Calling all buffalo chicken lovers! Creamy, spicy and hearty, Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Macaroni is a satisfying version of macaroni and cheese that’s delightful on cold days. Or anytime you’re craving the combination of buffalo sauce, chicken and cheddar cheese sauce.
It became a guilty pleasure last winter. A local restaurant specializing in wings had a creamy, slightly spicy, totally rich and delightful buffalo chicken mac and cheese. It was the perfect foil to the frigid, icy, snowy days of our Maine winter. So, despite the temperatures and weather, my colleagues and I would trek over there a little more often than I should admit to get our zesty fix.
A good, cheesy pasta with lots of flavor is so delightful on the coldest days. It’s comfort food with flare and attitude.
Naturally, I wanted to include an easy version in my latest cookbook, One-Pot Pasta. It is, after all, a favorite flavor combination of mine.
Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Macaroni is delightful. The cheese and dairy in this pasta mellows the spiciness of the buffalo sauce while leaving it perfectly zesty. And the breaded chicken is a wonderful compliment to the sauce. My kids, who aren’t wild about spiciness like I am, adore this recipe. Both loved taking the leftovers to school.
When I serve this, I take a cue from how my local wing place serves wings and add a little blue cheese and chopped celery to the top. It takes this recipe completely over the top amazing.
Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Macaroni
- 1 lb boneless chicken , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz dried elbow macaroni or small shells
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup cheddar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- ¼ cup buffalo sauce
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
- 1 rib celery , chopped (optional)
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, cornstarch and breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken, discarding any excess breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until browned and cooked through – about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
- Add the pasta, water, milk, cheese, dried mustard and salt to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pasta is tender. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the chicken and the buffalo sauce. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with a sprinkling of crumbled blue cheese and chopped celery, if desired.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.