If you’ve been looking for a buffalo chicken pasta recipe without cream cheese, you’re in for a treat!
This meal is packed with bold flavors and creamy textures, thanks to the combination of buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.
A delicious, filling, and protein-rich pasta dish for any dinner or special occasion. Whether you’re a pasta-lover, buffalo fan, or chicken connoisseur, this hearty combination won’t disappoint!
Served as a main dish or a side, it’s a versatile recipe that’s perfect for any occasion.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Without Cream Cheese
Buffalo chicken pasta pairs the creamy richness of pasta and a tangy, spicy buffalo chicken.
This recipe takes the classic version up a notch by omitting the cream cheese. However, the other ingredients we’ve included recreate the same creaminess and heightened flavor profile.
Crisp and tender chicken pieces combine with al-dente pasta in a delectable ranch Buffalo sauce, finished with a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
The result is an irresistible, zesty, and ultra-comforting meal that has the perfect amount of heat.
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this fantastic dish:
- Penne Pasta. You can use any kind of pasta, but penne’s structure holds up well against the heavy sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese. Use a strong, sharp cheddar for the best flavor.
- Buffalo Sauce. Frank’s Buffalo Sauce is perfect, but you can use any brand you prefer.
- Ranch Dressing. This provides the iconic creamy tang that balances the heat of the buffalo sauce.
- Chicken Breast. Be sure it’s boneless, skinless. Diced into small pieces, it’ll integrate well into the dish.
- Olive Oil. This is for sautéing chicken to golden perfection.
- Spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Adjust these to your liking.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Without Cream Cheese
- Prepare the pasta. Cook it according to package instructions. When it’s done, drain and set it aside.
- Cook the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken until it’s browned and cooked through.
- Make the sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.
- Combine everything. In a large pot or skillet, combine the cooked pasta, chicken, and sauce. Toss well, until everything is well-coated. Warm the pot over low heat for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Serve and enjoy! Finally, serve the pasta and sprinkle it generously with cheddar cheese.
Note: For complete measurements and instructions, see the recipe card below.
Tips for the Best Pasta Dish
Here are a few tips to make your Chicken Buffalo Pasta even better:
- Adjust the Spice. Taste the sauce before adding it to the pasta and chicken. If it’s not spicy enough for you, add more buffalo sauce. If it’s too spicy, add more ranch.
- Don’t Overcook the Pasta. Make sure you cook your pasta just al-dente. It will continue to cook slightly when you add it to the sauce.
- Add More Creaminess. If you prefer an extra creamy pasta, you can add a few tablespoons of milk when you’re combining the pasta, chicken, and sauce.
Feel free to customize your Buffalo Chicken Pasta with these substitutions:
- Pasta Type. You can use any type of pasta you prefer or have on hand; bowtie, rotini, or even spaghetti.
- Cheese Variety. If cheddar isn’t your favorite, you can use mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or a combination of multiple cheeses.
- Protein. Substitute the chicken with shrimp, ground beef, or even vegetarian options like tofu.
- Make it Healthier. Use whole-grain pasta, low-fat ranch, and less cheese for a healthier version.
What to Serve With Buffalo Chicken Pasta
This dish is quite filling on its own, but if you’d like to serve it with sides, here are some ideas:
- A fresh, green salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing.
- Crunchy breadsticks or garlic bread.
- Delicious cheesy bread rolls.
- A side of steamed broccoli or a medley of roasted vegetables for a healthier plate.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
To reheat, place it in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and heat on medium power, stirring occasionally to help distribute the heat evenly. You can also reheat it on the stovetop with a splash of milk over low heat, stirring constantly. Add extra cheese if desired to restore some creaminess.
It’s not recommended to freeze this dish due to the pasta’s potential change in texture upon thawing.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Without Cream Cheese
- 16 0z penne pasta cooked
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup Buffalo Sauce (Frank's Buffalo Sauce)
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 2-3 chicken breasts (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions until it is al dente. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken breast to the skillet and season it with garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is browned and cooked through.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing until well combined.
- In a large pot or skillet, combine the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, and the Buffalo sauce mixture. Toss well until all the ingredients are evenly coated with the sauce.
- Warm the pot over low heat for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Serve the buffalo chicken pasta hot and sprinkle it generously with shredded cheddar cheese.