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Buffalo Chicken Pasta is an easy weeknight dinner recipe that combines buffalo sauce, ranch and cheese. This easy pasta recipe is so good once you start eating you won’t be able to stop!
This pasta recipe is one that I started making about a year ago. Since my family loves our buffalo chicken dip I decided to try and combine these same flavors into a weeknight pasta dish! After a little bit of trial and error we have found the best buffalo chicken pasta recipe that my family loves!
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Buffalo Chicken Pasta is a favorite all year long because it combines the flavors of buffalo chicken dip, but makes it into a hearty comfort pasta dish that is easy to make. I love this pasta dinner because I can adjust the heat of it very easily based on who is eating it.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe
There is no better way to spice up the night than to make this buffalo chicken pasta. The chicken is the star for sure in this dish since it has the hot and spicy sauce on it.
I love this buffalo chicken pasta recipe because it does not have the cream cheese that you see in other buffalo chicken pasta recipes, but yet still has the creaminess that you love in buffalo chicken dishes.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Ingredients
- Penne Pasta- Penne pasta is the perfect pasta for buffalo chicken pasta. This noodle is hearty and pairs great with the creamy buffalo chicken and sauce.
- Shredded Cheese– Shredded cheese is a must! It gives the buffalo chicken the creamy goodness you are craving. Be sure that you use a block of cheese rather than already shredded cheese because the block cheese melts much better.
- Frank’s Buffalo Sauce- A must is Frank’s Buffalo Sauce. Yes, there are other buffalo sauces, but use this one because it makes a huge difference. You can alter the amount of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce based on your preference of heat.
- Ranch- Ranch is a must in buffalo chicken pasta. What can I say? We love ranch.
- Chicken Breasts – Go with boneless skinless chicken breast for this buffalo chicken pasta. If you are short on time you can always pick up a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket and skin it and use the chicken meat to make this dish also. If you do that, omit the olive oil from the recipe.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is the perfect agent for cooking the chicken. You just need to slightly coat the chicken prior to cooking it.
- Garlic Powder- A popular ingredient when it comes to seasoning dishes. Not only does it help bring flavor to the dish, but it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and helps build a strong immune system.
- Onion Powder- This brings the flavor of onions to the buffalo chicken pasta without the chunks of onions. For this dish you want it to have a smooth texture, so use onion powder instead of chunks of onion.
- Italian Seasoning- Italian seasoning is a blend of spices that really help elevate this dish. If you don’t have Italian Seasoning you can use oregano to get a similar flavor.
- Salt and Pepper- Don’t forget the salt and pepper. It is something so simple that I didn’t use for so many years, but once I started using it I realize how just a touch of salt and pepper really complete any dish.
What Kind of Chicken should I use in Buffalo Chicken Pasta?
The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but you can use a variety of different chicken.
You can use grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, a rotisserie chicken you pick up at the market. You can even use canned chicken or chicken tenders. Don’t be afraid to try different types of chicken to find the one you like the best.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta
This pasta recipe really is super simple and is done in a few easy steps! And it’s the perfect weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly.
Preheat oven– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Boil water– While the oven is preheating, you will want to start boiling some water on the stove for your pasta.
Slice chicken– Next slide your raw chicken into bite sized pieces. Coat them in olive oil and toss the chicken in the pan. If you are using a cooking spray with olive oil, then you can omit the olive oil at this step.
Season– Combine all the seasonings and season the chicken generously in the pan.
Cook Chicken– Cook chicken thoroughly and set aside.
Cook Noodles– Once the water begins to boil, then stir in the penne pasta and cook just under your desired preference. You will want to do this because the chicken will still cook a bit when you put it in the oven to bake. If you cook it to how you like your pasta it will become mushy in the oven.
Drain Pasta– Once the pasta is done you will want to drain it and then pour it into a greased 13x 9 glass baking dish.
Add Chicken- Add your cooked chicken on top of the pasta.
Mix- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the buffalo sauce and ranch. Mix well.
Pour- Pour your buffalo sauce over the pasta and the chicken and mix it all together until everything is covered with the sauce.
Add- Add half of your shredded cheese to your buffalo chicken pasta, and mix. Once it is mixed spread the other 1/2 of the cheese on top.
Bake- Bake your buffalo chicken pasta for 20 minutes in the oven or until the cheese on top is melted.
Serve- Serve and enjoy your buffalo chicken pasta.
Can you make Buffalo Chicken Pasta ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this cheesy buffalo chicken pasta ahead of time. If I have some down time in the morning I will whip it up and then cover it with foil and then put it in the fridge.
Then when I am ready to bake it, I will pull it out of the fridge and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. When I do this I leave the foil on for the first 20 minutes (because you are having to warm it up versus it already being warm because you just made it) then cook it for an additional 10 minutes.
Can You Freeze Buffalo Chicken Pasta?
Yes! You can freeze buffalo chicken pasta. Because it freezes so well, sometimes I’ll make a double batch, one to enjoy today and one to enjoy in a few weeks on a busy night when I don’t have time to cook.
If you are going to freeze it, you will want to prepare it how the recipe calls all the way to the cooking in the oven step.
Once your buffalo pasta is assembled, put it in a freezer safe container, cover it with foil and place it in the freezer. It will last for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to eat it, you will want to refrigerate it overnight then bake it at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes or so.
What Kind of Cheese Do I Use For Buffalo Chicken Pasta?
You can use any variation of cheese you would like. I have tried different ones and I love to use sharp cheddar with usually another milder white cheese.
I have found combining two different cheeses helps make the cheese more smooth.
Whatever cheese you choose, be sure that you use the block of cheese and grate it because it melts so much better than pre shredded cheese.
What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Pasta
While this hot chicken pasta dish is perfect on its own I love to add
- A rustic loaf of bread
- A Side salad
Looking For Other Pasta Dishes?
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- 16 oz penne pasta cooked
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup Buffalo Sauce Frank's Buffalo Sauce
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 2-3 chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, fill pot with water and put on high to boil for pasta.
- Once water begins to boil, stir in penne and cook it to al dente. [Note: Do not overcook pasta as it will continue to cook while baking later.]
- Slice chicken into bite sized pieces. Put saute pan on medium-high head. Add chopped chicken and drizzle in olive oil. Toss chicken in the pan adding seasonings/
- When chicken is cooked thoroughly, set aside while the pasta finishes cooking. Drain pasta and pour it into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Add chopped chicken on top.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix 3⁄4 cup buffalo sauce and 1 cup ranch. Pour the buffalo-ranch mixture over the top of the pasta and chicken and mix together until everything is covered in the sauce.
- Stir 1⁄2 of your shredded cheese into the pasta and reserve the other 1⁄2 for melting on the top.
- Put Buffalo Chicken Pasta in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.