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. #
    Morgan — July 30, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

    For an AMAZING wing sauce, try this recipe:

    1 shallot, minced and sautéed until golden brown in 1 tbsp. butter.
    1 tsp garlic added in
    1/8th cup sherry added and cooked until reduced
    add the rest of your stick of butter
    1 bottle Frank’s red hot sauce, simmer
    1 tbsp. honey


    • Morgan — July 30th, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

      honestly, I don’t really taste the sherry…I usually omit it


  2. #
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking — July 30, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

    What?! My fiance just glanced at my screen and went bonkers! This is now on my list for next week’s dinners! lol. Your pictures are mouthwatering. For truth.


  3. #
    Dana Ivy — July 31, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    Gd I love those velveeta boxed shells from my childhood. Why did you just remind me? Haha okay, I’ll forgive you and plan to make your thousand-times-better version asap. Yumm

    Dana ivy – Check out my blog!


  4. #
    Skazka Vostoka — July 31, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    Class! I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and ideas! By the way, nice pictures.


  5. #
    Nathan Coccimiglio — July 31, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

    As a huge Italian family, my wife loves to make me this stuff. Check out her blog other ideas!


  6. #
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — August 1, 2013 @ 2:02 am

    This looks ridiculous, and I love making mac and cheese on the stove top. I love any excuse to eat blue cheese, which is really what buffalo sauce is all about for me. My husband likes things insanely spicy, so this is perfect for us.


  7. #
    Anna N. — August 1, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

    After seeing this I decided I needed shells and cheese. I made a jalapeno-popper themed stovepot shells and cheese and it’s totally amazing. I used cream cheese and cheddar cheese in the sauce because this is America and I do what I want.


  8. #
    tracy {pale yellow} — August 2, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    Mondays (and everyday) can totally be decadent! Also, I agree with stovetop mac & cheese, I completely prefer it to baked. This mac & cheese looks out of control and I’m super excited to try it out!


  9. #
    dixya| food, pleasure, and health — August 2, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

    my boyfriend is going to love me for making this <3


  10. #
    Jenn — August 13, 2013 @ 7:14 am

    First recipe that I’ve made from your website and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing. The brisket tacos you recently posted are up next.


  11. #
    Adam — August 26, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    This was utter perfection! My boyfriend and I have been SCRAPING the left-overs bowl… I can’t wait to try the BBQ version! Thank you so much for posting this!


  12. #
    Marianne — August 26, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    This is the second recipe of yours that I have made! The first was the BBQ chicken enchiladas. Both were amazing! I can’t wait to try some more of your recipes.


  13. #
    Lauren — September 16, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    Jess, if you were to make this vegetarian… How would you go about it? Obviously you would skip the chicken, but would you add the buffalo sauce to the cheese mixture… Or just nix it and keep the drizzle on the top?


  14. #
    Hannah — September 18, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

    Pretty dang good! I used all cheddar. Whoopsie.


  15. #
    バック価格 — October 5, 2013 @ 3:04 am

    [プラダ スカル] バック価格


  16. #
    Andrea — July 12, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

    This is fabulous! Rich and I made this a few nights ago and we can’t get enough of it!


  17. #
    Marissa — September 18, 2014 @ 11:55 am

    This is hands down one of my FAVORITE recipes, ever! Thank you for sharing it.

    I’ve thought about making this on a weekend and freezing it for and easy reheat-and-eat dinner later in the week, but I’m not sure how exactly I would go about reheating it. Have you tried that? Do you think it would hold up to freezing? Just plain crazy??


  18. #
    Sonya — May 5, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

    I have made this four times in the last couple of months! My kids 9-17 love it, & it is easy enough to do after work.
    Thanks for the great recipe! (found it on Pinterest)



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