Buffalo chicken is a HUGE staple in our household. One of our favorite ways to eat it is cooked with some homemade macaroni and cheese. Think about it- Ooey, gooey cheese with that little spice kick in the end from the buffalo sauce- SO GOOD! Seriously, this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe is easily one of the best! Oh, and it’s even lightened-up. You’re welcome!
A couple of weeks ago, I made my famous Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken. It is honestly one of the best buffalo chicken recipes I have ever made! Not to mention, it’s super easy to make!
However, when I make a batch of this recipe in the slow cooker, it makes a ton and unless you are feeding a huge crowd there are going to be lots of leftovers. Good thing this recipe freezes great for future dinners – just make sure to freeze in 1 -2 cup portions so you don’t have a large chunk of shredded chicken to chisel apart!
Believe it or not – even though I am a born and raised Buffalo girl – I never tried buffalo chicken mac and cheese before this.
Yup, it is true.
So, tonight I decided to take out one of the shredded buffalo chicken portions from the freezer and use it in a delicious, comforting homemade mac and cheese. I’m really excited!
How I Lightened Up This Buffalo Mac And Cheese Recipe
When I originally was putting this recipe together, I immediately noticed how much fat and calories went into the dish and knew that I would need to find a way to make it healthier and lightened up to fit into my menu plan.
I kept this recipe super simple and as healthy as possible using whole wheat pasta, shredded cheddar, a little romano, chicken stock, 1% milk, hot sauce, and of course some shredded buffalo chicken breast.
It was so incredibly delicious! Everything you would imagine this recipe to be – comforting, satisfying, tasty, and borderline addicting.
In fact, you really need to be careful because it can be easy to eat way more than 1 portion of this mac n cheese. It is helpful to make a side salad or roasted vegetables to go along with it. I love roasted asparagus with this recipe.
Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese
Okay, I can’t wait any longer. Let’s make this macaroni and cheese!
For this recipe, here are the ingredients you will need:
- Whole wheat shell noodles (cooked al dente)
- Chicken stock
- 1% milk
- Granulated garlic
- Onion powder
- Hot sauce
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Grated romano (or parmesan)
- Shredded buffalo chicken (check out my slow cooker recipe!)
- Panko bread crumbs
How To Make Homemade Mac and Cheese With Buffalo Chicken
I would recommend that you cook the shredded buffalo chicken and the whole wheat pasta ahead of time so they’re ready to go when you are in the mood for the dish.
While the oven is preheating to 350 degrees, it is time to make the roux that we will use to thicken up the cheese sauce for the pasta dish.
In a medium to large pot, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour until it thickens into a roux. This only takes about 1-2 minutes. Then whisk in the chicken and stock consistently until the roux is completely dissolved. Cook until it’s bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. This could take a little longer just keep an eye on it and when it starts to boil (but not a roaring boil) then add the other ingredients.
After it starts to boil. stir in the granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and hot sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce is hot, steamy, and starting to bubble. It will be getting a little thick at this point.
At this point remove the pot from the heat and stir in both cheeses. Stir together until it’s smooth, and then stir in the shredded chicken. Give it a few stirs until the shredded chicken is evenly distributed among the sauce.
Time to Put The Whole Dish Together!
Pour the cooked pasta into an 9 x 13 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Add the buffalo chicken sauce in with the pasta and mix everything together. You can also do this in a separate bowl before adding it to the baking pan, but I’m always trying to minimize the number of dishes I have to wash!
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and then cook for another 10 minutes or until bubbly.
Let sit for 3 minutes or so, and then serve it up with a side of Caesar salad or roasted broccoli.
Make This Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
The chicken for this recipe can be (and should be) made ahead of time and frozen to save you time when you need a quick dinner. Or, you can make the entire mac and cheese recipe ahead of time and freeze it in portions.
You can also assemble and freeze all the ingredients individually before baking. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator then proceed with cooking instructions!
More Buffalo Chicken Recipes
Now that you’ve made this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, you’re probably wondering what else you can make with leftover buffalo chicken… no worries friend. I got you covered! Check out some of my other buffalo chicken recipes you can make with this slow cooker recipe:
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili
- Buffalo Chicken Subs
- Creamy Dip With Buffalo Chicken
- Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf
- Quick Mason Jar Salad With Buffalo Chicken
The next time you are looking for a homemade comfort dish, look no further. This Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is the perfect healthy dish to serve up for a quick meal or on game day! Share a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you decide to make this!
- 1lb package whole grain pasta shells (Delallo is my favorite), cooked very al Dente
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 cups 1% or 2% milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ cup hot sauce (Frank's is the best)
- 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Grated romano (or parmesan)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ - 2 cups Shredded buffalo chicken (use this slow cooker recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a medium to large pot, over medium heat, cook the butter until melted and then whisk in the flour until pasty, about 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and milk.
- Cook over medium high heat until bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Whisk as it cooks to keep milk from burning to the bottom of the pan
- Whisk in granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and hot sauce. Cook until hot and just starting to bubble, not boiling though.
- Remove from heat and stir in both cheeses. Stir until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the shredded chicken.
- Taste for salt.
- Place pasta in an 9 x 13 baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- Pour Buffalo chicken sauce over pasta and then stir until it is all evenly coated.
- Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and then let it sit for about 5 minutes and serve hot.
The chicken for this recipe can be make ahead of time and frozen. Or you can make entire recipe ahead of time and freeze in portions. Or you can assemble and freeze before baking. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator then proceed with cooking instructions.