Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad combines chicken, carrots + celery, and pasta in a creamy, zippy sauce! It's a perfect side dish for a summer picnic or potluck, and it can also be a full meal if you add a big green salad.
Being a native Buffalonian means anything related to Buffalo chicken is pure comfort food for me.
During high school I worked in a pizzeria, which was without a doubt the most fun job I’ve ever had before my transition to becoming a full-time blogger. We were always busy, continuously running around juggling orders, customers, and food prep. But most shifts went by in a snap!
And not to mention, break time always involved good food. Greek chicken salad. Chicken finger subs slathered with blue cheese sauce and a side of BBQ for dipping. Steak bombers with extra onion and a drizzle of hot sauce. White pizza with tomatoes and spinach. YUM. But back to Buffalo chicken.
It seems like the Buffalo chicken craze has taken over the food world. In terms of "Buffalo" flavor, you can find everything from dip, to grilled cheese sandwiches, to casseroles. You can’t go wrong with just about anything related to Buffalo chicken, pasta salad included.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a great way to reinvent leftover chicken! And it's also the perfect use for rotisserie chicken.
- You can use just about any small-ish shape of pasta that you like. I used cavatappi pasta, but rigatoni, fusilli, penne, bowties, shells, and elbow noodles all work well.
- The sauce couldn't be easier to mix up! It's a combination of ranch, mayo, and Frank's RedHot sauce.
The Best Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
You will go crazy for this side dish! It's easy to make, whips up fast, and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Here we keep the vegetables simple and add what would be served with Buffalo chicken wings: carrot and celery! Additionally, we use a little scallion to bump up the savory flavor.
The sauce is just a simple mix of mayo, ranch, and hot sauce with a little salt and black pepper to enhance it.
And let's not forget the blue cheese on top! A little goes a long way, and of course if you prefer you can skip the blue cheese and go with shredded cheddar instead.
- Pasta, such as cavatappi, rigatoni, fusilli, penne, bowties, shells, or elbows
- Cooked chopped chicken (leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken work well)
- Frank's RedHot sauce
- Black pepper
- Crumbled blue cheese (optional)
- Add the ranch dressing, mayo, Frank's RedHot sauce, salt, and black pepper to a medium bowl.
- Mix well to combine the dressing.
- Add the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, scallion, celery, and carrot to a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top.
- Stir well to combine. Right before serving, sprinkle the blue cheese on top.
How to Store Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
Store this pasta salad covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Buffalo Sauce - What is Buffalo Sauce Made Of?
For me, my pizzeria job during high school in Buffalo demystified “Buffalo” sauce. Real Buffalo sauce (i.e., the original version that you'll find in Buffalo!) is just a combo of Frank's Redhot sauce and melted butter. Those two ingredients are combined in varying ratios to make it hot, medium, or mild.
Authentic Buffalo sauce doesn't contain seasonings, such as garlic powder or Worcestershire sauce.
At the pizzeria where I worked, mild and medium sauces also had a touch of ketchup added in for a hint of sweetness to help mellow out the hot sauce, which additionally contributes a touch of a vinegary tang that I love.
They also offered what they called “suicidal” wings, which were wings tossed with straight hot sauce doused in cayenne pepper. I was too chicken – pardon the pun – to even try them, lol!
More Pasta Salad Recipes to Try
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Creamy Sweet Macaroni Salad
- Warm Caramelized Leek Pasta Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces cavatappi pasta or any bite-sized pasta shape you like
- ½ cup ranch dressing store-bought or homemade
- ½ cup mayo
- ¼ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups cooked chopped chicken rotisserie chicken works well
- 3 scallions green and white parts, thinly sliced
- 2 medium celery stalks diced
- 1 large carrot shredded
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions; rinse and drain.
- Add the ranch dressing, mayo, Frank’s RedHot sauce, salt, and black pepper to a medium bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Add the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, scallion, celery, and carrot to a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and stir well to combine.
- Right before serving, sprinkle the blue cheese on top.
- Pasta Shape: You can use just about any small-ish shape of pasta that you like. I used cavatappi pasta, but rigatoni, fusilli, penne, bowties, shells, and elbow noodles all work well.
- Blue Cheese Substitute: If you prefer you can skip the blue cheese and use shredded cheddar instead.
- Storage: Store this pasta salad covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on July 1, 2016. I updated it with more information on May 9, 2022.