Are you a buffalo chicken fan? I’m guessing so if you’re here on this post! I’m sure you’ve had buffalo chicken dip many times over, but have you ever tried it with pasta? No? Then you’re certainly missing out!
This Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta combines two amazing things: buffalo chicken and macaroni and cheese! Rigatoni noodles tossed with a creamy, cheesy buffalo chicken sauce that is crazy delicious!
BUFFALO CHICKEN + PASTA
Truly has to be one of the most delicious concoctions that I have made to date. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my Buffalo Chicken Garlic Bread recipe! It combines two of my loves in life: buffalo chicken and bread! *insert drooling emoji* I love all sorts of carbs – especially when they come in bread or pasta form. So it only made sense for me to try it with pasta!
Now, if you’re looking for a lower-carb version, then perhaps you might enjoy my Creamy Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash or my Five Ingredient Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats. Both are very easy to make and exceptionally delicious!
If you’re a meal prep person and have an Instant Pot, then you may also enjoy prepping my Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Meal Prep.
With that being said, if you enjoy buffalo chicken, as well as macaroni and cheese, then you will be head over heads for this Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta concoction.
COOKING TIPS AND SWAPS:
- PANKO: One thing that I do recommend doing, which I think compliments not only the buffalo chicken and creamy pasta: toast some panko breadcrumbs in a small pan with butter and herbs (I used lightly dried parsley). It adds another layer and texture that enhances the dish. Completely optional, but definitely recommended.
- DRESSING: The buffalo chicken sauce contains ranch dressing, but if you’re a bleu cheese lover, you can swap this out for bleu cheese dressing. Or a mixture of the two. I recommend doing half of each. To keep it a bit healthier, I recommend using yogurt ranch dressing. You can find this in the cooler section of almost any grocery store.
- PASTA: Don’t have rigatoni? No problem! Swap it out for the pasta you have on hand! Such as: elbow pasta, shells, farfalle, rotini, etc. Think along the lines of what you would use for macaroni and cheese, but don’t be afraid to use spaghetti or fettuccine noodles!
- GARNISHMENTS: I know it may seem strange to drizzle ranch overtop of pasta, but be open minded! It’s honestly pretty good! I also drizzled a little extra buffalo sauce overtop and chopped chives. Yum!
- BUFFALO CHICKEN: This recipe calls for cooked, shredded chicken. Use whatever you have on hand – even rotisserie chicken will work. OR:
- MEAT-FREE OPTION: You can easily omit the chicken to make this a meat-free dish.
- CHEESE: If you prefer a milder cheese, you can use a mexican blend or sharp cheddar cheese rather than extra-sharp.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS CHEESY BUFFALO CHICKEN PASTA DISH:
Full recipe with directions can be found via the printable recipe card below. Simply scroll down! 🙂
- Shredded, cooked chicken breast
- Cheeses: cream cheese and extra sharp cheddar cheese
- Chicken stock/broth
- Ranch dressing (I used Yogurt Ranch dressing)
- Half and half (or heavy cream, milk)
- Rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
- RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika
- Optional Garnishment: panko breadcrumbs, unsalted butter, lightly dried parsley & chopped chives.
- Drizzle of extra buffalo sauce and yogurt ranch dressing
If you can make macaroni and cheese (even out of the box!), then you can make this recipe! I promise it is super simple, full of flavor, and guaranteed to be a hit at your dinner table!
MORE PASTA DISHES TO INDULGE IN
- Lemon Garlic and Feta Pasta Salad
- Date Night Chicken Florentine
- Instant Pot Beef Ragu Pappardelle
- Instant Pot Chicken and Mushroom Tetrazzini
- Easy Instant Pot Spaghetti
Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- 8 oz cream cheese, (softened at room temperature, cubed)
- 1/4 cup buffalo sauce, (such as RedHot)
- 1 cup unsalted or low-sodium chicken stock, (or broth)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt, (more or less, to taste)
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
- 1 1/4 cup half and half, (or heavy cream/milk of choice)
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, (hand-shredded)
- 2/3 cup yogurt ranch dressing, (for a lighter option, or sub with regular ranch or blue cheese dressing)
- 12 oz rigatoni pasta, (or your favorite mac n' cheese pasta)
- 1/2 cup regular panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tbsp lightly dried parsley
- chopped chives
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente or desired doneness. Drain and return to pot.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the cubed cream cheese, chicken stock, and buffalo sauce. Whisk until the cream cheese melts and the sauce reaches a creamy consistency.
- Add the seasonings: garlic powder, salt, and smoked paprika. Stir to throughly combine.
- Pour in the half and half, add the shredded cheddar cheese, and stir to throughly combine.
- Once the cheese has melted, add the ranch dressing and stir to combine. Add the cooked, shredded chicken breast.
- Fold to incorporate and simmer on low for 5-6 minutes to allow the flavors to cook into the chicken and the sauce to thicken slightly.
- While you're waiting, prepare the garnishment, if using. Place a medium pan over medium heat. Add the unsalted butter to melt.
- Once melted and bubbling, add the panko breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until the panko has browned slightly and is crispy. Toss with lightly dried parsley.
- Add the buffalo chicken cheese sauce to the large pot of pasta, toss to combine.
- Serve garnished with panko breadcrumb mixture, chopped chives, and a drizzle of extra ranch and buffalo sauce.