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Buffalo Mac and Cheese

This buffalo mac and cheese is the perfect way to spice up your standard mac and cheese – literally! Made with a spicy buffalo hot sauce, two cheeses, and sour cream for an extra creamy sauce, and then grilled until the top is crispy and golden, this recipe is ready in under 30 minutes and so delicious.

overhead shot of cheesy buffalo mac and cheese topped with fresh chives

This one-pot buffalo mac and cheese is something I have been craving for weeks now – and when I finally carved out the time to develop and create this gorgeous recipe, it was well worth it! I added some of these tofu ground “beef” crumbles to the top of mine, but you could also add another source of protein to make this a more well-rounded meal, or serve as an indulgent side dish!

For more delicious cheesy pasta recipes, try this gnocchi alla vodka, these cheesy orzo baked meatballs, or this red pesto gnocchi recipe.

Ingredient Notes

The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.

ingredients shot for buffalo mac and cheese: butter, flour, milk, buffalo sauce, pasta, cheese, sour cream, and seasonings
  • Pasta: For this recipe, I used a pasta shape called lumaca rigata, which is similar to pasta shells but a bit more funky shaped! You could also use elbow macaroni for a more traditional mac and cheese shape, but I like the pasta slightly bigger!
  • Butter: You’ll need butter to make the roux sauce. If you intend to make this recipe vegan or dairy-free, you could use vegan butter.
  • All-purpose flour: You’ll also need plain all-purpose flour to make the roux sauce for this buffalo mac and cheese. Avoid substituting this if you can.
  • Milk: Finally, you need milk to make the roux sauce. If you want this recipe to be dairy-free, plant-based milk will also work.
  • Buffalo Sauce: I used Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce for this recipe. You could use any buffalo sauce that you like, though.
  • Cheese: This recipe combines mozzarella (for creamy, cheesy texture and taste) and sharp cheddar cheese (for punchy flavor). You could also use monetary jack cheese.
  • Sour Cream: I added a few tablespoons of sour cream to this recipe, and it gives the sauce of really creamy texture while also perfectly complementing the spice from the buffalo sauce.
  • Seasonings: The seasonings we used in this recipe are smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. I’ve added the exact quantities in the recipe card below!

Variations & Substitutions

  • For more protein, add these crispy tofu crumbles. You could also add crispy bacon pieces or shredded chicken (for me, these would be their vegetarian alternatives!).
  • If you don’t want to use sour cream, cream cheese or double cream would also work.
  • Omit the cheese on top of the mac and cheese for a slightly (emphasis on slightly!) lower calorie meal.
a white bowl of buffalo mac and cheese topped with chives

How To Make Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. 

Below is an overview of making this recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.

Step 1) Assemble Your Ingredients

This recipe comes together so quickly, that it’s worth putting all of your ingredients together and measuring them out ahead of cooking.

Step 2) Cook The Pasta

Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, you can make the buffalo cheesy sauce below.

Step 3) Make The Roux Sauce

Melt the butter in a pan, then add the flour and cook it for a couple of minutes until it forms a paste and turns golden. Slow stir in the milk bit by bit to avoid lumps in your roux. Stir until the roux is smooth and has thickened. 

Step 3) Add the Buffalo Sauce and Cheese

Add the buffalo hot sauce to the roux sauce, then turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, seasonings, and sour cream. 

Step 4) Add the Pasta & Grill

Stir your cooked pasta into the sauce, then top with more cheese and grill for 5 – 10 minutes until melted and golden.

Top with fresh chives, crispy onions, and any protein of choice!

Top Tips \ Chef’s Notes

Get your pasta cooking before you start making the sauce, as it comes together quite quickly and you don’t want to leave the cheesy buffalo sauce sitting there while you cook your pasta.

If you want a spicier buffalo mac and cheese, you could either add more buffalo hot sauce or add some cayenne pepper too.

I cooked my buffalo mac and cheese in my Le Cresuet shallow casserole dish and did have to stir the roux sauce quite rigorously to avoid any lumps, so just be aware of that. A whisk can be helpful, but it’s also important to add the milk slowly for a smooth and creamy sauce!

Storage

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container (or wrap foil over your casserole dish) in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

To reheat, either microwave the mac and cheese or put it in the oven, covered, for 20 minutes or until the buffalo mac and cheese is piping hot. 

close up shot of the cheesy grilled top of the buffalo mac and cheese, topped with crispy onion and chives

How To Serve?

You could serve your buffalo mac and cheese as is, with your protein of choice added, or as a side alongside some other delicious dishes! For example:

FAQs

What’s the best buffalo sauce to use for this recipe?

I used Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce for this recipe, but any brand will work!

Is this buffalo mac and cheese spicy?

Yes, this mac and cheese is a bit spicy – but how spicy depends on your preferences! If you want a spicy buffalo mac and cheese, add more buffalo sauce and some chili powder. If you want a milder dish, halve the amount of buffalo sauce.

overhead shot of casserole dish of buffalo mac and cheese, with a spoon having portion some of it out
Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Yield: 3 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients

  • 225g pasta (I used Lumaca Rigata)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 cups Mozzarella
  • 1 cups Cheddar
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Chives

Optional:

Instructions

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your butter in an oven-safe skillet or pan, and add the flour. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until it forms a paste and turns golden.
  3. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Stir continuously until the roux sauce is thick and creamy (5 - 7 minutes).
  4. Add your buffalo sauce and stir it into the sauce - taste and add more hot sauce according to your preferences.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the seasonings, two-thirds of the cheese, and sour cream. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.
  6. Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the sauce, stirring to fully coat your pasta.

Notes

Get your pasta cooking before you start making the sauce, as it comes together quite quickly and you don’t want to leave the cheesy buffalo sauce sitting there while you cook your pasta.

If you want a spicier buffalo mac and cheese, you could either add more buffalo hot sauce or add some cayenne pepper too.

I cooked my buffalo mac and cheese in my Le Cresuet shallow casserole dish and did have to stir the roux sauce quite rigorously to avoid any lumps, so just be aware of that. A whisk can be helpful, but it’s also important to add the milk slowly for a smooth and creamy sauce!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1058Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 40gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 216mgSodium: 2865mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 16gProtein: 52g

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