One way to jazz up traditional mac n’ cheese is by adding a little heat. This buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese is exactly what you need to spice up your weeknight routine. Ready in 40 minutes, this is one of those recipes the entire family will love. It’s creamy, spicy and perfectly cheesy. What more can you ask for from a pasta dish? 

buffalo chicken mac n' cheese - healthyish foods

For this buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese recipe, I made my traditional cheese sauce but kicked it up a notch by combining it with Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Add in the juicy shredded chicken and tender jumbo shell pasta, and this recipe is a home-run. As a fun alternative, try using Delallo Food’s shellbow pasta.

buffalo chicken mac n' cheese - healthyish foods

What’s great, is that you can get creative with this recipe too. Add black beans, whole kernel corn, and tortilla strips for a Southwest flare. Or you can go with a fun “game day” theme and drizzle some of your favorite ranch dressing or blue cheese crumbles over the top. This would give you a deconstructed hot wing vibe, which is never a bad idea.

No matter how you dress it, this recipe is so delicious and easy to make. The entire dish takes under 40 minutes.

buffalo chicken mac n' cheese - healthyish foods

If you’re looking for more mac n’ cheese recipes try my baked mac n’ cheese with roasted tomatoes,or my pumpkin mac n’ cheese. Another great one is my stovetop taco mac n’ cheese. They are all so delicious and fun!

buffalo chicken mac n' cheese - healthyish foods

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Mac n’ Cheese

5 from 2 votes
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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces jumbo shell pasta – I get mine from Delallo Foods, you can also use 8 ounces of shellbows
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, about 2 breasts

Cheese sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons ap flour , all purpose
  • 1.5 cups 2% milk
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, 2 of the mini blocks cut into smaller pieces
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup pasta water, to thin the sauce
  • ¼ cup Frank's red hot sauce

Optional toppings:

  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Equipment

  • pasta pot
  • 11-inch oven safe saucepan
  • skillet for the chicken breasts
  • colander to drain the pasta

Instructions 

Prepare the pasta:

  • Boil a pot of water and cook the jumbo shell pasta according to the package. (al dente preferred) Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water.
  • Drain the noodles in a colander and set them aside.

Prepare the chicken breasts:

  • In a medium-sized 11-inch skillet sprayed with cooking spray, begin to cook your chicken breasts over medium heat. My chicken breasts took 6-7 minutes on each side, but thicker chicken breasts may take longer in the pan.
    I suggest butterflying large chicken breasts. Which means cutting them down the center using a knife. This will decrease the cooking time drastically.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked through, you can shred it using two forks. Set the shredded chicken aside.

Prepare the sauce:

  • In an oven safe saucepan, add the butter and ap flour over medium/low heat to form a roux.
  • Once the roux begins to bubble, slowly add the milk to form a béchamel sauce. Use a whisk to incorporate the flour mixture into the milk.
  • Once all of the milk is added, and the sauce is smooth and creamy you will begin to add the Velveeta and mozzarella cheese. I cut the Velveeta cheese into smaller chunks so it melts faster. Stir until well combined.
  • Next, you’ll add the hot sauce and stir until it is well combined. Reduce the heat on the sauce.
  • Once the spicy cheese sauce is ready, add the cooked pasta. Toss well. Slowly add the pasta water. It will help thin out the cheese sauce. Use as much pasta water as needed.
    Next, add the shredded chicken on top.
  • Serve hot from the stovetop and enjoy!