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This zesty buffalo chicken chili is a cozy, easy dinner recipe for chilly days — with just 5 minutes of prep! Serve the cream cheese chicken chili with a side of corn chips for scooping, a skillet of cornbread, or a simple green salad. It’s a creamy, crowd-pleasing slow cooker meal that the whole family will love!

Side shot of a bowl of buffalo chicken chili with cream cheese on a dinner table

Buffalo Chicken Chili with Cream Cheese

We all need those quick dump-and-go slow cooker meals that don’t require any extra hands-on effort. On busy days when you don’t have much time for cooking, this buffalo chicken chili comes to the rescue. It’s also a great party food to serve at Game Day gatherings, tailgates, or other festive occasions when you need to feed a crowd. Keep it warm in the Crock Pot and let your guests serve themselves!

Pouring chicken broth into a slow cooker

Is Buffalo chicken spicy?

Yes, a classic buffalo chicken wing sauce is quite spicy — thanks to plenty of cayenne red peppers! The good news is that you can control the heat in your pot of chili when you prepare this dish at home. The recipe calls for ½ cup of buffalo sauce, but you can cut that back to ¼ cup for a more mild option. You can also kick it up and make it even spicier by serving extra wing sauce on the side. Let each individual add more heat to his bowl as needed.

Shredding chicken in a white bowl

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of crock-pot buffalo chicken chili. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken: either boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs will work, so pick your favorite.
  • Chicken broth: start with a small amount, and then add extra at the end to reach the desired consistency.
  • Buffalo wing sauce: gives the chili that classic buffalo chicken flavor! I use Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Hot Sauce, but any similar variety will work. It makes the chili a bit spicy, and adds a nice acidic, vinegar-based tang that cuts through the rich, creamy broth.
  • Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles or petite-diced tomatoes: the Ro-tel adds even more spicy “kick” to the chili, so substitute with plain diced tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes for a mild option.
  • Corn: for a hint of natural sweetness that bulks up the meal.
  • White beans: I like navy beans in this recipe, but cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, or other chili beans like pinto beans or kidney beans will all work.
  • Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix: a packet of this dry ranch dressing mix is an easy seasoning blend that adds bright, flavorful herbs and spices to the dish.
  • Chili powder, ground cumin, and onion powder: classic chili seasonings for a warm, zesty pot. Feel free to add garlic powder or a couple cloves of garlic, too!
  • Cream cheese: adding a block of cream cheese at the end gives the broth a creamy, cheesy taste and a thick, rich, smooth texture.
Adding cubed cream cheese to a slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili

There’s no prep work involved, so you can throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker on the way out the door in the morning and come home later to a warm pot of tasty buffalo chicken chili in a perfectly-seasoned broth.

  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the cream cheese in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks.
  4. Stir the shredded chicken back into the pot, along with the cream cheese.
  5. Cover and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the cream cheese melts into the broth.
  6. Ladle into bowls, garnish with toppings, and enjoy!
Square overhead image of buffalo chicken chili on a table

How do you make chicken chili thicker?

There’s nothing worse than a watered-down, soupy pot of chili! Instead, the best chili has a thick, rich consistency that you can scoop with chips. That’s why we only add a little bit of chicken broth to start. It seems like it won’t be enough, but a lot of condensation falls back down into the Crock Pot, thinning the chili as it cooks. Have some extra broth on hand, though — you might want to loosen it up at the end if it’s still too thick. Think of this like a chili version of the classic party-favorite buffalo chicken dip!

Square side shot of buffalo chicken chili on a dinner table

Chili Toppings

Set out plenty of fresh toppings for your buffalo chicken chili with cream cheese, including:

  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced green onion or minced red onion
  • Hot sauce
  • Sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Lime wedges
  • Crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips, or other corn chips (like Fritos)

What do you eat with buffalo chicken chili?

Here are some easy sides to pair with a warm bowl of chili:

Close up front shot of a bowl of crock pot buffalo chicken chili on a dinner table with cornbread muffins

Storage

Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

How to Freeze

I do not recommend freezing the chili after you add the cream cheese. A dairy-based broth tends to “break” or separate when thawed from the freezer, giving the chili an undesirable texture. Instead, you can prepare the chili in advance, but do not add the cream cheese. Allow the chili to cool to room temperature, store in airtight containers, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw frozen chili in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat, stirring the cream cheese into the pot during the final 5-10 minutes.

How to Reheat

Place chili in a saucepan. Cover and warm over low heat, just until heated through. If it seems too thick, thin the chili with a splash of extra broth. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high power.

