Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip

~ Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip is always a crowd-pleaser! The perfect appetizer for all sorts of parties, from summer potlucks to family holidays and definitely for sports parties and tailgates. Even better, this recipe features handy shortcuts (hello, slow cooker!), plus upgrades to slash calories and fat (don’t worry, though – nobody will even notice)! ~

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead  

When it’s party time and you’re in charge of the appetizer, you want a couple of things:

#1 It’s gotta be a guaranteed hit. You wanna bring home an empty dish, with people nudging you to beg for the recipe!

Cooked dip in crockpot insert with Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Sauce and dippers nearby.

#2 And, if you’re like me, you also need it to be EASY. Because somehow there’s just never enough time in the day, and definitely not enough time to hassle with fussy, time-consuming recipes.

This slow cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip ticks allllll the boxes!

I mean, Buffalo Chicken Dip is one of those classic, everybody-loves-it recipes that’s always the first to disappear. Mmmmmm …

  • A creamy, double-cheesy base
  • That addictive, perfectly spicy Frank’s RedHot buffalo wing sauce
  • Shreds of white meat chicken breast
  • Crunchy little pops of sweet onion and refreshing celery
  • An undercurrent of cooling, savory ranch dressing

My oh my.

There’s a reason why Buffalo Chicken Dip is an absolute must-have on every appetizer buffet. It’s just so darn good!

And EASY? Oh my goodness, yes!

Thanks to a couple shortcuts, this recipe is about as easy as it can possibly get. You can even prep it totally ahead, whenever you happen to have a few moments.

Hand scooping tortilla chip into buffalo dip.

Oh … and one more little added bonus for ya …

This version is secretly a lot healthier, too! (But shhhhhhhhh … nobody will notice if you don’t tell ’em!)

How We {Secretly} Slashed Calories and Fat

Typical Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip recipes are usually completely bogged down with full-fat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing.

Soooooo many calories and so much unnecessary extra fat.

Some recipes also involve sautéing the veggies in butter.

* Ugh *

It all adds up … adding inches to your waistline and heading on in to clog up your appetizer-loving arteries.

Fortunately, it’s a super-easy problem to tackle … and nobody is gonna notice the upgrades. You can just secretly give yourself a little high-five for offering your friends and loved ones something that’s a teeny bit better for them, while still so gosh-darn party-ful and delicious!

* Happiness *

Overhead closeup of part of the crockpot insert filled with dip with picnic peppers and celery sticks..

We’ve got a lot of “buffalo” recipes here on our site (including sandwiches, nachos, salads, and even buffalo cauliflower).

So when my son, Ty, and I decided we obviously needed to add a crockpot chicken dip to our list of buffalo-themed recipes, it was easy to figure out how to create a classic version of this beloved appetizer … that we could actually feel a lot better about eating (and serving to people we love)!

Here’s all we did to upgrade everybody’s fave Buffalo Chicken Dip and make it more THK-worthy:

√  We used reduced-fat cheddar and cream cheese.

√  And we, used less of them (especially the cream cheese) than many other recipes call for. Our version isn’t so runny and gloppy as a lot of other versions – all those creamy ingredients are still a perfect backdrop for our dip, but they don’t overwhelm the chicken. Because this is supposed to be a Buffalo Chicken Dip, right? Not a buffalo cheese-goo dip!

√  We ditched the butter altogether, since we actually didn’t like sautéing the veggies first, anyway. As I’ll talk about more in a sec, we prefer to add raw onion and celery close to the end of the cooking time, so they’re a little crunchier and more texturally interesting. Buh-bye, butter!

  We switched out that regular, bottled brand of full-fat ranch (you know the one) for a Greek-yogurt-based brand. (After doing our own taste tests, we prefer Bolthouse Farms brand Classic Ranch from among the Greek yogurt ranch dressings at our local store – but choose whichever healthier, lower-fat ranch dressing you prefer).

Ta-da! It’s seriously that simple. A few small tweaks make a huge difference!

And I’m completely serious when I tell you that everyone at the party is gonna love this version.

They’re not going to wonder what’s missing (you know … all the extra fat and calories …). They’re not even going to notice.

They’re gonna be too busy scraping the bottom of the bowl and asking for the recipe. Yay, you!

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Dip in the Crockpot

This is so easy, guys! You only need a few, simple ingredients.

Ingredients like Frank's Red Hot Sauce and chopped vegetables on a wooden cutting board near empty crockpot.

And you can prep everything and even mix it together ahead of time (even the day before)!

Here’s all ya have to do:

Step #1

Put the chicken, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ranch and Frank’s Red Hot in your appetizer-sized slow cooker (one that’s about 1 – 1 1/2 quarts in size, like this model we used in our photos and testing).

