Can Mondays be decadent?

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese I

Because I think this one is.

It’s like velveeta shells and cheese on drugs. In a good way. And ten thousand times better.

Speaking of, those darn boxed shells are one of my guilty pleasures. I haven’t had them in years because I constantly feel forced to grab the organic whole wheat version from Trader Joe’s which tastes NOTHING like the old-school ones, but still. I kinda want some 1995 squeezy-cheese pack pasta in my life.

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese I

Not today though. Not today. We are making something a leeeetle more extravagant. But still easy. With lots of flavor pop.

Last summer I made a stovetop BBQ chicken mac and cheese and went nutso for it. In a sense, this recipe is a giant copout considering it’s not entirely different but it’s just so, so good. I’ve been wanting to create a buffalo version for at least a year and in my current buffalo infatuation, I’ve found my perfect combination of flavors for all things buffalo.

Somebody stop me.

But don’t.

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese I

So. This buffalo chicken mac isn’t TOO different from the baked version I shared a few years ago, but I personally find it a little simpler and ummm… you don’t have to turn on your oven in the 500 degree heat of summer!

At least I don’t exaggerate things at all.

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese I


Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 40 minutes


4 cups whole wheat pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
6 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
4 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup freshly torn cilantro


Bring water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to the directions. While it's cooking, prepare the sauce and chicken below, but when pasta is finished, make sure to drain it and set aside.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, onion powder and smoked paprika. Add to the pot, stir and cover. Cook until the chicken is browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss with 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce and cook for another minute. Pour the chicken mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Keep the same pot over medium heat and add the remaining butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour to create a roux. It will be an orangey color after picking up the chicken/buffalo wing bits. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until it's thickened and fragrant. Pour in the milk and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the mustard, fontina, cheddar, 2 ounces of the gorgonzola and the parmesan. Stir until the cheese melts completely.

Add in the cooked shells and the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Drizzle in remaining buffalo wing sauce. Serve immediately with green onions, gorgonzola and cilantro on top!

Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese I

Dig in.

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91 Responses to “Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Shells + Cheese.”

  1. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — July 29, 2013 @ 6:50 am

    I love it! I can’t get enough Bufflao Chicken recipes! This just looks incredible! That’s one thing I miss about living in Buffalo, are the wings! In California, they don’t have a clue what real Buffalo style food tastes like. Love, love, love this recipe!! Making this one this week! :)


  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 29, 2013 @ 6:53 am

    Simpler, not turning the oven on, and lots of cheese – triple win!


  3. #
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun — July 29, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    There is nothing that involves buffalo chicken that I don’t like! This looks so delicious!!


  4. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — July 29, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Mac and cheese should be an everyday occurrence! Too Many Mondays are filled with lifeless food. That is no way to start a week!! It can not be simpler than this; great recipe


  5. #
    Nikki @ The Road to Less Cake — July 29, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    That look so good.


  6. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — July 29, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    Wow, this is one gourmet mac and cheese! I think we need to get you a bumper sticker that says something like ‘bacon and buffalo make the world better’. I don’t mind your obsession one bit – keep em coming! :)


  7. #
    Ashley@BakerbyNature — July 29, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    OMG. I want. I need. I must have it!


  8. #
    sally — July 29, 2013 @ 7:27 am

    Mondays should always be decadent! Looks delicious!


  9. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — July 29, 2013 @ 8:08 am

    Velveeeeta! OK, so I totally love the one with the fake bacon. Is that terrible? And yes forever to decadent Monday. Why deprive ourselves when starting the work week is already sad enough and now we can make ourselves ultra happy with the mac n cheese goodness instead?


    • Jessica — July 29th, 2013 @ 9:37 am

      omg, i never had that one… i don’t even think i know about it!?


  10. #
    Hannah — July 29, 2013 @ 8:14 am

    My husband would die if I made this! Another amazing recipe :) I agree that Monday’s should always be decadent. I guess I followed that rule today on my own blog without even thinking twice!



