Buffalo chicken dip is the ultimate shareable appetizer to serve for game day or special occasions. Juicy sauteed chicken breast is tossed in a creamy cheese sauce with a spicy kick. Pair it with crunchy tortilla chips, celery, or carrot sticks for edible dippers.
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This spicy buffalo chicken dip is a huge hit at parties. It combines all of the famous chicken wing appetizer elements into one dish. Each flavorful bite of lean chicken breast is seasoned then sauteed to create a golden, savory crust. The juicy pieces of meat are shredded, making it easier to enjoy.
The creamy ranch sauce combines different dairy products to add a tangy and cheesy taste. A generous amount of hot sauce adds a pop of heat to each serving. Top with melty cheddar and mozzarella, then bake until hot and bubbly. Grab some tortilla chips or your favorite vegetables and dig in!
Create a mix of seasonings
Boneless skinless chicken breast delivers juicy pieces of meat but lacks in flavor. Before cooking, I season the surface with a combination of salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Paprika has a pleasant barbecued taste without having to head outdoors. This mix is a simple spice blend that I often use for poultry.
Flatten the chicken for even cooking
Before adding the chicken to the pan, make sure to flatten it to an even thickness, about ¾-inch thick. The breasts tend to be thicker on one end, which requires more cook time, increasing the risk of drying out. Place them between sheets of plastic, and pound with a rolling pin or mallet.
Sear then shred the meat
Pan-searing the chicken in hot olive oil develops a golden, flavorful crust. It only takes about 5 minutes per side. I enjoy the contrast in textures and the more exciting taste in the dip. Once the chicken cools down a bit, break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces, or chop them into cubes.
If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, you can use that as a quick substitute. You’ll need three cups, and I recommend tossing the meat in some of the seasonings.
Make a creamy buffalo sauce
The sauce base is a combination of flavors inspired by ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing. The coolness tames some of the intense heat from the tangy hot sauce. I combine softened cream cheese with sour cream, chives, parsley, dill, black pepper, garlic/onion powder, Dijon mustard, and Frank’s Redhot cayenne pepper sauce.
The thick mixture easily clings on to the shredded chicken. I also mix in three types of cheese; shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and blue cheese crumbles. High moisture cheese adds a melty pull and welcomed pungency.
Bake the dip
I add the buffalo chicken mixture to an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, but you can also use a cast iron skillet. Right before baking in a hot 400-degree oven, I add extra shredded cheese to lock all the components together. The dip is ready to serve once it’s hot and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes. I sprinkle the surface with blue cheese, chives, a few sour cream dollops, and extra hot sauce.
What to serve this with
- Tortilla chips, pita chips, or toasted pieces of bread
- Crisp vegetables like carrot sticks, celery, or cucumber
- Make a quesadilla or stuff a baked potato
Milk products help reduce spiciness
Buffalo sauce is known for its intense vinegary tang and lingering spicy kick. However, adding some dairy products can help tame some of the heat without losing the great flavor. I add in cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese. The fat in the products helps to coat some of the capsaicin in the chili pepper, making the taste buds’ burning sensation less intense. The milk protein casein in these products also helps break down the capsaicin molecules, further reducing impact.
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Buffalo Chicken Dip
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, or sweet
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened, 65 to 70ºF (18 to 21ºC)
- ¾ cup hot sauce, Frank’s Redhot recommended
- ¾ cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons sliced chives, or green onions, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill, or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- Set the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Place the chicken breast in between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a large resealable bag. Use a rolling pin to flatten into an even thickness, about ¾-inch. Repeat with the other piece.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Season each side of the chicken with ½ teaspoon of the spice mixture.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot and shimmering, add the chicken. Cook for 7 minutes, then flip over and cook until no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Once cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together softened cream cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, 2 tablespoons chives, parsley, and dill. It’s okay if a few small lumps remain.
- Add the shredded chicken, ½ cup cheddar cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons of blue cheese. Stir with a spatula until combined.
- Transfer to an 8 by 8-inch baking dish or cast iron pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheddar cheese and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese on top. Bake until the mixture is hot and bubbly, and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Garnish with dollops of sour cream, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons blue cheese, and 1 tablespoon chives. Serve hot with tortilla chips, toasted bread slices, celery sticks, or carrots sticks.
- Recipe Yield: 4 cups
- Serving Size: ¼ cup dip
- Serve with: Celery stick, carrot sticks, toasted baguette slices, chips.
- Using a Rotisserie Chicken: Shred 3 cups of meat for the dip. Mix in the salt, pepper, and smoked paprika seasoning used for the sauteed chicken breasts for more flavor.
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