Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili has the perfect amount of spice, a smooth creamy base, lots of tender chicken, and takes only 10 minutes to prepare. Be ready to win chili contests and hand out the recipe because this is the best chili you’ll ever make!
Now with Instant Pot Directions!
Best Buffalo Chicken chili Recipe
Once you make this recipe slow cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili you will be amazed how stupid easy it is and how damn good it tastes. Pin it, print it, and tape it to your fridge because this a stress-free, delicious meal to make over and over again.
#1 It pretty much requires zero brain cells. If you have mastered operating a can opener and correctly using measuring spoons, it’s game on.
#2 If you are too busy to find ten minutes to make dinner, call for pizza and I won’t judge. But if you can manage ten minutes of prep and clean-up time, you will have the most delicious chili waiting for you in eight hours.
#3 Given how ridiculously easy this crock pot buffalo chicken chili recipe is to make, it’s impressively delicious. In fact, it is so impressive, I often make it for entertaining, tailgating, or to take to a friend.
They WILL ask you for the recipe, though, so be careful with feigning how much effort you put into making it. Awkward.
#4 Is there really nothing better than buffalo chicken ANYTHING?! Whatever classic dish is morphed into “buffalo chicken” flavors like Buffalo Chicken Baked Potatoes, Buffalo Chicken Tacos, or Buffalo Chicken Salad, I am sold. The bit of spice with creamy ranch and tender chicken gets me every time.
Ingredient substitutions and modifications
- Chicken – The recipe calls for skinless chicken breasts, but boneless chicken thighs or cooked ground chicken would work as well. The cooking time would remain the same.
- Ranch seasoning – Use one dry ranch seasoning packet. For a gluten-free soup, use Hidden Valley Ranch brand.
- Beans – White beans, such as Great Northern, navy beans, or cannellini beans blend in with the creamy consistency. However, readers have also sang the praises of substituting different beans, such as black beans or kidney beans.
- Hot sauce – I prefer Franks Red Hot Sauce and the spice level can be adjust based on personal preference, just like buffalo chicken wings. Adding 1/4 cup will be mildly spiced, while 1/2 cup will give medium heat.
- Cream cheese – Soften to room temperature before adding for the creamiest results. Light cream cheese may be substituted, but it doesn’t blend in as smooth.
- Diced tomatoes – I prefer the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes, but any diced tomato may be used.
- Additional veggies – Besides corn, add in diced celery or even carrot!
- Optional seasonings – If you’d like to add your own flavor, consider adding a dash of chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, or even a squeeze of lime juice!
How To Make Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili
- Combine chicken breasts, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, white beans (drained and rinsed), hot sauce, chicken broth, ranch dressing mix, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried cilantro in the crock pot. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high 4 hours.
- Take two forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker. Alternatively, used a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cut.
- With chicken back in the slow cooker, add the cream cheese. Stir until buffalo chili is creamy and smooth. Serve with blue cheese, cilantro, and tortilla chips.
How to Make it in an Instant Pot
- Combine chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, corn, hot sauce, chicken broth, ranch dressing mix, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried cilantro in the pressure cooker. DO NOT ADD THE BEANS OR CREAM CHEESE YET. Stir to combine.
- Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 15 minutes. Naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release remaining pressure through the valve.
- Use two forks to shred chicken in instant pot or remove chicken to cutting board to cut. Add the chicken back to pot.
- Add drained and rinsed beans and cream cheese to instant pot. Stir until chicken chili is creamy and smooth.
Intimidated by using an Instant Pot? Learn in minutes with this Easy Start Instant Pot Guide full of tips, hacks, and tricks.
Stove top directions
If you leftover cooked chicken on hand, this recipe will also work in a dutch oven or a large pot.
First, bring the broth and seasonings to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the cooked chicken, diced tomatoes, corn, and beans.
Once the chili is heated through add the softened cream cheese and stir until smooth and creamy. Serve in a bowl with desired toppings.
Can you freeze this chili?
There are a lot of rules for freezing soup, so you might be wondering if this chili can be frozen. Normally chili recipes freeze without an issue, but this recipe contains cream cheese, which can make it tricker.
Here are some tips for successfully freezing buffalo chicken chili:
- For make-ahead freezer chili complete the recipe, but leave out the cream cheese in the last step. After the chili has been thawed and re-warmed, add the softened cream cheese.
- To freeze leftover chili, cool completely first so ice crystals don’t form. Transfer to a ziplock freezer bag or airtight container.
