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Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Buffalo chicken pasta is the easiest pasta recipe that works for a large gathering or a simple weeknight dinner! This creamy pasta dish features tender noodles, five types of cheeses, and a delicious buffalo sauce that brings the flavor. It’s incredibly easy to make and is the best kind of comfort food if you’re as big of a fan of buffalo sauce as we are!

Pasta drizzled with Buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

This buffalo chicken pasta recipe may be simple to make, but the flavor is anything but. Spicy buffalo wing sauce takes center stage and works so well with tender pasta.

Our buffalo chicken pasta bake is finished off with either blue cheese dressing or ranch, a classic flavor combo that’s frankly a must for any buffalo chicken recipe. If you love this recipe, check out our rasta pasta and our chicken tortellini alfredo. They make great weeknight meals that the whole family will enjoy!

Why This Recipe Works

Pasta dishes are the ultimate comfort food, and this creamy buffalo chicken pasta bake takes that to the next level. It has all the flavors of our buffalo chicken dip but is a dish that is well-suited as a main meal.

We use pre-cooked shredded chicken for extra ease, which means this yummy pasta bake takes just a few minutes to make and is a good way to use up any chicken leftovers or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • it’s cozy and comforting with a mild level of heat
  • it’s a simple, one pot meal that is doable any night of the week
  • buffalo chicken pasta is rich, creamy and flavor-packed
A fork taking a bite of Buffalo chicken pasta.

The Ingredients

It doesn’t take a whole lot to prepare this delicious chicken pasta bake. If you have pre-cooked boneless skinless chicken, you’re nearly halfway there!
For this creamy buffalo chicken pasta recipe, you will need:

  • pasta ( penne pasta, rigatoni or ziti are our favorites)
  • olive oil
  • onion, diced
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • butter
  • flour
  • whole milk
  • cream cheese
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • homemade Buffalo sauce or Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
  • blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing
  • cooked chicken, shredded or chopped. You can use leftover smoked chicken for a smoky flavor, or you can even toss some frozen chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • optional garnishes like chopped parsley, green onions, and more sauce or dressing
Penne pasta, milk, onion, garlic, Buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, chicken, shredded cheese, butter, and cream cheese.

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This will be one of the easiest pasta recipes in your dinner rotation!

The process for making this dish is so simple and the end result is so incredibly tasty.

Here’s a look at the steps involved but check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page to view all of the ingredient amounts and instructions.

Sautéing onions in a large pot.

Boil the pasta according to the package directions. In a large pot, heat olive oil and cook the onion and garlic.

Pouring milk in a roux.

Add the butter and stir, then whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring. Slowly pour in the milk and stir constantly.

Adding cream cheese to pasta sauce.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cream cheese until it’s completely melted.

Adding shredded cheese to pasta sauce.

Mix in the shredded cheese a handful at a time, making sure each amount melts before adding in more.

Stirring Buffalo sauce and blue cheese into pasta sauce.

Stir in the Buffalo Sauce and blue cheese or Ranch dressing.

Adding chicken and pasta to cheese sauce.

Fold in the chicken and pasta. If the sauce seems a bit thick, stir in some of the extra pasta water to thin it out. Garnish and enjoy! Serve it with shake n bake pork chops for a hearty meal.

Stirring cheesy Buffalo sauce into pasta.

If you want to make a Buffalo chicken pasta bake, transfer the pasta to a baking dish, sprinkle with a Panko bread crumb topping, and bake until golden brown.

Pro Tips for the Best Results

This simple buffalo chicken pasta recipe is nearly fool-proof, but here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare it. They will give you the very best results and make the process a little easier.

