Out. Of. This. World. Creamy, cheesy buffalo chicken mac and cheese made with sharp Cheddar cheeses, crushed Texas toast croutons, shredded rotisserie chicken, and buffalo sauce.
This is adult mac and cheese. We’re blowing Kraft out of the water with fresh sharp Cheddar cheese and buffalo sauce. It’s hearty, delicious, and the ultimate comfort food. Plus… your kids will love it too.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
This is essentially a basic stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe with the addition of buffalo sauce and shredded chicken. It starts with a roux, shredded sharp Cheddar cheeses (it melts like a dream come true), shredded rotisserie chicken (super tender), and fully cooked macaroni elbows. All mixed together in a cast iron skillet and baked topped with extra cheese and crushed garlic butter croutons for a crunch.
I like the addition of chicken, it adds a little protein, but you can absolutely leave it out if you want to simplify the process or skip a run to the grocery store. You can even sub with BACON. Rottisure chicken works the best since it’s so tender and you can shred it up with your fingers. A regular chicken breast will also work, but be sure to shred it well. We’re looking for pulled pork or chicken consistency.
How To Make a Roux
This is technically the “trickiest” part of the recipe. A roux is a thickening agent consisting of melted butter and flour. It helps the cheese sauce yield a creamier texture. I prepare the roux and cheese sauce all in a cast iron skillet. Start by melting butter on low heat and whisking in flour, one tablespoon at a time until a thick paste forms. The key is low heat and constant whisking. You don’t want to burn the flour.
From here we can slowly add warm milk and shredded cheese. The shredded cheese will melt into the roux really quickly. I buy my favorite sharp Cheddar cheeses and shred it myself. It will melt in about 30 seconds as opposed to cubing or slicing.
Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?
I like to use a blend of sharp and mild Cheddar cheeses, plus a more mild Fontina. The cheese pairing is totally up to you, but this is my favorite. Extra sharp white Cheddar with a mild yellow Cheddar for added color. The Fontina is a good base Cheese thanks to its creaminess and mild flavor. Gruyere, Gouda, and Mozzarella are solid choices too.
Bring on the Buffalo Sauce
How much buffalo sauce you use is up to you. I used half a cup for a mild and subtle buffalo kick. It’s prob the most crowd-pleasing amount because it’s not spicy or overpowering. If you’re a buffalo lover or want your Mac and cheese to have a pronounced buffalo taste, I would add 3/4-1 cup of sauce.
I mix the buffalo sauce into the cheese before adding anything else so you can test the sauce for flavor. Start with 1/2 a cup and add more to taste. Thanks to all the cheese, it’s not your typical spicy buffalo kick.Print
- 3 cups elbow macaroni
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1/2–1 cup buffalo sauce
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups warm milk
- 4 ounces, extra sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces, ‘yellow’ sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces, fontina cheese, shredded
- 1 cup croutons, crushed (I like garlic butter)
- Preheat oven to 375 °F.
- Bring a large bot of salted water to a boil. Cook elbows until al dente. Strain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, spray a cast iron skillet liberally with cooking spray. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until incorporated and roux has formed, about 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in warm milk, one cup at a time, whisking out any lumps if they form. Heat until sauce just starts to bubble in the center.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese in a small bowl for step 6. Add half of the remaining cheese to the skillet. Whisk until nearly all is melted, add the other remaining half and whisk until smooth and creamy. Add the buffalo sauce and mix until fully incorporated.
- Stir in cooked elbows and shredded chicken until evenly distributed. Evently top with a layer of the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese and then crushed crutons.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until crutons are golden. Serve immediately.
This recipe calls for roughly 16 ounces of cheese. Your typical block of cheese is 8 ounces. You want roughly 3 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, lightly packed (a little extra is always OK).
Start with half a cup of buffalo sauce and add more to taste.
You can also add a little crumbled blue cheese to the top if you prefer.
Keywords: buffalo mac and cheese, buffalo chicken mac and cheese. skillet mac and cheese