Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

~ This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip slashes unwanted fat and calories. But don’t worry … nobody will even notice! This clever recipe re-boot has all the cheese-y, gooey, buffalo-y flavor that makes the iconic dip an absolute MUST at practically any kind of party. Even better? It’s super fast to cook … in only one dish! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps  

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe presented for a party, with spoon in, chips all around, and vegetable strips for dipping in the background.

You know how some people are – guaranteed – the life of every party? Those party animals that make any gathering instantly better?

This dip is that kind of party animal.

A guaranteed hit that no party is quite complete without.

Especially tailgates and sports parties. I mean, it’s practically against the rules to watch football without Buffalo Chicken Dip! (No really … it might actually be buried somewhere in the rulebook, like maybe Official Football Rule #359f. Although, don’t quote me on that.)

But what if that “must-invite” party animal was actually super-easy to hang out with, and didn’t make you feel huge amounts of regret later?

Even better, right?!?

Psssst … Want to Make a Slow Cooker Version of This Dip? Check out our Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe, which you can make in an appetizer-sized slow cooker to keep warm at parties.

Why You’ll Love This Easy, HEALTHY Buffalo Chicken Dip!

So you want all that delicious, classic Buffalo Chicken Dip flavor.

But … you also want it to be quick and simple to make (hello, last-minute party invites!). And you want to avoid regret, regret, regret after you over-indulge in too many fats and calories.

Then this is the recipe for you!

Finished bowl of Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip on cutting board.

Tastes Like the Classic

This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip still tastes like that appetizer recipe everybody loves! Trust me: nobody is gonna notice you tweaked it to make it a little more healthy. It’s:

  • Creamy and spicy, with really bold buffalo flavor.
  • Plus some ranch-y vibes, and gooey cheddar.
  • With tender chunks of white-meat chicken.
  • And little pops of savory onion and cooling, refreshing celery (always need celery with buffalo sauce, right?!?).

Yes, friends. There’s a reason why every self-respecting party needs this party animal. It’s so darn great, and nobody ever gets tired of having it around!

Plus, it’s …

Super Easy to Make!

Yep. Even better. This appetizer dip is super, super easy to make.

We’re talking pre-cooked chicken (maybe grab a rotisserie chicken as you dash through the grocery store).

And you’re gonna mix everything together in the very same dish you’ll be serving the dip in. Woohoo … only one dish to clean later!

Pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes, and *presto* instant party!

Whether you’ve got a big crowd for Super Bowl Sunday, or you’re just trying to make family movie night extra special … this dip is ready for anything. (True party animals always are!)

And Hey Hey … with Healthy Upgrades for Guilt-Free Noshing!

We’ve got a lot of “buffalo” recipes here on our site (like sandwiches, nachos, pasta salad, and even buffalo cauliflower), so we have plenty of practice with lightening up those beloved flavors in a way that nobody can detect.

Fingers dunking a chip into the bowl of Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip, with other chips arranged all around and vegetable stick dippers in background.

With all that in mind, it was pretty easy to update the recipe, and secretly slash the calories and fat of “typical” Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Traditional, old-school versions are usually bogged down with full-fat cream cheese, full-fat cheddar, and full-fat ranch dressing. Some recipes also involve sautéing the veggies in butter. It adds up to a wallop of calories and unwelcome fats (including those saturated fats nobody wants on their guest list).

But, with our Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip, you still get all the great flavors, but you can actually feel good serving this appetizer to people you care about.

And, like I keep telling ya, nobody is gonna suspect a thing. Trust me!

Here’s how we updated and upgraded those bogged-down, old-fashioned versions:

Update #1 –  We used reduced-fat cheddar and cream cheese. Not fat-free, which can introduce some oddball ingredients. Just reduced-fat, which notably decreases the fat (including saturated fat) and calories without sacrificing flavor or introducing a bunch of strange additives.

Ingredient Tip: Cream Cheese

What’s marketed in America as “reduced-fat cream cheese” is actually called Neufchâtel cheese (you’ll usually see that fancy-schmancy name printed in tiny letters on the packaging). You can read more about what Neufchâtel is HERE. But the main takeaway is that Neufchâtel tastes so much like full-fat cream cheese that nobody will ever, ever notice the difference. I totally pinky swear. But, you’ll save on calories, saturated fat and cholesterol compared to using “regular” full-fat cream cheese. Brilliant!

