This spicy buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe is easy to make and easily feeds a large family. It's delicious with spicy, cheesy, and creamy flavors with a golden breadcrumb crunch on top and ready to serve in just one hour.
⭐ Why this recipe works
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food the whole family will enjoy. It's packed with hearty ingredients like chicken, pasta, and lots of melty cheese to fill you up.
From start to finish, making this indulgent buffalo mac and cheese recipe is a breeze! You only need a saucepan to prepare the mixture and a baking dish to bake it in.
Were adding spice to this mac and cheese with spicy or mild buffalo sauce mixed into the cheese sauce, which has three types of cheese to give it extra layers of gooeyness and a breadcrumb topping for added crunch.
You can't help but love every mouthful of this irresistible buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese recipe, with the immense cheese, pulls, and spicy chicken.
It's a lavish dinner nobody can refuse and it is budget-friendly, as the ingredients are easily affordable for families on a budget.
Check my collection of comforting chicken casserole recipes for more ideas.
🍽 Key Ingredients
This buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe requires no kitchen skills or fancy ingredients, just comforting pantry ingredients.
Chicken - Use cooked and shredded chicken to speed up the prep work. A rotisserie chicken is the best option, but leftover chicken breast from last night's dinner works just as well.
Pasta - The pasta of choice is elbow macaroni as it is the original and best pasta for making mac and cheese recipes.
Dairy - Butter and milk are used to make the roux for the cheese sauce
Cheese - cheddar cheese & jack cheese to give the cheese sauce a rich flavor - and blue cheese crumbles for the breadcrumb topping.
Hot sauce - Use mild or spicy buffalo sauce depending on how hot you want it.
🔪 How to make
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is easy to make and extremely delicious with just a skillet to prepare the mixture and a baking dish to bake it in. Learn how to make it with my step-by-step instructions and helpful top tips.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fait (180 degrees Celsius) and grease a large baking dish.
- Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook macaroni till al dente. Cook around 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain the water from the pasta and place the cooked macaroni in a bowl for later.
- Shred or chop the cooked chicken into pieces.
- Chop the celery into pieces.
- Grate the cheddar and jack cheese ready for mixing into the roux.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and melt it in the microwave. Stir in the bread crumbs, and mix in the celery and blue cheese.
In a medium saucepan or skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and stir in the flour and mustard powder, cooking for about 1 minute until you smell a slightly nutty aroma.
Gently pour the milk into the saucepan bit by bit while whisking it to create a thick white sauce. It takes around 5 to 7 minutes to get the sauce smooth and thick, then remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the hot sauce, jack cheese, and shredded chicken until well combined, then fold in the cheddar cheese and cooked elbow macaroni noodles.
Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the top is nicely golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
💭 Cooking tips
Pasta al dente
This step is essential if you want to avoid overcooked, mushy pasta. The pasta needs to be cooked al dente (slightly crunchy in the middle) because it will continue to cook in the oven for another 40 minutes.
Making the roux
To avoid a lumpy cheese sauce, make sure to constantly whisk the milk into the roux bit by bit to form a smooth white sauce, and do not pour the milk all in at once, or it will become lumpy.
Warm the milk
A great tip for making the roux in double time is to heat the milk before adding it, and It will thicken much quicker also.
📖 Recipe Variations
Mix up the mac and cheese recipe with these three simple and delicious variations.
Bacon mac and cheese
If you love crispy bacon, you will love this variation. Chop 10 slices of bacon into pieces, cook until crispy, remove from the pan, and fold them into the mac and cheese with the cooked pasta. It's spicy, smoky, and creamy.
Cheeseburger mac and cheese
This is one of my favorite mac and cheese variations with succulent ground beef added instead of shredded chicken. It's made with a tomato-based mixture similar to Bolognese and only uses cheddar cheese inside and sprinkled on top for luscious cheese pulls.
Gluten-free chicken mac and cheese
To make this buffalo chicken mac and cheese gluten-free without changing the flavor, simply use a gluten-free flour variant for the sauce and gluten-free panko bread crumbs for the topping.
🥗 What to serve with
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is the perfect family meal on its own or served alongside some of these American-classic dishes.
You can't go wrong with juicy sloppy joes to go with this mouth-watering buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. It's sweet, spicy, rich in flavor, dark color, and only takes 30 minutes to prepare. It's sloppy for a reason and devilishly good!
BBQ pulled chicken sandwich
This homemade bourbon barbecue sauce mixed with rotisserie chicken and stuffed inside fresh Kaiser rolls is what summer is all about. BBQ pulled chicken sandwich is a meat lover's dream, and it pairs rather well with this super cheesy mac recipe.
Bacon cheeseburger meatloaf
If you love bacon cheeseburgers, you will love this meatloaf recipe.
It tastes exactly like a burger but without the bun, and it's baked in the oven on low and formed into a large rectangular shape to keep the cheeseburger meatloaf juicy. It's a brilliant recipe to combine mac and cheese for a big family dinner.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of noodles are used in mac and cheese?
The most common pasta noodle used in mac and cheese is elbow macaroni, but other types like penne, corkscrew, and fusilli are also good for mac and cheese recipes.
🍳 Related Recipes
If you love my buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe. Try one of these fantastic mac and cheese recipes for your next meal.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ Reheating
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is great for making in advance and storing any cooled leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
Fridge - Transfer any leftover buffalo chicken mac and cheese into an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you could cover the baking dish in aluminum foil and place it in the fridge if there is sufficient space available for your baking dish.
Freezer - If you have lots of leftovers, you may want to separate them into individual portions and put them into separate freezer bags for ease of reheating, or you could transfer the lot into an airtight freezer container. It will keep frozen for up to 4 months.
Reheating - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the leftover buffalo chicken macaroni cheese on an oven-proof dish. Cook for 15 minutes for refrigerated leftovers and 25 minutes for frozen.
Alternatively, you could use the microwave for super quick reheating. Reheat in a microwavable bowl at 1-minute intervals until piping hot, stirring the leftovers at each interval.
👪 Serving Size
This buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe will give you 6 generous servings, which is plenty for a large family, or scale the recipe to cater to more people. I usually double the recipe to make 2 and freeze one for the following week.
Leftover buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese tastes even better the next day when the flavors infuse and make great meal prep. It's an easy delicious family meal you can eat all year round that any home cook can make. Let me know what you think in the comments.
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Try one of my comfort dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound pasta - elbow shaped
- 6 tablespoon butter - separated
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 stalks celery - roughly chopped
- ½ cup blue cheese - crumbled
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon mustard - powdered
- 4 cups milk - whole
- ¾ cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1 cup jack cheese - shredded pepper
- 3 cups chicken - cooked and shredded
- 1 pound cheddar cheese - cut into 1 sharp
- Heat the oven to 375°F and grease a large casserole dish.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water to al dente - about 2 minutes less than package directions, then drain.
- Melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a small bowl in the microwave, then stir in the bread crumbs. Mix in the celery, and blue cheese and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and mustard and cook for about 1 minute, or until smooth and thick.
- Whisk in the milk and cook for about 6 - 7 minutes, until thick - stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the hot sauce and jack cheese; add the chicken and mix well, then fold in the cheddar cheese and pasta.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until bubbly.