Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Say it with me now.. Buffalo. Chicken. Mac. and Cheese..🤤
Spicy, cheesy and oh-so delicious. This is the ultimate mac & cheese dish- Perfect for any occasion.
My mac & cheese has always been a crowd pleaser, wherever I go. Now that I perfected it by added buffalo chicken to the mix? Game-changer 🙌
The only thing I recommend to you, viewers in this recipe, is to SHRED YOUR OWN CHEESE. Trust me. It makes BIG difference vs. the pre-packaged shredded cheese you buy in the grocery store. However, I totally understand that time is money, and that you may not have time to shred 56 oz of cheese.. So, just take my advice with a grain of salt 🙂.
Recipe below on how to make this delicious buffalo chicken mac & cheese!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Panko/ Parmesan Topping
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
3 TB of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (shredded)
2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of red chili flake
Salt and pepper to taste
Macaroni & The Cheese Sauce
8-10 cups of water, salted (to cook noodles in)
16 oz of pasta (elbow macaroni, cavatappi, cellantani are some of my favorites!)
8 TB of unsalted butter, divided
6 TB of flour
2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
32 oz of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded), divided
16 oz of White Cheddar Cheese (shredded), divided
8 oz of Parmesan Cheese (shredded), divided
1 generous tsp of dijon mustard
1 TB of garlic powder
3 TB of hot sauce or buffalo sauce (I use Cry Baby Craig's in mine)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb of your favorite frozen boneless chicken wings (I use Tyson and airfry them to get them extra crispy!)
1 generous cup of your favorite buffalo sauce (I use Frank's Buffalo)
Scallions for garnish
1/2 lb of thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
extra buffalo sauce to drizzle/finish
In a medium frying pan, bring the 3 TB of butter to medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add the panko bread crumbs and parmesan and stir to combine- making sure the panko and parmesan are mixed thoroughly and coated with the butter.
As the panko mixture begins to toast and brown, add your garlic powder, chili flakes and salt and pepper.
Once the panko mixture has been toasted golden brown, set aside off heat.
Macaroni & Cheese:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a sauce pan, bring water to boil with salt over medium-high heat. Add 16oz of pasta to water once boiling and cook until al dente (this is important as the the rest of the cooking will take place in the oven. Cooking it past al dente will result in a mushy pasta dish). The time varies on cooking the pasta to al dente, however this can be roughly 7-10 minutes. Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking or cooked/drained. Start working on cheese sauce by melting 6 TB of butter in a dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium heat.
Once butter is melted, add flour and begin to whisk constantly, cooking the flour and make a roux. Once roux is made (about 4-6 minutes), begin to add your whole milk/heavy cream about a cup at a time, continuing to whisk.
Reduce heat to medium-low, begin adding cheeses in batches- continuing to whisk- adding til the sauce becomes cohesive and velvety like a cheese sauce should. (NOTE: you'll be reserving about 1 1/2 cups of sharp and white cheddar and about a 1/2 cup or so of parmesan for layering/topping).
While the cheese sauce thickens, add your hot sauce, garlic powder, mustard and salt/pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning and once it's to your liking add your pasta to the mix and combine.
Prepare your frozen boneless chicken wings via oven or air-fryer, as directed on package, cooking until hot and crispy
Chop into bite-size pieces and toss with your favorite buffalo sauce- making sure it's all coated thoroughly!
Set aside to top on mac & cheese once it is done.
Making of the Mac & Cheese:
In a 9x13 baking dish, use the remaining 2 TB of butter and rub all the sides/bottom of dish.
Pour half of the mac & cheese mixture into baking dish, sprinkle half of the reserved sharp, white and parmesan cheese on top, then pour remaining half of mac & cheese on top. Top with remaining cheeses and your panko/parmesan topping.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and get golden-bubbly. Once achieved that golden-bubbly goodness- broil on high for the last 10 minutes. Keep an eye for the last 10 though, making sure the cheese/panko topping doesn't burn.
Top with your buffalo chicken, optional scallions, chopped bacon and extra drizzle of buffalo sauce and enjoy!