Chicken Caruso

Quick to make and surprisingly nutritious, this Chicken Caruso is the perfect weeknight meal for any occasion.

chicken caruso on a white plate
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A much-loved leftover-friendly meal, this recipe for chicken Caruso is a great way to use up some leftover poultry. Quick to make and surprisingly nutritious, this is the perfect weeknight meal for any occasion.

For more great chicken dishes, why not make this recipe for Creamy Mushroom Tarragon Chicken? Or learn how to make some Shredded Chicken Tacos instead?

chicken caruso on a white plate

Chicken Caruso

To a lot of people, the list of ingredients in this recipe might seem pretty strange. From chicken and macaroni to pimentos and almonds, this recipe seems to combine a whole host of different, random things from your cupboards into one dish.

That’s because this recipe is all about using up leftovers, especially cooked chicken or turkey from a meal the night before.

Plus, while it is a great way to use up leftovers, it also has the really interesting quality of just… working. Despite how weird many of the ingredients seem when paired together, when it is all combined together, it somehow just works!               

chicken caruso ingredients in small bowls

Chicken Caruso Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.

• Chicken broth

• Elbow macaroni

• Bacon

• Green pepper

• Onion

• Cooked chicken or turkey

•Cheddar cheese

• Pimento

• Slivered almonds

• Peas

• Cooking sherry

chicken caruso ingredients in a skillet

How To Make Chicken Caruso

• In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil

• Add the macaroni and cook for 10 minutes until tender – make sure not to drain

• In a large skillet, fry the diced bacon until crisp

• Add the green pepper and the onion and cook until the onion is tender

• Drain off any excess fat

• Stir in the macaroni and broth mixture and the remaining ingredients

• Heat it through, and then serve

chicken caruso on a white plate

What Meat Is Best For This Kind Of Dish

This kind of recipe is pretty much designed as the perfect way to use up that leftover bit of meat from a different meal.

Thanks to the other flavors in the recipe, though, you don’t really want to go for anything that is too strongly flavored on its own.

Things like beef or pork, for example, taste just a little bit too meaty and pronounced; that’s why this recipe calls for chicken or turkey instead.

You can use pretty much any part of the chicken or turkey that you like or happen to have leftover, so long as it has already been cooked.

If you do get a choice, though, try and stick towards dark meat, like the thigh or leg meat. Since this does cook a little bit more, you want meat that isn’t going to go stringy after it gets cooked a little bit more.

Just in case you don’t happen to have any poultry meat lying around, another great source of poultry for this recipe is those rotisserie chickens that you can get at places like Costco.

They are super cheap and are packed with flavor, so they make a great addition to a recipe like this.

chicken caruso on a wooden spoon

What to Do If You Can’t Find Any Pimentos For This Recipe?

This recipe calls for using pimentos, which are actually more than just those weird little red bits sitting in the middle of jarred olives.

The pimento is actually a very small and mild chili pepper and is primarily eaten because it has a super mild and sweet flavor.

However, outside of those cans or jars of olives, finding regular pimentos can actually be pretty tricky.

While some supermarkets might keep them in stock, you can actually find cans of only pimentos, with a huge added benefit of having plenty of tasty pickling liquid as well.

However, just in case you can’t even find those cans of pimentos, try finding a replacement instead. Regular red bell peppers would work just fine, but any kind of sweet pepper that doesn’t have too much spice in it would work just fine.  

chicken caruso on a white plate with a fork in the top

Do You Need To Use Macaroni For This Recipe?

Macaroni is probably one of the most frequently recommended pasta shapes for use in dishes like these, and for a good reason.

Not only are they familiar, cheap, and widely available, their uniquely curved shape and large surface area make them great for mixing together with other ingredients and holding onto the delicious sauce.

However, if you don’t particularly like the shape of macaroni, you can absolutely use a totally different type of pasta altogether.

Try and stick with smaller shapes, though – large pasta shapes will cover and wrap around the other ingredients, and the flavor of the dish will get lost.

Other small shapes to try substituting could be some ditalini or some orecchiette – both are really small and mix really well with the other ingredients in this recipe.

Looking for more delicious Chicken recipes? Try these out:

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Artichoke Chicken

Happy Cooking



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Quick to make and surprisingly nutritious, this Chicken Caruso is the perfect weeknight meal for any occasion.

Chicken Caruso

Quick to make and surprisingly nutritious, this Chicken Caruso is the perfect weeknight meal for any occasion.
5 from 1 votes
chicken caruso on a white plate
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni or corkscrew pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey (chopped)
  • 2 cups old cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup pimiento
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup peas (frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking sherry


  • In a saucepan bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Do not drain
  • In a large skillet fry the diced bacon until crisp. Add the green pepper and the onion and cook until the onion is tender. Drain off any excess fat.
  • Stir in the macaroni – broth mixture and the remaining ingredients. Heat it through, then serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 469kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.05g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 928mg, Potassium: 279mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 856IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 299mg, Iron: 2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Olive Cribar says

    Chicken Caruso. Is this supposed to be a side dish? I cup of pasta does not seem very much for 6 servings

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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