Buffalo Chicken Chili

8 servings
1 hr 25 min

Hearty, creamy, spicy, tangy – this Buffalo Chicken Chili is what everyone who needs some heat in their life has been waiting for! This big pot of chili is loaded with shredded chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese, black beans, corn & pearled couscous!

Bowl of Buffalo Chicken Chili with Hot Sauce & Shredded Cheese

This is one of those recipes I make at home so often, I kind of forgot to share it until recently.

I donate a lot of soups & baked goodies for various fundraising efforts. Just for fun, I sent a double batch of this chili over to one of these events. I thought a few of those who enjoy spicier foods would like it. I was surprised when I was told it disappeared in the first hour.

Even more surprised, it was kindly requested for their next event.

Click here for another favorite – my Chicken Barley Chili!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Over the years I’ve tried making different versions of this chili. It originally started out as a soup, but I felt it should be thicker & heartier.

I’ve tried adding more beans, potatoes, more veggies – but it never was quite right. One day I dumped some leftover pearled couscous in it – and that was it. Perfect!

If you don’t have pearled couscous, any small pasta would do. Orecchiette, mini farfalle, mini shells or orzo.

Personally, I find the amount of hot sauce in this chili perfect. I usually use Texas Pete, Frank’s or Crystal. I used a craft Mexican hot sauce on one occasion and it was definitely hotter. So here’s my advice. If you know you like it hot – the 1/2 cup of hot sauce is what you’re gonna want. If you’re uncertain, start with 1/4 cup and work your way up to taste.

I make this chili in my big Lodge Dutch Oven. I saute the onion first, push it aside & brown the chicken breasts and then add the rest of the ingredients.

You’ll notice the recipe calls for salsa – I prefer salsa in many recipes over petite diced tomatoes. There’s a ton more flavor in a jar of salsa. If you don’t have salsa on hand, rotel or petite diced tomatoes would work.

I prefer this served with blue cheese crumbles on top. For those that don’t like blue cheese, shredded cheddar is good too. Serve with additional hot sauce and tortilla chips.

Recipe details
  • 8  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 75 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 25 min
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 24 oz jar medium salsa 16 oz – 24 oz jar
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce If you're uneasy about the amount of heat, start with 1/4 cup – add to taste.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 can black beans, 15 oz rinsed & drained
  • 1 can corn, 15 oz undrained
  • 8 oz block of cream cheese cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 cup pearled couscous (small pasta such as orecchiette, mini farfalle, mini shells or orzo may be substituted) cooked & drained

In a large enamel dutch oven or pot, heat up oil over medium/medium-high and saute onions until translucent – about 10 minutes.
Push onions to sides/edges of pot. (Salt & pepper chicken – optional). Lightly brown chicken breasts
Add chicken broth, salsa, hot sauce, garlic, chili powder, paprika, parsley, salt & pepper. Stir & scrape any stuck bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat, cover & simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 – 45 minutes, or until chicken is fall apart tender. Remove chicken, shred & return to pot.
Add corn, black beans, cream cheese & pearled couscous. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until cream cheese is completely melted & incorporated.
Taste. If you only added 1/4 hot sauce, now would be the time to taste & adjust.
Serve topped with blue cheese crumbles or shredded cheese. Enjoy!
Crafty Cooking Mama
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  • Andrea Andrea on Oct 29, 2022

    Sounds delicious and I will certainly try it!

  • Lin32381340 Lin32381340 on Oct 30, 2022

    This sounds fantastic! I wonder if boneless skinless chicken thighs would work instead of the breasts? Would they tenderize the same way for shredding? They are often more reasonably priced in my area…

    • Crafty Cooking Mama Crafty Cooking Mama on Nov 06, 2022

      I often make this with ground chicken - it turns out great. Chicken thighs would work - cut them into fourths, cook and then shred with the grain.