Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

 

Buffalo chicken pasta spices up traditional versions of the picnic side dish with the flavor of everyone’s favorite appetizer. This kicked up dish can serve as a spicy side dish at your next picnic or barbecue or even as a dinner or lunch all on its own.

buffalo chicken pasta salad shown served in small green bowls with a drizzle of hot sauce

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If there’s one thing in our house that makes everyone happy, it’s buffalo chicken anything.

My boys will definitely eat it if it’s covered in buffalo sauce  and give it bonus points for having cheese or carbs like this One Dish Baked Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese or this Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Lasagna.

Well, like those two family favorites, this dish checks all those boxes and it’s so easy to throw together that I don’t mind making it whenever they ask.

And since it’s served chilled, it’s perfect for warm weather!

Of course, they ask pretty much all the time all summer long for this cool combo of spicy chicken, cheese and pasta in a zesty creamy dressing.

buffalo chicken pasta salad shown in a white pyrex bowl

Ingredients

To make this you’ll need:

  • Pasta– Any pasta like ziti, penne, rotini or rigatoni all work in this. You could even use the little pasta shells or elbow macaroni if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Chicken– Save yourself time and chop up rotisserie chicken. If you have grilled or baked chicken leftovers in your fridge, you could use that too. You could also use canned chicken but make sure to drain it well if you use it.
  • Celery– Wash it and thinly slice it.
  • Green onions– Slice them up and don’t skip them! They add a nice mild onion flavor without any of the sharpness of actual onions.
  • Cheese– Cube up a block of cheddar cheese to toss in this salad. Sometimes, you can find precubed cheddar in the dairy case that you could instead.
  • Lemon juice– I prefer fresh but you can use bottled.
  • Mayonnaise– Use real full fat mayo and not light mayo or mayonnaise style dressing or Miracle Whip.
  • Dijon mustard– Don’t substitute yellow mustard or grain mustard.
  • Honey– To balance the spiciness.
  • Hot sauce– Use your favorite brand. I prefer Texas Pete for this but have also used Crystal’s and Frank’s.
  • Seasonings– Celery salt and freshly cracked black pepper

buffalo chicken pasta salad served in a white pyrex bowl

How to Make

To make this yummy side dish, start by boiling the pasta according to the package directions in lightly salted water.

Then, drain the pasta in a colander and then under cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.

Let the pasta cool and add it to a large mixing bowl along with the chicken, celery, onions and cubed cheese.

Toss everything lightly to combine it.

Add the mayo, lemon juice, mustard, hot sauce, and honey to a separate smaller mixing bowl.

Whisk everything together until evenly combined.

a wooden spoon shown scooping buffalo chicken pasta salad out of a large white bowl

Then, taste the dressing, adding more hot sauce if needed.

Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so you use every last drop of the delicious dressing.

Toss everything just until evenly combined.

Serve immediately, or cover the salad tightly and refrigerate until chilled.

The flavors will deepen as the pasta salad chills, and stir well before serving.

a wooden spoon shown holding up a scoop of buffalo chicken pasta salad

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes! You totally can make this ahead of time.

If you do decide to make it the night before, keep in mind the pasta will soak up the dressing as it sits.

Because of this, I like to reserve half to stir in just prior to serving.

That way, you get the creamy dressing and the deeper flavors.

buffalo chicken salad shown served in small green bowls

Storing Leftovers

Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for no more than 3 days.

Keep in mind, you may want mix up more dressing because the longer it sits in the fridge the more the pasta will absorb the dressing that’s already on there.

Tips and Tricks

  • I highly recommend using green onions for a bit of mild onion flavor. If you want more bite, you could add diced red onion.
  • For extra heat, you could also add a a clove or two of pressed garlic.
  • This is the perfect way to use up leftover chicken. Don’t have any? Use canned chicken and drain it well first.
  • To add even more classic buffalo flavor, you could add blue cheese crumbles to the salad.

buffalo chicken pasta salad shown served in a small green bowl

Other Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love

Nothing says summer cookouts quite like this buffalo chicken pasta salad!

Make it for your barbecue or potluck and enjoy.

Looking for other pasta salad recipes?

Try these:

If you’ve tried this BUFFALO CHICKEN PASTA SALAD, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

buffalo chicken pasta salad shown served in small green bowls with a drizzle of hot sauce

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Buffalo chicken pasta spices up traditional versions of the picnic side dish with the flavor of everyone's favorite appetizer. This kicked up dish can serve as a spicy side dish at your next picnic or barbecue or even as a dinner or lunch all on its own.
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Course: Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 547kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta ziti, penne, rigatoni all work
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 3 stalks celery washed & thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 8 oz block cheddar cheese cubed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups mayo
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2-4 tbsp hot sauce test sauce & adjust spice level if needed (I used Texas Pete)
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Boil the pasta according to the package directions, in lightly salted water.
  • Once cooked transfer the pasta to a colander to drain, and then run under cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.
  • To a large mixing bowl add the cooked & cooled pasta, chicken, celery, onions & cubed cheese. Toss lightly until combined.
  • In a separate mixing bowl add the mayo, lemon juice, mustard, hot sauce, and honey. Whisk everything together until evenly combined.
  • Taste the dressing, adding more hot sauce if needed.
  • Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so it's all used.
  • Toss everything just until evenly combined.
  • Serve immediately, or cover & refrigerate for 2 hours until chilled. The flavors will deepen as the pasta salad chills, and stir well before serving.

Notes

  • I highly recommend using green onions for a bit of mild onion flavor. If you want more bite, you could add diced red onion.
  • For extra heat, you could also add a a clove or two of pressed garlic.
  • This is the perfect way to use up leftover chicken. Don't have any? Use canned chicken and drain it well first.
  • To add even more classic buffalo flavor, you could add blue cheese crumbles to the salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 762mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

This post may contain affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full Disclosure Policy for details. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

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