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A hearty, zesty blend of Mexican spices and shredded chicken kicked up a notch with a hefty dose of hot sauce.
The reason behind that is… Dessert is my specialty.
I have never been much of a cook (in the 4 years I lived by myself, I had macaroni and cheese a lot), because it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I need a recipe and specific measurements.
My husband Matt? He can throw a bunch of ingredients together and turn them into an amazing meal. If he let me do that, he would find himself ordering pizza while I was throwing away whatever it is I attempted to make.
I’m trying to get better.
What I can cook is anything that requires one pot or a casserole dish. I don’t mind chopping vegetables and prepping spices if there is a way to combine all of them so that I can’t really screw up. That’s what this buffalo chicken chili is all about. Some prepping that takes a bit of time, but the actual “cooking” involved is quite simple and incredibly customizable.
I’ve been making this chili for several years, and I’m not sure that I’ve ever made it exactly the same any two times. Sometimes I may be feeling more spice… Another time, I want more chicken… A third time, I want different vegetables.
The nice part about this chili is that no matter what you want your end result to be, the method is the same. And that method, my friends, is so easy it hurts.
THE METHOD FOR THIS CHILI IS SIMPLE
Prep your chicken. Chop your vegetables. Sauté your vegetables. Measure your spices. Open some cans. Dump it all together. Smell the amazingness. Prop your feet up, grab a snack, and wait for the ingredients to work their magic.
Wham bam, thank you, ma’am.
The chicken is probably the most inconsistent ingredient I use in this chili. Sometimes I bake plain chicken (with a little S&P, of course), other times, I boil it and leave it plain…
Sometimes, I roast my chicken rubbed with garlic, and other times, as I did for this particular batch of buffalo chicken chili, I use a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
While using a rotisserie chicken is certainly the easiest route, I usually end up with only about 1 pound of chicken once I’ve picked through the carcass. (<– there’s a word I never thought I would use on my blog!)
If I bake, roast, or boil my chicken, I typically end up using between 2 and 2 and 1/2 pounds of chicken, which I shred with my KitchenAid stand mixer (<– if you’re not doing this, you need to start. It’ll change your life for serious!).
This is all personal preference and dependent on what’s available to me.
The vegetables that I like to use are an onion, carrots, celery, and a bell pepper. I really like all of these vegetables and find that they work nicely with the texture and the flavors going on in the chili…
But feel free to use more, less, or none at all of any of them. Like I said, incredibly customizable. I frequently add corn if we have it (a favorite addition).
You’ll use 3 kinds of beans in this chili: kidney, black, and chili. I find this bean trifecta to be a winning combination. Again, if you don’t like all of those beans, double up on the one you do like.
The only thing I urge you not to leave out are the chili beans. While you’ll drain and rinse your kidney and black beans, you’ll leave the chili beans in their sauce. The zesty sauce is essential to the flavor of your chili!
What I love most about this chili is that it’s different. Chili is typically made either with beef or simply no meat at all, and while those ways are both certainly winners in my book, shredded chicken just takes my chili to a whole different level. I’m a huge buffalo chicken lover, so the more ways I can get it into my mouth, the better.
My buffalo chicken chili is thick, hearty, and full of heat without lacking flavor. Too many times, spicy dishes are just… Spice. No flavor. There is none of that going on here. You’ll find all of the flavor you’d expect from chili kicked up a notch with hot sauce and paired with crunchy, seasoned vegetables.
Top your big ol’ bowl of chili with shredded cheese and a little avocado. Consider spicing things up even more and adding some fresh jalapeños!
A nice dollop of sour cream would certainly pair nicely with the spices, as would some creamy guacamole. Enjoy with tortilla chips, cornbread, or your favorite kind of rice… Or simply as a dip or topping! I’ve even been known to eat it cold, and yes, it’s just as delicious.
Whatever you decide to add to your buffalo chicken chili or however you decide to eat it, I’m sure you’ll agree that this flavor combination is a winner and the surefire cure to the winter blues. Besides… If I can cook this, so can you. It’s too easy not to try.
Buffalo Chicken Chili
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3-4 large stalks of celery sliced
- 2-3 large carrots sliced
- 1 large bell pepper any color, chopped
- 1 large onion chopped (I prefer white or sweet Vidalia)
- 5 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika plain paprika is fine
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1 jar approximately 24-30 ounces tomato sauce (you'll want one that is not flavored with Italian seasonings or cheeses)
- 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles do not drain
- 1-15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1-15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1-15 ounce can chili beans in sauce
- 2 to 3 cups shredded roasted chicken* approximately 1-2 pounds
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large (at least 4 quarts) pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, pepper, and onion and sauté for approximately 5-7 minutes, or as long as it takes for vegetables to sweat out some juices and become tender. Add chili powder, cumin, and paprika and stir until vegetables are coated.
- Carefully pour in hot sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and all 3 kinds of beans and stir until completely combined. Add chicken and stir to distribute. Taste the soup and add salt, pepper, and more spices to your liking.
- Turn heat down to low and allow chili to simmer for at least 1 hour. Chili may be served immediately, but I find it has the best flavor after it sits in the refrigerator overnight. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating. Top with your favorite chili toppings or use as a dip. Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Chili freezes well, up to 3 months.
If you love buffalo chicken as much as I do, be sure to check out my Buffalo Blue Salad.
Need to cool things down for dessert?
Consider some sweet, tangy, and creamy Key Lime Pie Bars…
…or some equally creamy Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars. The citrus would be a great finishing touch to a meal of buffalo chicken chili!
Of course, there’s always a classic.