Busy nights call for easy to make and delicious meals. This Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe is made with a creamy and zesty buffalo sauce that is ready in just over 30 minutes!
Baked casserole-style with a crispy, crunchy topping, it’s mac and cheesy for the kids with a hearty buffalo chicken twist for the grown-ups. It’s a a restaurant-worthy entree that everyone will love.
Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese
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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Buffalo mac and cheese goes from the pot to the oven to the stove in just over 30 minutes. A pre-cooked and pre-seasoned rotisserie chicken saves prep and cook time and can be used for other dishes.
- If it’s a party, a potluck, or cooking for a crowd, this buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe is an inexpensive and easy timesaver that everyone will love.
- This basic mac and cheese recipe can be reworked in so many ways. Keep the ‘foundation’ recipe on file and make something new every time.
Ingredients and Variations
PASTA: Elbow macaroni is the classic shape for mac and cheese. But any pasta that the cheese can cling to easily is a good choice! Penne, bowtie, shells, or rotini are sturdy enough to hold up to the other ingredients.
CHICKEN: This recipe is perfect for using up leftovers. Other meat ideas are shredded turkey, ground beef or sausage, diced ham, even tuna fish or smoked salmon. Or, go all veggie and switch out the meat for broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, or a frozen vegetable medley mix.
CHEESE SAUCE: Mac and cheese wouldn’t be a family favorite if it wasn’t for a velvety cheese sauce. A basic roux is mixed with Velveeta cheese for a rich base. Stir on a couple of handfuls of your favorite shredded cheddar for extra flavor and cheesy goodness.
BUFFALO HOT SAUCE: This sauce has a bright, tangy, almost spicy taste to it and any brand will do. Add a shot or two of Tabasco for a spicier kick. For Ranch Chicken mac and cheese, stir in a powdered package of Ranch dressing or a bottled version, whatever is on hand. Or mix in some BBQ sauce, honey BBQ, or Mesquite BBQ sauce. Any kind will do!
TOPPING: The best mac and cheese recipes always have a crispy, crunchy topping. Seasoned breadcrumbs are the basic topping, but potato chips, crackers, or French-fried onions will do in a pinch, too. Don’t forget the bacon bits!
Pasta, sauce, chicken, and cheese, and a little bit of prep makes this dish a delicious go-to any day of the week!
- Cook macaroni.
- Prepare the cheese sauce.
- Add sauce, chicken, and macaroni.
- Add to casserole dish & cover with topping.
- Bake as per the recipe below.
What to serve with Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese?
Best Tips and Time Savers!
This casserole is perfect to make and refrigerate up to a day in advance. Then just before baking, add the topping. For an extra crispy topping, place the casserole under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
Freeze leftovers in a zippered bag with the date labeled on the outside for up to 4 weeks. NOTE: Once thawed, the texture of the pasta will be softer.
For the best workday lunches ever, make macaroni bowls by refrigerating leftover buffalo mac and cheese in individual portions to reheat.
Other Easy Pasta Recipes To Try!
- Pasta Primavera Recipe – loaded with veggies!
- Cheesy Ground Beef Pasta – 5 minute prep.
- Nacho Mac N’ Cheese – zesty flavor.
- Sausage and Peppers Pasta – one pot, 30 minute dish.
- Mac And Cheese Hot Dog Casserole – so delicious.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- parsley for garnish
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain well and rinse.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk a little bit at a time until smooth. Simmer until bubbly.
- Add Velveeta and ⅓ cup hot sauce to the milk mixture and whisk until melted and creamy.
- Stir in chicken and cooked elbows.
- Spread into a 2 quart casserole dish and finish with topping (if desired). Bake 18-20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Stir in 3 cups whole milk until smooth and let simmer until thickened and bubbly.
Remove form heat and whisk in 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup buffalo sauce.
- Do not overcook the pasta.
- Use rotisserie chicken and leftover pasta to make this extra fast.
- If you'd like to skip the topping, sprinkle with additional cheddar cheese before baking.
- Diced jalapenos, chopped bacon, or bell peppers can be added.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Recipe adapted from SpendWithPennies