This Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe delivers classic comfort food with an attitude. From the crisp, fiery breadcrumb topping to the creamy, rich Gorgonzola sauce, this chicken and pasta dish will satisfy your taste buds with a serious explosion of flavors.
I could tell you that our love for Buffalo Hot Wings inspired this Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe, but that would be a lie. The idea for this piquant pasta dish actually came from a bag of potato chips.
My husband would eat Buffalo Bleu Potato Chips with every meal if he could. Since stores in our area stopped carrying these chips, he started having them delivered to our doorstep by the case.
I feel compelled to mention that this post is not sponsored. We really buy these chips in obnoxious quantities because of my husband’s complete and total addiction to this tangy, red-hot snack food.
One evening during dinner, my husband proposed swapping the breadcrumbs atop the macaroni and cheese we were eating with crushed Buffalo Bleu Potato Chips. When I asked if he really wanted to sacrifice a bag from his precious stash to crush up as topping, he honestly looked torn.
I suggested adding spices to the breadcrumbs instead of smashing potato chips. It seemed worth a try, and, as long as we were at it, we decided to mix some Gorgonzola cheese and chicken into the recipe as well.
It doesn’t often happen that a recipe experiment comes out just right on the first try, but this one did. The combination of fiery, crispy breadcrumbs along with the creamy cheese, chicken, and pasta mixture blended in perfection.
While my husband and I couldn’t get enough of this eye-watering dish, my kids didn’t love it as much as we did. While they’re getting more adventurous in their eating, they found it just too spicy for their tastes.
Rather than tone it down for them, I found the perfect work-around to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
The breadcrumb topping delivers the spicy kick, so I simply cut the topping recipe in half and used plain breadcrumbs on the other portion.
This Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe takes comfort food to a whole new level. With its tangy, spicy kick and rich, creamy goodness, this bold makeover will become your new go-to mac and cheese recipe.
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- Sauce and Filling
- 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese grated
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese grated
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 large onion diced
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken (about 10 ounces)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni cooked al dente
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoons mustard powder
- ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Heat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.
- Combine cheeses in a large bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.
- For the sauce, melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, whisking constantly until mixture turns a pale nutty brown.
- Slowly add milk while whisking, taking care as the steam will be very hot. Mix in paprika, cayenne, bay leaf, and onions. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the breadcrumb topping. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Mix in brown sugar, spices, pepper, and salt, stirring to combine. Carefully stir in vinegar and let some of the liquid evaporate before mixing in the breadcrumbs. Stir for several minutes until the spices coat the breadcrumbs and the mixture is crisp and lightly toasted.
- Once the sauce is done simmering, remove the bay leaf. Off heat, puree well sauce with a stick blender. Add about 2/3 of the cheese mixture, stirring until melted. Stir in chicken and pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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