Who doesn’t love a big ol’ plate of macaroni and cheese?
If you are saying “not me” in response to the question above, it’s probably time for you to wander off to another recipe on this site, because this cheesy goodness is only for true macaroni and cheese lovers!
Just kidding, you can stick around. You will be forced to read an ode to the incredible dairy goodness of this dish though. Fair warning.
Cheese is one of those foods that I can never get enough of. From cheddar to blue, pepper jack to brie, and so much more, I will eat it all in copious amounts.
If you wandered into my office in the afternoon, you’d likely find me with some cheese and crackers on a plate next to me, typing away while I munch.
That’s why when anyone says they don’t like cheese, my jaw hits the floor. Normally, this is something people do in response to those who say they don’t like chocolate. For me, it’s more offensive to hate this particular dairy product.
I know that sounds extreme, but come on. This particular food is the magic of life. It’s creamy, and sometimes pungent. It comes in all different shapes and sizes. It is pure beauty.
(See? I told you that if you kept reading you would have to deal with my ode. I promise, I am done. For now…)
Macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that I feel truly celebrates all varieties of the dairy product. There are so many different versions (hello, taco mac and cheese bake!) out there that incorporate different types. And you can always find a baked macaroni recipe to fit your dairy-loving mood.
This particular dish is an ode to that dairy deliciousness, and spiciness. This happens to be my favorite combination ever. Obviously.
Made with two different cheeses, half and half, sour cream, and butter, you will be in heaven if you’re anything like me.
You actually get a double dose of heat in this particular dish, with the combination of pepper jack and hot sauce. The creaminess pairs perfectly with the hit of heat, balancing out the spice factor so it doesn’t overwhelm your palate, while leaving just a bit of a sting on your tongue.
This giant casserole dish of macaroni is ideal for feeding a crowd. You can make it a main dish to serve eight people, or you can serve it as an epic side dish paired with a variety of proteins, anything from barbecue to roasted chicken.
I personally love serving it up during the week, because there is a good amount of inactive baking time. That way, while it’s baking in the oven, you can sit back and relax before you settle down for dinner.
If you are in a hurry, though, divide the mac and cheese in muffin cups to cut down the cooking time. It’s what we do with our mini mac and cheese bites!
This is the time to bring out your favorite book and your favorite adult beverage for cocktail hour, and enjoy 30 peaceful minutes of blissful “you time.”
After all, you worked hard to make that delightfully creamy sauce and boil that pasta! You deserve a break, before the chaos of dinnertime descends.
Rest assured that you will bring everyone to the table with ease when you serve this. Again, it is cheese after all. Everyone loves a good amount of creaminess and some heat.Print
Buffalo mac and cheese is a spicy twist on the dish you love. A creamy sauce coats the pasta, with a crunchy topping for added texture. Get the recipe now.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more to grease the dish
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- 3/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce or to taste, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
- 1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
- 2/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente. Drain. Set the pot aside for later use.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter a 9×13” casserole dish.
- In a small saucepan, warm half and half over medium-low heat.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook to make a roux, until thickened and bubbling. This will take about 2 more minutes.
- Whisk in the mustard powder. Slowly whisk in the half and half and hot sauce, until well-combined. I like things a little more on the spicy side, so I used a full cup of hot sauce. Continue to stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cheeses and whisk in the sour cream. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add cooked pasta back to the empty stock pot. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the buttered casserole dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Stir in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over top of the macaroni.
- Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven under broiler set to high. Broil until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Casseroles
- Method: Stovetop, Baking
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: macaroni and cheese, Buffalo, side dish, game day, cheese
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Shred Cheese and Measure Remaining Ingredients
If the sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses are not shredded already, shred them using a box grater. Set aside.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
Step 2 – Cook Pasta
Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente.
Drain in a colander and set aside. Hold onto the pot, since you’ll use it again later.
Want to shave off a few minutes of cooking time? You can also prepare this type of pasta in the electric pressure cooker.
Step 3 – Make Cheese Sauce
Warm the half and half over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
In a separate medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s foaming. Do not let the butter brown.
Stir in the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook to make a roux, until it is thick and bubbling. You want to cook the roux beyond the raw taste, but without it getting browned. This will take about 2 minutes.
Whisk in the mustard powder until combined. Slowly whisk in the warm half and half and the hot sauce. Make sure the ingredients are well-combined.
Keep stirring until the sauce thickens, for about 2 minutes.
Add all of the cheese and whisk in the sour cream. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then remove from heat.
Step 4 – Add to Baking Dish and Top with Breadcrumbs
Add the cooked pasta back to the empty stock pot. Pour in the cheese sauce, and stir well to combine so everything is coated.
Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared casserole dish.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. This should take about 20-30 seconds on half power.
Add the panko breadcrumbs to the bowl with the melted butter, and stir to combine. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the macaroni.
Step 5 – Bake
Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, for about 20 minutes.
Set your broiler to high. Remove the foil from the casserole dish, then return it to the oven under the broiler.
Broil until the top is golden brown and bubbly, for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve This Up for Game Day
On game day, your mind tends to go to things like buffalo wings, queso, and chips. Why not serve up this flavorful, spicy, and creamy dish instead?
The combination of your favorite wings flavor with cheese is a natural one that fills everyone’s bellies with warmth and happiness.
Everyone will want to load up on seconds, so you might want to whip up an extra batch for your guests to indulge in (or to hoard completely to yourself), or consider bulking up the casserole with chicken or butternut squash and pancetta.
Looking for some more Buffalo spiced dishes for game day? Give these a try:
And for even more deliciously cheesy meals, check out our favorite recipes here.
The only question is, what team will you root for while you devour this creamy casserole? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back and give this recipe a five-star review if you loved it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 21, 2010. Last updated: September 20, 2022 at 12:09 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.