A blend of triple cheese, shredded chicken drenched in barbecue sauce all mixed together with spicy jalapenos and topped with scallions and parsley. This instant pot bbq chicken mac and cheese is big bold flavor in classic comfort food.
This post was sponsored by Head Country Barbecue.
Ok, admit it. You’ve been standing in line at Panera trying to be good and healthy but then…. you spot the barbecue chicken mac and cheese bowl on the menu.
So much for trying to be healthy. But at least you can pair it with a salad because some things are worth it. And, this recipe is how you can bring that recipe home.
Sure the pressure cooker is great for tacos, big hunks of meat, like comforting instant pot Mississippi Pot Roast and even soups. But, can it actually make a luscious rich macaroni that lives up to expectations and ‘bbq’ chicken without any grilling?
Yeah, and in this recipe a triple cheese uber creamy macaroni and collides with pulled barbecue chicken and minimal cleanup.
It exceeded expectations.
What you need to make this recipe
This recipe is broken down into two cycles in your Instant Pot. First the chicken and then the pasta.
What you need for the instant pot barbecue shredded chicken is boneless skinless chicken breasts, an onion, Girl Carnivore Chick Fest seasoning, black pepper, salt, Head Country Original Bar-b-q sauce, and chicken broth. Tip: You can skip the broth and use homemade Homemade Chicken Bouillon Powder!
To make the creamy instant pot macaroni and cheese you need pasta, chicken broth, butter, dijon mustard, salt, cheese (lots of it), and a jalapeno.
For the three kinds of cheese, I like to mix solid flavors with a cheese that melts well too for that rich flavor you want if you’re diving into macaroni and cheese.
I decided this was going to be spicy from the start and went with Cabots habanero cheddar, Cabots 2 year aged cheddar, and a Monterey jack blend for added creaminess.
How to make pressure cooker bbq chicken mac and cheese
Start by making the chicken first, you can complete it while the pasta cooks, and everything will be hot when you stir it together.
Season the chicken liberally with the GirlCarnivore Chick Fest seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Sautee the onion in your instant pot on the sautee setting. And then brown the chicken on both sides. If your pressure cooker doesn’t have a sautee setting you can do this step in a skillet or omit altogether.
Next, add the barbecue sauce all over the chicken and the broth on the side (so that the sauce still coats the chicken). Cover and set your instant pot to cook for 13 to 15 minutes with a natural release.
Girl Carnivore Pro tip: while the chicken cooks, its a good time to grate all of the cheese and mince the jalapeno for the mac and cheese.
Once the chicken has cooked, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool. Shred it with 2 forks when you get a minute while the pasta cooks.
Start on the instant pot macaroni and cheese by adding the pasta to the same pot with the leftover juices. The chicken broth and diluted barbecue sauce are a great flavor addition to the pasta as it cooks.
Add the other remaining broth and a little water if needed to make sure the pasta is just submerged. Cover and set your pressure cooker to 4 minutes with a manual release.
Now the fun part; Once the pasta has cooked (in like 4 minutes!) it will have absorbed most of the liquid in the pot. Next, add the butter, mustard, garlic powder, and salt and stir to combine.
Add the milk, then fold in all of the cheese until it has melted through.
If you’re using the jalapeno, now is the time to fold that in. If you are worried about things being too spicy, omit the jalapeno and substitute a colby or other cheese for the habanero cheese.
Now all you have to do is combine the shredded bbq chicken and the macaroni and cheese. I only put half of the chicken in and left half for people to scoop on top.
Want more one pot inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes
If you’ve tried this IP BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe or any other recipe on GirlCarnivore.com please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below.
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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Pressure Cooker / Insta Pot
For the Chicken
For the Macaroni and Cheese
- 16 oz pasta
- 2 cup chicken broth
- Water if needed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 8 oz aged cheddar shredded
- 4 oz habanero cheddar shredded
- 12 oz Monterey Jack shredded
- 1/2 jalapeno seeded, stemmed and minced
- Fresh Cilantro
- Additional BBQ Sauce
Sautee the onion
- Set the instant pot to sautee
- Add the olive oil to the pot and using a spatula, swirl to coat.
- Add the onion and sautee 5 minutes.
Prep the chicken
- Pat the chicken dry and trim any excess fat.
- Season with salt, pepper, and GirlCarnivore Chick Fest on both sides.
- Place the chicken in the instant pot and sautee both sides until brown, about 3 to 4 minutes a side.
- Work in batches if necessary to not over crowd your pressure cooker.
Pressure Cook the Chicken
- Baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce and gently pour the chicken broth in along the side to not disrupt the sauce on the chicken.
- Cover and seal the pressure cooker.
- Set the pressure cooker to 13 to 15 minutes.
- Once the IP comes to pressure and cooks, allow the steam to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully open the lid.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the instant pot and set it aside.
Prep the Macaroni and Cheese
- Add the pasta to 2 cups broth left over from the chicken in the pressure cooker.
- Add the chicken broth and additional water if needed to just cover the pasta.
Cook the Pasta
- Pllace the lid on the instant pot and seal.
- Set it to 4 minutes to cook.
- Once the IP comes to pressure and cooks, immediately release the steam manually.
Make the Macaroni and Cheese
- Stir the butter, Dijon mustard, salt, and garlic powder.
- Add the milk.
- Add the cheese in batches, stirring to melt completely until all the cheese is added.
- Fold in the minced jalapeno.
Make the Shredded BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Shred the chicken with 2 forks.
- Stir the shredded chicken into the macaroni and cheese to combine.
- Spoon out portions onto plates or bowls. Top with additional bbq chicken, scallions, cilantro, and sliced jalapeno if desired.