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25 September 2020

A recipe for creamy, comforting Buffalo chicken mac and cheese made with cream cheese, pepper jack, chicken, tangy Buffalo sauce and packed with LOADS of flavor. Grab yourself a bowl! I love this dish.

Oh my. Dang.

This. Stuff. ROCKS!

I knew it was going to be good, but seriously. It knocked my socks clean off. I had purchased a bag of orecchiette noodles for the new cookbook I was working on and had some leftover. I rooted around in the fridge to see what sorts of other ingredients I had on hand, wondering what I should make with these fluffy shell shaped noodles.

I came across a package of ground chicken and a container of crumbled blue cheese and the light bulbs started going off. Chicken. Blue cheese. Noodles. Hmmm.

I always have Buffalo sauce on hand, or at least hot sauce, which can easily be combined with a bit of melted butter for a quick homemade Buffalo sauce. So yeah, this recipe was born and even though it was the first time I made it, it has quickly become one of my favorite recipes. Check it out!

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – Recipe

YES!

Come on! Look at this stuff. It’s hard to NOT capture the awesomeness that is this recipe. I probably sound like I am gushing a bit too much, and maybe I am, but hey. Maybe it’s just because I’m hungry right now and wish I had another bowlful. Totally.

Get in my belly, mac and cheese.

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – Recipe

This dish is quite the comfort food, so if you’re expecting a low calorie meal here, sorry (not sorry). It is rather decadent with plenty of cheese – cream cheese and pepper jack to be exact, all swirled up with the hot noodles and cooked chicken.

Let’s talk about how we make Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, shall we?

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 spicy chili peppers, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground chicken (you can use shredded or rotisserie chicken, too)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup Buffalo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked pasta noodles (To al dente. I used orecchiette with 1/4 cup reserved pasta boiling water)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheeses, or more as desired – I often add an extra 1/2 cup or more to make it extra cheesy
  • FOR SERVING: Fresh chopped herbs, crumbled blue cheese

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – the Recipe Method

We start with a flavor base of onion, peppers and garlic cooked down with ground chicken in a pan or large pot. You’re free to use whatever peppers you have a hankering for. Go for habaneros or ghost peppers if you’re looking for HEAT. I used a couple serrano peppers and jalapeno peppers, which are ALWAYS on hand here. 

NOTE: You can use chopped chicken as well if you’d like instead of ground chicken. I like to make this recipe both ways.

Season up the mix with brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, a bit of salt and pepper, then some tomato sauce, Buffalo sauce, a couple tablespoons of ACV. 

Stir and simmer about 5 minutes to bring the flavors together. If your sauce is too thin, cook a bit longer to thicken. You can easily let this simmer and let the flavors develop even more.

Next, add the cream cheese with the reserved pasta water and stir until the cheese is melted through. The pasta water will help everything mix together and get a nice and creamy cheese sauce.

When you swirl the whole thing together, yeah, CREAMY is the optimal word here. Add in extra Buffalo sauce for more of that ZING factor we all crave. I know I do! More for me, please!

Add the cooked noodles and stir.

Stir in the shredded pepper jack cheese a bit at a time until it is melted through. Very easy.

Finally, top the whole thing with fresh herbs for a freshness pop, crumbled blue cheese because blue cheese and Buffalo sauce are best buddies, and spicy chili flakes because “spicy chili flakes”. They make everything shine a little for the tongue. Flavor blast!

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – Recipe

Boom! Done! Easy enough, isn’t it? This is such an easy yet hugely flavorful recipe. It’s perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Or hey, maybe it’s your new go-to special occasion recipe! I would love that.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Extra Creamy Version. Cream cheese really gives this the creaminess you’re looking for, but you can add even more creamy texture by swirling in a bit of sour cream or Mexican crema before serving. Use 1/2 cup or so, or more.
  • The Cheeses. I typically go for pepper jack cheeses, as they have that extra level of spiciness I crave. However, you can use other melty cheeses to your preference. Good options are a sharp cheddar cheese, monterey jack, or colby.
  • Toppings. I like to use fresh chopped herbs, spicy pepper slices, spicy chili flakes and crumbly cheese to top my buffalo chicken mac and cheese, but green onion is a nice addition as well. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Off to make another batch. Let me know how it turns out for you. Send pics! Share on social media! — Mike H.

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – Recipe

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Easy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe

A recipe for creamy, comforting Buffalo chicken mac and cheese made with cream cheese, pepper jack, chicken, tangy Buffalo sauce and packed with LOADS of flavor. Grab yourself a bowl! I love this dish.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 567kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3-4 spicy chili peppers chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup Buffalo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked pasta I used orecchiette with ΒΌ cup reserved pasta boiling water
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or more as desired

FOR SERVING:

  • Fresh herbs
  • Crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 5 minutes to soften them.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring.
  • Add the ground chicken and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the meats are cooked through.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, Buffalo sauce and vinegar. Stir and simmer about 5 minutes to bring the flavors together. If your sauce is too thin, cook a bit longer to thicken. You can easily let this simmer and let the flavors develop even more.
  • Next, add the cream cheese with the reserved pasta boiling water and stir until the cheese is melted through.
  • Add the cooked noodles and stir.
  • Stir in the shredded pepper jack cheese a bit at a time until it is melted through.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh herbs and crumbled blue cheese.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 2572mg | Potassium: 815mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2980IU | Vitamin C: 15.3mg | Calcium: 301mg | Iron: 3.3mg

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/25/20 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 12/8/17.

 
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