This indulgent buffalo chicken mac n cheese recipe makes enough to feed a crowd and is the perfect potluck party dish!Jump to Recipe
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For most people, the Fourth of July conjures up images of burgers, hot dogs, and backyard cookouts. But there are two other 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.
Every good cookout should have buffalo wings or chicken dip in addition to all those burgers and hot dogs – and what’s a party without a few giant trays of side dishes made to feed a crowd? So we took these two party staples and combined them into one delicious potluck-style dish that’ll be a hit at any backyard cookout: Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese.
There are a few key ingredients required to make the perfect Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese:
- The buffalo chicken. 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.
- The mac. Cavatappi (corkscrew macaroni) is the perfect vehicle for indulging in our creamy cheese sauce.
- The cheese. 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, Tillamook sharp cheddar, and Frank’s Red Hot to create the most indulgent and delicious cheese sauce ever.
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!
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 are some tips for making this dish:
- Slice the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces while it’s still raw so that it cooks quicker and is the perfect size to mix right into the mac n cheese.
- Whisk seasonings into the flour for coating the chicken to really incorporate the flavors.
- Toss the air-fried chicken nuggets in our special buffalo sauce before combining it with the mac n cheese.
- When making the cheese sauce, add milk slowly and in small amounts while stirring constantly. Remember you’re mixing a cold liquid into hot cheese – if you introduce too much milk too quickly, the cheese might start to solidify which can affect the texture of your sauce.
- Mix butter into the cooked pasta noodles after draining so that they don’t stick together.
- Combine cooked pasta, cheese sauce, and buffalo chicken nuggets before transferring everything to a lightly greased 9×13 glass baking dish.
- Cover with foil before baking so the cheese doesn’t burn.
Get the full recipe below and treat yourself to a tasty, cheesy scoop of Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese this weekend for your Fourth of July cookout!
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Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese
The Buffalo Chicken
- 1 lb chicken raw
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 cup flour
- ½ tsp ground red cayenne pepper
- Pinch Salt & black pepper
- 3 tbsp butter melted
- ½ cup Frank's Red Hot
- 1 tbsp light ranch dressing
The Cheese Sauce
- 16 oz Velveeta cubed
- 8 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1 tsp Frank's Red Hot
- 1 lb cavatappi
- ½ tbsp butter
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish.
- Prepare the Buffalo Chicken (directions below) and set aside.
- Prepare the Cheese Sauce and the Mac (directions below).
- Add the cheese sauce to the mac and stir well to combine. Then stir in the buffalo chicken.*
- Transfer mac n cheese to the baking dish, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
The Buffalo Chicken
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs and 1 tbsp milk to create an egg wash and set aside.
- In a shallow dish or plate, combine flour, ground red cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Gently whisk together with a fork to make sure the flour is evenly seasoned, then set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Slice raw chicken into bite-sized pieces. Working in small batches, coat chicken in the egg wash, then allow excess egg wash to drip off before transferring chicken to flour mixture. Coat chicken evenly in flour mixture, then shake off excess flour and transfer to air fryer.
- Once the air fryer is filled with a single layer of chicken, cook at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Flip, then cook for another 5-6 minutes, then transfer cooked chicken to a large bowl.
- Continue with coating and cooking more batches of chicken as needed.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, prepare the buffalo sauce. Combine melted butter, 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot, and ranch dressing in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.*
- Pour buffalo sauce over cooked chicken and toss to coat.
The Cheese Sauce
- Add cubed Velveeta to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and melt, stirring occasionally.
- Once Velveeta has fully melted, slowly add the milk and whisk until fully incorporated.*
- Add the shredded sharp cheddar in small batches, whisking constantly to combine.
- Add 1 tsp Frank's Red Hot and stir to combine.
- Cook cavatappi according to package directions, then drain and return to the pot.
- Stir in 1/2 tbsp butter until melted.