by Olena

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 27 votes

Buffalo Chicken Chili made healthy and yet creamy in slow cooker or Instant Pot. Or turn into a freezer meal.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili Recipe

Let’s say if you like the concept of buffalo chicken wings, you will love this healthy buffalo chicken chili where things are sealed with 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese. It melts and makes a bowl of hearty chili so creamy and irresistible! Who can say “no”, right?!

This buffalo chicken chili recipe is an old recipe of mine (inspired by Rachael Ray) I have improved with a lot of flavor, Instant Pot version and how to turn this recipe into a freezer meal. Are you enjoying this improved version of me?:)

Tips for Best Buffalo Chicken Chili

  • If you are not a fan of blue cheese, stir in 1/2 cup of cream cheese instead.
  • Use any chicken pieces you have on hand. Even with bone in. Done it many times.
  • Add more or less hot sauce to taste. My tasty buffalo chicken chili is kid friendly.
  • Choose meaty beans that break down starches more like red kidney, pinto or cannellini beans.
  • If not a fan of shredded chicken, use ground chicken. Just saute to break down into small pieces first.

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Chili

This recipe includes slow cooker and Instant Pot versions.

In Instant Pot

  1. Cook chicken, vegetables and spices on High pressure for 35 minutes with Quick Release of pressure.
  2. Remove chicken onto plate and shred with 2 forks. Return to the pot.
  3. Add blue cheese, stir and let sit for a few minutes.

Tip: It is important to always place canned tomatoes on top to avoid Burn.

how to make Instant pot Buffalo Chicken Chili step by step

In Slow Cooker

  1. Since food is not cooked under pressure, we need to bring flavors out by sauteing vegetables for 5 minutes.
  2. Then cook sauteed veggies, chicken, beans, tomatoes and spices on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
  3. After repeat same steps as for Instant pot.

How to Serve This Chili?

Serve hot, garnished with cilantro, green onion and lime. And tortilla chips if you have any.:)

bowl of Buffalo Chicken Chili garnished with lemon and cilantro

Make a Freezer Meal

  1. Freeze all ingredients in a gallon size Ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
  2. Cook from frozen in Instant Pot or thawed in slow cooker. Clearly, pressure cooker wins.

Watch how I meal prep 5 healthy freezer meals in 2 hours on my Youtube cooking channel. And print recipes + shopping list, this buffalo chicken chili is one of them. Isn’t it amazing to not worry about dinners for entire week? I’m obsessed!

 Buffalo Chicken Chili prepped in freezer bag; bowl of buffalo chicken chili

More Cozy Healthy Stews

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili made healthy and yet creamy in slow cooker or Instant Pot. Or turn into a freezer meal.
5 from 27 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 318kcal
Author: Olena Osipov


  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 large carrots chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks chopped
  • 2 x 15 oz cans any low sodium beans drained & rinsed
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes low sodium
  • 1/4 cup Frank's red hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts skinless & boneless
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbled
  • Avocado oil for frying
  • Cilantro green onion, lime and tortilla chips, for garnish


  • Slow Cooker: Preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery; sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large slow cooker along with beans, diced tomatoes, Frank's red hot sauce, maple syrup, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Add chicken breasts and push on them to sink in. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
  • Instant Pot: In Instant Pot, add ingredients in the following order: garlic, onion, carrots, celery, beans, maple syrup, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, chicken, Frank's red hot sauce and diced tomatoes. Do not stir!
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 30 minutes. To release the pressure, do quick release by turning pressure valve to Venting position until float valve drops down.
  • Remove chicken breasts, shred with 2 forks and return to the slow cooker/Instant Pot. Add blue cheese, stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Serve hot, garnished with cilantro, green onion and lime. And tortilla chips if you have any.:)


  • Chicken thighs would be great as they are more fatty.
  • Also if cooking from fresh in Instant Pot, tomatoes might leak to the bottom and "burn" message might display. If so, add 1/2 cup water, don't stir and keep cooking. Also if it displays again (IP can be finicky), just let a bit pressure out and "burn" message should be gone.
  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer Meal: In a gallon size Ziplock bag, add all ingredients finishing with tomatoes on top. Let as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.
  • Please note this is large meal, so if you are cooking in anything other than 8 quart Instant Pot (I have one) then freeze in 2 bags or 2 containers. For 8 quart Instant Pot freeze the bag standing upright, then it fits and lid will close.
  • If cooking in slow cooker, you would have to sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery before freezing with other ingredients. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours (food safety thing), then add to a large slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low. Garnish and serve.
  • If cooking in Instant Pot, pressure cook on High from frozen for 30 minutes with Quick Release. 


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 813mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4724IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg
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olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

71 comments on “Buffalo Chicken Chili

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  1. Making for the first time, for the instapot version, do you use frozen chicken breasts or thawed? Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts. Very easy to make. The blue cheese and cilantro finishes it off nicely.

  3. Olena,

    I want to jump on board with buffalo sauce recipes but the salt content is so high. I know this says 8 servings but my husband will eat half of this recipe in one sitting.

    Do you know of any good, low sodium hot sauces that I could sub? Or maybe I should half the hot sauce and add cayenne and vinegar?

