Cheesy, creamy, little bit of spicy...this buffalo chicken dip is one of the best football food snacks ever. It's a 5-ingredient snack that takes just minutes to make. You'll be the superhero of the football party with this appetizer!
The origins of this snack aren't clear. We do know that it's a spinoff of buffalo wings, which were invented in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo. She created the wings as a late-night snack for her son Dominic and his friends, and they eventually became very popular at their family-owned bar in Buffalo, New York. The locals started requesting the wings as well, and eventually they became a popular snack worldwide.
This appetizer is a nice way to enjoy the flavors of wings in a less messy format. It has the heat, the meaty protein, and the creaminess of the traditional blue cheese dressing served on the side with wings. Many recipes, like mine, use ranch dressing instead of blue cheese dressing, but feel free to use blue cheese if you like.
Why This Recipe Works
- It uses homemade ranch and buffalo sauce. This adds a few extra steps, but the result is well worth the trouble! The homemade dressing and sauce really improve the flavor of the dip.
- It uses hand-grated cheddar. Pre-grated cheddar is tossed in cellulose, which prevents the cheese from melting smoothly. You'll definitely want to grate your own cheese for this recipe.
- It uses shredded chicken. This means you can use leftover roasted/BBQ chicken, rotisserie chicken, or even freshly cooked chicken breast. Whatever works for you goes in this recipe!
- It isn't overheated. Baking the dip at 350°F only until it's bubbling keeps the dip from separating and getting greasy.
You don't need anything fancy to whip up a batch of buffalo chicken dip! Let's talk about each ingredient in this simple appetizer.
- Shredded Chicken: You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, baked chicken breasts, or any other type of chicken as long as it's finely shredded.
- Cream Cheese: I like to use full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor and texture.
- Ranch: Homemade ranch really amps up the flavor!
- Buffalo Sauce: I make my own using this simple recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese: Make sure to grate your own cheese from a block rather than using pre-shredded. The pre-grated cheese is coated with cellulose, making it turn grainy when melted.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make
- Beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Pour in the ranch dressing.
3. Pour in the buffalo sauce.
4. Beat the mixture together until smooth.
5. Dump in the chicken.
6. Add the shredded cheddar cheese.
7. Mix in the cheddar cheese and shredded chicken until evenly mixed.
8. Spread in a casserole dish or put in a crockpot. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or put the crockpot on low for 1-2 hours. It should be warm, and all the cheese should be melted.
The traditional version consists of shredded chicken, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, cheddar, and cream cheese. The ranch adds flavor, the sauce adds spiciness, the cheese thickens it and makes it creamy, while the chicken adds lots of protein. Feel free to add additional spices or hot sauce to change things up.
There are several things that taste great dipped in this appetizer. Here's some ideas to get you started! Try carrot or celery sticks, bell pepper strips, tortilla chips, pretzels, toasted baguette slices, or crackers.
It often becomes greasy when the oils from the sauce and the cheese begin to separate. While this doesn't affect the flavor, it can make it look less appealing. This separation may be due to overcooking.
You can reduce the chances of separation by baking it for less time in the oven, or making it in the crockpot instead. The gentler heat of the crockpot (if it's set to low) shouldn't overheat it as easily.
If it is runny, I'd recommend mixing in an extra cup or two of grated cheddar and reheat it to melt the cheese. Melted cheese does thicken the liquid.
Here are some delicious and creative ways to enjoy leftovers. Tell me in the comments on this blog post if you try one of them!
- Pour on French fries.
- Add to a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Toss with cooked pasta.
- Spread on crackers or eat with crudités.
- Use it as a filling for this garbage bread.
Leftovers: It can keep for up to 1 week in the fridge. Keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap or inside of an airtight container to maintain freshness.
Reheating: It's best to reheat low and slow, as too much heat too quickly can cause the fat to separate.
- Oven: Bake in an oven-safe dish at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until hot.
- Crockpot: place in a slow cooker and turn on low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until hot.
- Microwave: heat on 70% power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each one, until hot.
Freezing: Yes, you can freeze this appetizer before or after it's cooked. Place it in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then reheat the next day in the oven or crockpot.
- In a hurry? Use rotisserie chicken instead of poached.
- Don't use store-bought ranch and buffalo sauce. Make your own ranch and buffalo sauce instead for the best flavor possible.
- Need to soften cream cheese fast? Remove it from its foil wrapper, cut into chunks, and microwave at 15 second intervals until softened.
- Want more heat? Add extra hot sauce, cayenne pepper, diced jalapeños, or crushed red pepper flakes.
- Reheating leftovers? Do it low and slow to prevent grease separation. Microwave in 30 second intervals on 70% power, stirring between each interval.
Other Football Party Appetizers
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Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe
- Beat the softened cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until smooth. Dump in the ranch dressing and buffalo sauce and mix until well combined.
- Stir in the grated cheese and shredded chicken until evenly mixed.
- Place the dip in a 5-quart slow cooker, cover, and keep on low for 1-2 hours, until the dip is warm and melted.
- Spread the dip in a casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling around the edges.
- Stir the dip, then serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, or celery sticks.
- Short on time? Use rotisserie chicken.
- Make your own ranch and buffalo sauce for the best flavor. Everything tastes better when it's made from scratch!
- Soften the cream cheese by letting it sit on the counter for an hour before using. Alternatively, remove the cream cheese from its foil wrap and microwave at 15 second intervals until softened.
- Add more heat with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, diced jalapeños, or crushed red pepper flakes.
- Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.