Update #2 –  And, we simply used a bit less of the high-fat, high-calorie ingredients (especially the cream cheese) than what many other recipes call for. Our version isn’t so runny and gloppy as many other, older recipes. All those creamy ingredients are still a scrumptious backdrop for our updated dip, but they don’t completely overwhelm the chicken. I mean, we’re making a Buffalo Chicken Dip, right? Not a buffalo cheese-goo dip!

Update #3 –  We also ditched the butter … and the entire prep step of sautéing the veggies. 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!

Update #4 –  We use a Greek-yogurt-based ranch dressing, instead of that regular, bottled brand of full-fat ranch (ahem … you know the one). 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.

Ready to Whip Up Some {Secretly Healthy} Buffalo Chicken Dip?

Sure you are! And like I keep saying, it’s so, so EASY!

Start by shredding your chicken and chopping your onion and celery.

Ingredients on a wooden cutting board: shredded cheese and chicken, veggies, ranch and cream cheese, with a bottle of buffalo hot sauce in the background with dippers.

Ingredient Tip: Rotisserie Chicken

We usually reach for rotisserie chicken as a shortcut for this appetizer dip. (If you hang around this site much, you know that we have oodles of “cheater” Rotisserie Chicken Recipes it’s one of our favorite time-saving strategies!) You can also use other leftover chicken breast you have on hand. Maybe plan to cook extra chicken at dinner the night before, and you’ll have chicken ready, on deck, for this appetizer dip!

Step #1

Mix your pre-cooked chicken, the cheddar cheese and cream cheese, the ranch dressing, and the hot sauce together in a medium-sized bowl.

Cheeses, chicken, ranch and buffalo wing sauce in quadrants in a bowl, ready to mix together.

Pro Tip: Save on Dishes!

No need to dirty an extra bowl! If you’d like, you can mix up your Buffalo Dip ingredients directly in the serving dish.

As I’ll explain in a moment, you can optionally add the celery and onion at this point, too, but we like to wait to add them at the end – after cooking.

Ingredients mixed and partially warmed, but not fully melted, with the veggies still in background along with a bottle of buffalo sauce.

Step #2

Microwave the dip (on full power) for 1 minute. Give it a good, thorough stir.

At this point, it’ll be a little warm and melty, but not quite at that hot, dippable consistency you’re looking for … yet!

Step #3

Then, pop it back in the microwave for about another 1 1/2 minutes, until the cheddar cheese is fully melted and the dip is hot. (The exact timing can vary slightly based on the wattage of your microwave).

Mmmmmmmmm yesssssss … this is the piping hot, gooey, dippy, party-worthy texture you’re shooting for!

Hands stirring together hot, melty Buffalo Dip before veggies are added.

Step #4

Before you serve it up, though, stir your fully cooked dip again, just to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated.

Then stir in the chopped celery and onion.

As I mentioned earlier, we prefer to add the veggies in at the end, so they’re still crunchy.

We definitely think it adds great texture to the dip, so you’ve got a much more interesting contrast between the creamy ingredients, the chewy chicken … and those crisp veggies.

But if you prefer, for a smoother consistency that’s more similar to those “old-school” Buffalo Chicken Dip recipes, you can add the celery and onion with all the other ingredients at the beginning, before heating your dip up.

Pro Tip: Garnishing Your Dip

If you want to add a pop of pretty color to your Buffalo Chicken Dip, I suggest garnishing the top with a few thinly sliced green onions. They fit better with the flavors of this dip recipe than other garnishes like cilantro or parsley. But the green onions are totally optional your dip will be just as yummy without them!

Dip garnished with green onions.

FAQs At-a-Glance

What Is Buffalo Chicken Dip Made Of?

Buffalo Chicken Dip starts with a creamy base, usually of cream cheese mixed with melty cheddar. It often also includes ranch dressing or at least some ranch-inspired seasonings. It also features chunks or shreds of chicken and a “buffalo wing” hot sauce (typically Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce). Depending on the recipe, chopped celery and onions may also be included, sometimes after being sautéed until soft. Our version is a nod to all those classic vibes, but with healthy and textural upgrades.