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Before draining the pasta, set aside about 1/2 cup of pasta water for later. The pasta water will help you thin out the pasta sauce, if needed.
  • You can toss the prepared pasta with a bit of butter or oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  • Cutting the eight ounces of cream cheese into smaller cubes will help the cheese melt a bit quicker once you add it to the pot.
  • We like to use our homemade buffalo sauce for this recipe, but a store-bought buffalo sauce or Franks Red Wing Hot Sauce works well too.
  • Store leftover buffalo chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat it in the microwave.
  • You can use leftover rotisserie chicken to make this recipe easy. You can also pre-cook chicken on the grill or bake some chicken quarters in the oven ahead of time. You can also cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot.

This creamy buffalo chicken pasta can be enjoyed similarly to a buffalo chicken dip, with fresh veggies and more dressing on the side, or as a standalone meal.

Either way, you’ll love the zippy buffalo flavor in that cheesy cream sauce. It’s irresistible comfort food that is just as fitting for game day as it is for a weeknight meal.

Penne pasta smothered in creamy sauce.

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love

Buffalo chicken pizza is prepared with our Fast Pizza Dough and loaded up with all of the fixings, including homemade buffalo sauce, three varieties of cheese, shredded chicken, and two types of onions. It’s an ultra flavorful pizza recipe that comes together quickly.

Smoked gouda dip is thick, creamy, and flavorful! This cheesy dip has a delicious smoky flavor and is perfect paired with crispy potato chips or crusty bread.

Roasted butternut squash pasta is a welcome change-up from traditional spaghetti! The creamy, savory sauce and spicy flavors of Italian sausage bring all the flavor in this easy pasta dish.

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Buffalo pasta on a dinner plate.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Buffalo chicken pasta is rich and creamy with the mild heat and zippy flavor of buffalo sauce. Tender pasta and five different types of cheese make this cheesy pasta dish the ultimate comfort food!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta (penne, rigatoni, or ziti)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup homemade Buffalo sauce or Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

Optional Pasta Bake

  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Garnish

  • Chopped parsley or green onions
  • Buffalo sauce
  • blue cheese or Ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and set it aside for later.  Drain the pasta and set it aside. If you want to prevent the pasta from sticking, you can toss it with a bit of butter or oil. 
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the butter and stir until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for a minute. It will look like a thick paste. 
  4. Slowly pour in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. 
  5. Turn the heat down to low. Add the cream cheese and stir until completely melted.
  6. Add the grated cheese a handful at a time, stirring in between each addition. Let the cheese melt before adding the next handful. 
  7. Stir in the Buffalo Sauce and blue cheese or Ranch dressing. 
  8. Fold in the chicken and pasta. If the sauce seems a bit thick, stir in some of the extra pasta water to thin the sauce out and make it silky smooth. 

To Make a Buffalo Pasta Bake

  1. Transfer the pasta to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the Panko and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil until the bread crumbs are lightly coated. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the pasta.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
  4. Serve with additional Buffalo sauce and Blue cheese dressing.

Notes

A 10-ounce package of frozen/thawed artichoke hearts can be substitutedIf using the sun-dried in their dry form, reconstitute them in chicken broth or white wine before adding them to the sauce.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 683Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 997mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This post was originally published on August 15, 2016.

 

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

Tuesday 16th of August 2016

I was clearing out my cupboard at the weekend and I found loads of tinned artichokes that I was wondering what to do with them. This is definitely being made soon!

Brian Jones

Monday 15th of August 2016

Wow the flavours in that sauce sound incredible but really well balanced, fantastic sounding recipe!

Pat

Tuesday 16th of August 2016

Hi, Brian...you are right, the flavors all compliment each other and taste fantastic! Thanks for your comments :)

Pooja@poojascookery.com

Monday 15th of August 2016

OMG! So tempting and your picture is so perfect.

Holly

Monday 15th of August 2016

Wow - what an amazing combination of flavors in one dish! I like that you made the sauce and then spooned it over the pasta rather than mixing it all together. It's a great way to control the sauce to pasta ratio. Spelt pasta sounds so hearty and healthy - can't wait to give this recipe a try!

Pat

Tuesday 16th of August 2016

Hello, Holly....Yes, these flavors do really compliment each other and it is pretty much a one-dish meal. :)

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