That Spicy Chick

Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese is ultra rich, cozy, and super comforting! It’s made with plenty of cheese, and loaded with crispy bacon, corn, and baby spinach leaves! Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or as a side!

Overhead view of Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens, in a 9x13 white baking dish. Right side of dish cut off from photo.

Confession: As a kid, I used to HATE mac and cheese.

I always thought it to be the most BORING and blandest dish in the world. To me, mac and cheese had just one flavor: cheese. Also, I think my dislike of the dish that supposedly “all children love” had something to do with the shape of macaroni. It’s unexciting and dull in my opinion. Moreover, it simply does not have any interesting textures like some other pasta types have!

But friends, now as an adult I ADORE mac and cheese! Well specifically, I can’t get enough of this super luxurious, kicked up, Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese!

Crispy cooked bacon pieces draining on a paper towel lined plate. Measuring cup with freshly grated cheddar cheese in the back right. Chopped spring onion greens in a small white bowl in the back left.

WHY THIS CREAMY BUFFALO SAUCE BACON MAC AND CHEESE ROCKS MY WORLD:

  • It’s luxuriously rich with 2 types of cheese: Well technically 3 types since Colby Jack cheese is made up of Colby and Monterey Jack cheese! I use it along with freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe. But sometimes, I make this mac and cheese with a Muenster and cheddar cheese combo. The latter results in a super dreamy, creamy, and lavishly rich sauce for the mac and cheese! Feel free to use whichever combo you like.
  • No heavy cream or the extra calories that comes with it! The sauce is made the good ol’ fashioned way with flour, butter, and lots of milk. And when combined with the cheese, the sauce becomes extremely creamy, decadent, and delicious!
  • It’s kicked up with Buffalo Sauce!! Yaaaaas!! Where my buffalo wing sauce lovers at!? 😍
  • More nutritious than your typical mac and cheese because it’s loaded with fresh baby spinach leaves and sweet corn. The veggies not only make it taste good, but they also add an interesting texture to the dish.
  • Not boring in the slightest because there’s no plain Jane macaroni involved, but Galletti n° 44 pasta instead – which is basically a dinosaur-ridged-back macaroni. And it certainly makes the dish more fun and interesting in terms of appearance and taste!
  • One word: BACON! Not only does this mac and cheese have bacon inside of it, but it is also cooked IN the bacon drippings itself along with some unsalted butter! The smoky buttery umami flavor that results by doing so is unparalleled! Consequently, it makes this dish sooooo much tastier!
Overhead view of cooked Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese in a diagonally placed round black deep sauté pan on top of a light marble background.

This Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese doesn’t take eons to make and just 25 minutes on the stovetop (once you have all you’re ingredients prepped) and just 13 minutes in the oven to melt the cheese.

Front view of Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens, in a 9x13 white baking dish. Right side of dish cut off from photo.

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta: You can use macaroni, or any other short cut pasta. I like to use Galletti n°44 Pasta.
  • Bacon: Chopped into bite sized pieces and cooked. Don’t discard the excess grease after transferring the bacon to a paper towel lined plate! Use it along with some unsalted butter to make the rest of the dish.
  • Veggies: Baby spinach leaves and sweet corn kernels – either frozen or fresh will work. I personally buy fresh sweet corn and baby spinach on a regular basis so I have them washed, shucked, and frozen in individual individual Ziploc freezer bags and ready to go whenever I need them!
  • Aromatics: You’ll need some finely minced onion and garlic to add more flavor to the dish. While some people like to use the onion and garlic powder, I personally feel that the using the fresh version of both has a different taste. Hence, I prefer to sauté them in the bacon grease and butter instead of season the dish with the powdered versions of both.
  • Unsalted Butter, All Purpose Flour, and Whole Milk: These three ingredients are the reason you don’t need heavy cream! They are used to make the creamy sauce.
  • Seasonings: Kosher Salt, freshly cracked Black Pepper, and ground Cayenne for a little heat! The ground cayenne powder is optional, so feel free to eliminate it if you prefer less heat.
  • Hot Sauce: I like to use Wing Time’s Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce to kick up this mac and cheese a notch! But feel free to use Frank’s Red Hot or any other spicy tangy sauce you have on hand.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: I use a block of cheddar cheese and freshly shred it myself just before cooking. Yes, it does take a little extra time. But it is preferred because most manufacturers add extra additives, anti-caking agents, and mold inhibitors to prevent pre-shredded cheese from clumping in the bags at the supermarket. Unfortunately, these extra chemicals also prevent the cheese from melting evenly when you cook with it. Now, would you rather have an amazingly cheddar-y cheesy flavored mac and cheese? Or one that’s cheesy, but takes extra time to cook because pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt evenly? Guys, trust me on this one and just buy a block of cheddar cheese at the store and shred it yourself. You’ll thank me later. 👍
  • Colby Jack or Muenster Cheese slices: Broken up into small pieces to help it melt. I use Sara Lee’s pre-sliced cheese because it doesn’t have any extra preservatives like some other brands do.
  • Spring Onion (green parts only): Chop it up small and garnish your beautiful Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese with it!
Diagonally placed 9x13 white baking dish with Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens. In the back left is a stack of white plates with a silver spoon on top.

