Healthy buffalo chicken dip is a better-for-you version of a party favorite! Creamy and spicy, this easy warm dip features a stealthy secret ingredient that ups the protein and fiber while keeping fat low.
We’re a week-and-a-half-ish into the new year and I’m having a tough time getting into a routine again post-holidays. Especially with meals. Last night I put on Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, intended as background noise while I prepped dinner, and ended up organizing my closet, pulling bins out of the attic, and debating whether or not my high school sports sweatshirt still sparks joy.
Needless to say we went out for Mexican instead. Our local Mexican restaurant always sparks joy.
I have a feeling that Marie’s siren song (her voice! so soothing!) isn’t done with me yet, but thankfully this healthy buffalo chicken dip is so quick and easy that you can probably make it with one eye glued to the TV.
If you’ve ever poked around the recipe archives, you’ll see that buffalo chicken is well loved around here. This is the tenth post devoted to it in some form or fashion, including big time reader fav slow cooker buffalo chicken.
(There’s also Instant Pot buffalo chicken if you’re into the life-changing magic of the Instant Pot). 😉
Buffalo chicken dip isn’t known to be healthy or better-for-you, but it sure is delicious. Warm, creamy, cheesy comfort food. Hard to beat. I promise that all of those adjectives apply to this healthy version, too.
Up top I alluded to a sneaky healthy ingredient and it’s time to come clean. Cannellini beans. There’s a can of beans in this buffalo chicken dip. Cannellini beans, a.k.a. white kidney beans or fagioli, are one of my top tips for making warm/creamy/not-so-good-for-you food better.
Since cannellini beans have a very mild flavor, they can blend just about seamlessly into warm dips once pureed. Cannellini beans are fat-free and rich in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Once pureed their texture is not unlike that of a block of cream cheese, making them an excellent choice for reducing the fat and calories in traditionally cream cheese-heavy dips.
This trick works so well with healthier spinach artichoke dip, so it was only a matter of time before buffalo chicken dip received the same treatment.
How to make healthy buffalo chicken dip
- Stir together all ingredients in a medium sauce pan until warm and creamy. Dig in!
While that’s true, some of the ingredients require a little prep beforehand. Let’s start with the chicken.
This healthy buffalo chicken dip uses two-and-a-half cups of cooked and shredded chicken. For this you can use:
- a rotisserie chicken (so easy, so dependable, so good)
- leftover cooked chicken (just shred or slice thinly)
- chicken breasts in the Instant Pot
I’m no stranger to shredding a rotisserie chicken for recipes like this, but recent supermarket boneless skinless chicken breast BOGOs have swayed me in the direction of making my own in the Instant Pot.
How to make Instant Pot shredded chicken
I added my 2.5 pound package of boneless skinless chicken breasts (about three big ones) to the Instant Pot and poured in about 1/3 cup water and a few shakes of salt and pepper. A little less liquid than some Instant Pot recipes call for is okay because the chicken will release liquid as it cooks.
Pop the lid on, make sure the vent is set to “sealing” and cook on Manual for 13 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, then it’s time to shred! 2.5 pounds resulted in about 6 1/2 cups of shredded chicken.
As with all chicken recipes, make sure the chicken is fully cooked by registering a temperature of 165°F in the center of the thickest part. That won’t be a problem here.
I quickly shred everything by transferring the cooked breasts to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, placing a clean kitchen towel over top of the bowl, and turning the mixer on the lowest setting. Be careful because the chicken is hot! It should quickly and easily break up into shreds ready for this healthy buffalo chicken dip.
Now that we have our chicken ready to go, the only other ingredient that may require a little extra putting together is the homemade ranch seasoning. I’m partial to making my own so I can control the flavors and make sure there isn’t anything like MSG included, but you can use store-bought if you prefer a shortcut. I’d say there’s between 1-2 one-ounce packets worth of seasoning in this recipe, but I’d recommend adding one packet, taking a taste, and seeing if you’d like more.
Once you have those ingredients squared away, let’s look at the rest:
- 1 cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (lots of better-for-you creaminess)
- 2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 oz blue cheese crumbles
When I’m making something healthier, I like to use more boldly flavored, less-than-healthy ingredients so they can make their mark without adding a ton calorie- or fat-wise.
In this case, extra sharp cheddar and blue cheese crumbles do the trick. You don’t need much of either for them to provide an important presence in this healthy buffalo chicken dip.
All together, this dip is truly satisfyingly creamy and delicious. It honestly doesn’t taste “healthy” at all and would blend in with other not-so-great-for-you dips and appetizers in a Super Bowl spread seamlessly.
Healthy buffalo chicken dip recipe notes:
- I like to serve buffalo chicken dip with carrots, celery sticks, and tortilla chips. It’s a hefty dip so nothing too flimsy that will break off when you go to scoop.
- Frank’s Red Hot Wings sauce (not sponsored in any way) is my favorite to use in buffalo recipes. It contains zero calories per serving, and was used in the nutritional estimate below. Keep in mind other brands or products may have 10-20 calories per serving and vary from the nutritional card listed here.
- Shred the chicken and prepare the ranch seasoning (if using homemade) ahead of time to make prepping this healthy buffalo chicken dip a cinch the day-of.
- If you rinse and drain the cannellini beans and forget to reserve the liquid (been there), just use 2-3 tablespoons of water instead.
Healthy buffalo chicken dip is a better-for-you version of a party favorite! Creamy and spicy, this easy warm dip features a stealthy secret ingredient that ups the protein and fiber.
- 1 15.5-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained with 2 tbsp liquid reserved
- 2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot Wings)
- 2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 oz blue cheese crumbles (about 3 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp buttermilk powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp dried chives
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cannellini bean liquid, then rinse and drain beans. Add beans and the reserved liquid to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
Add all ingredients, including the ranch seasoning, to a medium saucepan set over low-medium heat. Stir to combine, then stir occasionally over the next 10-12 minutes as the cheeses melt. Serve immediately once heated throughout and all the cheese has melted.
See notes in post above regarding various ways to cook and/or shred chicken and prepare homemade or use store-bought ranch seasoning.
Looking for another healthy fake-out dip for your party? Grab two cans of cannellini beans at the store and you’re all set for making healthier spinach artichoke dip, too.