- The chili may be frozen with the cream cheese added, but it may “break” upon thawing. This means it will look slightly curdled. It is fine to eat, but might not look as appetizing.
- When reheating frozen chili containing cream cheese, low and slow is best. You can add additional cream cheese, freshly grated cheese, or a 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with water to help thicken and smooth the chili.
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step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!
This crockpot buffalo chicken chili can be a meal in itself, or served with side dishes. If serving this recipe at a party, check out the best side dishes to serve with chili article!
- tortilla chips or fritos
- blue cheese crumbles
- fresh cilantro
- chopped celery
- freshly grated cheddar cheese, pepper jack, or colby jack
- sour cream
- sliced jalapenos
- green onions
- additional hot sauce
- gluten free beer bread
- celery and ranch
- gluten-free cornbread
- green salad
- Instant Pot baked potatoes
Tips for Making the Best Buffalo-style Chili
- If you are worried about the chili being too spicy, don’t add the 1/2 cup hot sauce to the crock pot or pressure cooker. Start with adding 1/4 cup to the recipe. Serve with additional hot sauce or add more to the chili at the end.
- Boneless chicken thighs, ground chicken, or turkey may be substituted for the chicken breasts.
- To make keto buffalo chicken chili, omit the beans and corn.
- If the chili is too thick, thin it with additional broth. For chili that is too thin, check out these helpful tips for thickening chili.
Win A Chili Cook-Off with Buffalo Chicken Chili!
Check out this chorizo chicken chili recipe for tons of tips on making an award winning chili and creating your own recipe.
This recipe has won 45 CHILI COOK-OFFS entered by readers!
Comment below to add your win to the tally!
SAVE THIS Recipe For Buffalo chicken Chili TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
Let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always sharing great recipes!
Award Winning Buffalo Chicken Chili (Slow Cooker)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
- 14.5 ounce can Great Northern beans, drained
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (can substitute regular diced tomatoes)
- 14.5 ounce can chicken broth (read label to make sure it’s gluten free)
- 1/4-1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce* I used Frank’s Red Hot
- 1 package ranch dressing mix envelope (Hidden Valley brand is gluten free)
- 14.5 ounce can sweet corn kernels drained
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounce cream cheese** softened
- Optional toppings: tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, blue cheese crumbles, additional hot sauce
Slow Cooker Directions:
- In a 5 quart slow cooker combine all the ingredients except the cream cheese and toppings.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Shred the chicken in the slow cooker using two forks. You can also use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken to a cutting board, shred it, and then return to the pot.
- Add the cream cheese and stir until it is incorporated. Serve with desired toppings.
Instant Pot Directions:
- Place all the ingredients in the instant pot EXCEPT beans and cream cheese. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 15 minutes. Naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release remaining pressure.
- Use two forks to shred chicken in instant pot or remove chicken to cutting board to shred. Add chicken back to pot.
- Add drained beans and cream cheese to instant pot. Stir until chili is creamy and smooth. Serve with desired toppings.
- DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND/OR CLICK A STAR RATING ON THE RECIPE CARD!
What is a serving?
About a heaping cup 🙂
My family absolutely LOVES this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’ve honestly made it 3 times in the last month and am taking it to my family’s get-together tomorrow. <3
I know what you mean. A lot of my friends tell me the same thing about this recipe. They say it’s in their weekly rotation! My kids love it too, which always makes dinner time so much more enjoyable 😉
I made this today before going to bed after finding recipe at work last night. It is SOO GOOD & SOO EASY! THANK YOU! I have a new favorite recipe!
Thanks Kelly! I appreciate you dropping me a line. 🤗
Can you freeze the leftovers from this if any?
Hi Kelly! Yes, leftovers can be frozen. Reheat gently because of the cream cheese. One recipe doesn’t make a ton, though, and it goes quick!
I found that out! I have just enough leftover to take to work tonight! I will double next time!!!
LOL, I know. I always double the recipe so I can have leftovers. 🙂
Won a 22 Crock-Pot chili cook-off at work. Great recipe and everyone loved it!
That’s quite a win! Out of 22?! Way to go 👍I’ll add your win to the tally. 🤗
What is celery salt?
HiCarolann, It is in the spice aisle. McCormick’s brand I know makes it. Enjoy!
I see there’s 6 servings, but what is the serving size?
Hello, I believe it’s 6 heaping cups. I wish there was a place to fill out the serving size in my recipe card. Sorry!😌
Robyn H says
I won my work Chili cook-off with this recipe! It is amazing, thank you!
