Ready to level up on your mac and cheese game? Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is just the right amount of insanely easy to make, rich and spicy, and totally creamy with a homemade cheese sauce.
Is it possible to have too much cheese? The answer is, of course, no. This buffalo chicken mac and cheese has a super creamy cheese sauce with just the right amount of spice. While it's a totally grown up version of your favorite kid comfort food, the whole family will love this. Super simple to make and totally homemade with a from scratch cheese sauce... who could refuse a serving or three?! Use your slow cooker to make easy work of this wholesome Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese that everyone will will go crazy for.
Can you cook mac and cheese pasta in a slow cooker?
- The answer is... yes!
- It takes a little bit of a watchful eye after adding the pasta to make sure it cooks evenly.
- Cook the chicken in the broth/sauce base first.
- Add the pasta in the last 30-45 minutes and stir a few times to ensure it cooks just right.
- You don't even need a fancy or special slow cooker to so this. I used my favorite basic 5 quart slow cooker!
Another important note regarding the pasta... be sure to use shell pasta. You need all the little pockets to be able to hold all of the cheese. Cheese to pasta ratio is an important consideration when it comes to good mac and cheese.
There's a little trade-off here in the time it takes to make this meal. You're going to save some time by tossing the pasta right in the crock. But you'll take a few minutes to make a from scratch cheese sauce because it's worth it. Really. This will be the key that makes this the best buffalo chicken mac and cheese you've ever had.
How do you make cheese sauce for buffalo chicken mac and cheese?
The buffalo sauce part of this dish will go into the slow cooker with the chicken. I suggest starting with less and adding more once the dish is done if you are unsure how spicy you would like it.
While I often make cheese sauces right in the slow cooker (see my cheesy buffalo chicken pasta) this time I'm suggesting taking the few extra minutes to make it on the stove.
If you've never made cheese sauce before it's really just melting butter and whisking in some flour to create a thickener/paste. Let the flour cook a few minutes. Then slowly add milk and let it thicken and simmer. Finally, stir in shredded cheese.
Be sure you use cheese you've shredded yourself from the block when making cheese sauces. Pre-grated cheese has an anti-caking agent that will leave you with a grainy sauce.
What sides go with buffalo chicken mac and cheese?
- tossed green salad
- crusty rolls
- buttered peas or any favorite steamed veggies
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup buffalo wing sauce (start with ¼ and add more to taste when done)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- 8 ounces shell pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 6 oz shredded colby jack cheese
- Add chicken, broth, buffalo sauce and seasonings to slow cooker
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
- Shred fully cooked chicken with forks and return to crock
- Add uncooked pasta and stir to combine
- Cover and cook pasta on high for 30-45 minutes until fully cooked (if needed you can add additional water ¼ cup at a time for any uncooked noodles and stir)
- In saucepan over medium high heat melt butter
- Whisk in flour
- Slowly pour in milk while whisking until smooth
- Bring to simmer for 4-6 minutes until sauce thickens enough to stick to a spoon (it will be just a little thinner than most cheese sauces)
- Remove from heat and whisk in cheese until melted and smooth
- Add cheese sauce to slow cooker and stir to combine
- Serve immediately