This buffalo chicken chili takes classic hearty chili to the next level with ranch seasoning and hot sauce. Buffalo and chicken are a match made in heaven and we put them together for this easy and comforting slow cooker dish.
This recipe comes together quickly by adding everything to the crock pot (no need to saute before) and cooking on low until the chicken falls apart.
Save this recipe for when the temperatures dip and you're craving something warm and nourishing. The chicken breasts are cooked low and slow in a flavorful, spicy broth made with chili powder, smoked paprika, white beans, chicken broth, and fire-roasted tomatoes until the chicken is so tender it falls apart. We're finishing it with a cooling block of cream cheese to make it creamy and rich.
If you're among the special club of buffalo chicken lovers, whether it's the classic and healthy buffalo chicken dip, or a crispy buffalo chicken salad, you will make this chili recipe on repeat. I created this recipe to make on game day, a busy weeknight, or a slow Sunday afternoon.
To make this recipe extra quick, meal prep some slow cooker shredded chicken for the week and use the pre-cooked chicken in this and our creamy chicken tortilla soup.
Take a look at our guide for ways to serve buffalo chicken if you need side dish ideas. Hint, one of them involves honey cornbread and all the most delicious toppings like green onions and tortilla chips.
Why You'll Love this Buffalo Chicken Chili
- Dump and go crock pot meal.
- Easy to customize the spice level so the whole family can enjoy it.
- Healthy and full of protein and veggies.
- Make enough to feed a crown and is easily doubled.
- Cozy and comforting in the winter.
Key Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
Here are the simple ingredients in this buffalo chicken chili recipe. Most are pantry staples but are easy (and cheap) to find at the grocery store too. Skip down to the printable recipe card below for the full recipe and exact measurements.
- Chicken breast: Cook the pain protein in this dish with the broth then shred it. Boneless chicken thighs are another good option. If you have ground chicken on hand, brown it in a pan then follow the directions to add everything to the crock pot. If you're on a time crunch, follow our stove top instructions and use shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken.
- Buffalo sauce: This provides the dish with its spicy, tangy flavor. It's the same sauce you'd use on your favorite buffalo wings! Our favorite buffalo wing sauce is Primal Kitchen, but we also love the classic Frank's Red Hot.
- Tomatoes: Either canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce are used to add a rich, tomatoey flavor and to thicken the chili. Take it up a notch with fire-roasted tomatoes!
- Beans: Typically kidney beans or black beans typical richen chili and add texture. Similar to our white chicken chili, this recipe calls for white beans like cannellini beans, navy beans, or great northern beans.
- Spices: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, chives, dill, and paprika add depth of flavor and complexity to the dish.
- Cream cheese: cut the heat and add a creamy texture with a block of cream cheese. You can use Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese or coconut cream for a dairy-free option.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Chili
This is an overview with step-by-step photos, to make this creamy buffalo chicken chili. Full printable instructions are in the recipe card below. You can also view the video tutorial below to watch instead of reading.
Add everything to the slow cooker, except for the cream cheese and cilantro. Close the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Carefully remove the lid and transfer the cooked chicken breasts to a clean cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken into small pieces. Place the shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and stir it well.
Add the chopped cilantro and cream cheese and stir well until the cream cheese is melted and mixed into the chili. Serve it hot with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, or your other favorite chili toppings.
See the notes in the recipe card below for Instant Pot and stovetop options.
Make it a Freezer Meal
Freeze after cooking: Cook the chili as you normally would, making sure that all the ingredients are fully cooked and the flavors have melded together. Let the chili cool completely then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the container or bag with the date and name and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fride and warm it up on the stove or warm individual bowols in the microwave.
Freeze before cooking: add all of the ingredients, except the cream cheese and cilantro, to a freezer bag. Shake or mix it well to combine then lay it flat in the freezer to freeze completely. Thaw overnight in the fridge and follow the recipe instructions to use the slow cooker.
Success tip: use a plastic or reusable freezer bag and freeze the soup flat then stand it up to save room in the freezer.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Use boneless skinless chicken breasts. They are easy to shred and will cook evenly in the slow cooker.
- Don't overdo it on the buffalo sauce. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, adding more as needed.
- Let the chili sit for a few minutes before serving to thicken up and allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve with toppings like shredded cheddar cheese, blue cheese crumbles, sour cream, green onions, and cilantro to add extra flavor and texture to the dish.
- Don't forget to adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are around 300 calories in one serving of this buffalo chicken chili. It makes about 6 servings, which means there are 1800 calories in the entire soup.
Traditional buffalo wing sauce is made up of a mixture of hot sauce, butter, and vinegar. We're using the hot sauce in this recipe that includes a blend of spices to make it mild, medium, or hot based on your preferences.
This recipe has a good kick to it, but can be easily adjusted based on your preference. I recommend starting with less hot sauce as desired. You can always add more spice to get it just right, but you can't remove it!
We wrote an entire article on ways to serve buffalo chicken. But some of our favorites are cooling ingredients that balance out the spice like cheese or sour cream. Anything crunchy is another great option!
Our recommendation is a boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thigh. We use chicken thighs all the time in soup like in our creamy chicken tortilla soup and Instant Pot chicken noodle soup. It adds a ton of flavor!
Serving and Storing Buffalo Chicken Chili
Buffalo chicken chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the chili in a pot on the stove over medium heat and stir occasionally until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but be sure to stir it well and heat it in small increments to prevent overheating. See the section above for freezing buffalo chicken chili.
Our favorite toppings are similar to traditional chili. They include:
- Cheddar cheese (yellow or white)
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Cornbread muffins
- Tortilla chips
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Chili Recipes
- Easy no-bean chili
- Crock Pot healthy white chicken chili
- Turkey pumpkin chili
- White bean vegetarian chili
- Sweet potato chicken chili
Buffalo Chicken Chili
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans drained and rinsed (we used Great Northern)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup buffalo or hot sauce (we like Primal Kitchen and Frank's Red Hot), less or more to adjust the spice level
- 2 teaspoons dried chives
- 11/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon EACH: dried dill, onion powder, paprika, and kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature (we used Kite Hill Dairy free or coconut cream works too)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- toppings: blue cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, green onion, and cilantro
- Slow Cooker see notes for Instant Pot and stovetop instructions
- Add everything to the slow cooker, except for the cream cheese and cilantro. Close the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high fro 4 hours.
- Carefully remove the lid and transfer the cooked chicken breasts to a clean cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken into small pieces. Place the shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and stir it well.
- Add the chopped cilantro and cream cheese and stir well until the cream cheese is melted and mixed into the chili. Serve it hot with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, or your other favorite chili toppings.
Made this tonight and it was delicious. I left out the dill because I didn’t feel like it would mesh with the other flavors. For the cream cheese, I scooped out some of the broth and juices towards the end and mixed that together with the room temp cream cheese in a large bowl to get it to blend easier. I already can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow!
Molly Thompson says
Thanks, Sara! Love this! The dill gives it that ranch flavor you'd expect from buffalo chicken dip, but can definitely be left out.