The Ultimate Hack For The Best Spicy BBQ Mac & Cheese (Recipe)


Smoky, cheesy, and oh-so delicious – try this true + tested recipe.

We promise you… your taste buds won’t know what hit them.

Imagine the combination of the comfort of macaroni and cheese with the fiery flavors of barbecue chicken. This dream becomes a reality with our Spicy BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese recipe! This dish is not your ordinary mac and cheese; it’s a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Let’s dive into the ingredients and steps that will lead you to cheesy perfection:

What You’ll Need 
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup crushed Splitz BBQ split pea crisps
  1. Cook the Pasta: Start by cooking the pasta according to package directions for al dente perfection. Drain and set aside. While your pasta is cooking, preheat the broiler to get ready for the final touch.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it’s well blended and cook until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes (make sure not to burn it!). Gradually whisk in the cream, milk, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer until thickened, which should take about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded pepper jack cheese until it’s melted and smooth.
  3. Combine and Heat Through: Now comes the fun part! Add the cooked pasta, shredded chicken, crumbled bacon, and chopped jalapeno to the cheesy sauce. Stir everything together until it’s well combined and heated through. This is where the magic happens as the flavors meld together in perfect harmony.
  4. Crunchy Topping: Sprinkle the crushed Splitz BBQ split pea crisps over the top of your mac and cheese masterpiece. This adds a delightful crunch and a burst of barbecue flavor that takes this dish to the next level.
  5. Broil to Perfection: Place the skillet under the broiler, about 3-4 inches from the heat. Let it broil until the chips are beautifully browned, which should take around 30 seconds. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning because nobody wants burnt BBQ goodness!
Tips from the Pea-ple in the Test Kitchen
  • If you and your family are fans of spicy foods, feel free to kick up the heat by adding more Cajun seasoning or jalapeno pepper. Let your taste buds be your guide!
  • Substitute the elbow macaroni for Cavatappi pasta instead. It isn’t just delicious; it’s also fun to eat! Its corkscrew shape adds a playful twist to your mac and cheese experience.

There you have it, folks! Our Spicy BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese is a culinary masterpiece that’s sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates. 

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or indulging in a cozy night in, this dish is guaranteed to be a hit. So gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to savor the bold flavors of barbecue bliss!

Featured Flavor: Splitz Barbeque

Now, let’s talk about Splitz Barbeque Split Pea Crisps—the secret ingredient that takes our Spicy BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese to the next level! Picture this: the sauciest and smokiest spices mingling with split pea snacks, creating a savory sensation that’ll have you boot-scooting and boogieing in delight. Splitz Barbeque boasts a unique blend of hickory smoke and savory spices, crafting flavors that are bold, hearty, and undeniably satisfying—an ode to the irresistible allure of BBQ.

Crafted from 100% yellow split pea flour, Splitz snacks are free from all the nasties: gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and GMO-free. But that’s not all—these snacks are packed with fiber, boasting 7g per 1.5 oz serving. This fiber content not only stabilizes blood sugar levels and promotes digestive health but also keeps you feeling full and satisfied. It’s a smart choice for health-conscious individuals seeking a delicious snack without compromising on flavor.

So why wait? Sprinkle Splitz Barbeque on your salad for a savory twist, munch straight from the bag for a burst of BBQ wherever you go, or elevate a meaty sandwich with a tasty, feel-good crunch. Snack guilt-free and revel in the goodness of no artificial flavoring—just 100% split yellow peas bursting with tantalizing flavor!

This recipe was inspired by Taste of Home.