Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, an easy crockpot mac and cheese recipe with no precooking and not a lot of prep!
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I created my new favorite slow cooker recipe recently, Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese! And no need to precook the pasta! You may remember my Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad last year. It’s been one of my most popular posts. Then there was also my Buffalo Shrimp Bread Bowl Dip. By the amount of traffic that each of those recipes has received, I’m guessing many of you LOVE buffalo flavored anything and everything!
If that’s the case, then you will LOVE this Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese! I love it because it is SUPER easy. No other cooking or pots/pans required. The only prep work is chopping up some precooked chicken and veggies. You just throw everything (including the uncooked pasta) in your crockpot and in a couple of hours or less you have a complete meal! Yum!!!
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is nothing new. In fact there are a lot of recipes out there already for it. But I didn’t see too many Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese recipe that you could make in a slow cooker.
The recipes I saw seemed to require a lot of work or they didn’t work out for me so I did some experimenting on my own. I’ll admit that the first time I tried making this Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese in my crockpot, it was a huge epic FAIL.
I forgot the kids had swimming lessons (oops) and everything sat in the slow cooker WAY too long while I was sitting by the pool. I also tried using raw chicken and that didn’t work well either. I altered my recipe, and it turned out perfect the next time, and the next time, and the next time! So I figured it was time to share!
You can use any shape pasta you’d like although I would highly suggest using a smaller size such as Barilla’s Pipettes or something about the same size or smaller that has a shorter cooking time. Since you don’t precook the pasta, I’m not sure how well larger pastas would do.
I thought these Pipettes were perfect and adorable! Don’t you love cute pasta?? :) Larger pasta may have a hard time cooking all the way through so again, I strongly suggest sticking to the smaller shapes. If you do want to use a larger shape or a heartier pasta (such as whole-wheat), you may want pre-cook the pasta before putting it in your slow cooker or adjust the cooking time in the slow cooker.
You’ll also need to chop up some veggies and precooked chicken. For the veggies you can use any combination of celery, onions, and/or carrots. I used a combination of all 3 but you can use whatever you like or have in the fridge. Be sure everything is finely chopped.
For the chicken, you can use leftover cooked chicken, chopped up rotisserie chicken, etc. I had some leftover chicken breasts so I just chopped those up. I don’t recommend using raw chicken.
Put the chicken, veggies, and the rest of the ingredients (including the uncooked pasta) in the slow cooker and stir to combine. I used Frank’s hot sauce, yum! You could also add some blue cheese and/or a Ranch seasoning packet. I will try both of those next time. Mix everything together in the slow cooker and don’t worry if some things on top aren’t in the liquid.
Cover and set your crockpot on low. After about an hour, quickly remove the lid, stir everything together, cover again, and cook another half hour to an hour. You want to make sure the stuff on top moves to the bottom to cook in the liquid a little.
Check on the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese every now and then so that the sides of your crockpot don’t burn. It should be ok, but it may vary depending on the size and model of your slow cooker. I believe My slow cooker holds 6-quarts so you may have to alter the recipe for your model/size. Or if you need a new one there are so many fancy inexpensive options for slow cookers these days!
Once the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is all done cooking, give it a few stirs to make sure everything is combined and cooked through. The time it takes to cook is going to vary depending on your slow cooker so you may have to cook a little longer. It took about an hour and a half in mine and probably could have gone a little longer but I like my veggies and pasta a little crunchy.
The veggies were a little crunchy but not raw, just the way I love it! My family gobbled this up except my son who thought it was spicy. I didn’t think it was too spicy, but he doesn’t like anything even the slightest bit spicy, so if your kids are the same, you may have to cut back on the hot sauce and add some chicken broth or more milk to make up for the loss of liquid.
When serving this Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese , you can add more chopped veggies, cheese, and/or blue cheese on top. I will definitely be making this recipe again and again.
If you make it and enjoy the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, let me know! I always love getting comments!
Perfect comfort food!
Hope you enjoy this easy Mac & Cheese recipe as much as we all did!
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup milk (fat free works fine)
- 1/2 cup buffalo style hot sauce (such as Frank's)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 3 cups shredded cheese (such as white cheddar, cheddar, or your favorite melting cheese)
- 1 cup finely chopped vegetables (such as celery, carrots, and/or onions)
- 1 pound precooked chicken finely chopped
- 1/2 pound small uncooked pasta (such as Barilla's Pipettes) *see tips below
- Garnish (optional): chopped carrots, onions, celery; crumbled blue cheese; and/or shredded cheese
- Mix together evaporated milk, milk, hot sauce, garlic powder, and salt and pepper in slow cooker until combined. Stir in cheese, vegetables, chicken, and uncooked pasta until combined.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low for about 1 hour. Quickly remove lid, stir, cover again and cook another 30-60 minutes or until pasta is soft.
- Garnish with chopped vegetables, blue cheese, and/or shredded cheese as desired.
SNAPPY TIPS: Check on the slow cooker every now and then to make sure it's not burning around the edges. Recipe and cooking time may need to be adapted for your particular slow cooker. I suggest using a small shaped pasta. If you want to use something larger or heartier (such as whole-wheat) I would precook the pasta before adding it to the slow cooker. You may want to adjust the amount of hot sauce based on how hot you like your food.
SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: You can also add crumbled blue cheese and/or Ranch seasoning.
A few other Buffalo inspired recipes from around the internet that I though you may enjoy: