Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole combines the creamy richness of the cheese and the unexpectedness of the spice. We like this recipe because it adds a twist on the traditional baked mac and cheese. It’ll leave a surprise for the entire family!
We greatly value our casserole recipes, because of how easy they are to make. They are perfect for freezing and are great to reheat or serve as leftovers. Similar casserole recipes include Best Mac and Cheese Casserole, Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole, White Pizza Casserole, and Chicken Hash-brown Casserole.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole harness the power of multiple kinds of cheese, spiced sauce, and chicken to make the perfect family-friendly meal. This is also a great meal to serve at parties considering that the prep time is less than 45 minutes. Like a good traditional baked mac and cheese, it includes parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese.
Make sure that the macaroni is cooked al dente because that will ensure that the pasta is prepared the perfect way so that it’s moist and not over-cooked. The overall look of the dish will be stunning as well, I added crispy bacon on top to make it even better.
This is great for all ages, so if you have guests over it’s the perfect thing to whip up if anyone is hungry! You no longer have to sit and wonder what the perfect dish for a little family gathering is because this is it.
What is buffalo sauce?
Buffalo sauce is most commonly a mixture between melted butter, hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.
What is the best cheese to use for a mac and cheese casserole?
Depending on the types of cheeses you enjoy, a cheese that melts easiest is the best option. I enjoy using cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and parmesan.
They give this dish a nice color and a very rich and creamy texture. If you decide to go with a cheddar type, I recommend going with a medium sharp version. Also, aged cheeses tend to separate when they melt. For that reason, I tend to avoid using the aged version.
How do you make Buffalo mac and cheese?
This is one of the easiest, yet very delicious meal that you can quickly make at home. Please follow the steps below. Also, watch the recipe video attached, and see how simple this recipe is!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a casserole dish.
- Next, cook pasta until just tender. Preferably al dente.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the flour. Stir to combine.
- Then, add the milk and heavy cream. Add seasoning.
- Simmer and add the sour cream, buffalo sauce, and cheddar cheese.
- Add the cooked pasta into it.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
MACARONI AND CHEESE VARIATIONS
This is great comfort food that is super easy to make and can be enjoyed year-round. To rotate from it from time to time, feel free to adjust some of the ingredients. Some of our favorite variations of it are:
- Other proteins: While chicken works great here, you can swap it with other meats. Some great alternatives would be, shrimp or beef.
- Cheese: Alternatively, swap the cheeses from time to time. Gouda, Fontina, or Gruyere, are great as well.
- Add some crunchiness: For a crunchier texture, you can add some panko breadcrumbs on top.
- Use other pasta: This recipe works best with short pasta type, but feel free to go with what you have available. Pretty much any short pasta will work here. For example, use cellentani, macaroni, fusilli, penne or small shells.
How do you keep the chicken moist while cooking it?
Be sure to not over-cook the chicken, it will taste rubbery. The internal temperature of the chicken should be about 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Will the spice overpower the flavors of the chicken and the cheese?
It depends on how you want to make it, but if you stick to the recipe it will be the perfect balance of flavors.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH BAKED MAC AND CHEESE CASSEROLE?
This dish is very versatile, and can be served as it is, or with various pairings. Some suggestions would be:
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Roasted Beef Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef
- Instant Pot Corned Beef
HOW TO FREEZE it:
- To freeze, transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-by-13-inch freezer-to-oven baking dish.
- Then, cover tightly with aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Freeze for up to 6 months.
- Bake, frozen and covered with foil, at 350°F, for 1 hour.
- For the best flavor, go with freshly grated cheese. Also, you can combine a few types for a richer taste.
- As stated above, you can use any short typed pasta. The best fit here would be cavatappi, elbow macaroni, or cellentani.
- Similarly, you can use other meat. For an even quicker assembly, go with leftover or rotisserie chicken.
- Our favorite sauces to use are Frank’s Red Hot and Buffalo Wild Wings. However, you can use whichever sauce you love the most
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hr
- 1 pound elbows macaroni (cooked per box directions, aim for al dente)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 1 lb chicken breast (cut into cubes)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (or light cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup Buffalo sauce
- 4 cups cheddar cheese (freshly grated or buy pre-shredded)
- 10 slices bacon (cooked)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook pasta per box directions, aim for al dente. Drain, but don't rinse, mix with olive oil and set aside.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and once it's hot add the butter. Stir and melt the butter, carefully not to burn it.
Add chicken and cook stirring until golden brown.
Add the flour and whisk until fully combined.
- While still whisking, little by little add the milk, stirring to combine. Take your time and don't rush through this step. Add the cream next.
Add onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Stir over low-medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in Buffalo sauce and sour cream until fully combined. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk or some chicken broth. Taste and adjust the sauce for salt and pepper.
- Remove pan from heat and add the 4 cups of cheddar cheese, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Once the cheese is fully melted, add the cooked macaroni and gently stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Level the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese evenly over the surface and top with chopped cooked bacon if using.
- Bake the casserole uncovered in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve topped with extra bacon and if desired chopped parsley.