by Olena

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
4.8 from 4 votes

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Creamy, cheesy Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip made lighter without a block of cream cheese. Made in the oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot this appetizer is perfect for game day or anytime your feeding a crowd!

I love to make healthier versions of my favorite dips, and nobody knows the difference! Other lightened up appetizers I make include healthy spinach dip, french onion dip and taco dip.

buffalo chicken dip with celery being dipped into it

This healthy buffalo chicken dip tastes unbelievably original and creamy but without all that saturated fat that comes with a block of cream cheese. It might be the skinny version of your favorite shredded chicken dip recipe, but no one will be the wiser when you serve it!

A can of white beans does magic to replace 8 oz of cream cheese in this buffalo chicken dip. The dip is loaded with creaminess, shredded chicken mixed with just the right amount of Frank’s hot sauce and each bite is sealed with zesty green onion.

Why Make Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip?

  • Low saturated fat: All of this goodness divided between 10 people yields only 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. Sign me up!
  • Healthier ingredient swaps: Lighter Greek yogurt and white beans make the perfect substitute for heavy cream cheese, sour cream or ranch. 
  • ‘Just enough’ cheese: My shredded chicken dip contains only 1/2 cup of cheese compared to other buffalo dips that contain up to 2 cups and yet it still tastes so cheesy!
  • 3 ways to make it: Oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot makes this easy dip perfect to whip together for any gathering!
  • Versatile: Use leftover rotisserie chicken, swap cheddar cheese for blue cheese, use whatever onion you have on hand and more.
  • Party perfect: Holidays, potlucks, game day or a Sunday afternoon, buffalo chicken dip without cream cheese will be a hit!

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Dip without Cream Cheese

Can’t find Greek yogurt? No problem! Strain regular yogurt in a linen towel over a bowl for about an hour!

  • Red hot sauce: I like to use Frank’s red hot sauce for recipe testing purposes. Although there are many generic store brands of red cayenne pepper sauce (or even specific buffalo sauce brands) that work just as well. Can’t get enough buffalo sauce, try it on air fryer wings and cauliflower!
  • Cheese: Any hard variety of yellow cheese like cheddar, marble or Tex Mex works. Just know that grated at home cheese melts better than pre-shredded. If you are a fan of blue cheese, replace cheddar with blue cheese crumbles and make buffalo chicken chili, next!
  • Green onion and garlic: Diced red onion, garlic powder or fresh garlic will work.
healthy buffalo chicken dip ingredients with chicken breast greek yogurt red hot sauce and cheese

How to Make Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip Instant Pot

Instant Pot is great to make dip ahead of time and then Keep Warm. You can even cook chicken and white beans from dried at same time.

  • Cook fresh chicken and dried beans: Just cover both with water 2 inches higher and pressure cook on High for 15 minutes with 5 minute Natural Release. No need to soak beans.
  • Shred chicken and puree beans: Then remove chicken and shred. Drain pot with beans leaving approximately 1/4 cup water in there, add garlic and blend with an immersion blender.
  • Combine and slow cook: Add shredded chicken and remaining ingredients, stir, cover with regular lid and slow cook for 2-3 hours. Then switch to Keep Warm.

Buffalo Chicken Dip Oven

  • Shred chicken and puree beans: Cook chicken (if using raw) and shred with 2 forks. Process canned beans in a blender or food processor with water and garlic until smooth.
  • Combine: Then in a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, white bean paste, yogurt, green onion and hot sauce.
  • Bake: Transfer to a small baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Sprinkle with cheese, bake until melted and let stand for 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Buffalo Dip

  • Slow cook chicken: If not using cooked chicken, cook chicken breasts in slow cooker covered with water for 3 hours on High. Drain liquid (reserve or freeze for later soups) and shred chicken with 2 forks right in a crockpot.
  • Puree beans and combine: Then add processed in a blender beans with water and garlic; yogurt, green onion, hot sauce and cheese.
  • Slow cook a bit more: Stir, cover and cook on Low for 2-3 hours.

Optional Add-Ins and Variations

  • Cream cheese: I know this recipe is for buffalo chicken dip without cream cheese, but if you must include it, choose Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese. Nutritional information will change.
  • Buffalo sauce: Many brands including Frank’s now make specific buffalo sauce. Substitute your favorite for the hot sauce.
  • Cottage cheese: If you are opposed to beans, or just want extra cheesy, add 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese. Of course, once again your nutritional information will change.
  • Ranch: For an extra punch of flavor, mix in some ranch seasonings with your Greek Yogurt. I like to use wholesome healthy ranch dressing ‘flavors’ with fresh dill (or parsley), onion powder and pepper.
  • Greek yogurt: You can use plain regular yogurt (strained to be thicker) or even sour cream (will not be a lighter dip!)
  • Cheddar cheese: Other favorite cheeses – blue cheese crumbles, Tex Mex, pepper jack or your favorite.

Tips for Best Results

  • Higher fat yogurt: Whether you choose to use Greek or plain choose 2% fat or higher for best creamy taste.
  • Freshly grated cheese: Whatever cheese you end up using, freshly grated will taste the best! Whatever you do, don’t use a low fat cheese, they do not melt well.
  • Stir often: If serving at a party, stir often so ingredients don’t separate – while it will still taste delicious, sometimes oil from cheese separates from the rest of the dish and can look oily. 
  • Leftover chicken: Plain chicken works best if using leftovers! Remember any flavor/seasoning you added to your previously cooked chicken will now be in the dip.

