Homemade buffalo sauce that delivers bold flavors and a kick of heat! A combination of hot sauce, vinegar, butter, and Worcestershire provides just the right balance of spice and tanginess. Use this recipe as a quick dipping sauce, coating, or marinade for meats and vegetables.
Every now and again we go to a certain sports bar and our family shares a plate of fried chicken wings doused with flaming hot buffalo sauce. I don’t tend to order spicy foods, but anything topped or tossed in this chili pepper seasoning is my exception. Pungent vinegar combined with spicy chilis immediately wakes up the taste buds. It seems like with each bite, the slight burn and tanginess gets more addicting.
It’s shocking how easy it is to make this sauce at home and it’s perfect for baked buffalo wings. Simply choose your favorite hot sauce, a little bit of Worcestershire sauce, plus some butter, and you’re ready to take any dish to the next level. Making sure the right ratios of heat-to-fat is essential to control the capsaicin. Now just bottle this up and ditch that store-bought stuff!
Why do they call it buffalo sauce?
No, there are no actual buffalos used in the sauce, it’s just the location of where Teressa Bellissimo brought this popular appetizer to fruition according to Time. Buffalo wings originated in 1964 at the Anchor Bar, a family-owned restaurant in Buffalo, New York. In fact, die-hard fans can celebrate Chicken Wing Day on July 29th.
What is buffalo sauce made out of?
The base of buffalo sauce is a mixture of hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, butter, and seasonings. Frank’s RedHot sauce is typically used because it was the secret ingredient in the original recipe. However, Crystal from Louisiana is also a comparable substitute that I’ve tested.
How the ingredients work together
Acids naturally occurring in vinegar like red wine vinegar help to brighten flavors, and give them an extra pop that you’ll definitely notice in this sauce. To add depth and savory notes, a bit of Worcestershire sauce is used.
Butter helps to tame the spice level a bit so the bite is not so sharp and helps with the thickening, otherwise, a thin hot sauce would just seep in. If you want to add more heat to the sauce, gradually add some cayenne pepper. This provides a strong spice load, but be careful, a little goes a long way.
How do you make buffalo sauce?
- Whisk together hot sauce, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Bring hot sauce mixture to a simmer and then turn off the heat.
- Gradually whisk in cold butter pieces into the hot sauce mixture.
- The buffalo sauce should be smooth and thickened.
Is buffalo sauce just hot sauce?
Nope! Buffalo sauce uses hot sauce as it’s base plus other ingredients to add more flavor and thickness. A hot sauce like Frank’s RedHot is a blend of cayenne red peppers, distilled vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder. Buffalo sauce adds in butter for richness and texture, plus additional vinegar and seasonings to make the sauce more pungent, savory, and spicy.
Ways to use homemade buffalo sauce
- Toss with baked chicken wings, shredded chicken or pork
- Drizzle on top of cauliflower steaks
- Use as a marinade for chicken and shrimp
- Use as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders, wings, baked tofu
- Drizzle on a pizza
How do you make healthier buffalo sauce?
Use starch as a thickening agent to reduce the amount of butter needed in the recipe. For a healthier buffalo sauce version, I found that using 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon of butter provided a luscious texture, but significantly cutting the fat by 88%. Adding just a small amount of fat helps to mellow the spiciness, alternatively, coconut oil or olive oil would also work. Arrowroot powder can also be used instead of cornstarch for those on a Whole30 or Paleo diet.
More sauce recipes
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
How do you thicken buffalo sauce?
The main thickening agent in buffalo sauce is butter. The milk fat and solids help to create an emulsion that clings to foods. You just need to gradually whisk in the butter piece by piece after simmering the hot sauce mixture. This ensures that the fat is properly incorporated into the liquid so the oil doesn’t separate leaving a greasy unappealing sauce.
- 2/3 cup hot sauce, (158ml) Frank's Red Hot or Crystal
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, (10ml)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, (5ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, (1g)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- cayenne pepper , optional
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, (95g, 4 ounces) cold, cut into 8 pieces
- Whisk together hot sauce, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (if using) in a medium bowl.
- Add hot sauce mixture to a small pan or pot.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cook for 3 to 5 minutes and then turn off heat.
- Whisk in 1 piece of butter at a time into the buffalo sauce, until a smooth and thickened sauce is formed.
- Serve buffalo sauce as a dipping sauce or toss with chicken wings or other foods.
- Taste sauce and adjust vinegar and seasonings to taste.
- The recipe makes about 1 cup of buffalo sauce.
- Ghee can be substituted for butter.
- White wine vinegar or distilled vinegar can be substituted for red wine vinegar.
- As the buffalo sauce cools it will become thicker.
- Store buffalo sauce in an airtight container or jar for up to 1 week.
- Reheat sauce over low heat until warm.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30: Substitute Worcestershire sauce with coconut aminos, ghee for butter, red wine vinegar for distilled vinegar, and sea salt for kosher salt.
- MAKE IT VEGAN: Substitute butter with vegan butter or margarine and Worcestershire sauce with coconut aminos.
- MAKE IT VEGETARIAN: Substitute Worcestershire sauce with coconut aminos, soy sauce, or tamari.
More Popular Fast Recipes
Shop the Recipe Tools
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my website.