This creamy, delicious dip is a snap to make and has all the delicious flavors of Buffalo Chicken Wings without the mess!
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Buffalo sauce and chicken go together like any traditional mealtime combination: chips and salsa, burgers and cheese, spaghetti and red sauce—and, yes, PB & J. There’s just something about that slightly spicy sauce that goes so well with a crispy, piping hot chicken wing. Well, what if you could take that delicious flavor combination and transform it into a perfect party dip? Enter this recipe for easy buffalo chicken dip.
There are lots of things in this recipe that combine together to make it so amazing. Cream cheese is a classic ingredient in dip recipes. But what’s so awesome is that with cream cheese, chicken seems to be a natural partner. The texture of chicken, and its subtle and yielding flavor pairs really well with cream cheese-based dip mixtures. And with the buffalo sauce added in, you get a really awesome buffalo-wing taste – perfect for dipping with corn chips, crackers, tortilla chips, and bread.
In this recipe for buffalo chicken dip, slow cookers aren’t required. I prefer just the straight “mix and bake” with this dish over using my slow cooker. This is also helpful when preparing for a party—usually, my slow cooker is already in action on some other project. Being able to make this dip in the oven is pretty darn handy.
This dish is a crowd pleaser. I serve it at nearly every party I host. Sometimes if I’m hosting a big sports event (like a Super Bowl party) I’ll make a double batch to make sure everyone gets their fill of that awesome hot wings flavor.
Mom Tip: to take this dip tailgating, prepare dip ahead and store it in a heavy foil pan. Then, when it’s time to serve, simply heat the dip up on your grill!
The amounts on this recipe are totally customizable. If you like a little more chicken in the dish, go for it! If you prefer a strong blue cheese flavor, use a little extra dressing and an extra handful more of the blue cheese crumbles. The only thing I would be careful about changing is the amount of cream cheese. Unless you’re making a proportionally larger batch (double or triple), stick with the 8oz for the best consistency.
If you love buffalo chicken wings (and who doesn’t?); if you hate those sticky, messy fingers and the mountains of paper towels and wet wipes that follows; if you’re hosting a party, attending a potluck, or just want a yummy afternoon snack—this is the dip for you. Give it a try and, as always, let me know what you think in the comments!
Hot Sauce: Using a good hot sauce is absolutely critical in perfecting the taste of this recipe. And while it’s true that you can find bottle buffalo sauce in most grocery stores, the simple fact is that pre-made buffalo sauce is not as good as making the buffalo sauce yourself. SeriousEats.com concluded the same thing when they tested homemade buffalo sauce versus pre-made buffalo sauce.
The most basic buffalo sauce is just a combination of hot sauce and butter (fat). Seriously. That’s it. Super easy. And one reason pre-made buffalo sauce just isn’t as good is that the “natural butter flavoring” (yeah right) used in those bottles tastes fake, cheap—not nearly as good as the homemade stuff! The good news is the fat in this recipe from the cream cheese and the dressing makes up for the butter, so using the just plain old hot sauce in this recipe is perfect. You end up with that great buffalo-sauce flavor.
When choosing your hot sauce, look for something balanced. Not too spicy, not too mild. With this buffalo chicken dip, Frank’s Hot Sauce is my favorite brand to use. (Frank’s was also ranked as #1 in the same article from SeriousEats.com!) This sauce is tangy and full of flavor—it gives the perfect “kick” to your taste buds.
Chicken: You’ll notice that this recipe calls only for “cooked chicken.” Truthfully, any method of cooking your chicken will work for this. You can even make this easy buffalo chicken dip with canned chicken—precooked, super easy, and a lot more flavorful than people give it credit for.
However, my favorite thing to do for this dip is baking the chicken. It’s only of the easiest methods of cooking chicken and creates just the right texture for the dip. Baking chicken ensures that it is cooked thoroughly and consistently—which is exactly what you need for using chopped chicken.
Dressing: The recipe can be made with either blue cheese or ranch dressing. I prefer the blue cheese dressing, I think it makes the dish more flavorful. Ranch dressing can be used in a pinch, but be careful. Some recipes (like Kraft’s buffalo chicken dip) use ranch dressing and leave out the blue cheese crumbles which I think is a huge mistake and robs the dip of a vital part of its flavor.
To reduce calories, use low-fat dressings instead of the standard versions.
Blue Cheese: Whether you decide to use blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing—with this buffalo chicken dip, blue cheese crumbles are important. I strongly recommend against skipping them. Their tangy, bold flavor is an important facet of the overall dip, and you just won’t have the same delicious final dish without the crumbles. (Don’t worry—the taste of the dip is strong enough that people who don’t like blue cheese will still enjoy the dip.)
Picking the right kind of blue cheese for your crumbles is important. Some brands/kinds of blue cheese are stronger than others. I recommend a mild blue cheese for the dip. As a general rule, the longer a cheese is aged the stronger the flavor will be. For reference, here’s an annotated list of common blue cheese brands:
- Danish Blue – As the name implies, this cheese is Danish in origin. It’s a decently soft cheese made from cow’s milk. Generally, this is considered a mild blue cheese. It’s what you’d find in a big commercial grocery store.
- Gorgonzola – Gorgonzola cheese is often what you serve over steak or burgers. It’s Italian and generally made from goat’s milk or unskimmed cow’s milk. This is also a fairly mild cheese.
- : – this American cheese uses only fresh milk from farms in Iowa. It needs very precise temperatures to achieve it’s distinct, powerful flavor.
- Roquefort – this is one of the more famous blue cheese ever created. It’s French in origin and is incredibly strong. It’s a very specific cheese, and only cheese aged in specific French caves can be given the name.
Choosing to use a strong blue cheese is fine, but I would recommend that strong cheese (Maytag, Roquefort, etc.) only be used in the buffalo chicken dip if you know you’re serving it to a crowd of blue cheese lovers. A mild one (Danish blue or Gorgonzola) will serve most purposes and is less likely to offend bleu cheese haters!
Other Cheese: The recipe calls for sharp cheddar to be used. That’s my favorite with this recipe, but it’s not the only available option. You can use Jack or mozzarella to replace all or part of the cheddar. Sometimes I like to use a combination! The only crucial thing is that you don’t leave out the blue cheese crumbles.
If you’re a huge fan of cheese (who isn’t), you can pull the dish out about 15 minutes before it’s done and sprinkle some more shredded cheddar on the top. Then put it back in and let that extra cheese melt into a gooey outer layer for your dip.
Slow Cooker: If you choose to make this delicious dip in a crockpot, follow these simple tips:
- Cook the chicken and hot sauce in a saucepan.
- Add the cream cheese and blue cheese dressing to the saucepan.
- Add the cheddar cheese to the saucepan.
- Put the whole mixture into your slow cooker and sprinkle with a little extra cheddar. Keep heated on low.
Serve With: I love to serve this hot, ooey-gooey dip with slices of a baguette or crackers and of course, slices of celery sticks!
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Buffalo Chicken Dip
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened
- 1/2 Cup Hot Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Dressing or Ranch Dressing
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese~Divided
- 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles~Divided
- 1 Cup Cooked Chicken Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Sliced Green Onions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, 1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar and 1/4 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles, and chopped chicken until evenly combined. Spread mixture in 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining cheddar. Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Blue Cheese crumbles and sliced green onions. Serve with baguette slices, celery, or crackers.