All the signature flavors of BBQ Chicken Pizza come together again to make this super simple, make-ahead, main-dish BBQ Chicken Macaroni Salad that’s sure to be a summertime family favorite!
With summer in full swing and 110 degree temps here to stay, I’m always on the hunt for easy meals I can make, without heating up the kitchen, especially during the hottest times of the day (usually right around dinner-making time!). This main dish BBQ Chicken Macaroni Salad, along with this other main-dish pasta salad, is one of my favorite go-to dinners during the summertime. I can boil the noodles in the morning when it’s not super hot out yet, and besides cooking the noodles, I don’t need to heat anything else in the kitchen up! Then you serve it cold, just like any other pasta salad (because the last thing most of us want during the sweaty summertime is a steaming hot dinner, am I right??)
It’s super easy to make; you just cook the noodles, stir all the other ingredients right into the same pot that the noodles cooked in, and then stick the pot into the refrigerator until dinnertime! It does take a little extra prep if you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand, but go easy on yourself by using leftover shredded rotisserie chicken or simply by opening a can of cooked chicken; drain it, give it a 5-second shred with a fork, and toss it in! You can easily make this gluten free, if you’d like, by using gluten free macaroni and gluten free bbq sauce.
Once you’re ready to eat, grab the pot out of the fridge, splash on a little extra BBQ sauce to moisten everything up again if needed, and devour!!
It’s hard to go wrong with this BBQ Chicken Macaroni Salad; you’ve got the tangy/spicy BBQ sauce, the chicken, the juicy tomatoes, red onions, and flavorful cilantro all just like your favorite BBQ Chicken Pizza…just on noodles instead of a crust! Enjoy!!
- 8 ounces dry Macaroni Noodles*
- 10 ounces Cooked and Shredded Chicken (Rotisserie or canned chicken are easy options here!)
- ¼ + ⅔ cup BBQ Sauce (divided use), plus more for serving, if desired*
- 1 can (14-15 ounce) Diced Tomatoes, drained (if you can find a fire roasted variety, or a variety with any type of herbs, those taste especially delicious in this!)
- ½ cup Diced Red Onions
- ½ cup Shredded Cheese (Mozzerella or Colby Jack taste delicious!)
- ¼ cup Cilantro (chopped & tightly packed), plus more for garnish, if desired
- Boil and drain Macaroni according to package directions in a medium-sized pot, leaving about a Tablespoon of starchy pasta water in the pot to prevent noodles from sticking together. Return noodles to pot and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, stir together shredded Chicken and ¼ cup BBQ sauce.
- In the pot of cooled noodles, add remaining ⅔ cup BBQ sauce, BBQ Chicken, drained Diced Tomatoes, Diced Red Onions, Cheese, and ¼ cup Cilantro. Stir until everything is combined and coated with BBQ Sauce.
- Cover pot with lid and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Just before serving, if salad looks dry, simply stir in a little bit more BBQ sauce.
- Garnish with more cilantro, if desired.
- Serve cold.
- Makes 4 servings.
Check out these other great summertime meals: