Buffalo chicken dip is the lazy person's trick for serving Buffalo wings for a crowd. You get all the tangy, fiery flavors of hot wings coated in a rich, creamy dip. You know it's good when it's just as delicious on celery as it is on chips! And maybe best of all, you won't go through a tower of napkins while enjoying it!
But what makes this the ultimate? It's not the sauce or the cheese — it all comes down to the chicken.
Why Buffalo Chicken Dip?
When you're hosting a party — be it game day or board game night — the aim is to set up a spread everyone enjoys. Usually, there's no better way to guarantee satisfaction than by including hot wings. But hot wings for a crowd get cold fast, you never order enough, and inevitably you have to contend with that pile of bones. Buffalo chicken dip gives you all the flavor of hot wings in the form of a dip, and everyone loves dip!
To make things even simpler, this dip is prepared and served in a slow cooker so it's pretty hands-off and it stays warm throughout the party. You just need a few poached chicken breasts, a pretty hefty amount of cheese, and about 10 minutes to put it all together. Yep, it's that easy! That's the whole point of it, after all — this is meant to be an easy dip that everyone will seriously love.
The Best Chicken for the Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Dip
How you cook your chicken is the place to invest when making this dip. A number of Buffalo chicken dip recipes call for canned chicken breast, which is a logical shortcut considering the other ingredients don't need to be precooked. Unfortunately, canned chicken can have a mealy texture when cooked in the dip. Instead, cook two chicken breasts in the slow cooker before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. This chicken shreds better and has an overall better flavor and texture. But sometimes, you still need a shortcut up your sleeve. If you're behind schedule, use leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli. Both are better than the canned option.
Shred the Chicken Quickly with a Stand Mixer!
Once cooked, the chicken breast still needs shredding. You can quickly and efficiently do this in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Yes, it is an extra piece of heavy equipment that will have to be cleaned later, but if I can shred 1 1/2 pounds of chicken in 2 minutes rather than 30, then I'm happy to wash a mixing bowl.
Flavoring the Buffalo Chicken Dip
Wing restaurants often have a menu a mile long — allowing for customization of flavor and heat level. You can do the same here with this dip. Do you prefer dipping wings into ranch or blue cheese dressing? Choose your favorite. Do you prefer an inferno-like heat or are you serving more mild palates? Just adjust the hot sauce amount. The lower hot sauce amount I have listed is family-friendly, even for my spice-averse toddler, but the adults in the room wanted more heat so shoot for the upper range if you're looking for flames.
The Best Hot Sauce for Buffalo Dip
The best hot sauce for buffalo chicken dip is the one you've got in your fridge. Most cooks have a standard family hot sauce that they keep in their fridge. We are a Cholula household. I've always got an open bottle in the fridge, an extra in the pantry, and a travel-sized bottle in the glove compartment of my car (in case of emergency, obviously). Although Frank's RedHot® is the standard for Buffalo dips, I think Cholula has a more dynamic flavor, more so than the one-note blast of heat from other sauces that just contain vinegar, salt, and chiles. But here's the beauty of the dip — pick what works for you!
Got leftovers? Lucky, you! Leftover dip is great as a taco filling or stirred into macaroni and cheese.
How To Make the Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Dip
What You Need
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large)
3/4 cup water
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
3/4 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/2 to 3/4 cup hot sauce, such as Cholula or Frank's RedHot®
3 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
Crumbled blue cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips, corn chips, celery sticks, carrot sticks, for serving
3-quart slow cooker
Liquid and dry measuring cups
Instant-read meat thermometer
Stand mixer with paddle attachment (optional)
- Poach the chicken: Place the chicken breasts and water in a 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Shred the chicken: Cut each chicken breast in thirds and transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until chicken is shredded, 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, shred with 2 forks, but do it while the chicken is still warm, as cold chicken can be a little tough and will not shred as easily.)
- Combine dip ingredients: Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker. Add the cream cheese, dressing, hot sauce, and cheddar cheese and stir to combine.
- Cook the dip: Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes. The dip is ready when all the cheeses have melted and the dip bubbles around the edges.
Garnish and serve: Give the dip one final stir, and then sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese. Lower the heat to WARM and serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, celery sticks, and carrot sticks.
- Using precooked chicken: You'll need about 3 cups of cooked and shredded chicken — this is about the equivalent of 1 small rotisserie chicken once deboned and shredded.
- Make ahead: The chicken can be cooked, shredded, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days in advance.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.