Buffalo chicken dip. Do you think there might be a recipe for this stuff in the Necronomicon? It’s tasty, sure, but while you’re making it, don’t you get the feeling that you might be doing something to trigger the apocalypse? The unnerving amounts of cream cheese, chicken, and ranch sloshing around together in the same bowl sound like an evil, forgotten language that, when uttered, releases all that is wicked into the world. The curse of this appetizer is also its blessing: it annihilates your inhibitions. There is no such thing as eating a responsible amount of buffalo chicken dip. Once you scoop a chip into a bowl of it, you might as well grab some pizza, ice cream, alcohol, cigarettes, ketamine—it’s all on the table, and all bets are off. Congrats!
There are a billion recipes for buffalo chicken dip online, which is wild because every time I’ve had it, it usually tastes the same. Mildly sweet cream cheese and tangy buffalo sauce is a hard combination to screw up. Nor is there really any way to elevate it; you could use expensive products, I guess, but then you’d probably look like an asshole. No, buffalo chicken dip is best when it’s low to the ground. But there are some ways to improve upon this dish without adding extra work. I repeat: You should not be working too hard to make buffalo chicken dip.
I’m shocked by how many recipes call for canned chicken. Canned chicken is bare knuckles, pink, chunky, flavorless protein. There’s something extremely off-putting to me about wet meat, and canned chicken is just a little too moist. You know that feeling when you’re eating at Subway and you’re like, I know this is meat, but I only know that because they’re telling me it is. That’s canned chicken. Meanwhile, there’s another option that’s just as easy, the perfect flavor, and doesn’t come packed in weird chicken water: rotisserie chicken.
Cooked whole, rotisserie is juicy all on its own, and has the added bonus of dark meat. It’s also cheap and requires no prep. At most grocery stores, you can pick up a cooked chicken just as easily as you would a can. Go the rotisserie route for buffalo chicken dip, and when you do, make sure to use some of the dark meat, too. It’s fatty, flavorful, and always a welcome addition. I also prefer the consistency of pulled chicken to large chunks. It’s better for dipping. The pulled chicken wraps around your preferred dipping instrument perfectly, instead of rolling off in lumps like a boulder.
I’ve seen recipes that include both cream cheese and ranch, and some recipes that just include one or the other. If you’re going to be making buffalo chicken dip, go full Midwest and use both. Crumbled blue cheese is listed as optional in a lot of recipes, and it does make a lot of sense to pair that with buffalo sauce; restaurants in Buffalo actually do give you shit if you try to order ranch with buffalo wings. However, I think that cheese is an area where you get to mess around and make the dip your own—it all just depends on what you want. A layer of shredded cheddar on top will make for a great cheese-pull pic when it’s out of the oven. Swiss will give it a mild, fondue-like quality. Me? I use Boursin. My thinking is that a soft, herby cheese is kind of a cross between cream cheese and ranch anyway. I go for the full flavor, and that’s only possible with a rotisserie chicken.
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot
- 3-4 Tbsp. Boursin cheese
- chives to garnish
- salt and pepper, to taste
Note: Be sure to remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken. I let mine stand in the fridge for an hour before I start to deconstruct and shred. A fork will work to shred the chicken into long, thin strands, but I have found that nothing works quite as well as using your hands protected by a pair of kitchen gloves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the Boursin and chives. Salt and pepper to taste, then mix thoroughly. Spread it out into a small casserole dish or cast iron skillet. Next, take a couple pinches of Boursin cheese and spread out 5-6 little pockets of it on top. Bake for 25 minutes, until the dip is bubbling slightly and the Boursin has a touch of golden brown color. Garnish with chopped chives.