This easy chicken dinner is one of our favorites!
Table of Contents
🗝️ Key takeaways
- This casserole is rich, creamy, and full of spicy Buffalo chicken flavor. It's a great way to feed a crowd and use up leftover chicken.
- I love this Buffalo chicken penne pasta bake recipe for potlucks and family dinners.
- So easy to assemble ahead of time!
Y'all, I love a dish that goes together fast and comes out perfectly every time. I'm not saying you'll get a standing ovation when you put it on the table but...
It could happen.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
*Note - The bacon crumbles are not shown in the image below.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be substituted for the chicken breast.
- Use rotisserie chicken to save time.
- Try a different kind of pasta, such as elbow macaroni or shells.
- Add some chopped green bell peppers or red onions.
- Add some melted butter to the hot sauce to tone it down if you love the flavor but not the heat.
- Adding sour cream makes buffalo chicken casserole even creamier and reduces the spice level of the buffalo sauce.
- Use blue cheese instead of ranch dressing in this cheesy pasta if you prefer blue cheese dressing with your buffalo wings.
This is an overview of the instructions for this buffalo chicken pasta bake. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese, ranch, and hot sauce until smooth and evenly mixed.
- Add chicken, 1 cup of cheese mixture, and the pasta noodles to the cream cheese mixture, then spoon into the prepared baking dish.
- Mix the remaining cheese and spread over the top of the casserole.
- Sprinkle the top of the pasta with Ritz crackers, then bake per the directions on the recipe card.
Casserole times and temps
Sometimes you need to bake two things at once - here's how to adjust the time and/or temperatures of your casserole!
These times are only an estimate. Be sure to check your casserole often. It's done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165F when stuck in the middle of the casserole.
|Temperature||Time||Time From Frozen|
|300F||45||1 hour 15 minutes|
|350F||25 minutes||50 minutes|
|375F||20 minutes||40 minutes|
|400F||15 minutes||30-35 minutes|
Leftover buffalo chicken pasta bake can be stored it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Let the casserole come to room temperature. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or put in an airtight container and refrigerate.
This casserole can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then reheat as directed above. If you are planning on freezing it then it's best to leave the cracker crumbs off until you reheat it.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.
Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes or microwave in 1-minute intervals until warmed through.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: I use Frank's Hot Sauce in this because it's thicker and has more texture than other brands. It coats the other ingredients much better.
- Once you mix the pasta and chicken with the sauce get it in the oven as quickly as possible - the pasta will absorb some of the sauce and get dry. If this happens just add ½ cup milk or half & half around the edges.
- If you don't have Ritz crackers on hand, any type of cracker will work.
- I like to cook my pasta al dente per the package directions because it will continue to cook in the oven.
- A dash of garlic powder and black pepper added to the cream cheese mixture will add additional flavor to this pasta dish.
Yes, you can definitely make buffalo chicken pasta casserole ahead of time. Just assemble everything as directed in the recipe - but leave off the cracker crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it. When you're ready to eat, add the cracker crumb layer and bake it according to the directions in the recipe card.
No, you will need to use cooked chicken for this recipe. You can poach a boneless skinless chicken breast if you don't have any cooked chicken on hand.
You bet! Try using vegetarian chicken substitutes or tofu to make a delicious vegetarian buffalo pasta bake. You may need to adjust the cooking time.
The heat level depends on the sauce you use. The pasta helps cool it some. You can control the heat by adding more or less buffalo sauce, or even using a milder sauce variation.
You sure can! Choose your favorite or whatever you happen to have on hand.
📚 Related recipes
- King Ranch Chicken Casserole is comforting, creamy, and a great meal on busy weeknights.
- Poppy Seed Chicken is an easy meal for nights when you want something hearty without a lot of effort.
- Million Dollar Casserole is an easy dinner that's creamy, cheesy, and always a hit with the entire family.
- Tamale Pie is a family favorite.
🍽️ Serve Buffalo chicken penne pasta bake with
Wondering what goes with this easy pasta bake? What about...
- These Maple Roasted Carrots are sweet, tender and pair well with this easy pasta recipe.
- If you are looking for a fresh side salad to pair with this pasta, give this Italian Green Bean Salad a try.
- This No Bake Strawberry Shortcake is an easy dessert that the whole family will love.
📞 The last word
I love this easy buffalo chicken pasta recipe! It checks all the boxes for comfort food and flavor!
Sometimes I bake it with a layer of French fried onions on top.
It's a fun twist on buffalo wings (which I don't care for because I'm lazy and boneless is just easier.)
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need.
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Pasta BakePrint Pin Recipe Save Saved!
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 8 ounces package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup hot sauce, I used Frank's Red Hot Thick
- 2 ½ cups chicken, cooked and diced, (about 1 ½ lbs raw)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces shredded from a block
- 1 cups cheddar cheese, about 4 ounces shredded from a block - I like sharp cheddar for this
- 1 cup cottage cheese, optional
- 15 Ritz crackers, about 1 sleeve, crushed
- ¼ cup butter
- green onions, for garnish
- bacon crumbles, for garnish - optional
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- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Stir together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, ranch, and hot sauce until smooth and creamy.
- Mix the Cheddar and Mozzarella cheeses.
- Add the chicken, 1 cup cheese mixture, and cooked pasta noodles to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.
- Spoon into the prepared dish.
- Combine the remaining cheese and sprinkle over the top of the pasta.
- Melt butter.
- Stir the melted butter into the Ritz cracker crumbs.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through.
- Remove from oven, drizzle with more hot sauce and Ranch. Garnish with sliced green onion and bacon crumbles if desired.
- I use Frank's Hot Sauce in this because it's thicker and has more texture than other brands. It coats the other ingredients much better.
- Once you mix the pasta and chicken with the sauce get it in the oven as quickly as possible - the pasta will absorb some of the sauce. If this happens just add ½ cup milk or half & half around the edges.
- If you don't have Ritz crackers on hand, any type of cracker will work.
- I like to cook my pasta to al dente per the package directions because it will continue to cook in the oven.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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First published March 31, 2022. Last updated September 24, 2023, for editorial improvements.