What Goes with Buffalo Chicken Dip?

1) Tortilla chips are great, but it’s usually best to make sure they’re thick enough not to break when you dip them.
2) Crackers work well, too. (And of course, we always recommend whole grain varieties for great texture, plus a boost of flavor and nutrition.)
3) Celery sticks and carrot sticks are also good, healthy options (and quintessential party friends when you’re eating buffalo-anything).
4) Slice bell peppers or mini bells are delicious, too!

How Do You Make Buffalo Chicken Dip Less Spicy?

The best way to adjust the heat in your dip is to add less hot sauce to make it milder (or, conversely, more hot sauce for extra kick). You can also try adding a little additional cream cheese or ranch dressing to mellow out the heat in your dip if you think it’s too spicy.

What Chicken Is Best for Buffalo Dip?

White breast meat is best. You can purchase a cooked rotisserie chicken or cook your own chicken breasts. In a pinch, you can also try a very good-quality, canned white-meat chicken.

Can You Double This Recipe?

Definitely! Sounds like you’re planning a big party … FUN!! Just note that the cook times will need to be increased a little if you’re making a double (or triple) batch.

How Do You Make This Buffalo Chicken Dip in the Crockpot?

We’ve got easy directions to adapt this recipe for your slow cooker. Check out our Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip for specific directions, including how you can prep it ahead and then keep it warm in an appetizer-sized crockpot all throughout a party, PLUS yummy tips on what to do with leftover Buffalo Dip!

When was the last time you spent some quality time with a TRUE party animal, and didn’t feel huge regret the next day?!?

Closeup of dip so you can see the texture of the buffalo chicken and the gooey cheese.

This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip is so easy to party with … and no regrets here, friends!

Party on!

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?

__________

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

Closeup of dip with spoon tucked in.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

Our Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip leverages easy swaps to slash fat and calories (but nobody will even notice the updates)! Plus, it's so fast and easy ... in just one dish!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps  

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 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 medium-sized bowl. (You can do this directly in the serving dish.)
  2. Microwave (on full power) for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Microwave again for about 1 1/2 minutes more, until the cheddar cheese is fully melted and the dip is hot (the exact timing can vary slightly based on the wattage of your microwave).
  4. Before serving, stir the hot dip again to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated, and then stir in the 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.)
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with a few thinly sliced green onions, if desired.

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, you can adjust that amount to taste, depending on exactly how kicky you want your dip to be.

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.

Slow cooker option: If you'd like to make this recipe in an appetizer-sized slow cooker to keep warm throughout a party, refer to our Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip for specific directions and tips.

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!

20 thoughts on “Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip”

    • Oh Freya, how kind of you to take a moment to leave such a sweet message, even though you’re vegan and couldn’t try the dip yourself, personally. I’m so glad your friends loved it, but sad you couldn’t try it! There are plenty of vegan versions of buffalo “chicken” dip out there, if you’d like to give it a shot – here’s a really well-rated one from Nora Cooks that might be a good bet. I hope you’ll get to join in the dipping next time, too! 😉 ~Shelley

      Reply
    • It truly IS easy both easy and fun! The celery and sweet onions really elevate and complement the buffalo chicken dip flavors and add great texture. It’s always such a huge hit, every time I serve it – and I love knowing that I can whip it up in moments! ~Shelley

      Reply
  1. I never would of thought of a dip using buffalo chicken. However this looks superb, totally delicious and cheesy!
    I just want some bread and dip away!

    Reply
    • It’s awesome! Where we live, buffalo chicken dip is such a hit at card parties, bunco, neighborhood potlucks … and definitely sports parties! Pretty much any gathering, really! Grab that bread and get on in there – you won’t be disappointed (and you just might’ve found your new party appetizer go-to recipe)! Enjoy! ~Shelley

      Reply
  2. This sounds like a great appetizer, especially for a bigger get together. I love how it is also a healthier recipe – doesn’t make me feel so bad when I eat majority of it myself!

    Reply
    • I hope you’ll adore it just as much as we do – both because it really is so crazy-delicious, and also because it’s such an EASY buffalo chicken dip to make (so you’ll have more time to enjoy the party)! 😀 ~Shelley

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Published on
Skip to Recipe