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Jan 7, 2023

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese

Take comfort food, marry it to bar food, and you get this Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese. 

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese overhead shot with bread crumbs.

I'm a huge fan of anything spicy and gooey, especially comfort food. Plus, how can you not like macaroni and cheese?! 

One of my favorite parts was the crunchy panko bread crumb topping. Serve this casserole with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing for the taste of Buffalo!

Serving of Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese on a small plate.

This Buffalo chicken baked macaroni and cheese can be assembled in advance and baked later, letting you serenely pull off dinner for 10, making it look effortless. No one has to know that your kitchen looked like a hurricane hit it a few days earlier.

My intentions are always to practice mis en place, choose the right pot the first time, be efficient, and clean as I go, but somehow I end up creating a big mess.

That's one of the reasons I was excited to have had an opportunity to review the cookbook, The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book. Opinions are my own.

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese in a red cast iron casserole dish.

It's a lovely book filled with breakfasts, soups & salads, snacks, main courses, and desserts.

Most of the recipes are focused on feeding six to 10 people, which makes them perfect for family gatherings, brunches, and casual dinner parties. The focus is family friendly comfort food.

This Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese definitely fit the bill.

Ingredients You will Need:

Chicken: You will need cooked chicken that you have cubed. The meat from a rotisserie chicken would be perfect here. 

Pasta: I used penne, but you could also use elbow macaroni or shells. 

Buffalo-style Hot Sauce: I used Frank's Red Hot. 

Butter, garlic, onion, and celery. 

For the Sauce: Flour, dry mustard, chicken stock, half and half, cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese, and sour cream. 

For the Topping: Panko bread crumbs. 

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese in a red cast iron casserole dish.

Make-ahead Tips:

You can assemble this casserole before baking, cover it in foil, and freeze it for up to three months before baking. Just partially defrost it for about an hour, and then bake it. You may need a little longer baking time. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. 

You can also assemble and refrigerate this macaroni and cheese up to a day in advance before baking. 

What to Serve With this Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese:

You can serve this casserole with the traditional celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing. This mac and cheese would also be perfect with a mixed green salad with blue cheese

You can also drizzle the top of the casserole with a little bit of blue cheese or ranch dressing, in the spirit of its inspiration. 

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese in a red enameled cast iron casserole dish.

January 8 is National Honor Elvis Presley Day. The Sunday Funday group is celebrating with recipes based on his favorite dishes. According to my "research," his favorites included macaroni and cheese. 

By the way, my husband's claim to fame was that, when he was in high school, he and a couple of buddies got to meet Elvis Presley on the MGM studios lot in Culver City during the filming of Jailhouse Rock. He's on the right. 

Elvis Presley with 3 teenagers.

More Recipes Celebrating Elvis:

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese in a casserole dish overhead shot.

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 1 H & 45 M
Take comfort food, marry it to bar food, and you get this Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese.


  • One pound small penne, egg noodles, elbow macaroni, or small shells pasta.
  • 8 tablespoons butter (one stick), divided, 2 tablespoons melted for the topping
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, including tops, chopped, 1 tablespoon of chopped leaves reserved
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 1/4 cups of Buffalo style hot sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish with spray oil.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but one minute less. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and celery, and saute until softened and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and 1 cup of the Buffalo sauce, and simmer until the sauce slightly thickens. Transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with the flour and mustard and stir constantly until the mixture is golden brown. Slowly add the chicken stock and half and half while constantly whisking the mixture until the flour mixture is fully incorporated. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of the Buffalo sauce. Simmer the sauce while stirring until the sauce thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses and sour cream. Stir until combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir.
  6. Spread one half of the pasta mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the chicken mixture on top of the pasta and top with the rest of the pasta mixture.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the two tablespoons of melted butter with the panko and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, until bubbly and golden.
  9. Sprinkle with the chopped celery leaves and serve.

Nutrition Facts



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casserole, macaroni and cheese
dinner, main dish
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This is an updated recipe, first posted in June, 2016. 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Yummy just the look and sound of it makes me hungry :)

  2. Make ahead - and for a crowd? Sounds like a great book. The cover photo looks delish also.

    1. It does doesn't it? There's gorgeous photography in this book. I'm pretty envious.

  3. I love the idea of combining the flavors of buffalo chicken with mac and cheese! I look forward to trying this recipe. Pinning :)

    1. I bet you could make it look all cheesy good with your gorgeous photos!

  4. Why are you doing this to me, Karen? I thought you were a good friend, and now this. Do I need another cookbook? Do I? Can you look straight into my eyes and answer that?

    Oh, my dear stars in heavens... amazon, there I go

    1. This is payback. I am currently flipping through Layered, which arrived yesterday, thanks to you =)

    2. HA! I am sure you will love that book! Cannot wait to see what you'll bake from it... I gave a Kindle copy to my niece in Brazil, she baked a cake on the very same day! I love that girl... wish we lived closer...

  5. :) So glad you liked it. Thanks for the review!

  6. The recipe looks so easy to make. Definitely saving this for some rainy days. :)

  7. How cool that your husband got to meet Elvis. Great photo and recipe Karen.

    1. "Almost famous!" I actually was able to find this photo on the web, lol.

  8. Amazing photo and what a great opportunity! Your mac and cheese is 😍 and I love that it uses rotisserie chicken. So easy! I will not go look at that cookbook, I will not go look at that cookbook, I will not go look at that cookbook. Self-restraint is hard!


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