This Buffalo Chicken Chili is a hearty and flavorful chili that packs the perfect amount of heat. Top with blue cheese and serve during your game day gatherings or on any day that calls for comfort food!
(This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili was originally published in October 2011, but was updated with new photos in 2018).
Suddenly I'm a working girl. Not that I wasn't before. But what I mean is that I recently headed back to working in an actual office after about 4 years spent working from home. I know. Talk about change!
I'm actually loving my job and return to the "real world," but I'm not going to lie; I'm also still adjusting to the fact that I'm not home all the time anymore and when I do come home, I'm completely wiped out from all the things I learned and did over the day. And not only am I working an office job, but I'm also trying to keep up with a few of my writing gigs when I get home, which means lots of work all the time.
They say starting a new job is one of the most stressful times in your life and whoever they are, they're not lying!
Lucky for me, I have an amazing support system packed with a fiancé who cleans the apartment while he's waiting for me to get home and literally waits at the door for me with a glass of wine in hand (now that I get home after him), a family who invites me over for the weekend to just relax (and a mom who understands when I go days without calling her), and friends who are all-around amazing and supportive and just lovely. Thank goodness.
What I'm trying to say here is that by the time I get home after spending a lovely hour on this city's wonderful public transportation system, I barely have time to write a couple freelance assignments, bust out a blog post, and hop in bed. Cooking? What's that?
So, I'm majorly in the market for some meals that will leave me with leftovers. I want to come home from work a couple days a week and already have dinner waiting for me. Really, this is big of me to say because in general, I am not at all a fan of leftovers. But I think I could get used to them.
This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili was born out of the fact that my pantry was overflowing with hot sauce. OK, so it still is. But now we're one bottle down. And we have a whole lot of delicious chili leftovers.
Buffalo chicken chili is obviously not a traditional chili, but it's super fun for when you want to switch things up a bit... And it's also perfect for serving at your game day parties. Serve it alongside a few dips and some chicken wings and you have yourself the perfect football party spread.
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
If you do a search for buffalo chicken chili recipes, you'll see a huge array of methods for making it. Some will use chicken breasts, some thighs, some rotisserie, and some ground chicken. I used ground chicken for this recipe because it's easy and delicious.
There's really no wrong answer here and you should use whatever kind of chicken you like best or have in stock!
What Kind of Hot Sauce/Buffalo Sauce Should I Use
What hot sauce you choose for this chili is totally up to you. I'm generally a Frank's Red Hot sauce girl through and through. But as I said, my pantry has been literally overflowing with Anchor Bar "Suicidal" hot sauce. And when I say literally, I mean literally. Like every time I open the door hot sauce falls out and nearly hits me on the head.
Anchor Bar suicidal hot sauce is really, really spicy, but delicious if you like that! I've made this recipe several times since my first and have used Frank's Red Hot all of the other times. Sweet Baby Rays (and I'm sure other brands, too) makes a "mild" buffalo sauce, so if you want buffalo flavor, but not a lot of heat, that's an option, too!
Buffalo Chicken Chili Recipe
Aside from chopping some vegetables, this buffalo chicken chili is basically the easiest recipe ever. It's only 4 steps. FOUR! And the fourth one is just to serve it.
Start by pouring olive oil into a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add in the ground chicken and break it up with a wooden spoon while it cooks. When chicken is cooked through, remove it to separate plate or bowl and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Add onions, carrots, and celery to the same pot you cooked the chicken in. Cook, while scraping the bottom of the pot to get the brown bits, for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and hot peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pour chicken stock into pot, along with the crushed tomatoes, black beans, and hot sauce. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. If your chili is too thick, add in a bit more chicken stock.
Serve and sprinkle with a little blue cheese or gorgonzola. Or a lot because you may need a strong cheese to balance out the heat of this buffalo chicken chili.
Tortilla chips work, too. Which is also what made me realize this would be the perfect dish to serve for a football game party.
But seriously, tortilla chips absorb a lot of the heat and make this even more fun to eat.
But I promise, this isn't too spicy, even using Frank's Red Hot. I'll admit that I played around with the ingredient ratios a bit each time I made this and made a few adjustments to tone down the heat. If you're like, "hey, I want this hotter!" then first of all, go you! I love you! And second of all, add more hot peppers and make sure you choose a super hot sauce.
If you're really heat adverse, but love buffalo flavor, leave out the spicy peppers and use a milder buffalo sauce.
But if you just want a "normal" level of buffalo chicken heat (come on, you can't have buffalo chicken without any heat at all!), make this as is. Whether you're spicy food obsessed or not, this chili is amazingly flavorful. And hearty. And absolutely perfect for the chilly, rainy weather we had earlier this week.
And yes, this buffalo chicken chili gave us about three meals. Which made me very happy. And meant I could actually go to bed at a semi-normal time a couple nights this week. Yays all around!
I also know I have a meal that's a hit if my husband willingly (and happily) eats leftovers. He is not a leftovers guy, so when he asked me if we had any more buffalo chicken chili left, I was psyched!
What's your favorite meal to make that yields lots of leftovers? Gimme recipes!
If you're looking for more delicious and unique chili ideas, check out my Sweet Potato Chili and my Red Wine Pumpkin Chili. I'm also really excited to try this Smoky Chili Polenta Bowl from The Saucy Rabbit!
