Applebee’s Mac and Cheese RecipeMacaroni and cheese is not one of my favorite foods. The thought of eating it usually makes me feel a little bit sick. Jack loves it though. I don’t get it. Well, a few months ago, I went to Applebee’s with my mom. As I looked at the menu, I kept looking at the 4 cheese mac and cheese with honey pepper chicken tenders. Normally, I would pass anything that says “mac and cheese” in the title, but it just looked so good. Plus, it didn’t appear to have cheddar in it, which is probably one of the main reasons I don’t love most macaroni and cheese recipes. The honey pepper chicken tenders sounded absolutely delicious. So I ordered it. And I’m so glad I did – it was absolutely delicious! I even ordered it again when we went a few weeks later with Forrest’s sister. I don’t know what it was about this dish, but I really enjoyed it. We invited my sister and her kids and my little brother over for lunch and to play games recently, and I thought that it would be fun to try and make a copycat version of this dish. I found a version of it someone else came up with, but I made a few changes. The sauce for the chicken is basically the same, but I decided to use pre-breaded chicken instead of making my own chicken tenders. I also changed the cheese sauce as well – I just used a bag of shredded Italian cheese (instead of buying four different kinds of cheese), and I also used evaporated milk instead of cream. Everyone LOVED it. My niece and nephew both told me how delicious it was. Jack said he wanted me to make it again. My little brother even said he was going to try and make it at college when he went back (and that’s big – I think he’s made dinner like four times since he’s been there. Haha.) My sister wanted the recipe too, because she couldn’t wait to make it again. I really loved it, too! The sauce on the chicken tenders was delicious. My little brother said he never would have guessed they weren’t even homemade tenders. By using frozen ones, it made this even easier to make. There’s a lot of components, but they are all simple to throw together! [thrive_leads id=’30808′]
Copycat Apleebee's 4 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders
- 6 frozen, precooked chicken tenders (I used Tyson brand)
- 1 lb uncooked cavatappi pasta
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup lite soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Bacon bits
- Cook and drain pasta. Set aside.
- Cook chicken tenders in the oven according to instructions.
- While chicken tenders are cooking, combine honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, black pepper, and cayenne in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Bring down to a simmer and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In another pan, combine cheese, butter, evaporated milk, parsley flakes, and garlic. Melt over medium-high heat until it starts to lightly boil. Add corn starch and whisk until it starts to thicken then bring to low heat until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
- When chicken is done, remove from oven and cut into smaller pieces. Cover chicken with the honey sauce.
- Add pasta to the cheese sauce and mix until coated. Add bacon and chicken and serve.
Adapted from this recipe
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
Sue B says
Thank you for this recipe Katie. I really enjoyed reading about you and your family, and looking at the wonderful photos, makes me smile. I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Thank you, Sue 🙂
Abigail Erdel says
Made this this tonight and it was a hit! It tastes just like the original. 5 stars for sure!
So happy to hear this! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I used to work there and it was my favorite thing to eat/make
I have the actual recipe if you’d like 😁
Sure, would love it! It really is delicious.
Raw bacon 8oz
Yellow onion 4oz
Queso (Monterey jack,American cheese jalapeños and milk/cream) 2lb
Shredded white cheddar 8oz
Asiago cheese 3 oz
I would LOVE the actual recipe!!!
Melanie Erickson says
Please please please can I have the Applebee’s 4 cheese mac and cheese with bacon recipie! I don’t care about the chicken, but I’m hooked on the mac and cheese@@
Absolutely amazing recipe. My favorite dish at applebees…now in comfort of my own home. Only made one change to recipe you provide…i had to DOUBLE it…lol. thank you!
Love that change! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂 I’m SO glad you loved it! It’s one of our family favorites
Couldn’t read your story about recipe nor follow the recipe due to all the advertisements popping up all over the screen. I love this dish at Applebee’s. Wish I could get the whole recipe from your site. Will look elsewhere
There shouldn’t be advertisements popping up all over the screen – if you are getting pop ups, you likely have malware on your computer or phone. Sorry to hear that! We have advertisements within the content of the post, but they definitely shouldn’t prevent you from reading the recipe.
Kathy Fuller says
I WOULD SOOO LOVE A COPYCAT RECIPE FOR APPLEBEE’S BRISKET TACOS.
I’ll have to try and make one!
My favorite dish from Applebee’s, I order it every time I go. Cannot believe I can have this kind of food from my own kitchen…Thank you for the recipe!
I hope you enjoy it!
Sammy Freebush says
Why does copycat recipe this exist? Had this at Applebees and it was literally the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten.
Well, it exists because it is one of their most popular recipes, so your opinion is likely not one that most people hold 😉
Ann Jennings says
I have arthritis in my jaw so when we go out to eat I am always looking for soft stuff on the menu and ordered this mac and cheese at applebee’s and knew I had to get the recipe. Thank you so much for providing it! I actually made it with some left over ham in place of the chicken tenders and let me tell you…..hog heaven. If I died tonight, I will die knowing I had the best last meal ever. This should be illegal. hahaha
Fort Bragg, California.
I’ve ordered this the last three times I’ve been to Applebee’s lol Thanks for the recipe!
I hope you enjoy it!
Tastes exactly like the restaurant! My family was so pleased. Thank you for the recipe!
I’m so glad you loved it! It’s one of our favorites as well 🙂