Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Fall is officially here along with my favorite weather, sweaters and jeans, cider and donuts, better hair days thanks to less humidity and of course comfort food like big pots of soup, creamy mashed potatoes with savory gravy and my personal fave, mac and cheese. Last week Caprese Sliders were born out of two summer delights, the grilled burger and a Caprese salad. This week I combined two foods I never, ever say no to: buffalo chicken and macaroni and cheese and together they became Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. This dish. . .oh man. . .elbow macaroni and chicken in a creamy, cheesy, spicy buffalo sauce topped with blue cheese and bacon ~ yes bacon too! ~ and Pankow breadcrumbs for a little toasted crunch. . .
Do you swoon for mac and cheese like I do? If it’s on the menu, it’s almost guaranteed I’ll order it ~ even the stuff in the blue box makes my heart beat a little faster. Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is Show Stopping with a capital ‘S’. Make it for your family, make it for a football get-together, make it for a friend, make it for yourself. Just make it. Oh ~ if you’re serving a crowd, make lots because this stuff disappears faster than a kid chasing an ice cream truck.
Did you see my Chicken Kale Pasta recipe? It’s a healthier pasta dish packed with 7 superfoods and whole wheat pasta and is delicious, but this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is the other end of the spectrum, so get out your comfy pants because Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese does not hold back. At all. Not even a little bit.
Okay, here’s the grocery list:
3 cups of dry elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons of butter, divided
1/2 cup of onion, diced
8 ounces of cream cheese, cubed
1 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup of full fat sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons of dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken (cook your own, leftover or rotisserie)
1 cup of Frank’s buffalo sauce
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of blue cheese (or more to taste)
1/2 cup of Pankow breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of REAL bacon bits (or more to taste)
Bring a pot of water to a boil and let’s talk salt.
It’s important to salt water you’re cooking pasta in to give it flavor. Wait until the water comes to a boil then generously add salt. Some say the water should almost taste like the ocean.
Add about 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water and cook the macaroni slightly less than al dente, then drain and reserve. Because we’re also baking this dish, the pasta should be a bit undercooked so it doesn’t get mushy in the baking process.
While the pasta is cooking, gather your ingredients and grate
some lots of cheese.
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, drop in the onions, lightly season with salt and pepper and sauté about 2-3 minutes or until the onions have softened. Lower the heat and add the cubed cream cheese, buffalo sauce and milk, whisking to combine. Sprinkle in the dry mustard and nutmeg, combining. Fold in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses along with the sour cream and last, the shredded chicken.
When the above ⇑ is completely blended, drop the drained pasta into the pot and combine.
Grease a baking dish with the remaining one tablespoon of butter. I’ve shown a couple of baking dish options ~ about a 2 quart size or this also makes a great appetizer in individual containers. Pour the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese to the prepared baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, crumbled blue cheese and bacon bits. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- 3 cups of elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 3 tablespoons of butter, divided
- 1/2 cup of onion, chopped
- 8 ounces of cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 3/4 cup of sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 2 cups of cooked chicken, finely chopped or shredded (cook your own or rotisserie works well too)
- 1 cup of Frank’s buffalo sauce
- 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup of pepperjack cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup of blue cheese (or more to taste)
- 1/2 cup of Pankow breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup of REAL bacon bits.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Generously season the water with salt (about 1 tablespoon) and cook the macaroni slightly less than al dente.
- Drain and reserve the pasta (you’ll be baking this dish, so the pasta should be a bit undercooked otherwise it will become mushy in the baking process).
- In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons of butter, drop in the onions and lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Sauté 2-3 minutes or until the onions have softened.
- Lower the heat and add the cubed cream cheese, dry mustard, nutmeg, buffalo sauce and milk, whisking to combine.
- Sprinkle in the grated sharp cheddar and pepperjack cheeses along with the sour cream.
- When the cheeses are melted, fold in the shredded chicken, stirring to coat.
- After the buffalo sauce is blended, add the pasta gently stirring to combine.
- Grease a baking dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Transfer the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese into it, top with breadcrumbs, crumbled blue cheese and bacon bits.
- Bake at 375 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
- Serve right away.
- Optional: bake in mini dishes and serve as appetizers!