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This Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe is full of tender chicken, carrots, celery, and green onions in a creamy, cheesy, perfectly spicy sauce. The best part is that it’s made up in just one pot, so less dishes, less mess! And it’s ready in under 30 minutes! Cue busy weeknight must make!
This delicious Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe is a One-Pot Wonder that can be thrown together any night of the week. When those busy nights come along, it rises to All-Star status. You can prep chicken ahead of time, make it the same day, or grab a rotisserie chicken on the way home for ultimate ease. This cheesy, chicken pasta dish is sure to satisfy your buffalo chicken AND pasta craving- all in one!
My love for Buffalo wing-saucey-type meals runs deep. This flavor bomb recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pasta is our newest go-to meal! Just like my Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip, Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Wraps, and Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Chili, you’ll fall in love with this too! It also tastes even better the next day, so I love to meal-prep it for busier days where I can’t be home to get dinner on the table because my ada
Ingredients and Substitutions for Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Pasta – I like to use penne pasta for this one, but any smaller noodle that holds sauce well should work just fine. Be aware that the cooking time might vary a little if using a pasta that’s smaller/thinner like elbow noodles.
- Chicken – You can use rotisserie chicken, make chicken on the stove top quickly, or Instant Pot Shredded Chicken, Easy Baked Chicken, or Crockpot Shredded Chicken.
- Ranch dressing seasoning packet – You can also use a blend of spices: 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 dried parsley, 1/2 onion powder, 1 tsp dried dill, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
- Diced Celery– I love to add vegetables to any meal to add some extra nutrition, you can skip this if you’re out of it or want to make this even quicker.
- Diced Carrots– Same as above for the celery.
- Green Onions – Also known as scallions. Dice the whole thing, but separate the bottom white parts from the top green parts. You’ll use one for cooking and the other for garnish.
- Chicken Broth – you can use water, but it won’t be as flavorful. You can also use water + 1 tbsp of better than bouillon.
- Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce – Be sure it’s the Buffalo wing sauce and not just the hot sauce for optimal flavor.
- Milk – you can use skim, 1%, or 2%. You can also use almond or cashew milk.
- Cottage cheese- If you want to skip this, I suggest adding an extra 4 oz cream cheese and another 1/4 cup of milk.
- Cream Cheese – I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese, but you could use full fat or whipped cream cheese if you wanted to.
- Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese – You can also use shredded cheddar cheese, Colby Jack, or Mexican blend cheese.
How to Cook the Chicken
This Buffalo Chicken Pasta is a snap to make especially if you’ve got the chicken cooked and ready to go, but if you don’t that’s OKAY. There are several options for this. Obviously, if you happen to have any leftover chicken in the fridge, use that. Another option is to grab a Rotisserie Chicken from the store, and pull the meat off with your hands or a fork. Or use one of these fan favorite chicken recipes: Instant Pot Chicken, Slow Cooker Chicken, or Baked Chicken.
But just to make sure we keep everything you need on one page, here’s some quick instructions on how to get that yummy, juicy chicken ready in about 12 minutes on the stove top and still using the same pan (lets not dirty more dishes, right?).
- For quick and even cooking, grab a meat mallet and pound out about 2 lbs of chicken breast on a cutting board. We want to get the meat down to about 1/2 inch thick. If you’re worried about chicken juices, you can put it into a plastic Ziploc bag before pounding. What I do is cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap then take out my aggressions on it, haha!
- Season chicken breast with about 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil over the breasts, and then rub the spices and oil into each one.
- In a hot skillet over medium heat, place chicken breast in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on one side; then flip, and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Set the chicken on a clean cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes before chopping. Letting the meat rest is an important step, because if you cut into it right away, all the juices will run out and the meat will become dry.
- Cut into small cubes, and it’s ready to add to the Buffalo Chicken Pasta when it’s time. You can use the same skillet that you’ll use for the pasta – just make sure to wipe it out if needed.
How to make Buffalo Chicken Pasta in One Pot
- Saute Vegetables. In a large skillet, large pot, or Dutch Oven, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over Medium Heat, and then add the diced carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a pinch of Kosher Salt and Pepper. Cook for a few minutes until it’s all a little softened. Add the diced green onion whites, and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add ingredients. Add uncooked penne, cooked chicken, ranch seasoning packet, and chicken broth. Stir together well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low for a gentle simmer.
- Cook the pasta. Cover the pasta with a tightly fitted lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is al dente (firm, with a slight chew).
Make the buffalo pasta sauce
When creating this recipe, I knew it was necessary to really nail the silky-smooth sauce. I wanted to tie everything together just like a really good mac & cheese, but with a little less fat and calories. Here we are… and it is truly epic. If you’ve followed some of my past recipes, you may know I’ve used Cottage Cheese to lighten things up, while still keeping it creamy and cheesy. I decided to go this route again. Even if, like me, you aren’t a big cottage cheese person, Trust me! The blending will remove any of those lumps, and it perfectly melts in and disappears.
- While the pasta is cooking, Blend together the Buffalo Sauce, Cottage Cheese, garlic powder, cream cheese, and milk until it’s super smooth. You can blend it up with pretty much any regular blender or immersion blender. I’m using my Ninja Blender with the smaller cup attachment.
- When the noodles have finished cooking, uncover the pot and add the blended cheese sauce. There will more than likely be some extra liquid. A little is okay, it combines with the sauce and is all good, but if there’s more than a little, we will go ahead and reduce it a bit. Do this by turning the heat up to medium-high and stirring frequently. Add in the Mozzarella cheese to let it melt at the same time.
- Add the diced dark green green onion parts if you want, and serve it up hot!
Note: you do not have to blend the sauce, you can add all these ingredients separately and heat it up all together as it melt into the pasta dish, but I do love the sauce blended more.
What to serve with Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Storage and Reheating
Storage for Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Make Ahead: You can make the chicken ahead of time or you can make the entire thing ahead of time and reheat.
More Buffalo Chicken Recipes
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 bunch diced green onions (white bottom part and top green parts separated)
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast (diced or shredded) (about 1 lb cooked)
- 1 lb uncooked penne pasta
- 1 packet Ranch dressing seasoning (I use the hidden valley restaurant recipe packet that is .40 oz- reduce the amount if using a larger packet or it will be too salty)
- 4½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
Buffalo Pasta Sauce
- 1½ cups 1% cottage cheese
- 4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 1% or 2%, you can use almond or cashew milk as well)
- 1/2 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce Make sure it's the buffalo wing sauce and not just the hot sauce for best flavor
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- In a large skillet, large pot, or Dutch Oven, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over Medium Heat, and then add the diced carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a pinch of Kosher Salt and Pepper. Cook for a few minutes until it's all a little softened. Add the diced green onion whites, and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add uncooked penne, cooked chicken, ranch seasoning packet, and chicken broth. Stir it all together well. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer. Cover with a tightly fitted lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is al dente (firm, with a slight chew).
- While the pasta is cooking, Blend together the Buffalo Sauce, Cottage Cheese, garlic powder, cream cheese, and milk until it's super smooth. *You can blend it up with any regular blender or immersion blender.
- When the noodles have finished cooking, uncover the pot and stir in the blended cheese sauce. There will more than likely be some extra liquid. A little is okay, it combines with the sauce and is all good, but if there's more than a little, we will go ahead and reduce it a bit. Do this by turning the heat up to medium-high and stirring frequently. Add in the Mozzarella cheese to let it melt at the same time.
- Add the diced dark green green onion parts if you want, and serve it up hot!
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.