Copycat Applebees Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese


Craving the irresistible flavors of your favorite restaurant dish but prefer to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home? Look no further than this Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe. Combining the creamy goodness of macaroni and cheese with the savory sweetness of honey pepper chicken, this dish is a culinary masterpiece that’s sure to delight your taste buds. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of recreating this restaurant favorite in your own kitchen.

A Fusion of Flavors:

Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese is a fusion of sweet and savory flavors that tantalize the palate. Imagine tender pieces of grilled chicken coated in a sticky honey pepper glaze, served atop a bed of creamy macaroni and cheese. Each bite is a harmonious blend of cheesy goodness and mouthwatering chicken, creating a dining experience that’s both comforting and indulgent.

Restaurant-Quality Mac and Cheese:

The secret to perfecting this dish lies in the mac and cheese itself. Creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying, the macaroni and cheese serves as the delicious foundation for the honey pepper chicken. Made with a blend of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, along with a touch of cream and butter, this mac and cheese recipe rivals that of your favorite restaurant.

Honey Pepper Chicken Perfection:

The star of the show is undoubtedly the honey pepper chicken. Tender chicken breast is marinated in a flavorful mixture of honey, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper, then grilled to perfection. The result is juicy, succulent chicken with a sticky glaze that’s both sweet and peppery, adding a burst of flavor to every bite.

Simple Steps, Spectacular Results:

Despite its gourmet appeal, Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese is surprisingly easy to make at home. Start by cooking the macaroni according to package instructions and preparing the cheese sauce. While the macaroni is cooking, grill the marinated chicken until golden brown and caramelized. Once everything is ready, simply assemble the dish by layering the mac and cheese with the honey pepper chicken.

Customize to Your Taste:

One of the joys of making Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese at home is the ability to customize it to your taste. Adjust the level of sweetness and spiciness in the honey pepper glaze to suit your preferences. You can also add extra toppings like crispy bacon, green onions, or diced tomatoes for added flavor and texture.


For Honey Pepper Chicken:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For Mac and Cheese:

8 oz elbow macaroni or your preferred pasta
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste


Honey Pepper Chicken:
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Dredge each piece in flour, then dip in beaten eggs, and coat with breadcrumbs.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, mix honey, soy sauce, black pepper, and garlic powder. Heat over low heat until well combined. Pour the sauce over the fried chicken and toss to coat.

Mac and Cheese:
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well coated.
Serve the honey pepper chicken over the mac and cheese and drizzle with extra honey pepper sauce if desired.

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish Before Serving: Just before serving, garnish the dish with freshly chopped parsley or green onions for a pop of color and added freshness.
  2. Serve with a Side Salad: Pair the mac and cheese with a crisp green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the dish.
  3. Add Texture with Breadcrumbs: For extra crunch, sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the top of the mac and cheese before serving.
  4. Offer Hot Sauce on the Side: If you like a bit of heat, serve the dish with your favorite hot sauce on the side for guests to drizzle over their portions according to their preference.
  5. Pair with a Refreshing Beverage: Serve Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese with a refreshing beverage such as iced tea, lemonade, or a crisp white wine for a well-rounded meal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigerate Leftovers Promptly: If you have leftovers, allow them to cool slightly before transferring them to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Consume Within 2-3 Days: Enjoy leftover Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese within 2-3 days for the best quality. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stove until warmed through.
  3. Avoid Freezing: Due to the dairy-based sauce, it’s not recommended to freeze Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese as the texture may become grainy upon thawing.
  4. Reheat with Care: When reheating, add a splash of milk or chicken broth to the mac and cheese to prevent it from drying out. Stir occasionally and heat gently until warmed through.
  5. Refresh with Additional Cheese: If the mac and cheese seems dry after reheating, add a sprinkle of shredded cheese and a splash of milk before reheating again to restore its creamy texture.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese remains delicious and enjoyable, whether you’re serving it fresh or reheating leftovers.


  1. What makes Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese so special? This dish combines creamy macaroni and cheese with tender grilled chicken coated in a sticky honey pepper glaze, creating a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
  2. Can I use pre-made macaroni and cheese for this recipe? While pre-made macaroni and cheese can be convenient, making the cheese sauce from scratch allows you to control the flavor and consistency of the dish, resulting in a more authentic and delicious outcome.
  3. How do I make the honey pepper glaze for the chicken? The honey pepper glaze is made by combining honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, and black pepper in a bowl. This mixture is then used to marinate the chicken before grilling.
  4. Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Yes, boneless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breasts for a juicier and more flavorful alternative. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the thickness of the thighs.
  5. What type of cheese should I use for the macaroni and cheese?  A combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses works best for the macaroni and cheese, as it provides a balance of flavor and creaminess.
  6. Can I make this dish ahead of time?  While the macaroni and cheese can be made ahead of time and reheated, it’s best to grill the chicken just before serving to ensure it stays tender and juicy.
  7. How do I prevent the honey pepper glaze from burning on the grill?  To prevent the glaze from burning, grill the chicken over medium heat and brush it with the glaze frequently during cooking, turning the chicken occasionally to ensure even coating.
  8. Can I customize this dish with additional toppings?  Absolutely! Feel free to add extra toppings such as crispy bacon bits, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, or chopped parsley for added flavor and freshness.
  9. Is this dish spicy? The honey pepper glaze adds a hint of sweetness and a subtle kick of black pepper flavor, but it’s not overly spicy. You can adjust the amount of black pepper to suit your taste preferences.
  10. How should I store leftovers? Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stove until warmed through before serving.


With this Copycat Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe, you can enjoy the flavors of your favorite restaurant dish without ever having to leave home. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply craving a comforting meal, this dish is sure to impress. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and get ready to indulge in a culinary masterpiece that’s as delicious as it is satisfying.

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