This satisfying Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is a crowd-pleaser! It's easy to make, with tender shredded chicken, creamy cheese sauce, buffalo sauce, and pasta, but it's also re-heatable and freezer-friendly.
Making a Crock Pot Buffalo Mac and Cheese recipe is easy, and unlike the stovetop version, you don't have to watch it. We love it because it's just set it and forget it.
There is something you should know about this easy recipe—the sauce is amazing! It's not your classic mac and cheese sauce.
Why We Love the Recipe
Here are some of the reasons we love this Buffalo Mac:
- SET IT AND FORGET IT. The recipe is made right in the slow cooker, so all you have to do is sit back and relax while it does its thing.
- CHEESE HEAVEN. The creamy, dreamy, slightly spicy cheese sauce takes this dish to the next level.
- EASE. There's no need to precook the pasta before putting it into the crockpot.
This slow cooker pasta comes together quickly with these ingredients that you can easily find at the grocery store.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts - You'll need about 1 pound of chicken breasts. You could also use chicken thighs.
- Chicken broth - This will help keep the chicken moist as it cooks.
- Buffalo wings sauce - You can use your favorite brand or make your own. Frank's red hot sauce is a favorite.
- Cream cheese - The cream cheese melts beautifully and gives the sauce a lovely creaminess.
- Variety of seasonings - For this buffalo chicken mac and cheese, you'll need garlic and onion powder. You'll also need celery salt!
- Shell uncooked pasta - To make this mac and cheese, you're going to need shell pasta.
- Colby jack cheese - The cheese is what makes this dish complete. You could also use cheddar cheese in this recipe!
- Flour and milk - To make the thick and creamy cheese sauce, you'll need flour and whole milk. However, you can use low-fat milk or skim milk if you like.
You'll find the measurements and step-by-step instructions in the printable recipe card if you scroll to the bottom of the post.
PRO TIP: Be sure you use cheese you shred yourself when making cheese sauces. Packaged grated cheese has an anti-caking agent that will leave you with a grainy sauce.
- Change out the protein - Not a fan of chicken? You could easily leave it out and just make the mac and cheese.
- Add a different sauce - If you're not into buffalo sauce, you could use BBQ sauce or another hot sauce.
- Add some veggies - If you want to sneak in some vegetables, you could add in some chopped broccoli or spinach.
The sky's the limit for this chicken dinner, so have fun with it and make it your own! It will become a family favorite.
As mentioned above, there are so many ways that you can change up this slow cooker buffalo chicken mac and cheese to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add in some diced green onions.
- Top with blue cheese crumbles. So good!
- Throw in some diced jalapeños for a bit of spice, or go mild by adding diced green chilies.
First, spray your crock with non-stick cooking spray.
STEP ONE - Add chicken, broth, buffalo sauce, cream cheese, and seasonings to your slow cooker.
STEP TWO - Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours.
STEP THREE - Take the lid off and shred the chicken with two forks.
STEP FOUR - Turn the crock pot to HIGH and add the uncooked pasta. Cook for 40-45 minutes until the pasta is done. If needed, add ¼ cup of water at a time to keep the noodles moist while continuing to cook.
STEP FIVE - In the meantime, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and then the milk. Add in the cheese and mix until the cheese is melted and smooth.
STEP SIX - Add the cheese sauce to the slow cooker, mix all the ingredients, and cook for 5 more minutes.
SERVE and ENJOY!
Expert tips and tricks
- A 6-quart crockpot is best for this recipe.
- Add heat to it: If you want more heat and a little kick, add some cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce. It will become one of your new favorite comfort foods.
- Switch up the chicken: You could also use rotisserie chicken to make this recipe even easier! It's also good with cooked ground beef.
- Extra cheese, please: If you're looking for an extra cheesy mac and cheese, add an additional ½ cup of cheese to the sauce. We love adding Monterey jack cheese sometimes.
- A little crunch: A great way to get a crunchy topping is to sprinkle some chopped bacon or bread crumbs on top before serving.
PRO TIP: It’s best to use shell pasta, so it catches lots of the creamy cheese sauce!Erin
What to serve with slow cooker buffalo mac and cheese
To make this a complete meal, serve the recipe with:
- Steamed veggies
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- A green salad
How to store
This mac and cheese is perfect for a crowd or if you're looking for a make-ahead meal that you can reheat throughout the week.
- Fridge: Let the chicken mac and cheese cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Place individual portions on a microwave-safe plate and reheat for 1-2 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.
- Freezer: This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese can also be frozen! Let it cool completely before adding it to a freezer-safe container. When you're ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave or stove.
PRO TIP: Freeze your slow cooker buffalo mac in individual portions, so making a quick lunch or dinner for family members is easy.
There you have it! This buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe is the perfect option if you're looking for an economical and easy meal that will last throughout the week.
It's best to use shell pasta to make Crock Pot Buffalo Mac & Cheese because it holds all the yummy cheese. However, you can use rotini pasta if that's what you have on hand.
This recipe is designed for a 6-quart slow cooker. Note that all slow cookers cook differently, so the cooking time may need to be adjusted accordingly.
Yes, you can add vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower to the dish. Cooked bacon is also a wonderful addition.
More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe Ideas
Your entire family will love these dinner recipes.
Love this Slow Cooker Buffalo Mac & Cheese recipe? Please leave a 5 star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below ⬇️ and/or a review in the comment section further down.
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 6-quart Crock Pot
- Spatula or cooking spoon
- medium saucepan
- 2 forks
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup buffalo wing sauce (start with ½ cup and add extra flavor when done)
- 8 ounce package cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- 16 ounces shell pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2½ cups milk
- 8 ounces shredded Colby jack cheese
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Then, add chicken, chicken broth, buffalo sauce, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt to your slow cooker.
- Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours.
- Take the lid off and shred the chicken with two forks.
- Put the lid back on, turn the crock pot to HIGH and add uncooked pasta. Cook for 40-45 minutes until pasta is done. If needed, add ¼ cup of water at a time to keep the noodles moist while continuing to cook.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Slowly whisk in the flour and then the milk. Add in the cheese and mix until cheese is melted and smooth.
- Add the cheese sauce to the slow cooker, mix all the ingredients and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve and enjoy!