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY BUFFALO SAUCE BACON MAC AND CHEESE:

  1. Cook the pasta: First, cook the pasta, corn, and spinach: Get a pot of boiling salted water going on the stove and add the pasta and corn. During the last minute of cooking the pasta, toss in the baby spinach to allow it to wilt. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon: While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon pieces until they’re nice and crisp in a large deep sauté pan. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel lined plate, and leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Add unsalted butter to the pan and swirl it around to combine with the bacon grease. Once it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant (and your house smells like bacon and onion-garlic love! ❤️).
  4. Make the cream sauce: Next, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Then gradually pour in the milk while continuing to whisk.
  5. Season & spice it up!: Add in the seasonings: salt, pepper, ground cayenne (if using), as well as the Buffalo Hot Sauce.
  6. Add the cheese: Stir in a cup of the freshly shredded cheddar and 3 full slices of the broken up Colby Jack cheese (or Muenster Cheese if using). Stir until fully melted.
  7. Bring it all home!: Now add the pasta, corn, baby spinach, and crispy bacon back in. Stir and toss until fully combined and heated through.
  8. Bake: Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish (or 2 smaller ovenproof dishes) and scatter the remaining cheddar and pieces of Colby Jack cheese. Then, bake for 13 minutes in the oven until the cheese has melted and it’s nice and bubbly!
  9. Garnish: Sprinkle with the spring onion greens and serve immediately!
Front view of Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens, in a 9x13 white baking dish. Right side of dish cut off from photo, and a wooden spatula is sticking out of dish on the top left corner.

CAN THIS BE MADE VEGETARIAN?

Sure! Just eliminate the bacon. The mac and cheese might not be as smoky flavored. But you can totally just cook the dish with unsalted butter and olive oil (since you won’t have the leftover bacon grease from cooking the bacon). Also, I would add a plant or soy based protein, and/or minced mushrooms (white button, brown button, champignons, cremini, etc.) to make the dish more substantial.

Front view of Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens, in a 9x13 white baking dish. Right side of dish cut off from photo, and a wooden spatula is lifting up a serving of the mac and cheese above the dish on the top left corner.

CAN I MAKE THIS VEGAN?

To make this vegan, eliminate the bacon like above and cook the dish in unsalted vegan butter and olive oil. In addition, use almond milk instead of whole milk, as well as vegan cheeses. Many brands these days offer vegan cheeses made from nuts, seeds, root vegetables, and sometimes even flour combined with almond milk. If you need to make this vegan, I recommend a trip to your local vegan store or big supermarket to see what vegan cheeses they have available. Again, look for a block of cheddar instead of pre-shredded.

Overhead view of two diagonally placed white plates with a serving of the Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese on each. A silver fork is tucked under the side of the mac and cheese on the front plate.

CAN I MAKE THIS GLUTEN-FREE?

Yes! Just use gluten-free flour and ensure that the cheese you are using is GF certified. Regarding GF cheese, most cheeses that are widely available are gluten-free. However, it is best to always double check the label on ingredients if you need to make something for someone with specific dietary needs. As for GF flour, I personally like using Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour when I have to make this recipe gluten-free for friends who can’t eat gluten.

Front view of a white plate with a serving of the Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese on top. A silver fork is tucked under the back of the mac and cheese on the plate. In the back is another plate of mach and cheese that is cut off from the right side of the photo.

So there you have it friends. The ultimate and BEST mac and cheese recipe that’ll convert any mac and cheese hater! I guarantee it’ll satiate all your creamy-dreamy-deliciously-bacon-y-buffalo-saucy-mac-and-cheese dreams!

Now, go grab all the ingredients and make this luscious weeknight dinner mac and cheese tonight! 🤗

Front view of a white plate with a serving of the Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese on top. A silver fork is tucked under the back of the mac and cheese on the plate.

MORE MOUTHWATERING WEEKNIGHT PASTAS

Looking for more easy weeknight pastas? Below are some of my go-to quick & easy pasta faves!

Long Pin - Top photo: Diagonally placed 9x13 white baking dish with Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens. In the back left is a stack of white plates with a silver spoon on top. Bottom photo: Front view of two diagonally placed white plates with a serving of the Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese on each. A silver fork is tucked under the side of the mac and cheese on each plate.
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Diagonally placed 9x13 white baking dish with Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese, fully baked and garnished with chopped spring onion greens. In the back left is a stack of white plates with a silver spoon on top.

Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Buffalo Sauce Bacon Mac and Cheese is ultra rich, cozy, and super comforting! It’s made with plenty of cheese, and loaded with crispy bacon, corn, and baby spinach leaves! Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or as a side!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 33
  • Total Time: 53 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop/Bake
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked Galletti n°44 Pasta (feel free to use macaroni if they don’t bore you, or any other short cut pasta!)
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach, loosely packed (if using frozen, you’ll need just 1 & 1/2 cups instead)
  • 1 cup Corn Kernels (sweet or regular and either frozen or fresh)
  • 6 slices Bacon – chopped into bite sized strips (I used Oscar Mayer’s Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon)
  • 2 TBLS Unsalted Butter
  • ½ White Onion – chopped small
  • 6 cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 TBLS All Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1.5 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 4 TBLS Buffalo Sauce (I use Wing Time’s Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce)
  • 1 + ¼ cup freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 5 slices Colby Jack Cheese – broken up into pieces (I use Sara Lee’s custom slices and used 10 x half slices in total)
  • 2 Spring Onions (green parts only) – small chopped

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and corn and cook until al dente according to package instructions. In the last minute of cooking, add the baby spinach. Drain and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/350°F
  3. Meanwhile, in a large deep sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the excess grease and set aside.
  4. In the same pan with the bacon drippings, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant – about 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and gradually pour in the milk while continuing to whisk until thickened.
  6. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and ground cayenne to taste, and pout in the Buffalo Sauce. Continue whisking until combined.
  7. Sprinkle in 1 cup of the freshly grated cheddar cheese and add 3 slices of the colby jack cheese and continue whisking until the sauce hack thickened – about 4-6 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta, corn, spinach, and bacon and mix until fully coated in the sauce.
  9. Transfer to a large 9×13 baking dish and scatter the remaining grated cheddar cheese and colby jack cheese pieces on top.
  10. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the pasta has heated through.
  11. Garnish immediately with the spring onion greens and serve!

Notes

  1. Baking time may vary depending on your oven. But you’ll know to remove the dish from the oven once the cheese has melted and is nice and bubbly.
  2. To make this vegetarian: Eliminate the bacon and cook the dish in unsalted butter and olive oil. You can add a plant or soy based protein, or your favorite mushrooms to make the mac and cheese more substantial.
  3. To make this vegan: Eliminate the bacon like above and cook the dish in unsalted vegan butter and olive oil. In addition, use almond milk in place of the whole milk and vegan cheese.
  4. To make this gluten-free: Use a gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour, and ensure that the cheese you are using is GF certified.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 plate
  • Calories: 522
  • Sugar: 10.3g
  • Sodium: 934.4mg
  • Fat: 27.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7.9g
  • Trans Fat: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.2g
  • Fiber: 5.7g
  • Protein: 25.5g
  • Cholesterol: 71.4mg

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