This high protein ground chicken chili combines fresh vegetables and herbs with a creamy buffalo sauce. It’s super filling and satisfies the buffalo chicken cravings. There are also options for dairy free and picky eater friendly versions, making it a great weeknight dinner option in a pinch.
How to Make Creamy Buffalo Chili with Ground Chicken
This is a super easy recipe, but I’ve included a visual recipe walkthrough with extra notes on ingredient substitutions, the picky eater version, and general prep tips in the post below. You’ll find a full recipe card at the bottom of the post as well.
1. Brown ground chicken on both sides and add diced onion and celery.
Like I mentioned in my recent ground chicken Dan Dan Noodles recipe, patting the chicken dry with a paper towel, making sure the pot and oil are both really hot before adding the chicken, and exercising patience are all key to successfully browning meat. You are after the golden brown color on both sides, as that creates tons of flavor.
Also, if you’re a fellow central or south Texan, HEB sells pre-diced onion and celery together in the perfect ratios for this ground chicken chili. Not saying that’s what I used to save time. Wink wink.
2. Add chili beans, buffalo sauce, seasoning, and chicken broth.
You’ll find some substitution notes for the seasoning and herbs in the picky eater version below. For the buffalo sauce, I always use Frank’s RedHot buffalo sauce. Since this recipe has a dairy free option, I’ll point out that Frank’s has non-dairy butter flavor, not actual butter in its ingredients. You can also make homemade buffalo sauce.
3. Bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
You want your ground chicken chili to thicken a bit and have plenty of time for the flavors to get to know one another. The onion and celery should be completely softened and nearly indistinguishable as well.
If you’re using a pressure cooker, I would go with something like 15-20 minutes on high pressure. You can always add a bit more broth at the end if your chili is too thick.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in cream cheese before serving.
At the request of many readers and a personal curiosity, I’ve started testing dairy free cheese options. Kite Hill seems to be the most popular suggestion in reader polls for the best dairy free substitutes. I used their regular and chive cream cheese in test batches and was quite surprised at how creamy and smooth it is.
Is real cream cheese better? You bet. Will you notice a huge difference in the finished product using something like Kite Hill? No.
All that said, if you’re good with dairy, cheese it up and thank your lucky stars!
For Picky Eater Approved Ground Chicken Chili
One of my wife’s favorite recipes ever is a buffalo chicken chili I developed for Stronger U during my tenure as their Food Dude. It was a very basic slow cooker chili with chicken breast, buffalo sauce, ranch seasoning, beans, and cream cheese. I developed this recipe with that in mind, hoping to add some fresh ingredients, ground chicken, and have a dairy free option.
But if you want to appease the picky eater in your house, you can omit the onion and celery. My wife is fine with fresh parsley but you could cut that out, too. So you would brown the ground chicken, break it apart, season with about a tablespoon of ranch seasoning, and add the remaining ingredients. In case you need it, you can make your own dairy free ranch seasoning.
Serving Your Creamy Buffalo Chicken Chili
Green onion, chives, or more fresh parsley are a great topping. And a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt or light sour cream add some great acidity to balance the creamy buffalo sauce.
Sticking with the dairy free theme, Siete makes a non-dairy, grain-free ranch flavored chip that’s really solid. But one thing about buffalo is that it goes with just about anything. Tortilla chips, crackers, pita chips, you name it—this chili will be a good fit. To take it up a notch, you could make garlic bread or some of my air fryer cheesy bread.
If you need something to round out a full meal, you could always go the sandwich route. Since this is a very hearty, meaty chili, you might go with something like a grilled cheese or this grilled vegetable and cheese sandwich.
More Healthy Soup and Chili Recipes
Okay, that’s all you need to know about this buffalo ground chicken chili. Before you go, I’ll leave you with a handful of recipes that are perfect for soup season.
- White Bean Ground Chicken Soup
- Creamy Taco Soup
- Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- Air Fryer Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Slow Cooker Texas Chili
If you have a question about this recipe I forgot to cover, you can leave it in the comments below. And recipe reviews are always appreciated!
- 1 pound Ground Chicken (97/3)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 4 Celery Stalks, diced
- 2 handfuls Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Dried Dill
- 2 cans (15 oz each) Chili Beans
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature*
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat before browning the ground chicken for 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip the chicken to brown the other side and add the onion and celery.
- Break the chicken apart and continue cooking until the onion and celery are soft and the chicken is fully cooked, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the cream cheese and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh parsley or chives. I served with Siete Ranch Chips.
*I used dairy free Kite Hill cream cheese. You can use regular, reduced fat, or fat free cream cheese. The nutrition facts of Kite Hill are closest to reduced fat cream cheese.
For a kid friendly version, omit the onion, celery, and any other problematic ingredients. Swap for a tablespoon of dry ranch seasoning and keep everything else the same.
Each serving has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 cup (about 8 oz)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 8gProtein: 20g