The BEST Buffalo Chicken Chili Recipe

This Buffalo Chicken Chili features all the flavors of your favorite finger food in a spicy chili. It’s a healthy, hearty way to enjoy buffalo wings in a new way! Made it in your slow cooker, on the stove, or in the instant pot.

Looking for more buffalo sauce recipes? Be sure to try my Buffalo Smashed Potatoes, Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites and Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites.

Overhead close up of buffalo chicken chili in bowl.

I have to say that I’m a bit of a Buffalo Wing snob. I grew up near Buffalo and had access to some pretty darn good wings. People in Western NY are particular about their wings. They CAN’T be boneless, they have to use Frank’s Red Hot sauce, and they’re served with blue cheese NOT ranch.

I’m now a full-day flight to Western NY and I haven’t found any wings out here on the West Coast to compete with the real deal. Here in Portland, it seems to be more about the Vietnamese Chicken Wings, which Pok Pok made famous. And, while, they’re also fantastic, they’re just not quite the same for me….

So… what do I do? Whip up a batch of Buffalo Chicken Chili. It’s still got the great flavor of the Frank’s, you can taste the crispy celery, AND it’s got beer in it! Plus, the addition of refried beans gives it a great, thick and hearty texture that’ll warm you right up on chilly Fall days.

For me, it’s comfort food at its finest. I like to make a big batch on the weekend, and then enjoy it all week for lunch. Why is it that chili seems to taste even better when it’s leftover?

Ingredients for buffalo chili on serving tray.

Ingredients needed

  • Ground Chicken – You can also use ground turkey
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion + Garlic – In a pinch, you can substitute a pinch of onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Carrots + Celery
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, paprika
  • Great Northern Beans – Canned. Or, cannellini beans, navy beans, or kidney beans.
  • Refried Beans – Canned.
  • Bone Broth – I like to make mine in the instant pot or slow cooker, or store bought chicken stock
  • Beer – Or water.
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – An essential ingredient for any buffalo chicken recipe!
  • Salt + Pepper

How to make it

  • In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the ground chicken. Set aside and keep warm.
  • To the (now empty) skillet, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables soften, 5-6 minutes.
  • Stir in the beans, chicken broth, beer, hot sauce and chicken.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Top with your favorite toppings (see below) and enjoy!

Slow Cooker directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the ground chicken and brown, breaking up the meat into small pieces until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the browned onions and chicken to the slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
  • Top with your favorite toppings (see below) and enjoy!

Instant Pot directions

  • Turn instant pot to SAUTE and add olive oil. Once hot, add ground chicken and cook 3 minutes, breaking it up as it browns. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • To the (now empty) pot, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables soften, 2-3 minutes.
  • Hit CANCEL and add the beans, chicken broth, beer, hot sauce and chicken.
  • Hit MANUAL to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build then the countdown timer will begin.
  • Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before turning the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Top with your favorite toppings (see below) and enjoy!
Ladle in pot of chili.

Topping ideas

Recipe variations

  • Chicken Breasts – You can also make this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of ground chicken. To do so, instead of browning the ground chicken, simply add 1 pound of uncooked chicken breasts when the beans go in (whether you’re making it in on the stove, slow cooker, or instant pot). Once the cook time is up, remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Then stir the shredded chicken back into the chili.
  • Rotisserie Chicken – You can use rotisserie chicken in this recipe by skipping step 1 (browning the ground chicken). Simply add some shredded rotisserie chicken when the beans and broth go in. Simmer and enjoy!
  • Add-Ins – Add in some canned fire-roasted tomatoes when the beans go in, or when the chili is finished cooking, stir in some frozen corn kernels and/or canned green chiles.
  • Creamy – When the chili is finished cooking, stir in half a block of cream cheese.
Overhead closeup of bowl of buffalo chicken chili.

How to make ahead and store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Can you freeze it?

  • Yes! This chili will keep in the freezer for up to three months.

How many calories are in Buffalo chicken chili?

As written, each serving of this tasty chili has 244 calories. This does not include any extra calories that toppings would add.

What to serve with it

Wine pairings

  • Beer and chili go great together! I chose a Kolsch to pair with my bowl, and added some to the recipe as well.
  • This also pairs well with a light lager with a squeeze of lime.
Two hands holding bowl of buffalo chicken chili.

More buffalo chicken recipes

Did you try this spicy buffalo white chicken chili?

If you loved this healthy buffalo chicken chili, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on  Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.

Are you a lover of buffalo wings like me? If so, do you consider yourself a purist – Eating only the bone-in variety, or do you go for boneless, and perhaps even some ranch dressing on the side? Would you dig into a bowl of this Buffalo Chicken Chili? Let me know in the comments below!

More → 30+ Ground Chicken Recipes to try for dinner this week!

Overhead shot of bowl of buffalo chicken chili.

For Topping:

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Heat olive oil in a large stock pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the ground chicken, breaking up the meat into small pieces until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

  • In the same (now empty) pan add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.

  • Add white beans, refried beans, chicken broth, beer, hot sauce and chicken, bring to a boil and simmer covered on medium-low about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Top with shredded cheese, greek yogurt/sour cream, green onions, as desired.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.

  • Add the ground chicken and brown, breaking up the meat into small pieces until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Add the browned onions and chicken to the slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.

Instant Pot Directions

  • Turn instant pot to SAUTE and add olive oil. Once hot, add ground chicken and cook 3 minutes, breaking it up as it browns. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.

  • To the (now empty) pot, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables soften, 2-3 minutes.

  • Hit CANCEL and add the beans, chicken broth, beer, hot sauce and chicken. Hit MANUAL to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build then the countdown timer will begin.

  • Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before turning the valve to release any remaining pressure.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1049mg | Potassium: 770mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3320IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1.8mg

This post was originally published in 2014. It was updated in 2023 to add new information. The buffalo chicken chilli recipe remains the same. Enjoy! 



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