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Buffalo Chicken anything is usually a big hit in our house, so I was excited to try out this recipe for the entire family. It’s a tasty and healthy buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese recipe, and a great way to get in some extra protein and veggies!

The great thing about making this spicy cauliflower mac and cheese with chicken is that it’s got a boost of protein, which is perfect for any healthy eating plan. I love that it’s a full meal in one pot when using the Instant Pot, but it can also be made on the stovetop or in a Crockpot.

graphic with text and two images of buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese

The heat level for this recipe is a solid 2.5/5–it’s medium heat, not too spicy. It’s a delicious Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe that the entire family can eat. If your kids like spicy foods, you could definitely increase the amount of hot sauce in this recipe.

Where’s the recipe?

Here at My Crazy Good Life, we write recipes that anyone can follow, whether you’re new in the kitchen or have been cooking for a bit! In the post below, you’ll find ingredient information and details cooking instructions, along with recipe tips and healthy eating plan information for diets like WW, the 21 Day Fix, and 2B Mindset.

If you’re just looking for the recipe, head straight down to the bottom where you’ll see the ingredient measurements and cooking instructions (three different ways!) for this Buffalo Cauliflower Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe!

Ingredients in Buffalo Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

  • Olive Oil: I always aim for coconut, avocado, or olive oil. I try to stay away from highly processed oils like vegetable.
  • Chicken Breast: Cut into small bite sized pieces for the Instant Pot and Stovetop versions, but left whole if you’re using the Crock Pot.
  • Spices: A hint of ranch seasoning spices to complement your hot sauce and creamy base–you’re essentially making your own buffalo wings sauce.
  • Cauliflower: I use a full head for this recipe, and it cooks so fast–cauliflower rice can be used, but it tends to come out a little mushy. I love the extra texture you get with full cauliflower florets.
  • Hot sauce: Simple hot sauce, like Frank’s. Not buffalo sauce, as it has many more processed ingredients and oils. Regular hot sauce plus the spices in this recipe will still give you a buffalo style cheese sauce that’s delicious!
  • Cottage cheese: Hear me out on this–blending together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt will give you a protein packed and creamy buffalo cheddar cheese sauce for this recipe! Much healthier than heavy cream that’s typically called for in a recipe like this.
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Brown Rice Flour: This is used as a thickener, and can be substituted with other thickeners you may have in your pantry. Whole wheat or all purpose flour work!

How to make Buffalo Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté. Add the oil and allow it to heat up. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté until the chicken is browned.
  2. Add garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, dill, and parsley to the pot. Mix up the chicken so that the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  3. Add the cauliflower to the Instant Pot and cover with the hot sauce. The hot sauce acts as your liquid for this recipe. Close the lid and turn the pressure valve to sealing.
  4. Cook the chicken and cauliflower on high pressure using the manual setting for 1 minute. Let the pressure release naturally for 3-5 minutes before manually releasing it. This means that after the pot is done cooking, allow it to sit without touching it for 3-5 minutes. The contents will still be cooking. After that time, move the Sealing valve to the Vent position and allow the steam to come out. *See recipe tips section if you’re nervous about overcooking the cauliflower.
  5. In a high speed blender, mix together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to create a creamy sauce. I know it’s difficult for some to trust the Greek yogurt/cottage cheese blend–trust me. The blending will remove the chunks from the cottage cheese and take that tangy taste out of the yogurt.
  6. Blend the sauce until smooth, then pour the sauce over the chicken and cauliflower. Add the cheese and brown rice flour. Carefully fold the sauce and cheese in so that the cauliflower holds its shape.
  7. Garnish and serve while still warm, or pack up for lunch through the week.

Note: For this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese to work you must cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces and brown the chicken. If you skip this step the chicken will not have enough time to cook. Plus, it keeps the chicken from cooking in a solid lump.

This healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese is made with cauliflower, and I've included information for both the 21 Day Fix and 2B Mindset. This spicy cauliflower mac and cheese with chicken is that it's got a boost of protein, no FFCs, and veggies first, so it's also good for a 2B lunch or dinner! Instant Pot, slow cooker, and stove top directions included. #2BMindset #21DayFix #recipes #instantpot

How to make Buffalo Mac and Cheese on the stove

  1. Heat a large skillet on the stove and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, sauté the chicken until it is browned.
  2. Add the seasonings, hot sauce, and cauliflower to the skillet. Mix it up so the cauliflower is covered in hot sauce. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium low heat.
  3. Allow the cauliflower and chicken to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender.
  4. Blend together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to make a cream sauce. Remove the cauliflower and chicken from the heat when it’s cooked.
  5. Stir the sauce, cheddar cheese, and brown rice flour into the skillet until the cheese melts. Garnish and serve.

