Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is an adult macaroni and cheese, with carrots, rigatoni, chicken and a slight kick.
My husband and I love this dish! It seems to get better with each bite and tastes even better the next day.
Pressure Cooker Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese a/k/a/ Instant Pot Crack Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, is an ‘adult’ macaroni and cheese, quickly made in your Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. It is surprisingly delicious. After a couple of bites, suddenly, you are hooked and will yearn for more and more. Seriously.
If you don’t want spicy, no worries, in the notes section, I tell you how to make it mild. The recipe is written for medium, so it’s not too spicy as written.
I saw Wolfgang Puck and Deb Murray make this on TV around 2004, and it sounded interesting, so I decided to make some changes to suit my taste buds and wow, this is one of my most favorite recipes. It sounds odd, but it really is incredible.
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Ingredients to Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- Chicken Breasts (although you can use dark meat)
- Hidden Valley Original Ranch DRY Seasoning (the powdered stuff)
- Chicken Bone Broth or Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
- De Cecco Rigatoni – This is a hearty pasta and De Cecco is a premium brand, which holds up well in the Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker.
- Carrots – Might as well add some veggies!
- Celery – Adds a natural salty flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Really ups the flavor.
- Cheese, cheese and more cheese!
Pro Tip: the Ranch Dry Seasoning really adds nice tangy flavor, so even if you are not a ranch lover (which I am NOT), don’t skip it. It’s very different flavor than the mayonnaise/sour cream ranch dressing.
The Beauty of This Recipe
- Well, pretty much everything gets added at once!
- The Chicken will be removed later and chopped.
- Lots of Cheese will be added and melt into the Pasta and Sauce.
In my This Old Gal Pressure Cooker Cookbook, there is a very similar recipe and instead of packaged Dry Ranch Seasoning, I show you how to make your own by scratch.
Add the chicken, pasta, stock, vegetables, Buffalo Sauce and Ranch seasoning to the Pressure Cooker cooking pot.
Give it a mix and you are ready to cook.
There is a lot of stuff in the Pot!
While Macaroni and Cheese is not on the lower calorie side, remember, there are so many other ingredients that are healthy.
If you want to use more Carrots, just add them.
After the pressure is released, remove the Chicken from the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker cooking pot and cut into pieces.
Best Cheese for Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
- Sharp Cheddar
- Jarlsberg (one of my favorites)
- Feta (I love Bulgarian the best)
- Cream Cheese (adds so much creaminess)
The Pasta will be a little firm at this point. As you add the Cheese and it melts into the Sauce and Pasta, the noodles will finish cooking.
The Feta cheese add such a nice tartness to the recipe. If you cannot find Jarlsberg, try using Swiss Cheese instead.
Allow each addition of cheese to melt before adding in the next handful of cheese..
The noodles will continue to cook and will be the perfect al dente texture, by the time you are ready to eat.
My di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas Set is hard at work. 🙂
Chop or Shred the Chicken, which ever you prefer.
You might be wondering why I chop the Chicken after pressure cooking, rather than before.
I want to keep as much juice in the chicken as possible and with the large pieces, it is less likely to over cook.
Tips and Tricks to Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese?
- There are not many ingredients and you probably already have them all in your pantry and freezer.
- The beauty of this meal is that you can use fresh or frozen Chicken!
- De Cecco Rigatoni is best for using in the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker and really, for everything.
- It’s more forgiving and stays al dente. I have no idea why we had Barilla in the house.
- I always have tons of Reditainer Extreme Freezer Containers filled with Chicken Bone Broth in my freezer and use it frozen.
The dish is nice and creamy, with a teeny kick.
The Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese freezes well and is so simple to heat up in an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker.
We like to store the leftovers in 24 ounce Reditainers Extreme Freezer Containers as they are BPA free, hold up well and are perfect for two servings leftovers.
Plus, they are cheap enough to share leftovers with guests.
More Instant Pot Pasta Recipes to Make:
- Pressure Cooker Fully Loaded Macaroni and Cheese
- Pressure Cooker Steak Fajitas
- Pressure Cooker Beef and Macaroni (Johnny Marzetti)
- Pressure Cooker Pasta, Cheese and Peas Summer Salad
Enjoy! Take about three bites before you decide if you like this or not, as it is a bit different and takes a moment to make sense. 🙂
For traditional delicious other Mac & Cheese recipes, check out my Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese, Fully Loaded and my Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash Pasta recipes.
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 Pressure Cooker
- J.A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Alton Brown Salt Box
- di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas Set
- My FANTASTIC Teak Cutting & Charcuterie Board & Compartments
- Microplane Artisan Ribbon Grater
- Reditainer Extreme Freezer Containers
- Freezer Labels
- OXO Stainless Steel Tongs
- Hidden Valley Original Ranch DRY Seasoning
- De Cecco Rigatoni
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Here is your handy printable recipe:
Pressure Cooker Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and CheesePrint Pin SaveSaved! Rate
- 1 pound Chicken Breasts Boneless/Skinless boneless/skinless
- 16 ounces Rigatoni Pasta Noodles Penne, or other sturdy Pasta, uncooked
- 3.5 cups Chicken Stock/Broth
- 1 medium Yellow/Brown Onion diced
- 3 Celery Stalks diced
- 5 large Carrots peeled and sliced into one inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning Mix
- ½ cup Cream Cheese whipped
- 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Jarlesburg or Swiss cheese shredded
- ½ cup Feta Cheese or Gorgonzola cheese
- Place all ingredients, except the cheese into the Pressure Cooker cooking pot
- Lock on the lid and close the Pressure Valve. Cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes. When Beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- Open the lid and remove the Chicken and chop.
- Gentle stir in the cream cheese, cheddar, Swiss and Feta, stirring until dissolved. Return Chicken to pot and stir.