Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

If you thought the buffalo chicken lovefest couldn't get any bigger, wait until you get a taste of this zesty spin on macaroni and cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
Servings:
8

Passionate fans of buffalo chicken, the Southern Living Test Kitchen pros have happily created an array of recipes to help readers indulge in this can't-get-enough flavor. From our dinner-friendly Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas or Buffalo Chicken Casserole to our Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip or Buffalo Chicken Pull-Apart Bread appetizers, we've crafted all kinds of delicious takes on this zesty trend. Our favorite yet? Our Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. A rotisserie chicken (which can be shredded in advance) cuts your prep time to just 20 minutes. Macaroni and cheese is usually served as a side dish but this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is hearty; add some warm bread and a salad and you have a complete meal. Pro tip: Cook the pasta until al dente; this ensures it won't get over-mushy when it cooks even further in the oven.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 pound uncooked large elbow pasta

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 large celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped)

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped)

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 ½ cups whole milk

  • 1 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)

  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (from 1 rotisserie chicken)

  • ½ cup hot sauce (such as Frank's), plus more for serving

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions; drain.

  2. While pasta cooks, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add celery and onion, and cook, stirring often, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and gradually add Cheddar cheese, in 3/4 cup increments, stirring until fully melted. Stir in chicken, hot sauce, and cooked pasta. Spoon into prepared baking dish.

  3. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a microwavable bowl, and microwave on HIGH until melted. Stir in panko, blue cheese, and parsley until combined. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with additional hot sauce, if desired.

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