Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta is a pressure cooker recipe made for buffalo lovers! It's a rich and creamy one pot chicken pasta dinner full of spice and fantastic buffalo flavor. This recipe can be made as mild or as hot as you'd like!
This simple and quick Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe is a buffalo lover's dream! Diced chicken is tossed with carrots and buffalo sauce, then seasoned with ranch and pressure cooked alongside pasta- all in 1 pot and in under 30 minutes!
Preparation is easy. Just a bit of dicing up chicken, vegetables and onions and shredding cheese. That's it.
Use your favorite buffalo sauce for a flavor that's perfect for your tastebuds- make it mild, hot, or extra spicy.
Since we love pasta and buffalo wings around these parts, why not combine the two? The result is a delicious creamy pressure cooker dinner that's different from the usual (sometimes boring, let's face it) weekly rotation.
Buffalo sauce adds a kick to almost anything. So if you love it, I think you'll enjoy this pasta recipe!
Ingredients and Substitutions List
- Chicken: chicken breasts or tenderloins are perfect because we're dicing them up into small cubes for quick cooking. You can use leftover shredded chicken or a shredded rotisserie chicken instead. Rotisserie chicken will give it even more flavor!
- Buffalo sauce: use your favorite brand for the best flavor. The spiciness of the recipe depends on your preference for heat and the buffalo sauce you choose. Use mild for less heat and hot for more heat. You can also use hot sauce mixed with a little butter.
- Pasta: short pasta is my favorite for recipes like this, but you could technically use any pasta, even spaghetti. I enjoy buffalo chicken pasta with ziti, rigatoni, pappardelle, and shells.
- Ranch seasoning: use the ranch seasoning that comes in a packet or about 2 tablespoons from a jar. It will likely be labeled as a dressing mix. If you can't find this, use a small amount of ranch dressing instead. ¼-1/2 cup will do, depending on how much you enjoy the flavor or ranch.
- Carrot: to add some vegetables, but feel free to pass on this if desired. You can also add diced celery.
- Onion: yellow or sweet onion both work!
- Garlic: substitute garlic cloves with minced garlic. 1 garlic clove equals approximately 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
- Chicken broth: or use 1 chicken bouillon cube for every 1 cup of water. Vegetable broth or water are both okay too. They won't change the overall flavor too much.
- Milk: my preference is to use a 1:1 combination of whole milk and heavy cream to create a deep rich and creamy sauce but with a little less calories than using all heavy cream or cream cheese. You could, however, use all whole milk, all heavy cream, or a combination of cream cheese, heavy cream, and milk. Just make sure to keep the total amount the same as the recipe calls for.
- Cheese: I enjoy this with a combination of extra sharp cheddar cheese and colby jack cheese. Feel free to use only one or add in a little monterey jack too!
My favorite way to serve Instant Pot buffalo chicken pasta is topped with fresh parsley leaves, a little crumbled blue cheese and a tiny drizzle of buffalo sauce. A drizzling of ranch or creamy blue cheese dressing is also delicious and gives it an extra kick!
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta
STEP 1: Set the Instant Pot to saute for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the diced chicken, onions, salt, and black pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until chicken is browned. Add the grated carrots and minced garlic during the last minute.
STEP 2: Add buffalo sauce. Deglaze until there are no stuck bits of chicken or vegetables on the bottom.
STEP 3: Pour pasta, chicken broth, and ranch seasoning into the pot. Do not stir once that pasta has been added. Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook (manual) on high for 4 minutes. *This cook time is for my brand of rigatoni used. For your pasta, look at the box. Take the cook time and divide it in half and use that time. For al dente pasta, subtract 1 and use that time.
STEP 4: Complete a controlled quick release of pressure when done. Stir the ingredients well. Wait 2 minutes, then slowly pour in milk and cream.
STEP 5: Stir again. Add cheese 1 cup at a time, stirring between additions until cheese is melted.
STEP 6: To thicken sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water until smooth. Pour into the pasta and set to saute. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then turn off saute. Mix well and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sauce will continue to thicken upon standing.
Serve with your choice of garnishings: a drizzle of buffalo sauce or ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles and/or fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Instant Pot buffalo chicken pasta is as spicy or as mild as you want it to be. For a sauce on the mild side, use a mild buffalo sauce. For a spicier sauce, use a medium, hot or extra hot buffalo sauce.
Buffalo chicken pasta, being a full and hearty meal on its own, is best served with a simple salad, a side of fresh celery and carrots, and dinner rolls or crusty bread. If you have a bread machine, this garlic bread recipe would be perfect!
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. The sauce will thicken further in the fridge, but once reheated will regain its rich and creamy consistency. This recipe is not freezer-friendly.
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- 1 lb chicken diced
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup buffalo sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 16 oz pasta preferably short pasta
- 4 ½ cups chicken broth
- ½ ranch seasoning packet
- 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream *see notes
- 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup colby jack cheese shredded
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch + ¼ cup water
- parsley to garnish
- blue cheese crumbles to garnish
- ranch dressing to garnish
- Set the Instant Pot to saute for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and diced chicken, onion, salt, and black pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until chicken is browned. Add carrots and minced garlic during the last minute.
- Add buffalo sauce and deglaze until there are no stuck bits of chicken on the bottom.
- Pour pasta, chicken broth, and ranch seasoning into the pot. Do not stir. Close and seal the lid. Set to pressure cook (manual) on high for 4 minutes (see notes on pasta cooking times).
- Complete a controlled quick release of pressure when done. Stir ingredients well. Wait 2 minutes, then slowly pour in milk and cream. Add cheese 1 cup at a time, stirring well between additions until cheese is melted.
- To thicken sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water until smooth. Pour into the pasta and set to saute. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then turn off saute. Mix well and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sauce will continue to thicken upon standing.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of ranch dressing or buffalo sauce if desired.