To be honest, I was originally not going to add chicken to this recipe. However, I thought it could use a little more substance, even though it is delicious both ways! By adding the chicken, it is more of a full meal, with the protein keeping your hunger at bay for longer!
There are three parts to making the French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. First, it’s all about caramelizing onions, followed by the macaroni and cheese and the topping. Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand to complete the recipe.
Caramelized Onions Ingredients
- Onions: There are a ton of different onions to choose from, but I stick with yellow onions because they have a signature sweetness when cooked.
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
- Sea salt
Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow macaroni – can use any noodle that you prefer
- Unsalted Butter – salted butter also works, but you may want to add less salt
- Whole milk – skim or 2% can work in a pinch
- Beef stock
- Salt & Pepper
- Ground mustard
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Gruyere cheese: If you are looking to substitute this with a different cheese you want to select one that melts very easily. I would recommend a Compte’ or Jarlsberg.
- Mozzarella cheese
- Rotisserie chicken, shredded: Ask for rotisserie chicken that is already shredded to save time.
- Salt and pepper
- Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
How to Caramelize Onions
The first step in this recipe that needs attention is the process of carmelizing the onions. Caramelizing onions is an amazing way to pull out the naturally sweet flavor of a very simple ingredient. Yellow onions have a natural sweetness that explodes when you slow cook them in butter or oil. The trick here is to take your time. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat before you add the oil, butter, and onions. Cover the onions, and cook on low for 25-30 minutes. After the onions have softened, increase the heat to medium and cook the onions until they are a golden brown. Remove the onions from the heat, cover them, and set aside until you add them to the macaroni later.
How to Make French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
After the onions have been caramelized, begin to put together the ingredients to add to your cooked noodles. By the way, have you preheated the oven to 350° yet? You will need the oven at the end to bake the French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese. Take out your saucepan and start heating up and mixing all the cheeses, chicken, and spices together. There are a couple of times where you will be taking the pan on and off the heat, so be aware of that.
Start by heating the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes. Alright, it’s time to remove the pan from the heat for the first time. Gradually pour in the warm milk and beef stock, whisking constantly. Place the pan back on the heat and keep whisking! After 3-5 minutes, add the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Remove from the heat for the second and final time. This is the point where you add the cheeses and caramelized onions. Pour this mixture over your cooked pasta, stirring until the cheese has melted. Finally, add the shredded rotisserie chicken and mix everything together. Do NOT put the saucepan overheat, thinking it will help melt the cheese! Keep reading to understand this demand…
How to Get Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
I am on a mission to make sure no one has grainy homemade mac n cheese ever again… and in my research discovered this awesome tip. Do NOT put the pan back over the heat to melt the cheese. The ingredients in the pan are already hot enough to do the job of melting the cheeses. If you get cheese too hot that is when you will end up with a grainy texture. After you have stirred in the cheese, pour the mixture over the cooked noodles, and watch the melting commence!
Topping Off French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
To put the finishing touches on your French Onion Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, it’s time to add the topping. Simply layer the top of the macaroni and cheese with shredded Gruyere cheese. Bake it in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, as well as a bit of fresh thyme for an added, subtle, taste. Serve this with my homemade breadsticks and garlic roasted asparagus for a complete meal!
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
MAC AND CHEESE
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 cup sharp gruyere cheese, freshly shredded
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- Thyme, chopped (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and when hot, add the oil, butter, and onions.
- Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes until the onions are softened
- Turn the heat to medium and cook until the onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally
- Cover and remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
MAC AND CHEESE
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes (or until the mixture turns light brown).
- Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk and beef stock, whisking constantly.
- Return the pan to the heat, whisk another 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the cheeses and onion mixture, stir until all of the cheese is melted.
- Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine.
- Add the shredded rotisserie chicken and stir until completely mixed together.
- Top with ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- Bake, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Season with salt and pepper, and top with chopped thyme.