ;)

One of my lucky jobs for the weekend is playing in the band for the reception, which is a treat because Michelle and David chose a legitimately awesome set list, and the band is a group of dear (and super-talented) friends. We’ve already had a little too much fun practicing this week for hours, and then hanging out ridiculously late on a weeknight afterwards catching up over champagne and chips and salsa. You know, as all good bands should do.

Somewhere in the midst of that conversation, I mentioned that I had just made an epic batch of Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese earlier that day, but had writer’s block and couldn’t think of what on earth to write about it other than the fact that it’s delicious and everyone should make it stat. My friend, Rachel, instantly chimed in to help. According to her, there’s only one thing that need be said about broccoli mac and cheese:

It’s what to make when you get that total craving for ooey, gooey, decadent mac and cheese…buuuuuuut feel like you should make it at least a teeny bit healthy. So you toss in some broccoli. And maybe some chicken, if you’re a meat-eater. And then voila — comfort food craving and vegetable quotient satisfied.

Works for me. :)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

Actually, I’ve shared on the blog before that — of all the veggies out there in the vegosphere — broccoli and I don’t have the best history together. But we’re slowly and steadily growing a little more fond of one another. And of course, when served in a heaping dish with cheesy chicken and pasta, I think I can make do. :)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

(Those “florets” still freak me out just a tiny bit. Does it not feel weird to anyone else that we’re essentially eating small trees?!?)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

I digress.

This dish is really quite simple — a (sharp!) cheddar and Parmesan cheesy pasta base, topped with fresh broccoli and cooked chicken.

You can add in the broccoli however you’d like — steamed, boiled, sauteed, roasted, or even raw if that sounds good (because it will cook slightly in the oven). I just boiled mine in with the pasta for a few minutes to soften it up, which I’d say is easiest. And then for the chicken, feel free to saute or bake up some chicken breasts, or even shred a rotisserie chicken that you pick up at the store. Whatever’s convenient.

Toss it all together with the yummy cheesy pasta, and then you can either serve it stovetop-style just as it is…

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

…or you can pour it into a baking dish and sprinkle some Panko on top and bake it until a nice crispy crust forms on top.
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

I’m usually a stovetop girl, but with this recipe, I vote for the baked version all the way. The crispy layer on top paired perfectly with the soft broccoli and pasta underneath.
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe |

And if you really want to indulge, you could even sprinkle a little bit of extra cheese on top.

Comfort food for the win. With, ahem, a little broccoli. ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x


This Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe is made with a delicious cheddar-Parmesan cheesy sauce, and kicked up a notch with fresh broccoli and cooked chicken.


  • 1 pound dry pasta (I used small shells, but you could use macaroni or any shape of pasta)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly-grated cheddar cheese (I recommend sharp cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely-ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 cooked* boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*see instructions below for how to cook chicken breasts)
  • (optional topping for the baked version) 1/2 cup extra shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook pasta al dente** in a large stockpot of generously-salted water, according to package instructions.  About 2-3 minutes before the pasta reaches al dente, add in the broccoli florets and let them cook alongside the pasta for the remainder of the cooking time.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, as the pasta water is heating, melt butter in a (separate) medium saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the flour until combined and cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking occasionally.  Slowly whisk in vegetable or chicken stock until the mixture is smooth.  Then slowly whisk in the milk until it is combined.  Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture comes to a simmer.  Then remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, salt and pepper until the cheese sauce is smooth.  Remove from heat.
  4. Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked, pour the cheese sauce on top of the pasta, add in the chicken, and toss until everything is evenly combined.
  5. At this point, you can either serve the pasta stovetop-style as-is.  Or pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese and Panko breadcrumbs.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top becomes slightly crispy and the breadcrumbs are slightly golden.  Remove and serve immediately.
  6. *To cook the chicken breasts on the stove top, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan.  Pound chicken to even thickness, and sprinkle both sides with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Add to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.  (Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken.)  Or, to bake the chicken breasts in the oven, follow these instructions.
  7. **If making the baked version of this dish, I recommend ever-so-slightly undercooking your pasta, as it will cook a bit more while it bakes in the oven.

Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese |

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63 comments on “Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese”

  1. Everything about this shouts AMAZING, Ali! Have a blast at the wedding. I’ve been a part of two weddings this year and they were both so much fun. :) I love this mac and cheese dish. I need to try it soon.

  2. Weddings are so much fun! And playing in the band sounds great!
    ALMOST as great as this crispy-topped-ooey-gooey mac and cheese! I decided that broccoli addition makes it health i can eat two bowls right? ;) Pinned!

  3. I just love this combo! Broccoli is one of my favourite veggies – this is beautiful!

  4. Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Love how this has broccoli in it. I’ve always like it, other veggies like peas, well I’ll pass haha! This looks cheesy and delish!

