This One Pot Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese is both kid friendly and parent approved! This mac and cheese is made in ONE pot on the stove and loaded with chicken nuggets, broccoli, pasta shells, and cheese! Perfect for busy week nights.
This is the ultimate back to school recipe. I take that back. This is the ultimate dinner recipe. Bold statement. I know. But here’s the deal: kids love it <– helloooo it’s mac and cheese, parents love it <– hellooo it has broccoli in it, and parents double love it <– hellooo it can be made in one pot.
As you can see this one pot chicken broccoli mac and cheese is a crowd pleaser in more ways than one.
Ultimate. Dinner. Recipe. For. The. Win.
But wait. Let’s address the elephant in the room.
How do you make mac and cheese in one pot?
- Place pasta, broccoli, liquid, and spices into a large stockpot.
- Bring mixture to a simmer, then simmer, stirring regularly until pasta is perfectly al dente.
- Stir in cheese and chicken and serve!
I know. It’s crazy. But it works, because the pasta absorbs the liquid as it simmers. This is my favorite way to make pasta, because unlike regular pasta, which is just cooked in water, one pot pastas are often simmered in much more flavorful liquids like milk, broth, and spices, which makes for a much more flavorful dish.
So. Like I said.
Ultimate. Dinner. Recipe. For. The. Win.
Growing up, I wouldn’t touch anything green with a 10 foot pole, UNLESS it was chopped into tiny bit sized pieces and slathered in cheese. I’m sure that’s why my mom made her cheesy broccoli rice casserole all the time.
If I could go back in time, I KNOW this one pot chicken broccoli mac and cheese would’ve been another hit.
Ingredients in one pot chicken broccoli mac and cheese:
- Chicken nuggets
- Pasta shells
- Spices: salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- Cheese: asiago, romano, parmesan, and sharp cheddar
- Optional: panko
Substitutions for chicken broccoli mac and cheese:
- Do I have to use chicken nuggets? Nope! Rotisserie would also be delicious.
- Do I have to use pasta shells? Probably not, but I can’t guarantee the results. I think you could use rotini or classic elbow macaroni.
- Can I use frozen broccoli? That should be fine, but I cook the broccoli separately, drain it, then stir it in at the end with the chicken and cheese.
- Can I use different cheeses? Absolutely! While I think the asiago/romano/parmesan and cheddar blend provides the best flavor, you could absolutely try another combination.
- Can I make this vegetarian? Sure! Use vegetarian “chicken” nuggets and vegetable broth!
How do i bake mac and cheese?
- Make the mac and cheese on the stovetop as directed.
- Pour mac and cheese into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle with more cheese, panko, and a sprinkle of salt.
- Bake in preheated oven until cheese has melted and panko is golden brown.
Chicken nuggets, broccoli, pasta, and one pot. Like I said, this is a TOTAL kid and parent win in my book.
Perfectly cooked pasta, slightly crispy chicken nuggets, tender broccoli, and gooey cheese.
A one pot dinner has never been quite sooooo goooood.
One Pot Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (16 oz) package frozen chicken nuggets baked according to package directions
- 1 (16 oz) box medium shells uncooked
- 1 pound broccoli florets roughly chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups skim milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded asiago romano, parmesan blend
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar Cheese
Optional, but recommended toppings
- Cheddar cheese
- Bake chicken nuggets according to package directions, then cut each cooked nugget into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- Place shells, broccoli, broth, milk, butter, salt, garlic powder, and pepper into a large stockpot.
- Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to your liking, stirring constantly.
- Turn off heat. Stir in asiago/romano/parmesan cheese blend, cheddar, and cooked chicken.
- Keep stirring until cheese has fully melted.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary. Serve!
- Optional - place mac and cheese into a greased 9x13” pan, sprinkle with more cheese, panko, spray with cooking spray, and bake in at 375 degree F for 10 minutes or until mixture is hot and panko is golden brown.
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.