Creamy stovetop Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is an easy weeknight dinner and a game day favorite. Made with spicy buffalo sauce, tender pasta, chicken and 3 kinds of cheese, this recipe is a sure winner!
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Our love and affinity for homemade mac and cheese is pretty evident in lots of recipe around here. There’s Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and mac and cheese made with cauliflower! Then there’s our popular Stovetop Mac and Cheese from which this spicy buffalo mac and cheese was born.
The cheese sauce is simple to make but so rich and creamy. The macaroni pasta is cooked to al dente and the heat from the buffalo sauce is just enough to really spice up a boring weeknight dinner.
It’s ultra creamy and decadent and made with 3 kinds of cheese. From the first bite to the last you’ll be dreaming about a second helping, so you should probably just go ahead make a double batch. Because just like our incredibly popular Crispy Baked Chicken Wings this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is totally addictive.
- I use macaroni, but any kind of small cut pasta can be used, like penne or shells.
- Instead of a basic cheddar cheese sauce, I add cream cheese and mozzarella to make it extra creamy. It also helps to keep the sauce from separating. However if you’re a purist you can stick to all cheddar and skip the cream cheese.
- There is a generous amount of heat in this recipe, but that can be tamed by adding less. You can also add more to amp up the spice level if you like. I recommend a taste test before you add more.
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is best served immediately. For parties you could set a slow cooker to warm and serve it that way.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep in mind that the longer it sits, the spicier it will get.
- Mix in some Ranch dressing or blue cheese crumbles to cool things down a bit.
This dish is pretty hefty, so a couple of light sides are really all you need. A crisp wedge salad or some Roasted Broccoli are my favorites. This is also an excellent game day recipe, so serve it on an your snack foods table next to some Stuffed Mushrooms and a pan of Loaded Chicken Nachos.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
Having leftovers is a wonderful thing, especially when you get a serious comfort food craving late at night. But reheating mac and cheese can be tricky, so I’ve got a couple of tips.
- Low and slow. Whether you are reheating macaroni and cheese on the stovetop or in the microwave, do so on a very low heat setting and take your time. This will allow the cheese sauce to come up to temperature slowly and will prevent the sauce from separating into a greasy, clumpy mess.
- Add liquid. One of the biggest reasons cheese sauce separates during reheating is because it’s dry. Adding a bit of liquid will keep the sauce smooth as it heats. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, half and half or heavy cream to keep the cheese sauce luscious and creamy. Your Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese will thank you!
More cheesy recipes to try:
Love that Buffalo?
Buffalo Chicken Mac and cheese
- 1/2 pound small pasta like shells or elbow macaroni about 2 ½ cups dry or half a box
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups nonfat milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup freshly grated Mozzarella cheese
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup buffalo sauce more or less depending on taste
- 2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken breast
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil 4-6 quarts of water in a large pot. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt and pour in uncooked pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package directions.
- Drain pasta into a large colander and set aside.
- Add butter to the pot over medium-low heat and melt. Stir in flour and cook for several minutes, stirring often, until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, pour milk and cream into a microwave safe glass bowl and heat for 2 minutes. (Alternatively, heat milk in a small saucepan on the stove until hot, not boiling). Pour milk/cream mixture into the flour mixture and stir often, bringing to a simmer while it thickens. You will know it's done when the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
- Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper and dry mustard. Remove from heat and add cheeses, stirring constantly until completely melted.
- Stir pasta and chicken into the buffalo cheese sauce. Divide into bowls and serve hot.
- If desired, garnish with blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with ranch dressing.