Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is rich, creamy, and perfectly gooey. This tasty recipe features juicy chicken, a variety of different cheeses, and the addition of Frank’s hot sauce to give it that delicious buffalo flavor.
This buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe combines the best of two game day favorites — cheesy pasta and buffalo chicken wings!
It’s a fun twist on classic mac and cheese with a little bit of spice. Every bite is creamy and oozing with cheese!
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and one of my family’s favorites.
For a hearty meal, dish up this baked buffalo chicken mac and cheese alongside your favorite veggies or a crisp green salad.
It’s so tasty, I doubt you’ll have any left at the end of the night!
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- How to use a roux to make a gooey, thick cheese sauce to go with your pasta.
- The perfect seasonings and flavors to turn classic mac and cheese into a savory dish with spice!
- Ideas for garnishes to take your buffalo chicken mac and cheese to the next level. It’ll not only look great, but taste great too!
This recipe starts on the stove and finishes in the oven. Dinner will go from stove to table and be ready to serve in just 45 minutes!
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
STEP TWO: Boil cavatappi pasta in a large pot of salted water to al dente. Drain and set aside.
STEP THREE: Meanwhile, saute onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and butter, stirring until melted. Then, sprinkle in flour to create a roux, whisking until you get a smooth consistency. Stir constantly for about 1 minute, being careful to not burn it. This step is essential as the roux is what will help thicken your cheese sauce!
STEP FOUR: Slowly add in your milk, heavy cream, hot sauce, and ranch seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Stir in 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of Monterey Jack. Mix until fully melted.
STEP FIVE: Remove your cheese mixture from the heat and stir in pasta until combined. Then, transfer your pasta to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly.
STEP SIX: Top your buffalo chicken mac n cheese with green onion and blue cheese crumbles and enjoy!
How To Store And Reheat Mac And Cheese
Leftover buffalo chicken mac n cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or the stove. If using the stove, heat on low and stir frequently until warmed through.
Feel free to add a splash of milk to loosen it up if needed.
What Is The Best Pasta For Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese?
I love cavatappi for this recipe because of its curly shape and how well it holds sauce, but any small to medium dried pasta will work just fine — try penne, rotini, or medium shells!
You’ll want to cook your pasta to al dente, then drizzle it with a little bit of oil once drained to prevent it from sticking together.
Don’t worry! It will soften up a little bit more in the oven.
Should You Grate Your Own Cheese For Mac And Cheese?
Though shredded cheese is a slightly more convenient option, I recommend going with freshly grated cheese if possible.
It’s the best way to get a rich and creamy cheese sauce.
Shredded cheese tends to be coated with anti-caking agents to preserve its texture and keep it from clumping together.
Because of this, it doesn’t always melt well and can make your sauce gritty.
Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken For Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese?
Rotisserie chicken is my go-to for this buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe because it’s already cooked and so easy to shred.
However, you can use any cooked chicken of your choice!
If you prefer to use canned chicken, just be sure that you drain it well before adding it to your cheesy pasta.
Other Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:
- Chipotle Chicken Pasta (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake
- Mexican Mac and Cheese
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Chicken Stroganoff
- BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces dry cavatappi noodles
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
- ¼ cup sliced green onion, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cavatappi noodles to al dente according to the package directions (about 10 minutes). Then drain the noodles and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle the noodles with 1 tablespoon of olive oil so they don’t stick together while you make the sauce.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to a large high sided pot or skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute under tender– about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic and butter. Stir until the butter has fully melted.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and then whisk to form a thin paste. Cook the roux for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Slowly whisk in the milk (make sure to keep stirring), heavy cream, hot sauce, and ranch seasoning.
- Cook the sauce for 5 minutes, or until it is bubbling and slightly thickened. Next, add 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of monterey jack cheese. Stir until the cheese has fully melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken and cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle over the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 cup monterey jack cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheeses are melted and bubbling.
- Sprinkle over the blue cheese crumbles and green onion, and serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 711Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1131mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 34g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.