Buffalo Chicken Chili
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs. ground chicken (alternatively, you can use rotisserie chicken)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 spicy peppers (I recommend serranos or red chilis), chopped (remove seeds if you want a milder chili)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup hot sauce
- ¼ cup blue cheese, for topping chili
- Pour olive oil into a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add in the ground chicken and break it up with a wooden spoon while it cooks. When chicken is cooked through, remove it to separate plate or bowl and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery to the same pot you cooked the chicken in. Cook, while scraping the bottom of the pot to get the brown bits, for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and hot peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Pour chicken stock into pot, along with the crushed tomatoes, black beans, and hot sauce. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. If your chili is too thick, add in a bit more chicken stock.
- Serve in bowls and top with blue cheese.
I've been at my new job since the end of May and I still am adjusting! I'm learning to make dishes like slow-cooked pulled pork that can be used in different ways in different meals throughout the week. You'll find your rhythm soon, I promise!
Congratulations on the new job! I agree with Michelle. The slow cooker is the way to go! You can use it to make spicy shredded chicken sandwiches one night and then repurpose the shredded meat for the remainder of the week. Reheat and use it in quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and on salads!
Ooooh nom! Love buffalo flavor and chili too and will want to make this for a football party soon!
Chili sounds good. It is cold here this morning!
Spaghetti!! Tastes better each day, so it's great for leftovers. Here is a good sauce recipe.
sweeter salt says
this sounds so good! totally bookmarking this one.
one of my favorite make ahead meals is my sweet potato chili. super easy and stores well.
when in doubt and i need a quick meal i always go for cous cous and shrimp. cous cous is a lifesaver! and its a good leftover piece to use throughout the week with other things like veggies. also... make a big thing of soup on sunday and use it through the week 🙂 this one is my fave and so easy...
Congrats on the new job! I'm bookmarking this for next week, I wonder if this would work in a crock pot? I generally make my chili in one and it comes out pretty well, aside from the fact that you need to chop the veggies large or they'll completely blend into the "sauce".
Stir fries are great for busy nights, you can even make some rice ahead. I've also found that I can broil veggies and chicken on a pan with foil and serve that over rice, salad or in tortillas.
I just made your buffalo chicken mac & cheese for the 3rd or 4th time, and it was delicious! It takes a bit of time to put together, but it was worth it! We had leftovers one night, plus enough to freeze for a few more nights in the future.
Sounds like a definite transition. I have similar feelings about my job. I really enjoy it. My co-workers are great. The work itself is challenging, creative, and at times, fun. But boy does it leave me drained! I often try to do as much menu planning and prep as I can on weekends when I have the most energy and freedom.
I made chili for the first time EVER tonight, too! It also had ground chicken. And corn. Mmmmm! So happy to have leftovers. My life is a LOT like yours... I leave at 8:00 am and I walk in the door around 8:00 pm on most nights. There is no such thing as cooking, except on the weekends. So I make big one-pot meals that can be split into smaller portions for the week!
What a great twist on chili! Congrats on your new job too, so exciting!
sarah k. @ the pajama chef says
looks like a great chili recipe. congrats on the job!!
as for leftover-friendly recipes... lasagna is always great and can be made ahead. african peanut pineapple stew is also a big favorite in our house!
I know exactly what you mean. It's that hour on the T/walking to work and then back again that really wipes me out. Lots of leftovers are key for getting through the week! Congrats on the new job! I just made a huge batch of meatballs and sauce yesterday and stocked the freezer. Baked mac and cheese, lasagna, and hearty soups are some other good ideas.
oh the life of a working girl. congrats on your new job and welcome to the corporate world!!
To Kiss the Cook says
Congratulations and welcome back to corporate America- may your benefits be bountiful! On another note, this chili looks incredible and I want to make it rightthisminute!
Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says
Leftovers are a working girl's best friend. I love things like soup and chili that I can freeze in individual serving sizes to grab for lunch as I'm going out the door in the morning. 🙂 This chili looks awesome!
sounds delish! and congrats on the new job! i totally know what you mean too, i've been adjusting to my new commute... and wondering how to make up that lost hour :/ Settling into a routine, though, and getting in some cooking when I can!
I think I need to try this chili.
I'm sure this is a big adjustment for you but it sounds like you have a very supportive family and boyfriend, thankfully.
You chili sounds wonderful and I love the idea of using shredded rotisserie chicken too.
Office jobs + long days = quick dinners a must. I actually made a pot of chili yesterday for the week since I'll be out of town and my husband isn't all that kitchen-savvy. Definitely will be giving this a try next time we make chili!
This buffalo chicken chili sounds great. Thanks for the post (and recipe).
This chili has delicious and comfort written all over it.
(1) Congrats on the job! I hope the corporate world treats you well 🙂
(2) Love the idea of your fiance waiting with a glass of wine by the door. Officially on the top of my future-husband-wishlist.
(3) MUST try! Can't wait - sounds & looks delicious!
Lane | With Two Spoons says
Fellow working girl here. Never enough hours in the day! Looks like this chili (with my absolute favorite flavors) is going to help a lot! Thanks for the recipe!
This is such a brilliant dinner idea! Combining buffalo chicken and chili sounds so good!