This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is made with a homemade cheese sauce and the best kick of spicy buffalo flavor! This seriously satisfying mac and cheese is a stunner at every potluck and party it’s served at. It’s decadently cheesy, has the best bold buffalo flavor, and it packed with the perfect amount of tender chicken!
Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is one of those things you see on a bar menu and think, yes, this is exactly what my body and soul need right now! Well, no need to head to your local hangout spot – you can make the BEST buffalo mac and cheese with chicken in the comfort of your own home! It’s ideal for serving at parties, potlucks, or any other gathering you have planned that includes friends and good times.
There’s a whole lot to love about this baked mac and cheese recipe. It’s got just the right chicken to noodle ratio and the spicy cheese sauce really holds it all together in the most incredible way. Bite after bite of this spicy buffalo mac and cheese with chicken may have you reaching for your drink, but you’ll love the flavor-packed heat and the creamy, cheesy goodness that comes with classic mac and cheese!
Why You’ll Love This
- It’s homemade. Throw away that boxed mac and cheese! While that stuff is a childhood staple for many of us, let’s leave it where it belongs – in the past. Homemade mac and cheese is the real deal and so worth the added effort!
- Spicy, but not too spicy. Frank’s buffalo sauce lends just the right kick of spiciness and tang to this mac and cheese recipe. It’s boldly buffalo, but not so spicy that you’ll be breaking a sweat. If you really wanna turn up the heat, you may even consider sprinkling some more on top of your serving.
- Always a crowd-pleaser. I can’t think of a place or time where this mac and cheese wouldn’t be loved. Everyone loves mac and cheese, and just about everyone I know loves buffalo! When you combine those two beloved things with chicken, it really seals the delicious deal.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make buffalo chicken mac and cheese. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Shredded chicken
- Frank’s hot buffalo sauce
- Dry mustard powder
- Heavy cream
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Pepperjack cheese
- Sour cream
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Crumbled blue cheese
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Here is a general overview of the steps involved to make buffalo mac and cheese with chicken. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Cook the pasta. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the macaroni noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the chicken. Melt some butter in a skillet and add the chicken and garlic. Cook for just a few minutes, then stir in some hot sauce and mix to combine. Set the chicken mixture aside in a bowl and return the skillet to the heat (be sure to rinse it or wipe it out quickly).
Make the cheese sauce. Melt some butter in a skillet, then whisk in the flour and mustard powder. Whisk in the milk and cream, then the remaining hot sauce until the mixture is thick. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses until smooth, then whisk in the sour cream.
Assemble the mac and cheese. Spread half of the noodles at the bottom of your baking dish and top with the buffalo chicken mixture. Top that off with the remaining noodles, then smother it all in cheese sauce. Sprinkle buttered panko bread crumbs and bleu cheese all over the top.
Bake. Bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
Here are just a few ways you can customize your buffalo chicken mac and cheese!
- Make it spicier. If the Frank’s hot buffalo sauce isn’t cutting it, you can always use a hotter hot sauce! Also, feel free to top off your individual serving with more hot sauce to really hit the spot.
- Omit the chicken. Maybe you’re a vegetarian or maybe you’re just not in the mood for chicken. Either way, this mac and cheese recipe is still tasty with or without the added protein.
- Change up the cheeses. While I love the cheeses used in this recipe, feel free to change it up if you’d like. I like sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese and the pepper jack gives this dish an extra kick. However, colby jack would be a great replacement or even shredded smoked gouda.
Tips for Success
Mac and cheese is pretty standard and while I’m sure you’ll have no problems making this, I always like having a few tips and tricks to help you make the best spicy buffalo chicken mac and cheese!
- Use a rotisserie chicken. Shredding some rotisserie chicken meat is such an easy and time saving way to prepare the chicken! That way you don’t have to actually cook it yourself.
- Use whole milk and heavy cream. Trying to substitute these two ingredients with anything else will likely leave you with a cheese sauce that’s not nearly as thick and creamy as you’d like it to be.
- Shred your own cheese. It goes without saying that shredding your own cheese from a block is far superior than buying a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Yes, much easier to buy pre-shredded but the coating they put on them to prevent sticking really makes the cheese sauce grainy. When you shred your own cheese, the cheese sauce is so smooth and luxe.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or right back in the oven until warmed all the way through.
What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
This mac and cheese can stand on its own as a party food or dinner entree! However, you know I can’t throw a dinner party or serve dinner without extra side dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Salad or vegetables. Combat the heaviness of this mac and cheese with some greens and veggie! Roasted Parmesan Carrots, Quick Basic Chopped Salad, Air Fryer Smashed Brussels Sprouts, and Roasted Cauliflower would all be great additions!
- BBQ. A classic side dish to BBQ is mac and cheese so naturally, I’d suggest it! Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich or Basic BBQ Grilled Chicken are always a good idea. Since they’re already protein-filled, you could omit the chicken in this buffalo chicken mac and cheese.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 3 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, divided
- Salt, to taste
- ½ pound (227 g) elbow macaroni
- 1 ½ cups (210 g) shredded chicken, I used a rotisserie chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup (178 ml) Frank's hot buffalo sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 cup (237 ml) milk, I used 2%
- ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cup (141 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup (113 g) pepper jack cheese, shredded
- ⅓ cup (77 g) sour cream
- ½ cup (30 g) panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup (68 g) crumbled bleu cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and grease a large casserole dish.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tbsp. (14g) of butter and stir in the chicken and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes then add 1/4 cup of the hot sauce and mix it all together until well combined. Put the chicken mixture in a bowl and set aside. Quickly rinse out your skillet and return to stove.
- Melt 1 tbsp. (14g) butter in the skillet over medium heat and whisk in the flour and mustard powder until smooth. Then whisk in the milk and cream and add the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce and stir until thick. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheese until melted and smooth then whisk in the sour cream until all combined.
- In the prepared baking dish, spread half of the macaroni in the bottom of the dish then top with the buffalo chicken mixture and then the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.
- Put the remaining 1 tbsp. (14g) of butter in a small bowl in the microwave to melt. Stir in the panko and bleu cheese then sprinkle over the macaroni.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
Photographs by Eat Love Eat