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overhead view of elbow mac and cheese with pesto
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese

Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese ~ elbow macaroni and tender bites of chicken in a creamy, silky pesto flavored cheese sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pesto mac and cheese
Servings: 4
Author: A Gouda Life


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 boneless chicken breast cut in bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk full fat
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups  uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup pesto homemade or store-bought + OPTIONAL extra pesto for garnish/serving


  • Add the olive oil to a deep skillet over medium-high heat and once it’s hot, add the bite-size pieces of chicken. Season with salt and pepper and allow the chicken to sear, cooking completely through then remove from the skillet.
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat then whisk in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. 
  • Slowly add the milk, whisking over medium heat and scraping up any brown bits remaining from the chicken.
  • When it’s completely combined and bubbly, add the water, stock, dry mustard and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the UNCOOKED macaroni to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and allow the pasta to gently cook stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat source and slowly add the cheeses a little at a time, combining thoroughly then fold in the pesto and chicken. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.