  5. Oh my, this looks awesome! I LOVE cheese. I’m living in Paris right now (temporarily) and my three favourite foods are cheese, bread, and cherries. And of course wine.

    I may have to make this for supper this week! :)

    • Thank you, we hope you enjoy it! And your favorite foods are totally our favorite foods! Also, we’re very jealous that you’re living in Paris, and we’re not. *sigh*

  6. I love Mac & Trees!

  7. This looks delicious! I absolutely LOVE broccoli, so ever since I was little, I’ve been adding it to mac and cheese. Yum :)

  8. This looks delicious!! Gonna try as soon as I can! 

  9. This is such a great idea! It looks delicious!

  10.  This Mac n’ Cheese looks pretty amazing! love that it’s a pretty balance meal, it has your carbs, protein and veggies, YUM! :) Pinning! 

  11. Broccoli and chicken in mac&cheese sounds really great! Looks good too ;)

  12. This looks and sounds super delicious! I am definitely going to give this recipe a go! Thank you so much for posting this!

  13. This looks so good! Just wanted I needed for my usual friday cravingsxx

  14. You’ve created a perfect match: broccoli and cheese. Love how vivid the colors are. My veggies always turn out to be like left over. That’s so sad.

  15. Haha, it’s actually really funny that you mention the little trees because my best friend’s son calls them that. He’s all like, “I want a little tree.” It’s adorable.

  16. OMG – all my favorite (savory) things in one dish. I’m in heaven. 

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  17. Ali you’re so multi-talented! And this mac & cheese? YES! Mini trees and all ;-) ! 

  18. It looks so amazing! And by adding the broccoli it makes it that more healthy! Need to give it a go!

  19. i followed the recipe, but substituted Brussels sprouts for the broccoli due to an allergy. It turned out awesome! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  20. Just tried this tonight for dinner. Super easy to make and turned out fabulous. Hubs loved it too :) Thanks for sharing!! <3

  21. So good! I do wonder how it would taste with sausage instead of chicken…..guessing you would be trading taste for unhealthiness though!

    • Thanks Jon, we’re glad you liked this! We think sausage would be delicious in this – and not necessarily, especially if you use a lean sausage, like turkey or chicken. If you give it a go, let us know how it turned out! :)

  22. Sounds like you had a super fun weekend celebrating your friends marriage!  And I think this recipe would make anyone a lover of broccoli, this would be awesome for picky eaters! 

  23. This was delicious!  My husband doesn’t normally care for broccoli, but he found this dish so yummy that he actually ate all of the broccoli on his plate!  I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes!

  24. oh these ingredients are so delicious made together in one dish…love this comfort dish and I know my family will too xoxo

  25. I meal prepped this recipe this week and I’m so sad to see it go! It was very easy, affordable and YUMMY. Now I have to look on the site for next week’s dish and maybe try those heart chocolates! 

    • We’re so happy you enjoyed it Mary! Thanks for your sweet comment! :)

  26. Could I make this in a foil baking pan? I was looking for an awesome casserole to take to my friends who just lost their mother and don’t them to worry about returning the pan…

    • Hi Kristen, we’re so sorry for just now getting to your comment! Yes, we think that should be just fine. We hope your friend finds this comforting — we’re so sorry for their loss.

  27. Hi, can this be assembled/made in advance and then baked when ready to eat? Or can I cook and reheat? Would love to make this for a quick weekday dinner.  Thank you

    • Hi Lisa! Yes, you can definitely assemble this in advance, but we would bake it the same day. This also reheats just fine — we hope you enjoy! :)

  28. Made this last night and it turned out great! Super easy to make and even my non-broccoli-loving husband liked it! I really like the way the sauce came together, and cooking the broccoli in the pasta was a great time saver. So far, it’s been reheating well too! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Wow. The cheese sauce is just AMAZING. So gooey and yummy…. A more adult version of the classic mac and cheese I usually make. :) I think we may have a new household favorite here. Thank you!

  30. Could u use an already cooked rotisserie chicken for the meat?

  31. I was a little nervous about how this would turn out as I was mixing the cheeses together (I have a tendency to mess up cheesy things), but it was super yummy and easy to make. Thanks! :)

  32. Sounds good!! Just a simple question, can I use chicken broth instead of chicken stock?

  33. This was yuuuuuuuuummmmmmmy!! Everyone gobbled it up. Very flavorful, easy to make. We ate it right out of the pot. Next time I’ll try the baked version with the Panko. Definitely a keeper!

  34. Absolutely delicious!! Try it with ham instead of chicken!! Soooo yummy!

  35. The recipe looks really good

  36. It would be great to know how much cheese this calls for, in pounds as well as cups, so I know how much to get (I’m ordering groceries curbside due to the pandemic). Thanks so much!

  37. Made this tonight, and it was easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  38. Can this be made into a freezer meal? TIA!