This oven-baked, creamy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake recipe is deliciously spicy, simple to make, and the ultimate comfort food! Chicken, plus pasta, plus cheese, plus a crunchy, buttery panko topping equals an irresistible pasta casserole recipe!
Are you looking for an easy, make-ahead, casserole that your family will love? Would you like a simple recipe that contains easy step-by-step directions? Well, keep reading, because you have come to the right place!
This easy casserole is perfect for a family dinner or game day party. And, because you can make it ahead, and it freezes beautifully, it’s ideal for last-minute company or a lazy Sunday dinner.
What’s the history of Buffalo Sauce?
The origins of all things Buffalo are pretty murky, but these spicy dishes had their start in 1964 in, where else, Buffalo, New York. The distinctive flavor is both tangy and spicy, and you can adjust the amount of heat by adding more or less hot sauce.
Which pasta is best?
This recipe is versatile. You can use pretty much any pasta you like or have on hand. I happen to like bowtie pasta or farfalle, and that’s what I used, but you could use penne, rotini, shells, elbow macaroni, fusilli; the list goes on and on.
You could even use spaghetti or fettuccini, but I wouldn’t recommend angel hair pasta as it’s too delicate. If you would like to make it a little healthier, feel free to add in some broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, or other vegetables.
What kind of cheese should I use?
This recipe calls for three cups of shredded cheese. This makes it an excellent opportunity to use all of those half-full packages of shredded cheese in your cheese drawer. Cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Mexican or Italian blend will all work well.
Can you make this dish ahead?
Yes! Make the casserole, but don’t bake it. Cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours. Then follow the directions for baking it when you are ready to serve.
Leftovers also reheat well and can be stored safely in your refrigerator, if covered, for up to three days.
What to serve with this dish?
I usually serve it with a simple salad, but roasted vegetables, steamed green beans, or sliced fresh tomatoes would work just as well!
How many calories in this recipe?
As with most pasta casseroles, this recipe is rich and high in calories. A single serving, which is 1/8 of this casserole, comes in at 597 calories. If you are watching your calories, you might want to limit your serving size.
More chicken and pasta recipes:
The ingredients for this recipe include bowtie pasta, a rotisserie chicken, bell pepper, green onions or scallions, garlic cloves, and cream cheese. You will also need blue cheese or ranch dressing, Buffalo Wings Hot Wing Sauce, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, butter, and panko breadcrumbs.
How to make this dish:
If you are ready to make this tasty pasta bake gather the ingredients, and let’s get started.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the pasta box when it’s finished cooking reserve a one-quarter cup of the pasta water before placing the pasta in a colander to drain.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the chicken, bell pepper, one-quarter cup of the chopped scallions, and two cups shredded cheese. Set aside.
Place the cream cheese, garlic, blue cheese or ranch dressing and the hot wing sauce in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth.
If you like your food spicy, you can add up to one-quarter cup more hot wing sauce. Mix well.
Mix the chicken and cheese mixture with the cream cheese mixture and pasta water to combine.
Place the drained pasta in a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chicken and cream cheese mixture. Toss to combine everything.
Melt the butter and add it to the panko. Mix well.
Top the casserole with the crumbled blue cheese, the remaining one cup of shredded cheese, remaining scallions, and panko breadcrumbs.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the panko is crispy. Let sit for a few minutes and serve hot. Enjoy!
Sharon’s Expert Tips:
I made this casserole in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet because I was only feeding four people. I froze the rest to eat another time. It does fit perfectly in a 9×13 baking dish.
I usually use leftover chicken when making this recipe. Or I will purchase a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and bones and chop up the meat. Three cups of chicken is a loose measurement. A little more or less won’t matter.
If you would like to roast chicken breasts and use them in this recipe, check out this post, Easy Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breasts. Chicken breasts are so large these days; you can usually get two cups of chicken from one large breast.
I prefer using either homemade blue cheese or ranch salad dressing or the refrigerated kind. However, if all you have is regular bottled dressing, it will work too.
If you don’t like spicy food, reduce the amount of buffalo wing sauce you add. If you like spicy food, add up to 1/4 cup more. This recipe is medium spicy.
This chicken and pasta recipe is versatile. You can use pretty much any pasta you like or have on hand. I happen to like bowtie pasta or farfalle, and that’s what I used, but you could use penne, rotini, shells, elbow macaroni, fusilli; the list goes on and on.
I used sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe, but this makes it an excellent opportunity to use all of those half-full packages of shredded cheese in your cheese drawer. Cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Mexican or Italian blend will all work well.
If you don’t have buffalo sauce, you can substitute 1/4 cup of hot sauce plus 1/4 cup of melted butter.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
The Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe
- 12 ounces bowtie or farfalle pasta
- 1/4 cup pasta water
- 3 cups cooked chicken chopped or 1 rotisserie chicken chopped up with the skin and bones removed.
- 1 bell pepper large, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions or scallions divided
- 2 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
- 8 oz cream cheese softened or at room temperature
- 1 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing works best with homemade or refrigerated dressing
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup Buffalo Hot Wing Sauce I like Frank's
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the pasta box. When finished cooking reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before placing the pasta in a colander to drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the chicken, bell pepper, 1/4 cup of the chopped scallions, and 2 cups shredded cheese. Set aside.
- Place the cream cheese, garlic, blue cheese or ranch dressing and the hot wing sauce in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. If you like your food spicy you can add up to 1/4 cup more hot wing sauce. Mix well.
- Place the drained pasta in a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chicken mixture, reserved pasta water, and cream cheese mixture and combine.
- Melt butter and mix with the panko bread crumbs.
- Top with the crumbled blue cheese, remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, panko bread crumbs, and the remaining scallions.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the panko is crispy. Let sit for a few minutes and serve hot. Enjoy!
*This post was originally published on September 26, 2016. Republished on September 27, 2019, with new images, expanded directions, and the addition of helpful tips. The only change to the recipe is the addition of butter to mix with the panko before baking.