This Buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe is so comforting with tender shredded chicken tossed with tangy Buffalo sauce and a creamy cheese sauce made with cream cheese and melty cheddar. Every bite is packed with flavor.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Who's up for a delicious, comforting bowl of Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese? I know I am.
Macaroni and cheese is always on the menu when you think of your favorite comfort food, but when you combine it with spicy, tangy Buffalo sauce, you take it to a whole new level of flavor.
What You'll Love About This Dish
- My recipe uses my homemade Buffalo sauce that is nice and tangy, and just the right about of "spicy", though it's easily adjustable to your personal palate. You can also use your favorite brand!
- I include a few extra ingredients and spices to make this the best Buffalo chicken mac and cheese out there, better than all the rest.
- I use 4 different types of cheese for intense and satisfying flavor, including cream cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, and pepperjack. You'll love it!
Let's talk about how we make Buffalo chicken mac and cheese, shall we?
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients
The full recipe with measurements is listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Dry Elbow Macaroni Noodles. Or use your favorite noodles, like cavatapi.
- Butter and Flour. To make a roux.
- Jalapeno Peppers. Optional, for a spicier version and extra flavor.
- Tomato Paste.
- Spices. Paprika, garlic powder, cayenne (for extra spicy), ground mustard, and salt and black pepper.
- Cheeses. I use cream cheese, pepperjack cheese, cheddar cheese, and crumbled blue cheese.
- Sour Cream. Or use Mexican crema, which I prefer. Use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
- Buffalo Sauce.
- Cooked Shredded Chicken. Save yourself time by using prepared rotisserie chicken, or simple shredded chicken breasts or thighs.
- For Serving. Crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese dressing, fresh chopped parsley, red pepper flakes
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese - the Recipe Method
Prep the Noodles. Prepare your macaroni noodles by boiling them in lightly salted water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Make the Roux. While the noodles are boiling, melt the butter in a large pot to medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flour.
Making a roux adds extra creaminess to the dish, and will allow the cheese to melt properly through later.
Jalapeno Peppers. Add the jalapeno peppers, if using, and cook for 3 minutes to soften up the peppers. I love adding peppers to my mac and cheese not only for the spice factor, but for the flavor boost.
Tomato Paste. Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings and cook for 1 minute.
Add the Milk. Slowly pour in the milk (be careful of splatter). Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to simmer. Stir until smooth. What you have at this is point is called a béchamel sauce.
Stir in the Cheeses. Stir in the cream cheese until melted through. Stir in the shredded cheeses a bit at a time until melted through and the sauce is nice and creamy.
Feel free to add in crumbled blue cheese at this point as well for extra blue cheese flavor.
Stir in the Rest. Stir in the buffalo sauce, shredded chicken, sour cream, and noodles until well combines. Serve!
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
- 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 Monterey jack, colby, or a Mexican cheese blend.
- Crispy Buffalo Mac and Cheese. For a crispy topped version, add your mac and cheese to a baking dish and top it with bread crumbs or panko, then bake until golden. Super easy!
Storage & Leftovers
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Warm gently on the stovetop or in the microwave to enjoy again. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for 3 months or longer.
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.
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.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni noodles (or use your favorite noodles, like cavatapi)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped (optional, for a spicier version)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional, for extra spicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (or use mozzarella)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or use Mexican crema)
- 1 cup Buffalo sauce
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken (or use cooked chopped chicken)
- For Serving: Crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese dressing, fresh chopped parsley, red pepper flakes
- Prepare your macaroni noodles by boiling them in lightly salted water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- While the noodles are boiling, heat the butter in a large pot to medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flour.
- Add the jalapeno peppers and cook for 3 minutes to soften up the peppers.
- Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly pour in the milk (be careful of splatter). Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to simmer. Stir until smooth.
- Stir in the cream cheese until melted through.
- Stir in the shredded cheeses a bit at a time until melted through and the sauce is nice and creamy.
- Stir in the buffalo sauce, shredded chicken, sour cream, and noodles until well combines. Serve!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/29/23 to include new information and photos. It was originally published on 12/8/17.