January 2, 2023

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Consider this the romanticized version of your favorite dip. Velvety, smooth with just enough vinegary kick, this buffalo chicken pasta has all the flavors you love in your favorite game day dip…but in pasta.

There are a handful of buffalo chicken pastas out there, but this one is different. For starters, this recipe doesn’t just take the exact ingredients from the beloved dip and throw in some pasta. It’s not thick and chunky, nor does it make it obvious that you’re eating a block of cream cheese and a cup of hot sauce. Instead, this buffalo chicken pasta is velvety and smooth. It leans on the flavor of hot sauce, bringing more flavor than heat, without being overly sour. Considering it doesn’t involve 8 ounces of cream cheese and a block of cheddar cheese, it is remarkably light. If you’re looking for the classic, in-your-face buffalo sauce pasta, this is not the recipe for you. However, if you’re looking for a sauce inspired by and reminiscent of the classic, and you have 30 minutes, then you need to try this.

DAIRY + VINEGAR = OH NO

Have you ever mixed vinegar or lemon juice into dairy? Or have you ever had buffalo chicken dip straight from the oven, and it’s… kind of chunky? If you don’t already know, acid and milk don’t get along, and if not incorporated properly, the acid will curdle the dairy, leaving a not-so-great texture. Don’t get me wrong, in some cases, you want to curdle dairy, such as when making cheese or homemade buttermilk. While we do not add milk to this dish, there is milk and cream in Boursin. Have no fear; there are ways to get around this. In fact, if you have made my Lemon Caper Pasta then you have already encountered this.

If you take anything from what I said above it’s follow the directions below.

bowl of buffalo chicken pasta

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ingredients for buffalo chicken pasta

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE BUFFALO CHICKEN PASTA

  • Pasta + Pasta Water – As always players choice here. Since this is a more playful pasta sauce I decided to go with farfalle (bow tie pasta), but any macaroni would work.
  • Franks Red Hot – You are looking for Franks Red Hot sauce, not wing sauce. Wing sauce already has butter added in it which we do not need since we are adding it in at the start. Substitute with caution, there really is no other hot sauce that gives you that iconic buffalo flavor than Franks.
  • Boursin Cheese – Boursin comes in a few flavors, but you are looking for the garlic and fine herbs flavor (green box). With garlic, parsley, and chives this flavor delivers a similar flavor profile that ranch dressing would without pouring in the dressing. Best part? It is also the ingredient that makes this pasta creamy, killing 2 birds with one stone.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Chicken Broth – Vegtable is an okay substitute.
  • Paprika – Since we are adding heat with the Franks Red Hot, avoid hot smoked paprika. Instead regular or even sweet paprika are great choices.
  • Butter
close up of buffalo chicken pasta

HOW TO MAKE BUFFALO CHICKEN PASTA

Boil the Pasta – This may seem obvious, but if you don’t already know, pasta needs to be boiled in salty water. Not only does this give the pasta flavor, but the salty water will also be added to the sauce. If you’re ever wondering why I don’t say to salt the sauce, it’s because we add starchy, salty pasta water. Always save more water than you need. I always advise in the recipe how much to add and save, in case you want to thin the sauce out or if it reduces too much and you need to add more to loosen it up.

Sauté + Build the Sauce– In a pot over medium to low heat, melt the butter. Once melted and bubbly, add the garlic and paprika, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. The garlic will become soft and fragrant but not brown. If the garlic begins to brown, reduce the heat.

Add the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 10-20 seconds to ensure the flour doesn’t burn. We aren’t making a thick roux here, just 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter. Not only are we cooking the raw flour, but cooking down the roux also allows for a smoother sauce when the broth is added. No lumps here!

Add the broth and vigorously mix to combine the roux with the broth. Cook until it starts to thicken, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the pasta water—this is why we started cooking the pasta before starting the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the sauce to come to a simmer.

Make it BuffaloTURN OFF THE HEAT. Sorry for the caps, but this is the step that stops the sauce from curdling. Wait 2-3 minutes until the sauce no longer bubbles, then add the Frank’s Hot Sauce. Mix to combine, then add the Boursin, crushing it with the back of a spoon and mixing to combine. This will take a minute for the Boursin to melt into the sauce. Add the pasta and serve!

While there is no chicken added directly to this buffalo chicken pasta, feel free to add precooked chicken. Grilled chicken or even shredded rotisserie chicken are great, easy adds.

bowl of buffalo chicken pasta

STORING/REHEATING

As I say in a lot of my posts, because of the creamy nature of this dish it is best eaten immediately. This pasta can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Once it goes in the fridge however the cream sauce congeals and its really hard to get that velvety smooth texture back.

My best hack for a pasta like this, save some pasta water and freeze it. When you are ready to reheat add the pasta to a pan and add one ice cube at a time until it is warm and at the desired consistency. I like using THIS ice cube tray (if using this add a few at a time). No pasta water? add a splash of broth instead.

Looking for more pasta recipes? Check out the below!

Pancetta Pink Sauce
Miso Chipotle Pasta
Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo

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January 2, 2023

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

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Consider this the romanticized version of one of your favorite dips. Velvety, smooth, and remarkably light.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 minute meal, Buffalo Chicken, Pasta, Spicy
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people
pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pasta farfalle is used in the photos
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp paprika regular or sweet. avoid hot.
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pasta water reserve 1 cup just in case
  • 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce original flavor
  • 1 package Boursin – garlic + fine herbs 5.2oz box

Instructions

  • Cook pasta as per instructions in salty water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain and place on the side.
  • In a pot over medium to low heat melt the butter. Once melted and bubbly add in the garlic and paprika and sauté until soft and fragrant, approx. 2-3 minutes. If garlic begins to brown lower the heat.
  • Add in the flour and cook for 3-5 minutes mixing every 10-20 seconds to ensure the flour doesn't burn. Flour will make a thin, loose paste.
  • Add the broth and cook until it starts to thicken, approx. 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of pasta water and cook for 3-4 minutes allowing the sauce to come to a simmer. If the sauce thickens too much feel free to add more pasta water 1 tbsp at a time. Salt to taste depending on how salty the pasta water was.
  • TURN OFF THE HEAT, and allow the sauce to stop bubbling. Let the sauce cool for 2-3 minutes before adding in the Franks hot sauce.
  • Add in the Boursin, crushing it with the back of a spoon and mixing to combine. This will take a minute or two for the cheese to completely melt into the sauce.
  • Add in the pasta and mix to coat. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • While there is no chicken added directly to this buffalo chicken pasta, optional to add in sliced grilled chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • To make melting the Boursin a little easier take it out of the fridge at minimum in the beginning of cooking, recommended 10-15 minutes before.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    we are biiiiiig fans of anything buffalo in my house, and my partner and i devoured this pasta quicker than i’d like to admit. We plan to add some chicken cutlets to it next time. this sauce is excellent!!!

  2. 5 stars
    This dish is exactly what you want, but also completely unexpected. It totally captures the richness, zest and silkiness of Buffalo sauce but someone eats so much lighter than expected. A+ 5 star dish!