Buffalo chicken mac and cheese combines tender noodles and poultry with a creamy, spicy sauce. Make this quick and easy one-pot meal tonight!
This creamy buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese is a spicy take on the classic comfort food.
Most of the prep work can be done while the noodles are boiling, making this entire dish ready in just 30 minutes!
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – Ingredient Notes
- Chicken – I usually have portions of shredded meat in the freezer from meal prepping, but a rotisserie bird is a great time-saving option. You could even toss some frozen breasts in the Instant Pot if needed.
- Pasta – This recipe can be made with any of your favorite short pasta shapes, like penne, fusilli, bowtie, or cavatappi.
- Milk – Use whatever you happen to have on hand, whether it’s 2%, whole, or a combination of both.
- Cheeses – Skip the bagged shreds, which have anti-caking agents that prevent the shreds from melting properly. This results in a lumpy sauce with a waxy texture.
- Hot Sauce – I used Frank’s Red Hot for this creamy mac and cheese. Feel free to use your favorite brand and adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.
Enjoy this buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese on its own or pair it with a simple green salad.
Add a handful of green onion and extra blue cheese to each bowl if you’d like. Or, drizzle some blue cheese dressing over the top for bolder flavor and an even creamier texture. Even buttermilk ranch would be delicious!
Want a panko topping? Transfer the cheesy pasta to a casserole dish and combine the breadcrumbs with a little butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the top, then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.
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FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
How many cups of cheese do I need?
Once shredded, it comes out to about 3 cups of cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey Jack total.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes! Use your favorite gluten-free pasta and leave out the flour altogether – it will still thicken up nicely.
Why did my sauce separate?
Typically, when this happens, it’s because the heat was up too high. It’s important to keep your burner on medium heat and bring it to a simmer only. Otherwise, the fats will separate.
You should be able to salvage it by adding a splash of acid – lemon juice, vinegar, or white wine – and whisking vigorously until it comes back together. In a pinch, even water is worth a try!
Can I reheat buffalo chicken mac and cheese?
Allow leftovers to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Warm on the stove with a little extra milk to get it nice and creamy again.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
MORE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES
Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 Cups milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup hot sauce, or to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, plus more for garnish
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
- 1/2 cup sliced green onion
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for about 9 minutes until el dente. Drain the noodles and set aside.
- In the same pot, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour to form a paste then stir in the milk and seasonings.
- Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then add the cheddar and Monterey jack cheese a cup at a time, stirring between each addition, until the cheese is melted. Continue to simmer on medium heat until all the cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the hot sauce and ¼ cup of crumbled blue cheese, then add the noodles and chicken. Stir well so that everything is coated well with the sauce.
- Continue heating on medium heat until heated through and sauce is slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat, add a handful of green onion and additional blue cheese, if desired and serve.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published October 2021
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