  4. 5 stars
    This was really yummy and easy to make in the instant pot. The instructions were so clear and helpful for a first time instant pot user. I added extra hot sauce because I love the spicy.!

  5. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe in the instant pot for a few friends last night. They loved it. I sprinkled boneless, skinless chicken thighs with a chipotle raspberry rub and then browned them in olive oil for four minutes on each side using the saute setting. You can fit about five pieces at a time in the bottom of the pot. Then I added the other ingredients per the recipe except I left out the onions at a friend’s request and used water instead of hot sauce. Opted for honey over maple syrup. Easily makes enough for six large servings. Great meal for a cold day.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this as a freezer meal and then cooked from frozen in my instant pot. Lovely recipe, so easy to prepare and was amazed at how well it turned out from frozen…the chicken was really juicy and the flavour lovely, will definitely make again.

  7. 5 stars
    Loved this! Such a fun twist on chili, easy to put together and totally satisfied my wings craving! I found your blog after buying an instant pot and trying to figure out what to do with it, haha. Thanks to you, I’ve been loving all the healthy, crazy delicious and easy recipes I can make! Thank you so much for sharing these delicious recipes!

    1. Haha I’m so glad you didn’t stare at the box for a year haha. Happy to hear! I love my Instant Pot too! Thank you so much for your kind words. Enjoy!

  8. Hi! I’m making this tonight in my instant pot and my husband likes ground chicken much better than shredded chicken. Will it work the same with ground chicken? Same cook time, etc? (making it fresh-not frozen) Thank you!

    1. Yes. Just sauté ground chicken until broken into small pieces. Otherwise will be a blob of meat. Huge meatball. Sorry didn’t see this sooner.

  9. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Made it a week ago and already making it again tonight! Husband loves taking it to work for lunch. Very “hearty” and filling – but no guilt! Really enjoyed this recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    Wow, that sounds really nice. I would definitely like to try it out. Unfortunatly I don’t own an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. Do you think it is possible to cook it in a stovetop pressure cooker an add a bit more liquid? Or put everything in a normal pot and cook a bit longer?

    1. Hello. I never owned a stovetop pressure cooker so wouldn’t know how to use it. However, you can make this buffalo chicken chili easy-peasy on the stove – saute veggies and then simmer everything for 60-90 minutes. Just like any chili.:)

  11. 5 stars
    Made the slow cooker version for supper last evening. Big hit. Wings in a bowl without the guilt. Topping of blue cheese added just the right amount of tang. 1/4 of Frank’s is just right.

  12. 5 stars
    It’s cold, gray and raining here. I’ve been going through your all your recipies and this one felt like the perfect meal for a cold day. You never disappoint!

    1. Oh, enjoy and thank you! Do you have an Instant Pot lol? It’s the same depressing here, pouring like cats and dogs in Vancouver for weeks now. This is the time when a good book, comfort food, board games and TV are your best friends.

  13. 5 stars
    Last night, we made the tex-mex sweet potato skillet. This is in the crockpot right now. Can’t wait to try it. You are the only healthy cooking blog that has recipes my boyfriend will actually eat – thank you 🙂

  14. Hello, is it necessary to sauté the veggies before adding them to the crock pot? Will they not be cooked or soft if I throw them in with the other ingredients?

    1. Sautéing the vegetables adds more flavour to the dish. Some people like a shortcut and some don’t mind a bit of extra work for a bit more flavour. Up to you.:)

  15. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this recipe! Made it without beans, used Frank’s Buffalo Sauce and added mushrooms and green peppers…nobody here likes beans in their chili! Not spicy at all and a nice change drom regular chili. I will try it with ground beef or ground turkey next!
    Thank you for a great recipe!

  16. Hi Olena – between the two of us we couldn’t eat all of this in one go so we froze what we couldn’t eat! We actually made the filling into quesedilla’s & they were delicious all over again! We used greek yogurt instead of sour cream, added some tomatoes, chives & a sprinkle of low fax tex mex shredded cheese! Yum!

  17. 5 stars
    Olena – This was amazing!! Thank you! This is the second recipe of yours I’ve made (Cabbage Roll Casserole was the first) and they are very easy to follow & always turn out great! Thank you again! My boyfriend & I both loved the chili!

    1. That’s awesome, Shannon! Surprisingly even kids like this chili. I thought buffalo sauce would be a problem but not. Always love to hear your feedback.:)

  18. Okay, I have a question for you. I am at work now and I have all the ingredients ready to go at home. I am planning on putting them in the crock pot at lunch. The only thing is my chicken is already cut up instead of the whole chicken breasts. Do you think I should still cook on high for 4 hours? I’m worried the chicken will overcook that way.

    1. I personally don’t think chicken will be overcooked after 4 hours even cut up. What you could do is dice carrots smaller and cook for 3 hours. After 3 hours bigger chunks of carrots won’t be cooked for sure.

      1. 5 stars
        It turned out so good! My 6 year old even asked for seconds, and she rarely does that. Thank you for this recipe, Olena.

        1. Yay! So welcome. You know, my 7 year old asked for seconds too. I really was surprised thinking it would be too spicy or cayenne pepper-y for him. Nope.

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