Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - creamy, spicy macaroni and cheese loaded with shredded chicken and buffalo sauce in under 30 minutes!
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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Delicious and easy buffalo chicken mac and cheese
Try this cheesy and flavorful buffalo chicken mac and cheese! Perfect for game day, parties, the weekend, or a fun family dinner.
This is so easy to make and guests love it. It's a fun twist on macaroni and cheese that takes it to another level - if you love the flavors of chicken wings and macaroni and cheese, you're going to LOVE this easy dinner.
We're going to show you how to make this in a flash
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
I used rotisserie chicken, but you can also cook your own chicken beforehand. I used about 2 cups.
If you use rotisserie chicken, it is better to eat it immediately. Reheating will cause the rotisserie chicken to dry out.
I used cavatappi pasta, but you can use your favorite shaped pasta.
I find that monterey jack and cheddar are a good combination of cheeses that pair with the buffalo flavor, but feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses.
For less spice, use ? cup buffalo sauce and ½ cup ranch. I use Frank’s red hot, but any buffalo sauce will work.
You can swap the panko topping for crushed Ritz crackers, or top with additional cheese.
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is easy to make! Follow these steps for a perfect mac every time.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, grease a 9x12 pan (I like to grease it with butter), and set it aside
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. I like to add some extra salt to the water when boiling pasta.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook to just al dente (rare and a little firm in the middle.)
While the pasta is boiling, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk four into the melted butter and allow it to bubble for 30 seconds once fully combined. Continue whisking constantly until it yellows a bit, into a roux - this should take about 5 minutes.
Stir cheeses into roux until combined. I like to use both monterey jack cheese and sharp cheddar because the combo of both is perfect.
Add spices, buffalo sauce - I use a ½ cup, but if you want a little more bite you can add a bit more hot sauce here - and ranch to your cheese sauce, continuing to mix until thoroughly combined.
Drain pasta and return it to the pot, add cheese mixture and shredded chicken to the pot and stir until well-mixed.
Pour the pasta into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly.
In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Pour melted butter over panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden-brown.
Tips to Perfect Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese and FAQs
How do you cook pasta al dente?
Al dente means "to the tooth" in Italian. It means you should have some resistance when you bite into your pasta, and it should still feel like it has structure.
It's particularly important with this recipe to cook the pasta just a bit rare because you want it to cook to perfection in the oven. If you overcook pasta in the first step, it will fall apart in your mouth by the time you pull it out of the oven in the second.
Why add salt to a pot when boiling water?
Adding salt to the water when you cook pasta accomplishes two things. First, it helps to season the pasta. Secondly, it helps to maintain the structure of the noodles. I always add salt to the pot when boiling pasta.
If you use a rotisserie chicken from the store, use it right away. Trying to reheat it will make it dry out.
If you want to mix it up, think about using some green onions as garnish. Or try serving it with carrot and celery sticks with some ranch dressing on the side. It's a whimsical way to serve this fun dish.
Sure! I used cavatappi for this, but I also love how cheese sauce sticks to a rotini.
A roux is a flour and fat mixture used to thicken sauces. I love to use them in gravies and almost any kind of sauce you can think of.
My kids right now will do anything for those wagon wheel pastas. Maybe it's just me, but I always feel like shells with cheese feel fancy (maybe that's a holdover from it being the "expensive" mac and cheese when I was a kid.)
This mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
What to Serve With Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is one of those dinners that is delicious alongside anything - we love to serve it with Easy Air Fryer Broccoli, Gazpacho Soup, Easy Roasted Tomatoes, Sriracha Cheese Grilled Corn, and some Easy Pumpkin Crisp for dessert!
Find some of our recent favorites here:
You can find the rest of our side dishes here.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe
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Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - creamy, spicy mac and cheese loaded with shredded chicken and buffalo sauce in under 30 minutes!
- 1 pound cavatappi pasta
- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- ½ cup buffalo sauce
- ⅓ cup ranch dressing
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9x13 pan, set aside.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Make sure to add salt. Once boiling, cook pasta until Al Dente.
- While pasta is boiling, in a medium sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk the flour and butter mixture until fully combined. Allow the mixture to lightly bubble for 30 seconds once combined.
- Slowly pour the milk into the butter and flour mixture while constantly whisking. Whisk until the mixture has turned light yellow and has slightly thickened into a roux, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cheeses until combined. Add spices, buffalo sauce, and ranch to the cheese mixture. Mix until combined.
- Drain pasta and place back in the large pot. Add the cheese mixture and shredded chicken to the pasta, and mix well.
- Pour the pasta into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly.
- In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Use a fork and mix together the melted butter and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle panko over top of the pasta.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.