Award Winning Buffalo Chicken Chili

The last time I spoke to my brother Sam, he told me he and his family had sat around the kitchen table drooling over my blog post, My Favorite Silver Palate Chili, a traditional, spicy, ground beef-based chili. Finally, one of his children said, “Yeah, Dad, but who’s gonna make it?” And there the story ended. I had to agree, the Silver Palate Chili ingredient list was daunting. I promise you, Sam, this chicken chili recipe is much simpler to make.

lisa's chili

This recipe should be called Disappearing Chili because each time I have seen it served to a crowd, it has been completely consumed. In fact, at the end of the 2nd Annual Vanderbilt Liver Transplant Team Chili Cook-Off, not only was the crock pot bowl holding it empty, it also took the top three awards: Best Chili, Spiciest Chili, and Kid’s Choice. Essentially, if you like the flavor of spicy buffalo wings dunked in blue cheese dressing, you’re going to love this chili.

Lisa credits the marvelous Crockpot Gourmet as the inspiration for her version of this recipe.  I’ve taken the liberty of changing it up even further by adding a few more ingredients, including cannellini beans and more broth.

If you would like an additional challenge, at the end of this post, I’ve given instructions on how to make your own ranch seasoning mix rather than using the prepackaged mix that is loaded with MSG.

Yield: Makes 4.5 quarts

Lisa's Chili

⅓ cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 or 3 colorful sweet bell peppers, seeded and chopped
the meat from one rotisserie chicken, (about 2 pounds) roughly chopped
8 cups chicken broth
2  14.5-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
6 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained, not rinsed
2  7-ounce cans diced green chilies, drained
½ cup buffalo wing sauce (more if you like it really hot)
2 packages ranch dressing mix, or 6 tablespoons homemade Ranch mix*
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon salt
2  8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, cut into small squares for quicker melting

Chili Toppings:
Blue cheese crumbles and freshly chopped cilantro. Serve over rice, if desired.

A word about ingredients:

How much meat does a rotisserie chicken yield? I spoke to the butcher at Costco, who said all of their rotisserie chickens weighed 3-5 pounds. Here’s a good tip: How do you know which ones weigh 5 pounds? Look for the ones where the chicken is touching the top of the container. Any chicken weighing less than 3 pounds is used for chicken salad. Any chicken not sold within two hours is pulled from the display case and is used for chicken salad. This fryer weighed 4 pounds 7 ounces. It only costs $5.00.


It yielded 2 pounds 8 ounces of meat.


There was 1 pound 13 ounces of skin and bones leftover. Save this in a bag in the freezer to make Chicken Stock from Rotisserie Bones.


Fire Roasted Tomatoes add bite to soups. The ingredients include tomatoes, onion and garlic powder.


Buffalo Wing Sauce is a hot sauce with “butter” (natural butter flavor) and is intended to go directly over cooked chicken wings.

lisa's chili


1) Prep vegetables: wash, remove seeds and stems from the peppers, and chop into large chunks.

Lisa's Chili

Chunks should be small enough that when placed in a food processor, they’ll not only fit but will also process evenly.

Lisa's Chili Lisa's Chili

2) Prep chicken. If using rotisserie chicken, pull the meat off the bones and chop into bite-sized pieces. Each rotisserie chicken should yield about 2-3 pounds of meat depending on how big the chicken is.
3) Sauté the vegetables for 10 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
4) Add chicken and stir.

Lisa's Chili

5) Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cream cheese and toppings and simmer for about 30 minutes. The hot sauce gives it a lot of its color:

Lisa's Chili

6)  Just before you are ready to serve, cut up the cream cheese into small pieces and add to the chili. Stir the soup as it melts. Add more buffalo sauce if you want more “heat.”
7) Wash and dry cilantro. Snip each leaf off the stem. Serve in a separate bowl alongside a bowl of blue cheese crumbles.

lisa's chili

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix:

I thought it would be a fun challenge to try and make my own Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, so I searched the web for a homemade version and found one over at Gimme Some Love. This mix is excellent, and the advantage is there are no preservatives. The mix has a 3-month shelf life in the refrigerator.



Ranch seasoning.

1/3 cup dry buttermilk
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon salt


Whisk all ingredients together until blended. If you want a more finely ground seasoning mix, you could pulse the mixture in a food processor until it reaches desired consistency.

Ranch seasoning.
Homemade on the left, packaged on the right.
Ranch seasoning.
*3 tablespoons of this mix = 1 packet of store-bought mix. To test the homemade mix, I mixed 1 teaspoon of my homemade mix with 1/4 cup of plain, unsweetened Kefir, which is similar to liquid yogurt.
Ranch seasoning.
I poured it on my salad, and it was delicious. It’s also good as a low-calorie dip for vegetables.
Ranch seasoning.

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe or pattern.

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© 2014-2018 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

18 thoughts on “Award Winning Buffalo Chicken Chili

  1. Wes and I are having a few friends over for dinner tonight. I cant wait to make this for supper. It sounds delicious.

  2. I’m planning on making this recipe for super bowl Sunday and was wondering if it is ok to make the day before and reheat in the crockpot? Thank you

  3. This is delicious!! Fixed it over the holidays and it was a big hit– perfect “man” soup, and I loved it too!!

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