Recipe: Buffalo Mac and Cheese


I made a meal the other night that I knew would be good. Just the name  —  buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese  — made my mouth water. Why had I not thought of this before? There is nothing I love more than buffalo sauce with cheddar cheese and chicken. And macaroni and cheese? I must admit it: this is my favorite meal.

I make a pizza version of this combination that is so easy and delicious. And although I make many other pizzas, in plenty of gourmet varieties, this simple one is still my favorite. The flavors just work well together. Something about the spicy buffalo sauce blended with the sharpness of cheddar cheese just works.

Anyway, I was perusing recipes online, which is one of my favorite things to do now that I have discovered Pinterest. The format of the website makes it easy to find images of beautiful dishes that you may want to make. You can store them in online folders for future inspiration, and they link you directly to the directions and cooking instructions. Follow mine if you want. I have started a pretty large file of things I want to make.  Either way, if you are into blogs or cooking websites, this is a great way to find more sites and food you may like.

This dish I found in just that way, and it just sounded so good that I had to try it. When I read the recipe, I realized why: it had a stick of butter and a substantial amount of cheese. Needless to say, this dish is not for those on a diet. Since it is hockey season for me and my husband again, I decided it would be okay. I generally don’t like to make such rich dishes and have that kind of stuff around my house, but every now and then I will go for it.

My husband Brian said it was “The best thing I have ever made him”  and that “I have to write it in my column.”  A bold statement considering how much I cook, but I decided if he liked it that much, others will too.

As usual, I put my own spin on the recipe and made substitutions according to my personal tastes. I was also distracted in the grocery store and grabbed Frank’s hot sauce instead of buffalo sauce. Thankfully, there is an easy fix for that: melt butter and add the hot sauce. That mixture turns into buffalo sauce. I used a rotisserie chicken to easily get chicken chunks.

This dish was worth every ounce of fat added by the butter. It is a delicious winter dish to make after you have worked up an appetite.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 5 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated jack cheese
  • 1 pound cooked pasta (al dente)
  • 1 lb cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko
  • 3/4 cup of crispy onions
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot buffalo wing sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a 3 quart casserole dish.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter then whisk in the flour.
  • Continue to whisk the mixture until golden brown (about 3 minutes).
  • Slowly add the milk to the mixture, continuing to whisk to break up clumps.
  • Continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens (about 10 minutes).
  • Add the seasonings, 4 cups of the cheddar cheese and 2 cups of the jack cheese to the mixture, continuing to stir until all of the cheese is melted.
  • Add the pasta and coat it well in the sauce.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and buffalo sauce and toss until well mixed.
  • To build the casserole, place a layer of noodles over the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of buffalo chicken.
  • Add the remaining noodles and sauce.
  • Top with the remaining cheddar cheese, the breadcrumbs and the crispy onions.
  • Bake at 375 F until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling (about 30 minutes).

About Author

Also originally from the South, Cara Rank discovered cooking was a creative outlet that helped her relax after long days writing magazine and newspaper articles during the past eight years in Jackson. Really, she just missed Southern food. A lot. During a 12-year career as a journalist, Cara has won numerous awards for her work and has written about everything from rodeo queens to Dolly Parton tomatoes. She spends her weekends making jars of pickles and jam and amazing dinners for friends. She loves shishito peppers, Chicago-style hot dogs and elderflower-spiked cocktails.

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