Grilled macaroni and cheese sandwiches take regular mac and cheese to a whole new level of deliciousness! You just can't go wrong with carbs on carbs, right? Perfectly toasted buttery thick sliced bread, filled with homemade macaroni and cheese, and shredded green Chile chicken. This grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate comfort food!
How to Make the Best Grilled Cheese
Everyone claims to have the best grilled cheese method, but I'll tell you when I first met my boyfriend and had him make me a grilled cheese...I just about died on the spot. This man put the butter in the pan and then put the bread on top of it. I mean the AUDACITY!!!
Let me give you the lowdown on how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Grab your bread and generously slather it in unsalted or salted butter. You only need to butter one side of the bread, although if you're after an extra crisp and crunchy texture, spreading it on both sides and then toasting it completely is delicious!
The bread will make or break your grilled cheese
Ok, let's talk bread. Now obviously you can make a grilled cheese with any store bought bread, however we're making the BEST grilled cheeses only, which requires only the BEST bread!
- Sourdough bread- this is my personal go-to choice for grilled cheese bread. Always from the bakery section in the store. I recommend grabbing a nice crusty round and cutting it yourself!
- White bread- white bread is always a good choice with its super soft texture, that makes for a dang good grilled cheese.
- Flavored varieties- If you go to the bakery section at the store, you can often find bread loaves that have some sort of flavor boost to them! I've been able to find garlic, asiago, and herb varieties in the past. These breads will give your grilled cheese some extra pizazz 😉
How to Make the Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
The best part of this recipe and obviously the star is the the homemade mac and cheese! Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is so easy and requires only a few ingredients.
Let's talk noodles
Mac and cheese is ALL about the noodles. Because this macaroni is being sandwiched into a grilled cheese, you want it to be a sturdy but small noodle. Here's some options you can choose from for the best pasta for the mac and cheese:
- Small elbow macaroni- the best option and the noodles that are originally meant for macaroni and cheese. In this recipe, we used small elbows, but the large ones work as well!
- Cavatappi- this noodle is a spiral shape and slightly larger than the elbows but works great.
- Shells- Second in preference to the elbows, shells are very similar in size and would work wonders in the grilled cheese. These and the elbows work great for smaller grilled cheeses.
- Farfalle- This is the bow tied pasta shape! Similar to the cavatappi, it will be a larger noodle, and are best for larger grilled cheeses.
Give me all the cheese please!
The star of any macaroni and cheese is the cheese, obviously. The best cheese for macaroni and cheese is always a combination of flavors, and you always want a sharp flavor and a mild one. Here's some recommendations:
- Cheddar - this is the king of all cheese, and is the bulk of this recipe! Sharp or medium cheddar is preferred, but mild will work as well.
- Gruyere - a hard Swiss like cheese which will give your sauce a nice tang, it also melts beautifully in the sauce.
- Pepper jack - if you're looking for an extra kick of spice!
- Gouda- a beautifully sweet and creamy yellow cheese that can also be bought in a smoked variety for an extra bit of flavor.
How to make a roux
When making homemade mac and cheese, you need a good thick consistency for the sauce. This is achieved by creating what's known as a 'roux'. It sounds so fancy I know, but its really simple and only requires two ingredients. How do you make this roux for the cheese sauce? Follow these simple steps:
Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan, then whisk in all-purpose flour. Whisk them together until they form a paste.
When the paste has formed, you will slowly pour in just a bit of milk, chicken broth, or combination to the paste and whisk to combine them. As you add the milk, the roux will start to absorb the liquid and it will continue to get thicker and thicker. Keep adding the milk until the roux turns into a creamy sauce.
What milk is best for the roux? Regular 2% cows milk is what we used in this recipe, however we have made mac and cheese sauces with plain oat milk or almond milk with success and little to no flavor change.
It's All About Making the Green Chile Chicken
We wanted to take this easy and delicious mac and cheese recipe to the next level which is why we decided to add some shredded green chile chicken!
For making the green chile chicken, you can prepare it a few different ways. To give the chicken the green chile flavor, add a can of hatch green chiles to the chicken while it cooks. Use mild or spicy chiles depending on your personal taste.
- Crock pot- this is our favorite way to make breasts that are super juicy, tender, with that fall apart texture!
- Oven baked- if you don't have time to let the breasts cook in the crockpot, you can bake them at 400 for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
- Instant pot- so the instant pot recipes are so on trend right now and for very good reasons, stick your chicken in the pot for the recommended time and settings and you could have it done and shredded in 10 minutes!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many different options for you! Try adding shredded buffalo chicken, or leave the chicken out completely for just a grilled mac and cheese!
This no-knead focaccia bread recipe would make the best sandwiches!!
Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich with Green Chile Chicken
- 2 chicken tenders, or 1 chicken bread
- ½ can mild or hot hatch green chiles, 4 oz can
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup shredded gruyere cheese
- ½ can hatch green chiles
- ¾ cup elbow noodles
- a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water
- 6 slices thick cut sourdough bread
- 2-3 tablespoon butter, for toasting the bread
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a crockpot or in a baking dish, add the chicken breasts and half of the green chiles. Cook on low in the crockpot for 1-2 hours until tender, or bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Shred and set aside.
- In a small pot, boil water for the noodles. When the water is boiling, add the elbow noodles and boil until they are al dente. Reserve 1-2 tablespoon of the pasta water on the side, then drain the noodles.
- In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the butter and heat until melted.
- Add the flour to the pan and whisk to combine into a paste. Cook for 30 seconds.
- While whisking constantly, slowly pour in some of the milk. The paste will continue to thicken as more milk is added. Continue whisking until all the milk has been added.
- Season the roux with salt and pepper, then add the shredded cheeses. Whisk until the cheese has melted. Then let the sauce bubble over the heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add the noodles to the pan with the cheese sauce and mix to combine. Add the other half of the green chiles can and mix.
- Finally, add the shredded chicken to the macaroni and cheese and mix well. Set aside.
- Heat a separate pan over medium heat. While the pan is heating, slice your bread 1 inch thick and butter one side. When the pan is hot, place one slice of bread butter side down. Depening on the size of your bread, add about ⅓ cup of the macaroni mixture on top of the bread. Place the other half of the bread on top, butter side up.
- Toast the grilled cheese for 2-3 minutes on one side, then very carefully flip the grilled cheese with a spatula. Toast for another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.