(Note that in our method photos, one batch of this recipe fills our 1 1/2 quart crockpot about half to two-thirds full, which is the recommended amount of food for heating in most slow cooker brands. For the “beauty shots” where the slow cooker is filled to the top, we piled in some extra dip from a second batch.)

Give it all a good stir.

Pro Tip: Choose Your Crunch Level

You can optionally add the celery and onion now (before cooking), if you want them to be less crunchy and less noticeable in the finished dip. But, we definitely prefer the great texture that crunchy veggies add. So, we like to wait and stir them in toward the end of the cooking time.

Step #2

Cook your dip on low for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until it’s hot and melty.

Step #3

Stir it again, adding the celery and onion (if you’re like us and want that great, crunchier texture).

Step #4

Switch your dip to the “warm” setting and serve it up to your happy partygoers!

If you’d like, you can toss some sliced green onions on top for garnish. Or … just step back and let everyone dive on in there!

Pro Tip: Choose Your Heat Level

We love the amount of bold, buffalo-y kick we get from using 1/4 cup of Frank’s Red Hot “Original” hot sauce (note that we’re not using the Frank’s Wings Buffalo Sauce here – go with Original). But, you can adjust this to your preference.

If you taste your dip and want it a bit kickier, simply stir a little more hot sauce in.

If you want to dial back the heat, try adding just a little more cream cheese (stirring it in until it melts) and/or ranch to cool things down slightly. (And, of course, make yourself a little note on this recipe so you can adjust the heat at the start next time you make it.)

Cheat: Faster Prep!

Running late? Didn’t get your dip in the crockpot far enough ahead of party time?

No problem!

It’s easy to get this chicken dip perfectly melty-hot and ready for a party much faster … without the 1 1/2 – 2 hour crockpot cooking time.

Simply combine the chicken, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and hot sauce in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it up in the microwave. Once it’s ready, spoon your heated Buffalo Chicken Dip into your slow cooker (adding the celery and onion if you chose not to add them at the beginning … see our suggestions about that above).

Poof! Crisis averted!

You’re party-ready in moments … just in time for your guests to be ringing the doorbell. Whew!

What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Dip

Lots of crunchy dippers are a must!

•  Celery and carrot sticks are obvious choices. Pretty much any time you order buffalo wings at a restaurant, those wings are served up with carrots and celery. And those two veggies translate perfectly into vehicles for scooping up this scrumptious dip, too. Plus, you know … if you’re shooting for healthier options, veggies are always a great bet!

Appetizer dip in slow cooker with a celery stick stuck in.

•  Tortilla chips. Yes, please! But, you can upgrade the options, here, too.

  First of all, be sure to offer thick, substantial chips that can stand up to dipping. Not those flimsy “restaurant-style” chips that can only hold their own against thin salsas. Broken chips lost down in the dip = party foul!

  And, to keep the nutrition factor a tiny bit higher, we usually turn to healthier chips whenever we can, like the multigrain ones in our pics. Or, try baked options.

•  Other crackers or toasted bread. Annnnnnnd … you know what I’m gonna suggest again, right? Whole grains, for the win! Not only are they more nutritious, but they’re also a lot more texturally interesting! 

Bottom line: offer plenty of great dip-able options, and let everybody happily dip away!

What to Do with Leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip

Straight-up, I’m gonna tell you that this probably won’t be a problem.

Your dip’s gonna be long gone, and the hungry partygoers are gonna be wishing you’d made more!

But … just in case … I do have a few ideas for you.

• Nachos – You can easily turn leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip into super-fun nachos. Kinda like our Baked Buffalo Chicken Nachos recipe – you can use that as loose inspiration for your creation.

• Sandwiches – You can also give leftover dip new life as an amazing sandwich filling. Check out our Buffalo Chicken Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to see what I mean!

• A Pasta Dinner (Surprised??) – I’ve even reheated Buffalo Chicken Dip on the stovetop, adding lots of nonfat milk, until it’s the consistency of pasta sauce. And then, hold me back! Dinner is served (and it’s ahhhhh-mazing)! Don’t believe me that Buffalo Chicken is to-die-for with pasta??? Our Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad begs to differ!

You just might end up making a gi-normous batch of this dip (and hiding some waaaaaay in the back of the fridge where nobody at the party will find it!) … just so you’ll have leftovers. You won’t be sorry!

Side shot of appetizer-sized crockpot full of buffalo chicken dip, cooked and garnished with scallions.

FAQs At-a-Glance

Do I Have to Use Rotisserie Chicken?

Nope! Any cooked chicken breast will work fine. I’ve honestly even used canned chicken breast before. In fact, if you know that you’re going to be making this dip in a day or two, and you happen to be cooking chicken breasts for another purpose – you could just go ahead and cook a couple extra breasts to have on hand for making this appetizer dip.