  11. #
    Lauren @ The Highlands Life — July 29, 2013 @ 8:35 am

    This is calling my name! And you are totally right about the Velvetta boxed shells. Soooo good. Every now and then I do it just because I gotta. Worth it.


  12. #
    Tieghan — July 29, 2013 @ 8:35 am



  13. #
    Karly — July 29, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    I have a pinterest board titled Buffalo Sauce For All The Things. I think this would fit nicely in there. Because really. Everything needs to be buffalo chickened.

    Love this!


    • Jessica — July 29th, 2013 @ 9:37 am



  14. #
    Rachel Cooks — July 29, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    This is fueling my mac & cheese obsession. Pinning!


  15. #
    kylie @ immaeatthat — July 29, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    I’m pretty much game for anything cheesy, pasta-y, or cilantro-y:) And we all deserve a little 1995 cheesy squeeze pack pasta in our life…maybe that’ll be on Tuesday.


  16. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — July 29, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    craving buffalo sauce at this time of day is unnatural, yet here I am, wanting to dive in face first!!! love this :)


  17. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — July 29, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    you don’t have to tell me twice… I love yummy and easy meals


  18. #
    Candace @The Wheatless Kitchen — July 29, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Oh. Yes. This is THE perfect way to start a week. Mondays should always be decadent :)


  19. #
    Jenna — July 29, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    This sounds serious!! Will need to make soon!


  20. #
    Abbie @ Needs Salt — July 29, 2013 @ 10:53 am

    Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! Just your cheesy shells by themselves look awesome. Nothing quite like that gooey orange Velveeta cheese, is there? xD
    Pinned this!


  21. #
    Marcie @ Flavor the Moments — July 29, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    This looks VERY decadent! Your photos make it look even better, but I’m pretty sure it would look tasty in a burlap sack! I need to try this.


  22. #
    Hiep — July 29, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    Jessica I love you and your blog. Your recipes are amazing!
    I don’t see why you’re complaining about using your oven in the summer?
    I live in LA where it’s warm year round and particularly hot in the summer. I even braise items in the oven all summer long and never complain about using my oven.


    • Jessica — July 29th, 2013 @ 11:22 am

      my kitchen (and house) are pretty small – even with my AC set at 68 degrees, using my oven raises that temperature at least 10 degrees. i also live in PA where it is insanely humid, so 90 degrees can feel like 100.


    • Courtney — July 30th, 2013 @ 8:21 am

      I live in CT in a second floor apartment. We avoid the oven at all costs in the summer because heat strokes make us sad.


  23. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — July 29, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    I have to get on this buffalo chicken train! Looks delicious.


  24. #
    Rachel — July 29, 2013 @ 11:21 am

    This looks amazing!! I am not a huge fan of gorgonzola, do you have a suggestion for a cheese substitute for this dish?


    • Jessica — July 29th, 2013 @ 11:23 am

      i would just leave it out!


  25. #
    Kelly — July 29, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    I don’t think I’ve salivated more over a recipe than I am right now – this looks ridiculously good!! :)


  26. #
    JulieD — July 29, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    I’m completely obsessed, thanks for that! :)


  27. #
    Nicole @ — July 29, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

    I only use my stovetop in the summer months and reserve my oven for the winter. This mac and cheese recipe looks insane!


  28. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — July 29, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    Mm I love the cheeses you used in this!! Fontina and Gorgonzola….the best!!!


  29. #
    Maria Tadic — July 29, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

    I haven’t had velveeta shells in forever! Probably since I was poor in college and used my “poorness” as an excuse to eat mac and cheese on a regular basis. God that stuff is good!


  30. #
    joelle (on a pink typewriter) — July 29, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    This seems like such a fun meal for a cozy dinner at home.


  31. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — July 29, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    Want it – looks amazing! Agree on leaving off the hot oven sometimes – It’s HOT outside!!!


  32. #
    Simone — July 29, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    I loved the BBQ chicken one – so I’m sure I’ll love this one too!


