Make Game Day Even More Exciting with Quick and Easy Buffalo Chicken Chili

Are you a Buffalo wing fanatic? Do you crave that Buffalo flavor at the start of every big game? Does your mouth water when you hear the words “Buffalo hot sauce?”

Vertical overhead shot of two white bowls of chicken chili with a vibrant red sauce, topped with blue cheese crumbles with a small bowl of the same to the left and a spoon, on a burlap surface, printed with blue and white text.

This is the bowl of deliciousness that needs to hit your taste buds as soon as freaking possible.

I have to say, this chili recipe might be my new favorite recipe ever.

Okay, I know I say that about a lot of different recipes. But chili is made in our house every other week come fall, and well into the spring here in Colorado. Give me a couple of weeks and I’ll probably be back, boasting about a new chili recipe that’s the best in the world.

Bear with me. It’s an addiction. Also, it’s an addiction I never want to stop giving in to.

Vertical closely cropped shot of two bowls of Buffalo chicken chili topped with crumbled blue cheese, on a burlap surface.

I’ve told you before about my love of Buffalo chicken when I made those Buffalo chicken bites, and I can honestly say that love shall never fade.

So, I turned those flavors into a chili. Big surprise, right?

I’m so predictable, I know.

But don’t tell me that you’re disappointed, because you’re going to love this.

Closely cropped overhead shot of Buffalo chicken chili in a white soup bowl, topped with crumbled blue cheese, on a burlap surface with a spoon and another white dish in the background.

This chili is the ideal mashup of flavors for game day. While we all love that Buffalo chicken taste, it’s easy to get a little bored with continually sucking the meat off of bones, am I right?

Thus, home cooks and chefs love to create recipes like this one, where that Buffalo sauce and chicken are mashed up with a different kind of recipe. This time, it’s alllllll about the chili.

Oblique overhead vertical shot of two white bowls of Buffalo chicken chili topped with blue cheese crumbles, with spoons stuck into the bowls, and a small black dish of more of the garnish to the left, on a burlap background.

I used ground chicken for this particular dish, which is great for the flavor, but also in terms of calories since you don’t have to deal with all of the fat that you would get from ground beef or wings.

You could also use ground turkey. (Or, if you really want to try it with beef, go for it!)

Vertical shot of two white bowls of Buffalo chicken chili topped with blue cheese crumbles with a small black bowl of cheese in the background, on a wood surface topped with burlap, with a mottled blue backdrop.

You can really make this however you like. All the flavors will go together perfectly, no matter which of these proteins you use. Tofu or soy crumbles and vegan cheese could even make a nice vegan alternative.

I love how quickly and easily this recipe comes together, especially since it’s made on the stovetop. It’s spicy and full-bodied, while it’s also light and bright in taste. You will fill up with a bowlful, but you won’t feel like you need to waddle out the door once your team wins the game.

A spoonful of Buffalo chicken chili is being held up to the camera with a white bowlful topped with blue cheese crumbles in the background.

My recommendation is to start this recipe about 45 minutes to an hour before gametime. Let it simmer until you are ready to serve. All the flavors come together easily, and the longer it simmers, the more intense that flavor will be.

This also gives you time to set up drinks, snacks, and toppings for the chili before your guests arrive, without you having to fuss over active cooking at the stove. After everyone arrives and settles in, simply cover the chili and set over a warm or low heat setting.

Guests can go back for refills as they empty their bowls – that is, if you don’t care about keeping some leftovers for yourself for the next day… I recommend reserving those ahead of time, if this is the case!

Overhead closely cropped vertical shot of two white soup bowls of Buffalo chicken chili topped with blue cheese crumbles, with more of the garnish in a small black dish to the left beside a spoon, on a yellow, pink, and aqua cloth background.

Since this dish is a gluten-free option, it’s a great way to satisfy your guests with celiac or others who consume a gluten-free diet. If you omit the blue cheese or leave it on the side, it’s also dairy free.

If you prefer to make this recipe in your slow cooker or Instant Pot, I’ve included instructions for these methods as well. You can find them in the “Cooking By the Numbers” section below.

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Closely cropped shot of two white bowls of chicken chili with a red sauce and topped with cheese, with a small black bowl of blue cheese crumbles and two spoons, on a surface topped with pink, yellow, and aqua cloth.

Quick and Easy Buffalo Chicken Chili


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Stew
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chili

Description

Make the most of your game day party with quick and easy Buffalo chicken chili. It’s a bowl of hot, spicy flavor to eat throughout the game.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 28-oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5-oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 14.5-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce, or your favorite type
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Once olive oil is hot, toss in the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Place the chicken into the pot, using a large spoon to break it apart into small pieces. Cook until chicken is completely done, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and beans. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir in hot sauce, then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 15 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  3. Serve warm, sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese if desired.

Notes

To Make this Recipe in a Slow Cooker: add the cooked chicken, spices, tomatoes, chicken stock, beans, and hot sauce to the slow cooker insert. Cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.

To Make This Recipe in a Pressure Cooker: add the cooked chicken, spices, chicken stock, beans, and hot sauce to the pressure cooker. Cook on manual pressure for 15 minutes and quick release.

Keywords: stew, chili, game day recipes, chicken, spicy, comfort food

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Mince Garlic, Prep Beans, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

A glass bowl of various ground spices, on a brown wood surface.

Mince the garlic cloves and set aside. I like to use my garlic press for this.

Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Cook Chicken

Overhead shot of garlic browning in the bottom of an enameled stock pot, on a striped wood surface.

Over medium heat, add olive oil to a large stock pot. Once hot, add the garlic. Cook while stirring frequently until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Cooked ground chicken in an enameled stock pot that is cream-colored on the inside and light blue on the outside, on a striped wood surface.

Add the chicken to the pot and use a spoon to break the meat apart into small pieces. Stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 3 – Make Chili

Closeup of a mixture of tomatoes, white beans, and ground chicken being stirred with a wooden spoon, in a light blue and cream-colored enameled stock pot, on a wood surface.

Add the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and beans to the stock pot. Stir well to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Stir in the hot sauce and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Season to taste. Serve warm with a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles on top.

Don’t Forget the Blue Cheese

Many would say that blue cheese dressing is one of those must-have elements when it comes to eating Buffalo chicken wings. And I say those individuals would be 100% correct on that.

Closely cropped shot of two white bowls of chicken chili with a red sauce and topped with cheese, with a small black bowl of blue cheese crumbles and two spoons, on a surface topped with pink, yellow, and aqua cloth.

Buffalo chicken without blue cheese is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. It would be like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. It’s just not right.

Instead of putting the pungent blue cheese in the chili itself, I like to serve it as a topping so everyone can add as much as they like. Some people love the cheese funk, myself included, but others only want a tiny sprinkle.

Set out a bowl of blue cheese crumbles, and let your guests have at it. You might even like to provide a dairy-free blue cheese alternative for your lactose-free guests, so they may partake as well.

And for even more Buffalo chicken deliciousness, give these recipes a try:

Are you a blue cheese lover, or do you only want a tiny sprinkle? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 21st, 2012. Last updated: January 10, 2019 at 13:18 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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