How to make this in the Crock Pot

*Do not cube the chicken before cooking in the slow cooker.*

  1. Add the whole chicken breast, cauliflower, seasoning, and hot sauce to the slower cooker.
  2. Cover and let cook for 2 1/2 to 4 hours on low heat or until the chicken is done.
  3. Remove the chicken, chop it into cubes, then add it back into the slow cooker.
  4. Blend together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to make a cream sauce. Add the cream sauce, cheddar cheese, and brown rice flour to the chicken and cauliflower and mix until the cheese is melted. Garnish and serve.
Buffalo Chicken anything is usually a bit hit in our house so I was excited to try out this recipe for the whole family. It's a tasty 21 Day Fix buffalo chicken mac and cheese made with cauliflower! The great thing about making this spicy cauliflower mac and cheese with chicken is that it's got a boost of protein so it's also approved for 2B Mindset! #2BMindset #21DayFix #recipes #instantpot

Recipe Tips and FAQs

  1. Can I make this with fresh riced cauliflower? Yes! You’ll want to quick release the pot. Just know it won’t have the same macaroni and cheese texture that the whole cauliflower florets have–it will taste a bit mushy.
  2. Can I use pasta instead of cauliflower? You can, but I recommend a few changes. First, use larger chunks of chicken so they don’t become overcooked. Also, look to the back of the pasta box for your cooking time–you’ll want to cook it for half the lowest amount of time as listed on the back of the box.
  • Optional garnish and toppings: diced green onion, breadcrumb topping, cayenne pepper sauce (like Frank’s original sauce – not Frank’s buffalo sauce, as it contains a ton of processed ingredients), blue cheese crumbles.
  • If you’re nervous about overcooking the cauliflower, manually release the pot after 2 minutes. If the cauliflower isn’t cooked yet, close the pot back up and allow it to sit for a couple more minutes before checking it again.
  • If adding a breadcrumb topping, I highly recommend adding the recipe to a baking dish and putting it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it all up.

Healthy Eating Plans

Portion Fix/21 Day Fix: This recipe serves: 4. The approximate serving size is 1 3/4 cup (1 cup vegetables and 3/4 cup protein), but I always recommend separating out your recipe into 4 equal sized servings for the most accurate counts.

  • Container Counts for the entire recipe: 6 red containers, 4 green containers, 1tsp (it’s so little that I don’t add this to my final counts), 4 blue containers, 2 tablespoons brown rice flour. The brown rice flour is not on the food list, but based on the ingredients and nutrition information, counts as 1 yellow container for 1/4 cup. 2 tablespoons equals 1/2 yellow container. Over four servings, I think this is so little that I don’t count it.
  • Container counts per serving: 1 1/2 red containers, 1 green container, 1 blue container.

2B Mindset:

This is a great dinner option for the 2B Mindset nutrition plan because it’s got lean protein and veggies. If you’re eating this for lunch, pair it with an FFC.

Weight Watchers:

Using fat free cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, the counts for this recipe are 6 Blue Points | 8 Green Points | 6 Purple Points

The points for the 2023 Plan is 2 when using fat free cottage cheese, fat free Greek yogurt, and fat free shredded cheese.

Trim Healthy Mama:

This is an S recipe when you use one of the following instead of the brown rice flour: Xanthum Gum, Glucomannan Powder, or oat fiber.

More delicious Instant Pot recipes

close up of buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese in white bowl
4.63 from 24 ratings
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Buffalo Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Recipe

Created by: Becca Ludlum
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Approximate Serving Size: 1 3/4 cup
Servings 4 Servings
This healthy buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese is made with cauliflower and chicken, and it's a healthy weeknight meal! This spicy cauliflower mac and cheese with chicken can be made in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stove top. 

Equipment

  • Instant Pot 6 qt
  • Crockpot
  • Sealing Rings

Ingredients 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dill dried
  • ½ tsp parsley dried
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
  • ¾ cup hot sauce Frank's ORIGINAL, not Buffalo
  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt plain, 2%
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour or whole wheat flour