Thank you for telling me! Yay! I’ll chalk up another win for us. 🤙
I made this last week and it turned out very good. It was even better the following day when reheated. I used black beans instead of Great Northern Beans since the only kind I could find were in the bag and needed to be soaked overnight and I didn’t have time. I am a big fan of black beans so I enjoyed the flavor. I also added celery, which was a nice little flavor addition.
Thanks David. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! That’s a great tip about the black beans. I will have to try that next time.
Trying this now,, and subs for cilantro, I have everything but that!!?
Hey Shari, Just omit it. It will be fine!
When should you shred the chicken? Which hour and should I leave the lid off for the last hour as well?
Hi Heather, You shred the chicken after it’s done cooking (4 hours HIGH or 8 hours LOW). Once the shredded chicken is put back in the chili with the cream cheese, it should be thickened fine. However, everyone’s crockpot cooks differently. If you find it’s too thin after adding the shredded chicken and cream cheese, leave the lid off and cook on high for another hour.
Thank you! One more question..sorry! I probably don’t need to cook it as long then if I brown the chicken first right?
No worries! If you want you could just throw it together on the stove. Cooking it longer together in the crock pot would just give it a chance to develop the flavors more. But, yes, you are right, since the ground chicken will be pre-cooked, you can probably take a couple ours off LOW or just do the HIGH time for an hour less.
Yes, for sure you can. Just brown the ground chicken first and then add to the crock pot with all the ingredients except cream cheese. Enjoy!
Do you think I could make this with ground chicken? I can get chicken breast if not but have ground chicken on hand I was hoping to use up. Thanks!
I am very interested in making this, however I only have a 3 quart instant pot. What adjustments would you recommend making so I can enjoy the same great chili everyone else has loved?
I think you should be perfectly fine using a 3 quart instant pot, and everything will fit. Someone else made it with their instant pot and said she used high pressure for 15 minutes (adding everything except cream cheese). After you release the pressure (natural or quick), remove the chicken to shred and add back to the pot with the cream cheese. Stir until smooth. Hope that helps and enjoy!
Diana Smith says
Oh my word … the best I’ve found. Made this for my students at school and they loved it. The only problem was a tad bit too spicy and I already used the lowest measurement for the hot sauce (1/4 cup) so I may go less than that just to see. I tripled the recipe and made it in my 8-qt crock pot and still had room at top. This is a wonderful fall/winter go-to recipe. Thanks for sharing and don’t be afraid to try.
You made my day, Diana. I love hearing stuff like this! That’s good to know the recipe does well tripled. Perfect for large parties. Have a wonderful weekend!
Just won a chili cook off with this! It got almost twice as many votes as the second place winner. I added celery to it! Thanks for the recipe.
I love to hear this! I’m going to add celery next time I make this. Seems like a great addition. I’ll add your win to the official count. Thanks for writing Jenni 🙂
Another chili cook-off win! My office loved this chili. Huge thanks to this blog!
Hi Faith, That’s amazing and thank you so much for letting me know! I updated the official chili cook-off number with your win. 🤗
I won my chili cook off with recipe today. The only thing I did differently was I added more chicken broth to it so it was a little more soupy. We had cornbread so everyone was eating it over that. It was delicious
Hi Mindy, Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! I updated the official chili cook-off number with your win. 🤗I do think the consistency turns out a little different depending on people’s slow cookers. Some writers say it’s on the thinner side. I guess you just have to be adaptable. Way to go on the win!
Sarah Hanson says
I won our work chili-cookoff with this recipe. Yummy and easy!
Hi Sarah, That is so fantastic! I updated the official chili cook-off number with your win. Thank you for letting us know. 😊
was really good only thing was it was the consistency of a soup more than a chili, other wise I liked it a lot
I’ve had this problem before with one of my slow cookers. It cooks a little too hot, makes too much moisture, and makes the chili thinner. You can try leaving the lid off the last hour so it cooks down more and see if that helps. I’m glad you enjoyed it though, Dan!
Vanessa | Zest & Simmer says
Made this in my Instant Pot tonight and it was delicious! I did it on Manual for 15 minutes with frozen chicken breast. Unfortunately I didn’t have dried cilantro (I looove cilantro) but it was still fantastic.
I’m so happy you wrote to let me know. I’m sure lots of readers will love to hear it turns out in the instant pot too! Thank you Vanessa 😘
Love the idea of using the Instant Pot! Did just just dump everything in (minus the cream cheese), and then cook on Manual for 15? Did you slow release the steam? I’m still learning how to use my instant pot but wanted to fix this delicious recipe tonight!