FAQs

Can you make this buffalo shredded chicken dip recipe with canned chicken?

You could, it may change the sodium content if there is any added salt.

What can you substitute for cream cheese in buffalo chicken dip?

Greek yogurt and white beans make an excellent substitute and that is how I make this recipe and no one is the wiser!

Why is it called buffalo chicken dip?

It has nothing to do with buffalo or bison the animal! Rather, it is named after a bar in Buffalo, New York, that first served the dip.

Can I make buffalo dip with chicken dairy free?

I have not tried this, but there are many dairy free substitutions on the market these days that could be tried. I imagine the taste will be different, though.

Is this keto buffalo chicken dip?

It really depends if you are including dairy carbs in your keto lifestyle. If you are including them in moderation, this popular game day dip is keto friendly.

Can I make vegetarian buffalo dip?

Yes, just omit the chicken. I would leave some beans in pieces for texture.

buffalo chicken dip without cream cheese with cracker

How to Serve Chicken Dip Recipe?

  • Chips: We prefer Que pasa or Kirkland organic tortilla chips.
  • Crackers: Choose whole grain crackers like Mary’s Gone or Triscuits. I buy healthy snacks in bulk at Costco.
  • Raw vegetables: Celery and carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers or broccoli.
  • As an appetizer or side to your favorite chili: For game day, I serve this buffalo chicken dip Instant Pot with turkey chili.

Make a game day charcuterie board using these ideas!

How to Make Ahead?

Make ahead: Combine all ingredients and refrigerate covered for 1-2 days. When ready, bake or slow cook as per recipe.

Serving: I find dip tastes best of you let it sit for 10 minutes after cooking. Flavors really marry each other. Sprinkle with a lot of chopped green onion and drizzle with more hot sauce, if you wish.

Use leftovers to jazz up buffalo chicken tacos!

More Healthy Dips

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip garnished with green onion and hot sauce
Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Creamy, cheesy Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip made lighter without a block of cream cheese. Made in the oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot this appetizer is perfect for game day or anytime your feeding a crowd!
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless & skinless chicken breasts
  • 14 oz can low sodium white beans drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain regular or Greek yogurt 2% or higher fat
  • 1/2 cup red hot sauce like Frank’s
  • 3/4 cup cup green onion chopped & divided
  • 2 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup marble, Tex Mex or cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions

Oven

  • Cook chicken (if using raw) and shred with 2 forks. I usually use my Instant Pot chicken breast. You can use rotisserie chicken, slow cooker or baked chicken breast leftovers. Anything works.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Process beans in a blender or food processor with water and garlic until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, white bean paste, yogurt, 1/2 cup green onion and hot sauce.
  • Transfer to a small baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with cheese, bake until melted and let stand for 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker

  • If not using cooked chicken, cook chicken breasts in slow cooker covered with water for 3 hours on High. Drain broth (save for later), shred chicken with 2 forks; add yogurt, 1/2 cup green onion, hot sauce and cheese. Stir, cover and cook on Low for 2-3 hours. Switch to Keep Warm after.

Instant Pot

  • If not using cooked chicken and beans, to Instant Pot add raw chicken breasts, 1/2 cup dried beans and water 2 inches above; pressure cook on High for 15 minutes with 5 minute Natural Release. Then remove chicken and shred. Drain pot with beans leaving approximately 1/4 cup water, add garlic and blend with an immersion blender. Add shredded chicken, yogurt, 1/2 cup green onion, hot sauce and cheese. Stir, cover with regular lid, slow cook for 2-3 hours and then switch to Keep Warm.

Serving

  • Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onion and more hot sauce, if you wish. I find dip tastes best of you let it sit for 10 minutes after cooking.
  • Our favorite dippers for serving include Que Pasa or Kirkland organic tortilla chips, celery and carrot sticks, thickly sliced cucumbers, whole grain crackers like Mary's Gone and Triscuits.

Make ahead: Combine all ingredients and refrigerate covered for 1-2 days. When ready, bake or slow cook as per recipe.

    Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They taste great cold or can be reheated in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

      Notes

      • A can of white beans: You can also use chickpeas although they have stronger bean taste.
      • Plain yogurt: Make sure to use plain regular or Greek yogurt with fat content of 2% and not lower. It makes dip creamy. I also recommend to strain regular yogurt in a linen towel for about 1 hour.
      • Cheese: Any hard variety of yellow cheese like cheddar, marble or Tex Mex works. If you are a fan of blue cheese, replace cheddar with blue cheese crumbles.
      • Onion: Red onion or white onion could be used. Different onions may have a more ‘pungent’ onion taste to them. 
      • Fresh garlic: Garlic powder could be substituted. 
      • Leftover chicken: If you opt to use leftover shredded chicken, plain (or mild) seasoning is best. Any ‘flavor/seasoning’ on the chicken will now be in the dip.
      See recipe post for more tips and variations.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 514mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.