Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

A couple of years ago, I made buffalo chicken mac and cheese for a good friend of mine and we almost ate the entire pan in one sitting.  He asked if I would make it again and I agreed, but I wanted to change it a little bit.  Last time I shredded the chicken and added a ton of hot sauce.   This time around, I wanted to add chunks of chicken while keeping the “buffalo” flavor.  I’ve never brined chicken before, so here was my chance!  I brined the chicken in hot sauce, then chopped it into small pieces and tossed that will more hot sauce.  My theory was to pack as much buffalo flavor into the chicken without overpowering the mac and cheese.

I was a success!  The buffalo chicken mac and cheese had all of the flavor you would want from buffalo wings and all of the creaminess you would want in your mac and cheese.  The provolone also added the sharpness you would get from the ranch and/or blue cheese sauce that’s used for dipping.  I personally like to add the blue cheese to the panko topping, because I’m a believer that there’s no such thing as too much cheese.  Well, maybe on pizza.  My friend loved it, as well as his nephew, and his dad.  I was planning to take leftovers back home, but there wasn’t any left!

 

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

for the buffalo chicken:

  • 1 quart water
  • ½ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s, divided)
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 boneless (skinless chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • canola oil (for sautéing)

for the macaroni

  • ½ (8opound small elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup chopped green onions (about 4)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • ½ cups chopped onions
  • 1 cloves large garlic (chopped)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz provolone cheese (about 2 cups, coarsely grated)
  • ½ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

blue cheese topping

  • ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoons butter

make the buffalo chicken:

  1. Combine ¼ cup hot sauce, salt, and sugar in large Ziploc bag and shake until salt and sugar have dissolved. And water and chicken and shake until all have combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. In a large skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and Sautee until golden brown and cooked until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a cutting board. Chop the chicken breast into small pieces, about ½ inch. In a medium bowl, toss chicken pieces with ¼ cup of hot sauce. Set aside.

make the macaroni:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain; transfer to very large bowl. Melt butter in same large pot over medium heat. Add both onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are transparent and soft stirring often, about 6 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer sauce 2 minutes. Add cheddar and provolone cheese, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired. Mix cheese sauce into macaroni. Stir in chicken pieces. Mound mixture in 9 x 9-inch baking dish. In a small microwave safe bowl melt butter and cheese in the microwave at 30 -second increments until the cheese is melted. Stir to combine between intervals. Add panko combining thoroughly. Sprinkle blue cheese topping on top of macaroni and cheese. Bake macaroni uncovered until heated through and the panko is golden brown, about 30 – 35 minutes. 

 

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Debra Hawkins says:

    Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite meals ever! I would love to try it out with a little extra flavor in it!

  2. I’m so addicted to mac and cheese and I like experimenting with different flavors.

  3. I hope your family enjoys it!

  4. This was my first time brining. It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. I’m working on being brave enough to try it with a whole chicken.

  5. This would great to adapt to your favorite mac recipe.

  6. This was a great workaround for me because I love buffalo flavor, but don’t like buffalo wings 🙂

  7. Great idea. I love buffalo flavor, this would be a great recipe for picnic!

  8. Jesica H says:

    I’m going to give this one a try. We have a pretty standard recipe, but I like to change things up once in a while and give my kids new flavors to try.

  9. Jaime N. says:

    I’ve never brined a chicken before but I’d like to try it sometime. I love pretty much anything buffalo flavor.

  10. Our Family World says:

    We are having mac and cheese for dinner tomorrow night and this would be a nice twist to it. I am sure it will be a pleasant surprise for my family and they will most likely ask me to make it again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. natalielovesbeauty says:

    This reminded me that it is about time I make mac and cheese again. I haven’t had some in years!

  12. Great! I hope you enjoy it!

  13. I’m not usually a crumb topping girl myself. I prefer a nice layer of gooey golden brown cheese on top, but I didn’t mind it here. And best part about using hot sauce is you can use as much or as little as you like.

  14. It has a great kick without being too spicy

  15. I hope you and your family love it!

  16. It was! I don’t actually like buffalo wings, so this was a great alternative for me.

  17. Thanks for noticing! I needed something to add a little extra something without being overwhelmed by the blue cheese.

  18. I hope they like it!

  19. What I like about Frank’s hot sauce is that it’s has more flavor than heat. And you can always add as much or little as you like.

  20. Thanks and me too and this is has just the right amount of kick for me. Of course you could add a little Tabasco if you like it really spicy 🙂

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