  33. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — July 29, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    Oh man, this looks good! I’m gonna make this next week. I know my hubby will love it.


  34. #
    Larry — July 29, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    Oh SWEET baby Jesus! I wanna die this looks so good. DIE.


  35. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — July 29, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

    This is LITERALLY the perfect meal, in my opinion. It has everything delicious. It’s not missing a single thing. I will not be able to stop thinking of this all day now.


  36. #
    Ashley | Rainstorms and Love Notes — July 29, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

    Ahh, I need this in my life! I already have dinner for the next few nights planned out, but I kind of want to scrap it all, and just have this every night instead. Overkill? Absolutely not.


  37. #
    Megan — July 29, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    YES. This would make any day better! I’d like to gobble up that big bowl of it right away.


  38. #
    Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More — July 29, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

    Shells and cheese is my favorite! Love the buffalo chicken twist:)


  39. #
    Mia — July 29, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    This looks AMAZING! Too bad I don’t have a functional stovetop to cook it on. I think the universe hates me.


  40. #
    Christine Szalay-Kudra — July 29, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    I haven’t found a whole wheat pasta that isn’t,,, well ahhhh, gross. Now I have to admit I have not searched very hard as the first few just kind of turned me off to the stuff and I figured they were all well just healthier. Sorry I forgo health for taste any day; sorry I know my family’s poor arteries. Well this recipe has given me thought to renewing the search with some of your suggestions and who knows maybe a healthier tomorrow. Thanks.



  41. #
    Dee — July 29, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    I will have to make this for my husband who loves all things buffalo chicken.

    Looks like a great recipe!


  42. #
    Bliss — July 29, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

    This is only like the third or fourth blog recipe my husband and I’ve made a special trip to the grocery store and cooked the day it was posted. And it’s the first recipe he’s ever chosen over banh mi sandwiches, which was scheduled for tonight. And it was totally, totally worth the stomach ache I have now from eating waaaaay too much. It was amazing. Just flat out amazing. If I didn’t feel like I would explode, I’d go sneak cold bites from the fridge, it is that good.


  43. #
    Michaela - — July 29, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

    Your buffalo chicken recipes always temp me! Fortunately I have some GF pasta shells on hand and could make this easily… such a tease when I’m trying to eat healthy!


  44. #
    Luv What You Do — July 29, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

    That is one amazing recipe! Since it feels like fall this week it might be time to bust out some fall recipes! I will be saving this one!


  45. #
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — July 30, 2013 @ 2:40 am

    This looks insanely delicious and I love that you used smoked paprika. Definitely not a copout in my booK!


  46. #
    erica — July 30, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    this looks delicious, but is there any substitue you could suggest for the blue cheese?!


    • Jessica — July 30th, 2013 @ 8:41 am

      you can just leave it out!


  47. #
    Kim in MD — July 30, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    I am totally drooling over this recipe right now. My husband will go nuts for this!


  48. #
    Alexis @ Hummusapien — July 30, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

    I literally drool over all of your recipes. I think my boyfriend would actually fall over and die if I made him a bowl of this amazingness. I LOVE anything buffalo…can’t wait to whip this up!


  49. #
    Katelyn — July 30, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

    So I looked for this recipe on Sunday and realized you hadn’t made it yet so I was going to adapt your BBQ chicken mac and cheese and your baked buffalo mac and cheese. Then, on Monday morning, I see that you did it for me!! Weird timing but I’m very excited to make this tonight.


    • Katelyn — July 30th, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

      Update- I made this tonight, it was delicious and I now have a food baby. The only thing I did differently was I cooked the chicken in buffalo sauce w/ other spices in the oven last night while baking other chicken (oven had to be on anyway) but otherwise made as written and my husband was pretty thrilled. Easy, delicious and not time-consuming? Thank you so much Jessica!


  50. #
    dervla — July 30, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    oooh can we talk about that lovely bowl for a second? Anthropologie? So cute.



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