Kick up your cheese noodles (what we called Homemade Macaroni and Cheese growing up) with this Instant Pot Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. Quick side note – below you will see instructions on how to make this recipe without an Instant Pot too.
I wanted my healthy Mac to have staying power (meaning I am satisfied with one serving) so I started with zero point chicken. Next I layered on the flavor with spice and finished with 3 types of cheese and little pasta shell buckets to hold all that spicy, cheesy, goodness. The cream cheese adds a creamy richness while sharp cheese adds that rich cheddar bite and mozzarella strings everything together.
This recipe is my first attempt experimenting on my own with my Instant Pot (IP).
I had my first Instant Pot success with this Sesame Chicken and learned all about IP Mac & Cheese on this post. This recipe sounded so good that it inspired me to make a Healthy WWFreestyle Smartpoint friendly Buffalo Mac & Cheese and it worked!
TWO FUN MODIFICATIONS:
- Make it vegetarian subbing diced sweet potato for the chicken.
- Not using an Instant Pot? Saute chicken while the pasta cooks. Add pasta to chicken with Frank’s Red Hot, 1/2 cup pasta water and cheese. Easy, peasy and cheesy, right?
INSTANT POT BUFFALO CHICKEN MAC & CHEESE (print it!)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- 16 oz large pasta shells
- 4 cups water
- 1 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 3 oz Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella, shredded
- 3 oz 2% sharp cheddar, shredded
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- Set Instant Pot to Saute. When “Hot” shows, add butter. Once melted add chicken, onion and dashes of salt and pepper. Saute until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Hit cancel.
- Stir in Frank’s Red Hot. Add pasta and water stirring everything together. Put lid on Instant Pot, seal and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. When the timer beeps, quick release to vent and remove lid.
- Stir in cream cheese, mozzarella and cheddar just until mixed. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Dive in!
Makes 8 heaping 1 cup servings, 7 WWFreestyle Smartpoints
Nutrition facts for all ingredients per serving:
STEP – BY – STEP:
Set Instant Pot to saute and add butter when it says hot. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper cooking until mostly cooked, 4-5 minutes. Hit cancel and stir in Frank’s Red Hot.Add pasta and water, stir then put the lid on the Instant Pot. Seal and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes getting pressurized to begin the count down.Hit cancel, quick release to vent and remove the lid after the pin drops.
Resist grabbing one of the noodles filled with that spicy sauce.Stir in cheeses until combined.Tadah – dinner is ready in 20 minutes!Cheesy, creamy, spicy, noodley goodness in every bite. Feel free to spice it up with a little Frank’s on top if you want more heat.Night all!