Do I Have to Use a Sweet Onion?

We prefer sweet onions in this recipe, especially when we’re adding them to the dip near the end of the cooking time so they stay crunchy. Sweet onions are milder and less assertive, so they don’t overwhelm the other ingredients. But, in a pinch, you can sub regular white or yellow onions, especially if you’re adding them earlier in the cooking time so their pungent, raw flavor mellows out a little.

How Long Does Buffalo Chicken Dip Last?

Realistically, this will be gobbled up in about 5 minutes flat. But, if you do happen to find yourself with leftover Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip, it should keep in the fridge for 3-5 days (as long as it’s been kept at a safely hot temp during the party). Perfect for a little mid-afternoon nibble during the week!

Can You Double This Recipe?

Definitely! This is super easy to scale up for bigger parties. And, you may also want to scale the recipe up, depending on the exact size of your “appetizer-sized” crockpot.

Your New, Party Appetizer Superstar

This oh-so EASY Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip is everything you want an appetizer to be.

Black Crockpot insert of finished dip on a blue-striped towel surrounded by dippers.

It’s incredibly delicious. (Yes, everyone will LOVE it!)

It’s crazy-easy … perfect for days when time is tight (like, you know, pretty much every day ever).

And (surprise!) it’s even healthier, too!

Say hello to your shiny new, go-to appetizer recipe. Party-ready and totally hassle-free!

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?

__________

Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Overhead of finished dip recipe with a wooden spoon in it and tortilla chips scattered around.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip is always a huge hit, and it's really easy to make ahead! This version even slashes calories and fat, too (don't worry, though – nobody will ever notice)!

•  Make Ahead  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups shredded boneless, skinless chicken breast (we use rotisserie chicken; see note)
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel cheese)
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-fat, Greek yogurt-based ranch dressing (see note)
  • 1/4 cup Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce (see note)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • optional for garnish: thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. Mix the chicken, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ranch, and hot sauce together in a small, appetizer-sized slow cooker (We use this 1 1/2-quart model in our photos).
  2. Cook on low for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours (see note for faster cooking suggestion), until the cheddar is fully melted.
  3. Before serving, stir cooked dip to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated, and then stir in celery and onion. (We prefer to stir the celery and onion in at the end, so they're still crunchy, but if you prefer, you can add them with all the other ingredients at the beginning, for a smoother consistency.)
  4. If desired, garnish with a few thinly sliced green onions. The dip can be switched to the crockpot's "warm" setting to keep it at a perfect temperature for serving during a party.

Notes

Chicken: We always use rotisserie chicken breast for this recipe. It's a quick, easy option. But, nearly any boneless, skinless chicken breasts will also work well here, as long as they’re not seasoned with spices or marinades that compete with the other flavors in this recipe. If you prefer, you can simply plan on cooking a couple of extra chicken breasts whenever you’re making chicken, so you'll have extra cooked chicken for this recipe without any extra work.

Ranch dressing: To slash fat and calories, we use a reduced-fat, yogurt-based dressing (typically found in your grocery store's refrigerated section, sometimes near the salad greens, not in the regular salad dressing aisle). After testing several brands, we like the flavor of Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch the best. If you can't find that specific brand, choose the healthiest you can find (that also tastes great).

Hot sauce: We like to use 1/4 cup of Frank's "Original" for this recipe. That amount creates a bold, pleasantly spicy "buffalo wing" flavor. However, as we discuss in greater detail in the post, you can adjust that amount to taste.

Faster cooking: To get the dip hot and ready for a party much faster, you can heat the chicken, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ranch, and hot sauce in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, and then transfer the heated ingredients (adding the celery and onion) to your slow cooker to keep warm throughout your party.

Make-ahead steps: You can mix up the chicken, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, ranch, and hot sauce earlier in the day or a day before. You can also dice the onions and celery and store them in separate baggies. Refrigerate everything until proceeding with the recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 servings Serving Size: 2 tablespoons dip
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 156mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

We'd LOVE to hear! Please leave a star-rating above. And, tag us on Instagram @twohealthykitchens or use the sharing buttons below!

2 thoughts on “Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip”

  1. This was so delicious – i pretty much knew the recipe but the tips were great and it helped to know exactly what to do to make it just right. and those multi-grain chips look really good -what brand are they??????

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you liked it, Heather, and definitely that you found the tips helpful – thanks for the lovely feedback! Mmmmm … those chips … we love ’em! They’re Late July brand Multi-Grain. I find them at both my local grocery store and also lately at Costco. Enjoy! ~Shelley

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Published on
Updated on August 24, 2021
Skip to Recipe