Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip (no crock pot needed!)

Every Memorial Day,  B’s family gathers at his uncle’s house for your typical summer holiday barbecue. B’s uncle prepares the main dish, and everyone else gets assigned something else – a side dish, salad, drinks, appetizer or dessert. This year, B and I were told to bring an appetizer. After much debate, we decided to bring some sort of bean dip/hummus (we decided to make this SO good 5 Ingredient Garlicky Bean Dip) and B’s famous Bacon Blue Cheese Guacamole. But when we went to the grocery store Monday (yes, we went the Monday of Memorial Day, when everyone else and their mom was there), they had no ripe avocados. So, guacamole was out. So it was going to be either pizza dip or buffalo chicken dip. I quickly googled the pizza dip recipe, realized it would take a few more ingredients and a little more time (of course we were running a little late for that day’s bbq already) so the answer was clear – Buffalo Chicken Dip.

I’d made the dip before (honestly, what girl hasn’t brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to a party in a cute little crock pot for an appetizer before?) and knew it would be a hit. Especially if I bought those awesome Fritos scoops to dip with. And celery, because celery goes GREAT with buffalo chicken dip… and peanut butter.  But not together.

If you’ve never made Buffalo Chicken Dip, here’s the recipe I use. It’s a hybrid of quite a few other recipes I’ve seen but it’s my favorite.  I think I’ve got the ratio of buffalo sauce to ranch JUST perfect! Enjoy 🙂

buffalo chicken dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip 

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 cooked boneless chicken breasts (about 10-12 oz total) OR 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained. Yes, they make chicken in a can, not to be confused with Chicken of the Sea, which is tuna, as Jessica Simpson now understands (no idea what I mean? Check out this video. Sorry for the sidetrack but it’s very important you watch this video because you may understand what happened to Nick and Jessica’s relationship).  Anyway, I’ve made it both ways, and I hate to say it – but you can’t really tell a difference when you use real vs. canned chicken.
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing sauce
  • 3/4 -1 cup ranch dressing – I use full fat Hidden Valley Ranch because I can’t stand lowfat Ranch. I use 3/4 c but if you are sensitive to hot sauce (or can’t stand the heat) definitely use the full cup.
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature. I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese because I think it tastes just as good. Unlike lowfat Ranch (see note above).
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim cheddar cheese, divided in half

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat up chicken and hot sauce, until heated through.
  3. Stir in ranch dressing and cream cheese. Continue cooking and stir until well blended and cream cheese is no longer lumpy. Then add in half the cheddar cheese and continue mixing until melted.
  4. Transfer mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over top and then cook in 325 degree oven for 10ish minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm with celery and those awesome Fritos scoops. If you’re bringing to a potluck, you can save the cooking in the oven until you get there. OR you can just heat up in the microwave for 2-3 minutes when you get there. And sit back, relax, and watch everyone enjoy your amazing dip!

Some thoughts to ponder –

  • Do you like buffalo chicken? I love anything buffalo flavored! Buffalo chicken salad. Buffalo roasted chickpeas. Buffalo chicken wraps. Buffalo chicken soup. I once made B stop on our drive out to NY in Buffalo so we could try the original buffalo wings. 
  • What’s your go-to potluck recipe?
  • Do you like low-fat substitutions? I generally do, but I can’t stand lowfat ranch dressing. The smell makes me feel sick, too.
  • Do you celebrate Memorial Day with a cookout?
buffalo chicken dip

Heat chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and ranch dressing in a skillet.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

enjoy! If you're bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event :)

enjoy! If you’re bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event 🙂

Potluck perfect – low fat taco dip!

My coworkers got together for yet another potluck last week, and instead of bringing my usual — dessert! — I decided to bring an appetizer.  I have so many appetizers pinned that I haven’t gotten to try out yet, but decided to find an easy, low fat recipe from one of my favorite low fat bloggers – Skinny Taste. It came out great – but would’ve been better had I not made it the day before. Whoops! So I warn you – do not prepare a day ahead of time.

Just in time for tailgate season – or football watching – I bring you low fat taco dip!

I added black beans to mine – you could always add seasoned cooked ground turkey or beef, or even some jalapenos to give it more of a kick. Enjoy!

low fat taco dip appetizer

Low Fat Taco Dip (borrowed from Skinny Taste)

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 8 oz reduced fat sour cream
  • 16 oz jar mild salsa (I used half a jar of mild and half a jar of hot salsa for a little kick)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2.25 oz black olives

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. Mix well with an electric mixer.
  2. Spread mixture on the bottom of a large shallow dish.
  3. Top mixture with can of black beans, drained.
  4. Top beans with a layer of shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, then shredded cheese and black olives.
  5. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

NOTE: I don’t recommend making  a day ahead of time. I did that once and it seemed to get a little watery/liquidy as opposed to making it fresh.

Looking for some other appetizers? Might I also suggest:

5 Ingredient Garlicky White Bean Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip (with OR without a crock pot)

bacon blue cheese guacamole (trust me on this one)

light spinach artichoke dip

light spinach artichoke dip

Healthy Appetizers

A few weeks ago for the Super Bowl, I was searching for some healthy, yet entertaining-worthy appetizers. The fiance is on a mission to lose some weight before our wedding, but I still wanted to find some fun finger-foods for our super small Super Bowl gathering.

Nearly a month later, I’m sharing them (I can’t believe Feb is almost over!!) so you can use them for your next get-together – formal or informal!

Goat Cheese Marinara and pita chips: I first stumbled across this type of dip at Bricco, in downtown Cleveland. When my friend Ali told me she’d made a version on her own, I couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve been making it ever since! So simple, and delicious:


  • 1 c. marinara sauce (we just made our own, but if you are fearful of making your own pasta sauce, a store-bought brand may do … don’t tell my Italian mother I told you that!)
  • 1/2 small brick of goat cheese (I love Chevre… I think it comes in 5 oz bricks)
  • Hot pepper flakes, to taste


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  • Take a small custard cup, safe for baking (I used a 3.5 oz rameken / custard cup) and fill nearly all the way with the marinara sauce. Mix in hot pepper flakes.
  • Cut the 5 0z goat cheese brick in half so that it’s about the height of the ramekin. Plop (lightly! or it will splatter) into the center of the marinara filled baking dish.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until goat cheese is melty. Yes, melty is a word.

That’s it! Serve with either homemade pita chips, warm pita bread, or my favorite — Stacy’s Simply Naked. Yum yum!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip: I also served some “healthy” spinach and artichoke dip. The recipe was adopted from a Cooking Light recipe from a few years ago.


  • 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 6 ounces (3/4 block) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces (full block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts (canned in water), drained and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided (That’s what the recipe calls for .. I used more because I love me some Parmesan!)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. (Same temp as the above recipe – you can make them at the same time!)
  • Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander and then dry. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out. (NOTE – I forgot to tear the spinach before cooking and had to try to chop it when it was hot and cooked…which was more difficult)
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top. I used a little more than 1/4 c because I love Parmesan!
  • Bake 30 minutes, or until Parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down. Serve with homemade tortilla chips or low-fat/baked version.

And this – I snapped a photo of!

Enjoy!  I’ve just got a crock pot, thanks to my registry, so some recipes for that to come!