Buffalo sauce, neat.
Just kidding! That’s not how I take my buffalo sauce. That would be kooky.
I do, however, take it in practically every other form. I douse chargrilled chicken wings with it. I coat baked cauliflower in it. I use it in creamy chicken soups. I even prefer using it on my chicken pizza, to saturate the insides of my quesadillas, and top my tacos.
I know. I have a problem.
I’m not even overly obsessed with fiery foods. I just constantly seem to crave the rich, buttery flavor of Buffalo sauce.
That being said, even I have to admit: Buffalo sauce on spaghetti sounds a little weird.
But it matches up like a champ with so many other types of carbs, so why wouldn’t it work with pasta?
I noodled around with the idea for hours (pun very much intended), and decided that if I was going to slather this smooth, spicy sauce over spaghetti, there would need to be some stipulations in place.
First of all, I was going to have to be very drunk.
Again, just kidding.
Although this odd combination sounds like the product of popping a few too many brews, I realized it could in fact be done with a hint of charm and a dash of elegance.
In this situation, “charm” equals cream cheese, and “elegance” equals gorgonzola.
Now, this is the kind of math I can get down with.
I didn’t want to think of this spaghetti + chicken + Buffalo sauce trio as three ingredients carelessly mashed together. So I couldn’t help but wonder: could I transform this combo into something polished, refined, and in good taste?
And also: could I be more Carrie Bradshaw right now?
The answer to both of those questions was yes, and it all began with a simple homemade Buffalo sauce.
In a pinch, I’ve opted for a store-bought version of this condiment plenty of times. But seeing as my suggested from-scratch version requires only a few ingredients, and you get the joy of smelling a garlic clove melt away into a foamy pool of butter, I strongly recommend you go that route instead.
Cream cheese alone didn’t feel special enough for my spaghetti, so I kicked things up a notch with sharp, tangy gorgonzola.
Any blue will do just fine, but I’m a sucker for the more superior varieties like sweet, soft gorgonzola dolce or Danablu (Danish Blue) – pungent blue cheese’s mild and buttery cousin.
Thinly sliced scallions make for a grassy garnish and add a subtle touch of oniony flair, and the shredded poultry’s tender texture melts right into the mix.
If I’m planning to shred cooked chicken breasts for a recipe, I like them to be as absolutely packed with flavor as possible.
That’s why, instead of the classic boil-and-shred method (which I find to be particularly bland), I’m an advocate for using up any kind of chicken leftovers (an option that’s perfect for time-savers), snagging a juicy rotisserie chicken (zero cook time involved!), or going low and slow with this bold Instant Pot shredded chicken.
My go-to technique – the one that’s employed in this recipe – is the sear-and-braise method.
A quick dip in a hot pan sears in all the chicken’s juices, and then whatever delicious liquid it finishes cooking in (a Buffalo sauce and chicken stock blend, in this case) permeates the once-boring protein.
Not only is this shredded chicken tangled with layers of spice, thanks to a savory dry rub that goes on in step one, but the creamy sauce coats every last strand of spaghetti.
What’s the final product?
So. Much. Flavor.
An extra zip of crumbled gorgonzola and scallions for garnish, and you’ve got yourself a bar snack gone bougie.
Don’t let it get to the spaghetti’s head.Print
Skip the wings and break out the spaghetti. This rich, spicy, buttery Buffalo chicken pasta is a hot sauce lover’s dinner dream come true.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Texas Pete, Crystal, or Frank’s RedHot), divided
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 8 ounces whipped plain cream cheese
- 1/2 cup crumbled good quality blue cheese (like gorgonzola or Roquefort), divided
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and light green parts, divided
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and set aside. Wipe out the pot and set it aside for later use.
- Smash the garlic gently but firmly with the flat side of a chef’s knife, so it’s still intact. Add 4 tablespoons butter and the garlic to a small saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. When the garlic begins to turn golden brown, remove it with a slotted spoon. Whisk in 1/4 cup hot sauce, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Rub the chicken breasts with the spice mixture, pressing to make sure it adheres.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Place a heavy oven-proof cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the remaining butter and the olive oil. When the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and pour in the chicken stock and Buffalo sauce, whisking to scrape up any brown bits (or fond) from the bottom of the pan.
- Return the chicken to the pan and place in the oven. Bake until tender and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a sturdy cutting board. Whisk the cream cheese and 1/4 cup blue cheese into the cooking liquid. Shred the meat, using two forks.
- Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over low heat, and add the cooked spaghetti, shredded chicken, 2 tablespoons green onions, and the creamy Buffalo sauce and stock mixture. Using tongs, toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with the remaining blue cheese crumbles and green onions, and additional hot sauce if desired.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Pasta
Keywords: Buffalo sauce, buffalo chicken, spaghetti, blue cheese
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Measure Ingredients and Cook the Spaghetti
Measure out all of the ingredients as described on the ingredients list. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the green onions on a diagonal.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain it in a colander, and set it aside. For a cool cooking technique instead of boiling water on the stovetop, you can cook the spaghetti in the electric pressure cooker!
Wipe out the pot and set it aside for later use.
Step 2 – Make Buffalo Sauce
Smash the garlic clove gently with the flat side of a knife so that it releases the garlic’s flavor, but doesn’t split it in half.
In a small saucepot over medium-low heat, add 4 tablespoons butter and the garlic. When the garlic begins to turn golden brown, remove it with a slotted spoon and discard it.
Whisk in 1/4 cup hot sauce, the lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3 – Season with the Dry Rub
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining salt with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper.
Rub the chicken breasts all over with the spice mixture, pressing to make sure that it adheres to the meat.
Step 4 – Sear and Braise
Preheat your oven to 300°F.
Add the remaining butter and the olive oil to a heavy oven-proof skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add the chicken and sear until it is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side.
Return the chicken to the pan and place it in the oven. Bake until tender and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
Step 4 – Shred the Chicken and Make the Sauce
Remove the chicken from the pan, and place it on a clean cutting board. Be sure to put it on a clean work surface for shredding – when you transferred the meat out of the pan before baking it wasn’t cooked all the way through, so you want to be sure to use a clean receptacle for food safety.
Using two forks, shred the meat.
Whisk the cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the blue cheese into the cooking liquid that remains in the pan.
Step 5 – Toss and Serve
Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over low heat, and add the spaghetti, shredded chicken, 2 tablespoons of the green onions, and the creamy Buffalo-stock mixture.
Using tongs, toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Divide among 4-6 bowls and garnish with even portions of the remaining blue cheese crumbles and green onions.
For those who like it even spicier, drizzle additional hot sauce over the top.
Because Everything Is Better with Butter
It’s no surprise that this combination of butter, spices, chicken, cheese, and pasta turned out to be a match made in hot sauce heaven.
Not everyone goes as gaga for gorgonzola as I do, so if you’re more of a ranch fan when it comes to wings, I won’t hold it against you if you want to swap in something else in exchange for the blue cheese.
To give this dish a garlicky ranch flair, amp up the seasoning blend with dried parsley, dill, chives, and onion flakes, and swirl some buttermilk in when you add the scallions.
Let’s get spicy! Fire up your night more bold Buffalo creations like these:
What’s the wackiest way you’ve ever dug into a buttery Buffalo sauce? Splattered onto pizza? As a landing zone for curly fries? Share your spicy adventures in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 7, 2010. Last updated January 13, 2020.
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 Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”