Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese puts a delicious spin on classic macaroni and cheese. It’s creamy, cheesy, mildly spicy, and also has a hint of smokiness.
A simple but irresistibly creamy buffalo cheese sauce is combined with tender macaroni pasta and shredded chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken is a great option!).
About Macaroni and Cheese with Buffalo Chicken
There is nothing quite like having a good comfort meal. And in our family, this often means Mac and Cheese! We love all kinds of Mac and Cheese.
Classic, creamy butternut squash macaroni and cheese, or the one that‘s all grown up and has a bit of a kick: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.
It's perfect for an easy weeknight dinner that takes little prep. And you can even use this recipe for larger events like picnics and potlucks. Because double or tripling the recipe is easy!
PASTA - We typically use Elbow Macaroni, but any type of short pasta will work perfectly well. Be creative and have fun with what's in your pantry. Cavatappi, radiatore, rotini, campanelle, or orecchiette are great choices.
CHICKEN - I used some shredded chicken we had in the fridge. You could also use cubed cooked chicken.
SEASONINGS & SPICES - A great Buffalo Wing Sauce is key! You'll also want to have garlic, smoked sweet paprika (this is what's going to add that bit of smokiness), yellow mustard, and salt on hand.
DAIRY - (Unsalted) butter and milk. I like to use unsalted butter for all my cooking and baking because it allows me to control the amount of salt better. For this recipe, I recommend using whole milk.
CHEESE - We used sharp cheddar cheese and Colby jack cheese for this recipe. Read below for more fun cheese combinations.
Did you know that July 14th is Mac and Cheese day?
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
This is a no-bake chicken macaroni and cheese recipe and it's incredibly easy to make.
PREP: Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Cook the pasta al dente and don’t add any oil to the pasta water. This will help the pasta to absorb the sauce more easily.
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted add spices and the buffalo sauce (this one is our absolute favorite) and cook for 1 minute. Add in the flour and stir continuously until you have a creamy mixture.
- Slowly add the milk to the mixture and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add the cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and Colby jack cheese. Continue to stir until the mixture is nice and creamy.
- Lastly, add the shredded chicken and cooked pasta and combine well. Serve immediately.
SERVING SUGGESTION: To make this dish extra delicious top the mac and cheese with a sprinkling of crumbled blue cheese, ranch dressing, or both! For a bit of crunch and color add some sliced green onions.
What To Serve with Mac and Cheese
The great thing about this Buffalo Mac and Cheese is that the added chicken makes it a complete meal!
And if you want to add some a few fresh veggies and greens, try the mac and cheese any of these yummy salads:
Tips For Success
- Cook the pasta al dente. This will result in a better texture of your mac and cheese.
- Skip the oil when you cook the elbow pasta. This allows the cheese sauce to penetrate the pasta even more.
- Use a block of cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese. You will find that pre-shredded cheese has fillers to help to preserve the cheese. And these fillers aren't great for melting cheese.
- Instead, use a cheese grater to shred the cheese. This has the added benefit that it'll often work out to be less expensive!
- Freezing the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese works beautifully. Allow the dish to cool down completely and transfer it into freezer-safe ziplock bags. It will easily keep frozen for three months without losing taste or texture.
- Use a saucepan to reheat the pasta on the stovetop or put it into the microwave for quick reheating.
- If you don't have two cheese one hand - double the one you have! It will still be delicious.
Alternative cheese Combinations
Don't have cheddar and mozzarella on hand? No problem! In a pinch, you can double any of the cheeses and use just one cheese. Or substitute for any of these cheese combinations:
- Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella - another classic
- Gouda and Gruyère - both melt beautifully
- Cheddar and Monterey Jack - another classic
- Brie and Parmesan - ready to get fancy? Then try this combination.
- Gouda and Parmesan - one word: delish
More Easy Comfort Food Recipes
- Chicken Schnitzel - try this with a side of homemade Spaetzle!
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - this is a great fall recipe!
- Broiled Salmon - this no fuzz recipe is a staple in our kitchen.
- Smoked Salmon Pasta - perfect for summer!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta - a great pasta casserole recipe.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Making The Cheese Sauce
- Use a 4 or 5-quart Dutch oven and melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add mustard, smoked sweet paprika, and salt. Cook for an additional minute stirring continuously. Add the flour and stir until smooth.
- Slowly pour in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir frequently.
- Add in cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and Colby Jack cheese and stir until the cheeses have melted and the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
- Add the cooked elbow pasta and shredded chicken to the cheese sauce and combine well. Serve immediately.
- OPTIONAL: If desired top the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with crumbled blue cheese, ranch dressing, and or scallions.