Horizontal overhead shot of a bowl of buffalo chicken chili

Recipe Variations

  • Add more veggies to the chili with diced celery or diced red bell pepper.
  • Instead of navy beans, use other white beans such as Great Northern beans or cannellini beans. You can also substitute with pinto beans or chickpeas.
  • If you prefer the texture of ground meat in your chili, substitute with 1 ½ – 2 lbs. of ground chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey. You’ll need to cook the ground meat in a skillet and drain off the fat before using it in the recipe.
  • Instead of canned corn, substitute with about 1 ¾ cups of frozen corn.
  • No Beans: if you don’t care for beans in your chili, you can just omit that ingredient altogether, or substitute with an extra can of corn.
  • For a mild taste, swap out the Rotel tomatoes and green chilies for a can of regular petite-diced tomatoes or fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Make it less spicy by using just ¼ cup of buffalo sauce.
Side shot of slow cooker buffalo chicken chili on a dinner table

Tips for the Best Buffalo Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, depending on your preference. Chicken thighs tend to stay more moist and juicy in the slow cooker than the white meat chicken breast, but either option works fine!
  • All slow cookers run on slightly different temperatures, so cooking times vary. My Crock Pot tends to cook dishes pretty quickly, so my chili is always done after 3 hours on HIGH. Kara leaves her chili in her Crock Pot for 8 hours on LOW, so that might work well for you, too.
  • Start with a small amount of broth. The condensation from the Crock Pot will add more liquid to the dish. If you prefer a thinner chili, simply add extra broth at the end, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature and dice into cubes before stirring it into the pot. This will help the cheese melt smoothly into the chili.
  • Make ahead! This chili just gets better as it sits, so you can make a batch on the weekend and keep it packaged in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat individual bowls for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week.
Overhead shot of a bowl of creamy buffalo chicken chili on a table

More Chili Recipes to Try

Square overhead image of buffalo chicken chili on a table

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Chili

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 371 kcal
This zesty chicken chili is a cozy, easy dinner for chilly days — with just 5 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth (plus an extra 1-2 cups to thin the chili at the end)
  • ½ cup buffalo wing sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot brand
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes or 1 (10 ounce) can Ro-tel tomatoes and green chilies, not drained
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can of corn, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet of dry Ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature and cubed
  • Optional for serving: chips or cornbread; sliced green onions; sour cream; cilantro; grated cheddar cheese; blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients (except for the cream cheese) in a large slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove the chicken and shred with two forks or chop. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and give everything a good stir.
  • Add the cream cheese to the slow cooker, stir, cover, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cream cheese melts and incorporates into the broth. At this point, stir in additional broth, as necessary, to thin the chili and reach your desired consistency.
  • Serve with optional toppings, chips, or cornbread!

Notes

  • Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, depending on your preference. Chicken thighs tend to stay more moist and juicy in the slow cooker than the white meat chicken breast, but either option works fine!
  • All slow cookers run on slightly different temperatures, so cooking times vary. My Crock Pot tends to cook dishes pretty quickly, so my chili is always done after 3 hours on HIGH. Kara leaves her chili in her Crock Pot for 8 hours on LOW, so that might work well for you, too.
  • Start with a small amount of broth. The condensation from the Crock Pot will add more liquid to the dish. If you prefer a thinner chili, simply add extra broth at the end, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature and dice into cubes before stirring it into the pot. This will help the cheese melt smoothly into the chili.
  • Make ahead! This chili just gets better as it sits, so you can make a batch on the weekend and keep it packaged in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat individual bowls for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipeCalories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 30gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 1454mgPotassium: 727mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 822IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: buffalo chicken chili, Chicken Chili, crock pot chicken chili
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this today and substituted cannellini beans for the navy beans to keep it ‘white’ looking. One of the most delicious crock pot meals so far. Will definitely be making this regularly over the winter months. Many thanks from the UK!!

  2. I’ve followed you for many years and make so many of your awesome recipes over and over again and they never fail to turn out so wonderful! I do so miss the old blog and following the stories of your boys. I’m sure you like the privacy, and respect it totally, but always think back to that time and greatly enjoyed that era! I do wonder what brand slow cooker you are using in this recipe? Thank you and keep up the great work.

    1. The good old days of blogging! 🙂 Thank you for your kind note, Kathleen! Yes, I do try to limit what I share about the kids these days, since they’re all getting older and have their own opinions about being online. I do weekly recaps from our life in my Sunday morning post, so the kids still make appearances there, but I do try to keep it to just the highlights.

      Thank you for following along with us for so many years!