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Queso Chicken “Mac” & Cheese

Queso Chicken “Mac” & Cheese

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Using yellow/summer squash or zucchini in place of pasta remains one of my favorite keto cooking hacks!

This recipe uses yellow squash cut into half moon shapes instead of conventional macaroni noodles to create a “mac” and cheese that’s just as satisfying as the real thing!

But there’s a twist. Instead of using cheddar or American-style cheese, I decided on pepper jack to create a delicious, queso-like cheese sauce to coat the chicken and squash!

If you’ve got the time, I highly recommend finishing this cheesy dish in a casserole topped with crushed pork rinds and grated Parmesan to create a crispy, golden brown topping!

plated final dish of keto queso mac and cheese

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yellow squash in queso cheese sauce plated with a fork

Queso Chicken “Mac” & Cheese

  • Author: Nate Dadosky
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6


A Tex-Mex inspired keto-friendly chicken dinner!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 medium yellow squash, cut into half-moons
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces full fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 8-ounce block pepper jack cheese, grated

Optional for baked crust:

  • ¼ cup crushed pork rinds
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan

Optional for serving:

  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo


  1. Cut ends off of squash, halve and slice into ¼ inch half moons.
  2. Cook sliced chicken thighs with olive oil in a large, non-stick pot over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes (or until cooked through and browned).
  3. Lower heat to medium, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook for 8-10 minutes (or until squash is almost tender).
  4. Add cream and cream cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes (or until cream cheese is fully melted/incorporated).
  5. Add in pepper jack cheese and fold for 1-2 minutes until melted (see notes).
  6. Transfer mixture to an oiled casserole dish. Crush pork rinds in a resealable bag then mix with grated Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes (or until top is golden brown).
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Optionally, garnish with sour cream and pico de gallo (nutrition info below does not include garnishes). Enjoy!


Net carbs: 4.5g

If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the final baking/crust step. Just continue to reduce the mixture on the stove top after adding the cheese and serve once thickened.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: keto chicken dinner, Mexican, low-carb chicken recipe

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