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté. Add the oil and allow it to heat up. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté until the chicken is browned. 1 tsp olive oil, 1 lb chicken breast
  • Add garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, dill, and parsley to the pot. Mix up the chicken so that the seasoning is evenly distributed. 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp dill, 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Add the cauliflower to the Instant Pot and cover with the hot sauce. The hot sauce acts as your liquid for this recipe. Close the lid and turn the pressure valve to sealing. 1 head cauliflower , 3/4 cup hot sauce
  • Cook the chicken and cauliflower on high pressure using the manual setting for 1 minute. Let the pressure release naturally for 3-5 minutes before manually releasing it. *See recipe tips section if you're nervous about overcooking the cauliflower.
  • In a high speed blender, mix together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to create a creamy sauce. I know it's difficult for some to trust the Greek yogurt/cottage cheese blend–trust me. The blending will remove the chunks from the cottage cheese and take that tangy taste out of the yogurt. 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Blend the sauce until smooth, then pour the sauce over the chicken and cauliflower. Add the cheese and brown rice flour. Carefully fold the sauce and cheese in so that the cauliflower holds its shape. 1 cup cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • Garnish and serve while still warm, or pack up for lunch throughout the week.
  • Note: For this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese to work you must cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces and brown the chicken. If you skip this step the chicken will not have enough time to cook. Plus, it keeps the chicken from cooking in a solid lump.

Stove Top Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet on the stove and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, sauté the chicken until it is browned. 1 tsp olive oil, 1 lb chicken breast
  • Add the seasonings, hot sauce, and cauliflower to the skillet. Mix it up so the cauliflower is covered in hot sauce. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium low heat. 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp dill, 1/2 tsp parsley, 3/4 cup hot sauce , 1 head cauliflower
  • Allow the cauliflower and chicken to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Blend together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to make a cream sauce. Remove the cauliflower and chicken from the heat when it's cooked. 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Stir the sauce, cheddar cheese, and brown rice flour into the skillet until the cheese melts. Garnish and serve. 1 cup cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp brown rice flour

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • * Do not cube the chicken before cooking in the slow cooker.
  • Add the whole chicken breast, cauliflower, seasoning, and hot sauce to the slower cooker. 1 lb chicken breast , 1 head cauliflower , 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp dill, 1/2 tsp parsley, 3/4 cup hot sauce
  • Cover and let cook for 2 1/2 to 4 hours on low heat or until the chicken is done.
  • Remove the chicken, chop it into cubes, then add it back into the slow cooker.
  • Blend together the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to make a cream sauce. Add the cream sauce, cheddar cheese, and brown rice flour to the chicken and cauliflower and mix until the cheese is melted. Garnish and serve. 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

Video

Notes

Recipe Tips
  • Optional garnish and toppings: diced green onion, breadcrumb topping, cayenne pepper sauce (like Frank’s original sauce – not Frank’s buffalo sauce, as it contains a ton of processed ingredients), blue cheese crumbles.
  • If you’re nervous about overcooking the cauliflower, manually release the pot after 2 minutes. If the cauliflower isn’t cooked yet, close the pot back up and allow it to sit for a couple more minutes before checking it again.
  • If adding a breadcrumb topping, I highly recommend adding the recipe to a baking dish and putting it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it all up.
Healthy Eating Plans
Portion Fix/21 Day Fix: This recipe serves: 4. The approximate serving size is 1 3/4 cup (1 cup vegetables and 3/4 cup protein), but I always recommend separating out your recipe into 4 equal sized servings for the most accurate counts.
  • Container Counts for the entire recipe: 6 red containers, 4 green containers, 1tsp (it’s so little that I don’t add this to my final counts), 4 blue containers, 2 tablespoons brown rice flour. The brown rice flour is not on the food list, but based on the ingredients and nutrition information, counts as 1 yellow container for 1/4 cup. 2 tablespoons equals 1/2 yellow container. Over four servings, I think this is so little that I don’t count it.
  • Container counts per serving: 1 1/2 red containers, 1 green container, 1 blue container.
2B Mindset:
This is a great dinner option for the 2B Mindset nutrition plan because it’s got lean protein and veggies. If you’re eating this for lunch, pair it with an FFC.
Weight Watchers:
Using lowfat cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, the counts for this recipe are 6 Blue Points | 8 Green Points | 6 Purple Points. 
The points for the new 2022/2023 plan is 2 when using fat free cottage cheese, fat free Greek yogurt, and fat free shredded cheese.
Trim Healthy Mama :
This is an S recipe when you use one of the following instead of the brown rice flour: Xanthum Gum, Glucomannan Powder, or oat fiber.

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1918mg | Potassium: 928mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 137IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 1mg

Make This Recipe?

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33 Comments

  1. In the video, what type of container did you store it in? Does it keep it warm?

  2. Jacqueline DiNuoscio says:

    5 stars
    This Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is totally making my mouth water!

  3. 5 stars
    I have never made and had Buffalo chicken before. It is great to try the first one is a healthy one. Thank you for the recipe :D

  4. 5 stars
    We love buffalo chicken so much at our house and I love how you included directions for making this dish on the stovetop too. The flavors were terrific in this recipe, I will definitely be making it again and again.

