Jamaican Food Recipes

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe – Decadent cheese sauce smothering soul-satisfying macaroni is pure comfort food. Add spicy Buffalo chicken to the mix, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Besides being straightforward, you can have dinner ready in less than an hour.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese fresh from the oven and ready to serve

I was randomly reading through some Frank’s Hot Sauce recipes and saw Buffalo mac and cheese. It sounded so tempting. And what a fantastic way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken.

Of course, I wanted to surprise my boys with something special on game day. But this is amazing any day of the year. When I pulled this deliciousness out of the oven, all attention was on dinner; forget the game.😍 They have since requested this delectable Buffalo chicken mac and cheese several times.

Serving up creamy, cheesy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

What Is Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese?

Could the classic Southern mac and cheese recipe get any better? Actually, add in some chicken and Buffalo wing sauce, and you’ve got a mac and cheese dish you won’t forget.

Franks RedHot sauce is the prime ingredient in Buffalo wings, invented in Buffalo, NY (and so the name). Fried wings smothered in hot sauce and butter and dipped in a creamy blue cheese dressing are an amazing combination. Add those elements to mac and cheese, and you’ve just created an unforgettable flavor explosion.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
  1. Chicken – Cooked and chopped chicken adds satisfying protein. And this is the perfect opportunity to use leftovers or pick up a quick rotisserie chicken on the way home.
  2. Macaroni – Small elbow macaroni noodles work great, but you can use whatever you have on hand. I’ve even made baked spaghetti with this recipe.
  3. Sauce – Flour, butter, and milk create the ideal sauce base for a creamy mac and cheese recipe!
  4. Seasonings – Creole seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder amp up the flavor factor without overwhelming it.
  5. Sauces – Homemade hot sauce or store-bought both work great.
  6. Cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese and mozzarella were my picks this time, but you can use pepper jack cheese. Provolone, gouda, fontina, and parmesan all sound good too.
  7. Sour Cream – This one adds creamy tartness to complement the hot sauce. Feel free to use blue cheese dressing instead.
  8. Garnish – Not only are green onions a gorgeous garnish, but they also taste great.

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Make the sauce and add the heat
  • Prepare Macaroni – Cook macaroni according to the package directions, drain, and set aside until ready.
  • The Roux – Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. As soon as your butter melts, whisk in flour until thoroughly mixed with the butter. Then, cook the roux for about a minute to eliminate the flour taste. (Photo 1)
  • Sauce Base – Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking, making sure the mixture doesn’t get any lumps. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until it thickens slightly.
  • Season – Add the Creole seasonings, onion powder, and garlic powder, and mix well. Then add the Buffalo and hot sauce and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. (Photos 2-3)
Assemble the decadence and put it in the oven
  • Add Cheese – Reduce heat to low, stir in the sour cream and cheese (reserving about a handful as toppings), and continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce is creamy and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.  (Photos 4-5)
  • Assemble – Finally, add the cooked pasta and chicken to the pot and stir to incorporate evenly—top with the remaining cheese and, if desired, some Italian bread crumbs. (Photos 6-7)
  • Bake – Bake at 375F°/190℃ for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and the top is slightly golden. (Photo 8)
  • Serve – Garnish with green onion, serve, and enjoy.
Serving up steaming hot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with Frank's RedHot on the side

Recipe Variations

  1. Beefy Mac and Cheese: Replace the chicken with ground beef or leftover diced brisket.
  2. Buffalo Turkey Mac and Cheese: I know Buffalo sauce goes with chicken, but have you ever tried it with turkey? Besides, the next time the holidays roll around, you’ll be glad to have this recipe for leftover roast turkey.
  3. Gluten-Free: Yes, you can use gluten-free all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce and gluten-free macaroni. However, you can also replace the macaroni with steamed cauliflower chopped into macaroni-size pieces.
  4. Topping Extras: Crumbled bacon is a great addition. And mixing some Panko breadcrumbs with melted butter also goes great on top.
  5. Go Meatless: You can omit the chicken for a vegetarian version.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Shredding your own cheese is better for mac and cheese because the anti-caking additives change the cheese’s texture. They also keep it from melting as well for a smooth, creamy cheese sauce.
  2. Take your pasta off the heat and drain it right when it reaches al dente. Even if it’s slightly before that, it will finish cooking in the oven. It’s better to slightly undercook your pasta than overcook it for mac and cheese.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Yes, this is the perfect make-ahead recipe. Follow the instructions until baking, cover, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake. Simply remove the covering and bake until the top is slightly golden and heated through. And yes, you can put it frozen in the oven and bake it at 400℉ (205℃) for an hour or until bubbly.

A tempting bowl of Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese drizzled with blue cheese dressing and hot sauce with celery and carrot sticks on the side

Serving and Storage Instructions

Let it rest for about 10 minutes and serve hot. Be careful not to burn your mouth. 😉

This is an excellent opportunity to double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. Or you can reheat them the next day. They last 3-5 days in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.

Reheat it in a 350℉/177℃ oven or nuke it in the microwave. And yes, you can reheat frozen mac and cheese just fine. It will take about twice as long as thawed.

FAQs

What cheese is good with Buffalo chicken mac and cheese?

Buffalo hot sauce pairs perfectly with almost any cheese. Of course, blue cheese or Roquefort is always a good choice, but Monterey jack, sharp cheddar, cream cheese, mozzarella, Gruyere, Gouda, you name it.

Can you bake frozen mac and cheese?

Absolutely. Put your frozen mac and cheese in the oven, then heat it to 400℉ (205℃) and bake it for about an hour. It does take longer because it’s frozen, but it’s a fair price to pay when you forget to thaw it.

How do I make DIY Buffalo wing sauce?

It’s super easy! Take about a cup of hot sauce, ¾ cup of melted butter (unsalted), and half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and stir well. Done.

What to Serve With Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Oh, my! First off is some blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, and celery sticks. Then Southern sweet tea for a refreshing drink, and a buttermilk pound cake to top it all off. If you want more veggies, throw an easy coleslaw together.

More Soul-Satisfying Mac and Cheese Recipes

  1. Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
  2. Smokey Mac and Cheese
  3. Lobster Mac and Cheese
  4. Bacon Mac and Cheese
  5. Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Conclusion

If you’re a mac and cheese fanatic, this simple and quick Buffalo chicken mac and cheese is for you. Have you tried the recipe? Post your pics on Pinterest. 😍

Watch How to Make It

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe

Decadent cheese sauce smothering soul-satisfying macaroni is pure comfort food. Add spicy Buffalo chicken to the mix, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Besides being straightforward, you can have dinner ready in less than an hour.