Pressure cooker, Top-Posts, Weeknight dinner
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Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

A plate of buffalo chicken mac and cheese in front of an Instant Pot and a bottle of Franks RedHot
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. Spicy mac and cheese from the pressure cooker.

My kids haven’t been this excited about a blog recipe for a long time. As jaded teenagers with a food blogger dad, they have the world weary attitude of a hard-boiled detective. “Taco night? Let me tell you about that taco night back in ’12…”

But, the questions haven’t stopped since they saw this week’s menu on the refrigerator whiteboard. “Is today Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese day? When is Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Day? You said today was Buffalo Mac and Cheese Day! Where is it?”

This recipe is adapted from my most viewed recipe of all time, Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese. Like that recipe, I pressure cook the noodles in just enough water, use evaporated milk to replace the thickening power of bechamel sauce, and stir in a lot of shredded cheddar at the end.

The difference is in the chicken and buffalo sauce. “Stir Fry Cut” chicken breast is my short cut from the grocery store, pre-sliced and ready for a quick sauté. Then it stays in the pot to finish cooking with the noodles.

Buffalo sauce is a simple, two ingredient recipe: butter and Franks RedHot sauce. I stir them in after the noodles are cooked, with the evaporated milk, and before melting the cheese. For the record, this recipe is not sponsored by Franks RedHot. The flavor of Franks and butter means “Buffalo Wings”, so it is the key ingredient for this recipe to taste right. (See the notes section of the recipe if all you have is a jar of “Buffalo Wing Sauce”, not straight Franks RedHot.)

The last step is optional, but a good one – I spread panko bread crumbs over the top of the mac and cheese, scatter crumbled blue cheese on top, and brown it in the oven. Now, if you’re anti-blue-cheese, you can skip it – the recipe will still be great – but I always have blue cheese with my buffalo chicken wings.

Recipe: Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Inspired by: https://www.franksredhot.com/recipes/franks-redhot-classic-buffalo-chicken-mac-n-cheese.

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A plate of buffalo chicken mac and cheese in front of an Instant Pot and a bottle of Franks RedHot

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. Spicy mac and cheese from the pressure cooker.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces (¾ pound) boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch thick strips (“Stir Fry” cut at my local grocery store)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 4 ounces (½ cupFranks RedHot original sauce
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • More Franks RedHot for topping

Bread Crumb Topping (optional)

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  1. Brown the chicken: In an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, heat the vegetable oil using Sauté mode until the oil is shimmering. (Use medium heat with a stovetop PC). Sprinkle the chicken with ½ teaspoon of salt, then add it to the pot and cook until it is browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  2. Pressure cook the chicken and pasta for 4 minutes with a quick release: Stir the macaroni, 4 cups water, and 1½ teaspoon salt into the pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any stuck bits of chicken. Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes in an Instant Pot, electric PC, or stovetop PC. (For an Instant Pot, use Manual or Pressure Cook mode, and set the time to 4 minutes.) When the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure and remove the lid.
  3. Stir in the butter, evaporated milk, Franks RedHot sauce, and cheese: Leave the Instant Pot in Keep Warm mode (turn the heat down to low under a stovetop PC). Add the butter, evaporated milk and Franks RedHot, and stir until the butter melts. Stir in the cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly and waiting for the current handful to melt before adding the next handful.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs and blue cheese, and broil (Optional): Pour the macaroni into a 3 quart broiler-safe dish, patting it down to level out the surface. Sprinkle the panko bread crumbs over the macaroni and cheese in an even layer, then scatter the blue cheese on top of the bread crumbs. Broil the macaroni and cheese on high until the bread crumbs are toasted, about 5 minutes – but it really depends on your broiler. Keep checking the bread crumbs – they go from pale brown to burnt in a flash. 
  5. Serve: Pass the Franks RedHot at the table so your diners can add more if they need it. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Want to use buffalo wing sauce instead of straight Franks RedHot? Replace the 2 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of Franks with ⅔ cup of buffalo wing sauce. (The original Buffalo sauce was a 50-50 mix of Franks RedHot and butter – I’m upping the Franks ratio in this recipe to balance out all the ingredients.)

Tools

  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, Pressure Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

A red baking dish full of Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, topped with a browned crust of breadcrumbs and blue cheese
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – a whole baking dish, ready to serve

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Pressure Cooker Buffalo Chicken Wings
Instant Pot Fettuccine Chicken Alfredo
My other Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Top-Posts, Weeknight dinner

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Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

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