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  • Writer's pictureEmily Tillmann

Honey Pepper Chicken & Pasta

Updated: 4 days ago

Made, written & photographed by the creators of the Point

This is an Applebee's copy cat recipe. It's one of my personal favorite chain restaurant dishes ever.

The honey sauce drizzled over the chicken strips has a sweet yet spicy flavor to it. These chicken strips are then laid on a bed of delicious mac and cheese and topped with bacon and green onions.


Honey Pepper Chicken & Pasta

serves 4 | Total Time: 60 minutes


  • 1 - 25oz bag frozen chicken strips

  • 1 lb cavatappi pasta

Honey Pepper Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • pinch of paprika

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded

  • 1 cup colby jack, shredded

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Bacon Bits or cooked bacon to top

  • Green onions to top


1. Begin by cooking the frozen chicken strips according to package direction.

While they're baking, continue making the sauces. If they finish before you're ready to use them, simply set aside. They'll warm up in the Honey Pepper sauce.

2. In a large pot, heavily salt water and bring to a boil. Cook your pasta according to package details. Drain when cooked.

3. Combine all of the Honey Pepper sauce ingredients in a sauce pan: 2/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of paprika.

Lower the cayenne pepper measurement to have less of a spicy kick.

4. Place the saucepan on a burner over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Reduce to a low simmer and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to thicken.

5. In a large pan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Pour in 2 cups heavy cream and cook until the butter and cream come together. Add in all cheeses: 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup colby jack. Stir until all the cheese melts and comes together. Add the 3 minced garlic cloves and continue to cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

4. Add the drained and cooked pasta into your cheese sauce and toss to coat each noodle. Place a good helping in the bottom of each bowl.

5. Coat your chicken strips with the Honey Pepper sauce by dipping each one into the saucepan. Flip the tenders around to make sure each side is covered. Gently place on top of the macaroni foundation.

6. Sprinkle bacon and green onions on top and serve with some additional Honey Pepper Sauce drizzled over the top.


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Emily, a home cook based in Wisconsin. For me, the best part about cooking is trying new dishes with new flavors and ingredients.

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