Hi Kayla, Vanessa can chime in if I’m incorrect, but I’m thinking she put everything in except cream cheese. Set it to cook high pressure 15 minutes. I would do slow release just to give chicken more time to get tender enough to shred, but I’m sure quick release would work too. Then turn the instant pot off and stir in cream cheese. Hope that helps! And, if that works for you will you please let me know? I’ll add it to the recipe card. Thanks! Melissa
Do you think I could make this as a freezer meal? I would wait to add the chicken broth after thawing out the meal and assembling it in crock pot. Oh and wait to add the cream cheese too. Looks yummy! Thank you!
yes, for sure it can be. I’ve made the soup in it’s entirety and froze it, but I’m sure you would get much better results when reheating if you do what you say! Thanks for the idea, Alicia 🙂
Just curious did anyone use the dried cilantro in theirs or no? I plan to make tomorrow
Hi Shanelle, I always use the dried cilantro when I make it, but if you don’t have it you can leave it out without affecting the taste too much. I always add fresh cilantro when I serve it too because I’m a HUGE cilantro fan.
ok thanks so much…I was curious bc im not really a fan and its hard to find in my area…I will make w/o lol
How big is each serving?
About 1 1/2 cups per serving
Veronica Sims says
I won our chili cook-off at work with this recipe! It’s amazing! I don’t usually like chili so I wanted to try this one since it’s totally different. I loved it! And clearly my coworkers did too!
That’s fabulous! I’ll add it to the official CHILI COOK OFF COUNT. That brings us up to 6. Thanks for writing and letting us know 🙂
Clay A. says
Count it as one more first place win in a chili cook-off against 15 competitors!
Clay A. says
(I think that brings it up to 5?)
That’s amazing! You didn’t tell anyone how easy it was to make, did you? I hope you acted like you slaved over it all day. We should have a running total going on this recipe page for the winners. Maybe I’ll add it!
Clay A. says
Funny thing: a colleague who was running the cook-off needed more people to enter, and she suggested I make this recipe. I thought, “sure, that looks easy!”
Lo and behold…
Wendy Gregory says
Yes, this should be entered, and it should win!!!
Thanks Wendy! I completely agree, friend.
I’m cooking this now but gonna make it in my instaPot. Will post results when finished.
Awesome! Thanks so much for doing that. Can’t wait to hear the results and I’m sure a lot of other people will be interested as well.
Can the chicken breast be put in frozen or do they need to be thawed?..
I wouldn’t advise it because of safety issues. The slow cooker cooks at a lower temperature and wouldn’t thaw and cook fast enough to put chicken in a safe zone. It puts you at a greater risk for food borne illnesses. Just my 2 cents, I know some people do it, though, all the time. So I guess, at your own risk 😊
Usually when I cook chicken in the crock pot it comes out so tough. Any ideas as to why? Anyone else have this problem?
I think it has a lot to do with your crockpot. I had a very cheap one that cooked okay and a more expensive one that absolutely sucked. It cooked way too hot, everything was overdone, and it always made way too much liquid. Recently I ponied up for a highly rated one, which does cost more, but I absolutely love it. It always has consistent results and the food that comes out of it looks like the pictures instead of shriveled up garbage😉. The one I use now is the KitchenAid 6 quart (affiliate link). My sister swears by her All-Clad slow cooker, but it’s pricier. I will say Cook’s Illustrated just rated the KitchenAid one the best, over All-Clad (sorry sis).
Can u use a rotesserie chicken for this
You can, but decrease the cooking time by half in the slow cooker. You can also cook it on the stove.
Made this last night and another winner of a chili cook off! Everyone loved it!!
Oh yeah! We need to start adding a tally of how many chili cook offs this has won. 🤗
Taylor P. says
I make this at least once a month and it ends up being lunch for a whole week! One of my favorite recipes, and you can’t beat those macros!
I never thought about the macros, but I know a lot of my friends track that. I’ll have to let them know! Thanks for writing 🙂
I won my office chili cook off with this recipe
Favorite comment ever! Thanks for writing Allie. 🤗
This chili is really good, however I will say I think the 1/2 cup of hot sauce makes it pretty spicy. I did use franks red hot buffalo sauce, which may be the reason why it’s more spicy. Still really good recipe though!
Yep, hot sauce taste is pretty subjective. I judged it by if my kids would eat it with 1/2 cup, and they did with no complaints. They’re usually pretty wimpy when it comes to stuff like that, so maybe it does differ with brands. Glad you enjoyed it, though!
