Buffalo Chicken? Yes, please. Mac and Cheese? Always a favorite. Combine the two to make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese? Oh, now we’re talking! This recipe is guaranteed to be a family favorite!Buffalo chicken everything, please. Let’s face it, America’s favorite hot sauce start at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York is great on almost everything. As a dip, on pizza, and of course, chicken wings. But now, we give it a go in another American fav, good ol’ fashioned macaroni and cheese. Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese combines these two great dishes into one, delicious dish. It’s easy to make and great for a weeknight dinner in, potlucks or entertaining a house full of your kids and their friends. Young and old alike will love this one!
First rule of mac and cheese: we’re grown ups, so it’s time to ditch the powdery nonsense. You’ll be making your own cheese sauce here, and you’ll be thanked for it. Simple start with a melted butter and flour roux and slowly whisk in milk. Simmer until it thickens, add your cheese, stir and remove from heat. It’s super simple and 100x better than whatever it is that comes in that packet.
But of course the key here is in the buffalo sauce. Personally, I’m a fan of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce. That’s not a paid endorsement, that’s what I really like. We’ll pour it both over our chicken and in the cheese sauce itself. Doing it this way delivers buffalo sauce flavor throughout the dish.
Let’s Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
This recipe calls for using pre-cooked chicken. If you have a Costco membership, they sell big packs of rotisserie chicken meat for about $12. That’s what I used here. Obviously, if you don’t have precooked chicken, you can poach a couple of chicken breasts and chop them up. If you’re looking fro something extra indulgent, sub in some Publix Chicken Tenders.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese: The Pasta
So, let’s get one thing straight. Yes, this is called Mac and Cheese. Yes, we’re going to use rotini. Why? Because it’s better. More surface area clings to your cheese sauce. You’ll thank me. To get started, boil your rotini in water with olive oil and kosher salt to al dente, meaning it should have a firm bite. It will cook a little more in the oven in a minute. While pasta is cooking, dice chicken to bite size pieces and toss in 2 tbsp buffalo sauce until well coated.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese: The Sauce
Meanwhile, in small saucepot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in flour and whisk until it turns until a solid roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then gradually add milk. Begin with just a couple of tablespoons, stirring until absorbed into the roux. Add a little more each time, stopping to stir it into the roux between pours. Once all milk is in, cook for about 4-5 minutes until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add in a pinch of sharp cheddar cheese. Whisk in until fully resolved. Repeat with rest of cheese until all cheese is stirred into sauce. Season sauce with salt, pepper and rest of buffalo sauce. Stir well.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese: The Bake
Preheat oven to 400°
Spray a large cast iron pan with nonstick spray. Obviously, a casserole dish would work as well. Add pasta, then pour over cheese sauce along with blue cheese crumbles and stir together well. Add chicken in and stir again until well mixed. Dust top with bread crumbs. Place in oven for 10 minutes, until top begins to brown. Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. Goes nicely with a Caesar salad alongside. Keeps well for up to 5 days as leftovers.
- 1 lb cooked chicken breast
- 8 oz rotini pasta
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce (or other preferred brand)
- plain bread crumbs
- 5 oz sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 3 oz blue cheese crumbles
- Salt and pepper (to taste.)
- Boil water and cook to al dente. Pasta will cook more in oven, so a firm bite is okay.
- Dice chicken into bite sized pieced and place in mixing bowl . Add 2 tbsp buffalo sauce and toss until fully coated. Set aside.
- Melt butter in saucepan.
- Add flour and whisk together to form roux.
- Gradually add milk to roux, starting with just a couple tablespoons at a time, whisking together after each pour. Gradually add more until all sauce is mixed in. Cook for 4-5 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and remainder of buffalo sauce.
Mix and Bake
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Spray large cast iron pan with non-stick spay. Add pasta, cheese sauce and blue cheese crumbles and stir well until all pasta is covered. Add chicken and fold in well. Dust top with bread crumbs.
- Bake at 400° for 10 minutes, until top just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: American