  5. SO good!!!! Loved it! Wonder what would happen if carrots and celery were added? Might give that a shot sometime just to get in even more veggies.. this was awesome!

  6. Tayler Ross says:

    5 stars
    I love this healthy version of my favorite comfort food! I love that spicy kick!

  7. Christine says:

    My sauce broke … I mixed the yogurt and cottage cheese and when I added it the cheese appeared to curdle and separate. What might have gone wrong?

    1. Oh no!! I have no idea–this has never happened to me! Was one of them old?

  8. 4 stars
    How do you keep the cauliflower from dissolving? The flavor is great, but mine is a bit of a mushy mess. I made it in the Instapot & wondering if I should have quick released…

    1. Julia, oh no! Did you use fresh cauliflower florets?

  9. Looks yummy! Love cottage cheese, but not a fan of yogurt. Any suggestions on what to sub for yogurt ?

    1. I am not a fan of cottage cheese OR yogurt, but the way it’s prepared in this recipe makes both of them undetectable. Promise.

  10. Lee Heaton says:

    4 stars
    Hey there — yummy, but my cauliflower (fresh) turned to mush (using IP). I ended up adding pasta (thank goodness I had a Y available). Next time I might try it on the stove top instead.

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you Lee!!

  11. 5 stars
    Amazing!! Really spicy, which my kids were not huge fans, but my hubby and I loved it!!

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious and also super easy!!! Definitely going into my weekly rotation!! I got lazy and left a lot of my cauli pretty bigger and they held up great.

  13. Melissabarr says:

    I’ve made this once already using Peri-peri sauce and it was amazing. This time I bought buffalo hot sauce to try with it, but I see now the recipe states not to use buffalo. Is this because it will change the nutrition information of the recipe or will it not cook properly?

    1. Hi there! Just because of the nutrition info/ingredients – it’ll cook just fine!

  14. 4 stars
    Great recipe overall! Definitely has a kick. Adjust the hot sauce if you are sensitive to heat.

  15. 5 stars
    TOTALLY LOVE THIS!!! I love that there are directions for different cooking devices. I had planned to use the trusty slow cooker but forgot to get it going when I left in the morning. After a slight panic, I realized I have an uber large pressure cooker that I haven’t really used. You are making me a believer in pressure cookers – this was SOOO easy to make. I didn’t cut the chicken into bite sized pcs because my chicken was still in the freezer, nice solid breasts. I also didn’t have cauliflower heads (yes it was a bad day) but had plenty of frozen riced cauliflower. So, I plopped the frozen chicken in, did the spices as listed and then put m riced cauliflower on top with Frank’s Red Hot. Instead of cooking for 1 minute on high, I did it for 10 minutes on high pressure. I let it release naturally and then took the forks to the to shred it. After adding the rest of the ingredients, I realized why I DON’T want to use frozen cauliflower. You want it to be fresh & crisp! We ended up spooning it on top of raw broccoli slaw which was perfect for a 2B dinner. If I had made it the right way, I’m positive it would have been phenomenal – next time I will back off on the hot sauce because of my youngest (but as a South Indian quite fond of the spiciest of spicy, it was a pleasant level for the rest of us!)

    1. Oh YAY! I’m so glad you liked this, and congrats on breaking out that pressure cooker!

  16. Kelly Harris says:

    I want to make this recipe but I am confused about it. I don’t understand how the IP can come up to pressure without any liquid in it? And having it set for 1 minute does not seem long enough to cook the chicken and cauliflower?

    1. Hi Kelly! The hot sauce acts as your liquid (and the cauliflower releases a bit of liquid,). The chicken is diced small and sautéed to brown it, so the time it takes the pot to come to pressure along with the 1 minute cook time are enough to cook the cauliflower and finish cooking the chicken :)

  17. caryn conway says:

    Hi ! Can I use frozen cauliflower when doing it in the crockpot ?

    1. I haven’t tried that yet but I’d caution against it because the cook time will be different and it could turn out mushy. I’d cook the cauliflower separate and add it at the end :)

  18. I wonder if there is too much cream mixture—mine was definitely brownish in color. Not very appetizing to look at but tastes ok. Mine also gave me a water warning while heating up.

  19. This was delicious! I made the Instant Pot version and topped my bowl with a spoonful of blue cheese. The flavor is great, but I did have quite a bit of extra sauce. It was more like a thick soup than “Mac” and cheese. Next time I’ll add more chicken and/or more cauliflower, or maybe even stir in some cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta at the end.

    1. Carrie, can I ask if you used the flour to thicken?

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