Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese

Last updated: June 6th, 2024

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This indulgent buffalo chicken mac n cheese recipe makes enough to feed a crowd – it’s the perfect potluck party dish or comfort food dinner!

A bowl of buffalo chicken mac n cheese with a side of bread.

For most people, the Fourth of July conjures up images of burgers, hot dogs, and backyard cookouts. But there are two other party staples that deserve to not be left behind on this special day of food, because there’s nothing more American than buffalo chicken and mac n cheese. Combined into one ooey-gooey, spicy dish, this creamy buffalo chicken mac n cheese is a total crowd-pleaser!

Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese Ingredients

To make the perfect crowd-pleasing buffalo chicken mac n cheese, you’ll need all the components to make crispy buffalo chicken nuggets and a creamy mac n cheese.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the buffalo chicken:

  • Chicken breast
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Ground red cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • Light ranch dressing

Small, bite-sized pieces of crispy, spicy buffalo chicken allow the flavors and textures to really stand out against the gooey, creamy cheese. We’ll show you how to air fry some crispy chicken nuggets and toss them in our special buffalo sauce for this recipe.

A bowl of buffalo chicken mac n cheese.

For the mac and cheese, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Velveeta
  • Sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Milk
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • Cavatappi
  • Butter

The best mac n cheese recipes are super cheesy, super creamy, and not at all healthy – so we leaned into that and brought out the Velveeta, sharp cheddar, and Frank’s Red Hot to create the most indulgent and delicious cheese sauce ever.

Cavatappi (corkscrew macaroni) is the perfect vehicle for indulging in our creamy cheese sauce. The sauce clings to this type of pasta well, and it’s such a fun shape that it makes this mac n cheese super irresistible.

Buffalo chicken mac n cheese after baking.

How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese

This recipe takes some time to make. You’ll have to prepare the chicken, cook the noodles, and melt the cheese before combining it all and baking it. But letting all that gooey cheese and buffalo sauce bake right into the chicken and noodles is 100% worth the wait.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to make this decadent mac n cheese recipe:

  1. First,p reheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  2. Next, prepare the buffalo chicken nuggets. Whisk together the eggs and milk to make an egg wash, then set aside. Whisk together the flour and seasonings, then set aside. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then coat the chicken in the egg wash. Allow any excess egg wash to drip off the chicken before transferring it to the seasoned flour, then coat the chicken evenly in the flour. Gently shake off excess flour before putting the chicken in the air fryer basket.
  3. Cook the chicken in the air fryer for about 10 to 12 minutes, shaking/flipping halfway through. You’ll want to cook it in a single layer so as not to over-crowd the air fryer, so you may need to do this in batches.
  4. In the meantime, make the buffalo sauce by whisking together melted butter, Frank’s Red Hot, and ranch dressing in a small bowl.
  5. Once the chicken is done cooking, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the buffalo sauce, and toss the chicken until it’s well-coated.
  6. Now, prepare the mac n cheese. Cook the cavatappi according to the package directions, then drain and return it to the pot. Stir in butter until melted.
  7. In the meantime, make the cheese sauce. Add cubed Velveeta to a saucepan over medium-low heat and melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted, slowly add the milk and whisk until it’s fully incorporated. Then, whisk in the shredded cheddar in small batches until combined. Finally, stir in Frank’s Red Hot for some extra flavor and spice.
  8. Finally, add the cheese sauce to the cavatappi and stir well to combine. Then, gently stir in the buffalo chicken, and transfer the mac n cheese to the prepared baking dish. Cover loosely with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Make sure to cover the mac n cheese before baking so it doesn’t dry out in the oven. Letting it steam itself helps keep the noodles and chicken moist, while preventing the cheese from burning on top.

Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese Serving Suggestions

Buffalo chicken mac n cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Make it for an extra decadent family dinner, or a special treat for your potluck with friends. It’s also the perfect big batch cookout dish for Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day parties!

That being said, this is definitely not a light recipe. This is one of those grossly delicious heavy dishes that you know you probably shouldn’t be eating, but you do anyways – because it’s that good, and we all deserve a treat every once in a while.

A bowl of buffalo chicken mac n cheese with a side of bread.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese

You can store this mac n cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat a large batch in the oven at 350 degrees, covered with foil, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Or, reheat single servings in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Try our decadent buffalo chicken mac n cheese recipe and let us know what you think by rating, commenting, and sharing below!


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5 from 1 vote

Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese

This indulgent buffalo chicken mac n cheese recipe makes enough to feed a crowd – it's the perfect potluck party dish or comfort food dinner!
Servings 8 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Buffalo Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast sliced into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • ½ cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 tablespoon light ranch dressing

Mac n Cheese

  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 16 ounces Velveeta cubed
  • 8 ounces block sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
  • cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Frank's Red Hot

Instructions

Buffalo Chicken

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk to create an egg wash and set aside. In a separate shallow dish or plate, whisk together the flour, ground red cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, and set aside.
  • Working in batches, coat the chicken in the egg wash, then allow excess egg wash to drip off before transferring the chicken to the seasoned flour. Coat the chicken evenly in flour, then shake off any excess flour before transferring the chicken to the air fryer.
  • Once the air fryer is filled with a single layer of chicken, cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip, then cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, then transfer the cooked chicken to a large bowl. Continue dredging and air frying the chicken in batches until it's all cooked.
  • In the meantime, make the buffalo sauce. Combine melted butter, Frank's Red Hot, and ranch dressing in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. You may need to microwave the mixture for 15 to 30 seconds to help it combine evenly.
  • Finally, once all the chicken is cooked, toss it in the buffalo sauce until well-coated and set aside.

Mac n Cheese

  • Boil the cavatappi according to package directions, then drain and return to the pot. Stir in the butter until melted.
  • In the meantime, add the cubed Velveeta to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and melt, stirring occasionally. Once the Velveeta has fully melted, slowly add the milk and whisk until fully incorporated. Then add the shredded sharp cheddar in small batches, whisking constantly to combine. Finally, stir in Frank's Red Hot and remove from heat.

Assembly

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  • Add the cheese sauce to the cavatappi, and stir to combine well. Then, gently stir in the buffalo chicken.
  • Transfer the buffalo chicken mac n cheese to the prepared baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, until warm and gooey. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adding milk to the cheese sauce: To avoid shocking your hot, melty cheese with cold milk, measure out the milk before you start melting the Velveeta and let it sit on the counter until it’s ready to go in.
Serving suggestions: Make this big batch mac n cheese for a potluck, cookout, or decadent family dinner. It’s comfort food at its best! 
Storing and reheating leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat a large batch in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 40 minutes, or reheat single servings in the microwave for about 2 minutes (stir halfway through).
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 641kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo chicken, cavatappi, cheddar cheese, cookout, fourth of july, frank’s red hot, hot sauce, independence day, labor day, memorial day, potluck, spicy, summer, velveeta

Nutrition

Calories: 641kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 1661mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1160IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 566mg | Iron: 2mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Abbi Passero says:

    This mac n cheese is amazing! The pairing of Buffalo, chicken and cheese makes this the best!! ☺️

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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