A delicious Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake that is super easy to make, combining chicken in hot sauce with pasta, topped with a cheesy creamy topping. It will become a staple on your meal plans.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta with Creamy Cheesy Topping
If you love spicy food, you will love Buffalo Chicken - a popular American recipe that combines chicken wings or drumsticks usually deep fried, marinated in a spicy hot sauce with butter and as you can imagine packs quite the calories too.
My take on the dish makes a more filling meal by turning into a pasta bake with an amazing creamy cheesy topping that is just divine.
Best Chicken for Buffalo Chicken
Traditional recipes use wings or drumsticks and most definitely skin on. I prefer to use chicken thighs for this pasta bake as they stay nice and tender and add lots of flavour to the dish.
If you prefer lighter meat, then chicken breast can be used also, you could even use some ground chicken or turkey as an alternative if you prefer too.
Which hot sauce is best for Buffalo Chicken?
Well that's pretty easy - it's got to be Frank's Red Hot Sauce, but really any hot sauce will do.
In the UK it should be available at most grocery stores. See stockists here - but as an alternative any brand of hot sauce will do. Just be aware that some are much hotter than others. So you may want to add a little bit at a time and keep tasting until it's your desired heat.
Adjusting the Heat
If you don't like food too hot, then I recommend starting with a smaller amount of hot sauce taste and you can adjust until you get to a level you are comfortable with. The same goes for those who prefer more spicy food. You can add more heat if you like.
If you like food really spicy, then a pinch of cayenne added when cooking the chicken will increase the spice level.
Cheesy Topping for Pasta Bakes
This pasta bake has a yummy creamy topping made from light Cream cheese, stock, some seasonings and little starch which adds immense flavour that is just heavenly. I recommend making sure you use cream cheese (like Philadelphia). I do no recommend quark which is completely different and will ruin the creamy topping.
For the melted cheese I use either a combo of cheddar and mozzarella or occasionally I will opt for some Marbled Cheese instead, both excellent melting cheeses. Use cheese that you grate yourself rather than pre-grated. If you have ever wondered why pre-grated cheese sometimes just sits on top and doesn't melt as good, it's because it's coated in a starch to prevent it from sticking together.
Sides for Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake
I like to pair this with a simple salad, you can pick your own favourite salad items. Usually I will make it in a big bowl which I serve in the middle of the table with the pasta bake for us all to dig in and help ourselves.
Here is some suggestions:
- Crisp Lettuce (Romaine, Iceberg) or Baby Leaves if you prefer)
- Shredded Red Cabbage
- Grated Carrot
- Cooked Beets
- Red Onion
There is one thing that is a huge must though and that has to be Ranch Dressing. I don't know why, but for me you just can not have buffalo chicken without Ranch Sauce and luckily I have this lighter Ranch Dressing recipe on Slimming Eats
More Pasta Bakes
Love pasta bakes? There are plenty more to choose from on Slimming Eats, check out these:
- Salmon and Leek Pasta Bake
- Spinach Pasta Bake
- Chicken Bacon and Tomato Pasta Bake
- Best Ever Bolognese Pasta Bake
- Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Bake
- Baked Feta Pasta with Chicken
- Chicken, Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta Bake
- Sausage and Bean Pasta Bake
- Roasted Butternut Squash Zucchini Pasta Bake
- Cheesy Beef Enchilada Stuffed Pasta Shells
or if you would like more Slimming Friendly recipe ideas - head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious recipes all with estimated calories and you can search by ingredients, course, diet and more..
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- 400g (14oz) of uncooked boneless skinless chicken thighs (or you can use breast if you prefer), diced into thin bite size strips
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- salt and black pepper
- cooking oil spray
- 1 cup (240ml) of crushed tomatoes (can use passata as a sub, but add in 1-2 tbs of tomato paste to thicken the sauce)
- ⅓ cup (80ml) of hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Sauce)
- 350g (12.5oz) of diced fresh tomatoes
- 240g (8.5oz) of uncooked penne pasta
For the topping
- 100g (3.5oz) of light cream cheese
- 1 cup (240ml) of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (cornflour)
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of dried dill
- 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
- 30g (1oz) of cheddar, grated
- 50g (2oz) of mozzarella, grated
- 2 spring onions (green onions), sliced thinly
- Spray a frying pan with cooking oil spray
- Add the onion and fry until lightly golden and softened
- Spray with a little more spray oil
- Add in the chicken, paprika, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper and fry until the chicken is browned and has a lovely colour from the paprika.
- Add in a little splash of water just to deglaze the pan of anything stuck to the bottom.
- Then add in the crushed tomatoes, hot sauce and diced fresh tomatoes and stir to combine, just simmering for a few minutes until the tomatoes are slightly softened.
- Cook pasta in boiling salting water until al dente (most cook in 8 minutes.
- Add this into the sauce and mix to combine, then add to a oven proof dish.
- Preheat oven to 200c/ 180c/ 400f or gas mark 6
- In a saucepan or frying pan, add the cream cheese, garlic and onion powder, plus parsley and dill along with the stock and heat whisking as you do until the cream cheese is all melted and you have no lumps visible.
- Mix the cornstarch with a little water a couple of tablespoons of water to make a slurry. Then add this to the sauce and allow to bubble stirring every now and then until the sauce thickens.
- Once thickened spread this over the top of the pasta bake (kind of like you would with a lasagne).
- Scatter the grated cheeses on top and then place in the oven baking for approx 20 minutes just until the cheese has melted and is lightly golden on top.
- Sprinkle with the chopped spring onions and it's ready to enjoy.
Please see below for recipe values:
This recipe is gluten free friendly (see notes)
- Slimming World: - 1½ Healthy Extra A and 2.5 syns per serving
- WW Personal Points: 12+ per serving (use Chicken Breast) (add ingredients to your WW diary for points value - as this may vary depending on your personal points zero foods)
- Gluten Free - use gluten free pasta and stock
NOTE: Adjust hot sauce amount depending on you spice level
Cream Cheese: ensure this is light cream cheese (like Philadelphia), do not use Quark
Swap: Can also use Marbled Cheddar instead of a mozzarella/cheddar combination
Vegetarian: this may work with a meat free substitute, but hasn't been tested
Sides: This Ranch Dressing is a must, along with a delicious mixed salad of your choice.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 SERVING
Amount Per Serving Calories 496Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gCholesterol 154mgSodium 657mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 4gSugar 5gProtein 34g
Nutritional information, syn values, points etc are an estimate and is to be used for informational purposes only. Ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand and therefore it would be impossible to give accurate information. It is always advised that you calculate by the ingredients you use.