Do you use Franks Original Red Hot Sauce or Franks Red Hot Wing (Buffalo) Sauce?
I use Franks Original, but you may also use the buffalo sauce. I don’t believe it will be as spicy because there are probably other ingredients added besides the hot sauce…
If you want to use fresh onions, celery and garlic how much would you recommend??
I would say 1/2 cup each of celery and onions and 2 garlic cloves. Those sounds like great additions! Let me know how it turns out.
Kelly K says
I just made chili two nights ago and totally forgot I had entered in a chili cook-off today. I decided to switch it up and make this for the first time. I WAS NAMED THIS YEAR’S CHAMPION! Such a great recipe and I was happy to see I am the second one to win using it! My biggest change was I added diced onion to mine. Thanks for such a great recipe!
That’s what I love to hear! Way to go. I hope you pretended like it was really complicated to make and you slaved over it all day to really hammer your win home. 😉
Stephanie Scofield says
I won’t have time to slow cook this. Would cooking on stovetop be the same, but less time obviously.
Yes, for sure you can. I would just cook the chicken separately by baking or boiling, cut it up, and then add it in at the end. Enjoy!
I am clueless when it comes to cooking. This was super easy, turned out delicious, and freezes/reheats well. If I can make it anybody can.
That’s funny because I’ll my friends who hate to cook say this is the one recipe they can make! Glad you enjoyed it 🤗
Could I substitute greek yogurt for the cream cheese?
Hello! I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why not. I would let it come to room temperature first before adding it. It may not be as creamy as a version, but it would be lighter.
So good and so easy to make. Crowd pleaser for sure !
So glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know 🙂
All I could think about when I saw this chili was how good it would be at a Superbowl party. But then, we had a chili cook-off at work. I wasn’t sure what kind of chili to make, and remembered this recipe. I ended up winning FIRST place out of 13 chili’s with this recipe, and it was DELICIOUS. All of my co-workers want to know how I made it. The only substitution I made was that I couldn’t find dried cilantro…so I replaced it with dried parsley. 5 stars; would absolutely recommend and will for sure make again!
Hey Michelle, Nothing makes me happier than hearing the words “chili-contest-winner.” That’s big time! So glad it worked out for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. Definitely brightened my day!
My family loves Buffalo chicken dip so I thought I would give this recipe a try. I didn’t have the tomatoes or the celery salt and it was still WONDERFUL! I actually doubled the beans to give it more substance…..i have made it twice in 2 weeks with no leftovers. Great recipe!
Wow, that’s amazing to hear. I imagine most people don’t just have celery salt laying around the house, but I get my moneys worth out of it because I make this chili a ton! In the future, you can also just sub in regular diced tomatoes too. Thanks for writing!
Very tasty and the easiest dish I ever made. I added quinoa as the slow cooker dish was rather watery at the end, and I felt it needed some carbs. Thanks for the recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and that’s a great idea with the quinoa. I do think slow cookers sometimes I have a tendency to make things too liquidy with all the condensation. You can also leave the lid off for the last 30 minutes and turn up the heat to high so it simmers, some of the liquid evaporates, and it reduces.
Nichole W. says
I’m don’t care for prepared ranch dressing but I’ve never tried the seasoning before. Does it taste a lot like prepared ranch dressing or more like the ranch seasoning on cool ranch doritos? I would love to try this recipe but I wouldn’t know what to substitute for the seasoning if it’s really ranch-y, if you know what I mean! Thanks! 🙂
LOL, I love this. I know exactly what you mean because I’m not a real ranch seasoning sort of girl either. No, the ranch seasoning doesn’t really stand out. It just gives an overall creamy seasoning to it. Plus, it’s a big shortcut because you don’t have to measure out a lot of spices. I hope you give it a try because this chili is always such a huge hit when I make it!
Silly question but are the great northern beans drained like the fire roasted tomatoes are?
Not a silly question at all, and I’ll make sure to denote it on the recipe. Yes, they are drained and I usually give them a quick rinse too, but not necessary.
Looks yummy trying it for Super Bowl have some that don’t like traditional chili
Amazing. Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to make this for Super Bowl ❤️
Yes! Please do! You will love how easy it is to throw together. Have fun!!
This is amazing! It was so easy and tastes like I actually know how to cook! Thank you, MamaG!
LOL, I’m glad I can do you a solid.
Unbelievable!! I’ve already made it twice in one week. Very easy recipe for busy weeknights!
So great to hear and so glad you like it! 🙂