This creamy, cheesy buffalo cheese dip is perfect when served next to crisp celery sticks and tortilla chips. We like to use Frank’s Red Hot Original hot sauce for this since it’s full of flavor, but not too hot. Feel free to experiment with your favorite hot sauce, just keep in mind the one you choose may be spicier than Franks, so be sure to taste as you add it to the dip.
We should mention that this dip is just as good without chicken. We’ve made it both ways and think you and your friends will love both options. So if you want to save a little dough or have more hearty things to dip on the side (chicken tenders?), skip the chicken.
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or substitute chicken breasts
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 cups milk, 2 % or whole are best
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium onion)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (1 celery stalk)
2 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
Dash Worcestershire sauce
5 tablespoons Franks Red Hot Original hot sauce, or more to taste
Celery and/or tortilla chips for serving
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet with lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and looks shimmery, add chicken. Cook until the underside turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Flip, reduce heat to low then cover with lid. Cook until an instant read thermometer reads 165º F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh or breast, 10 to 15 minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred chicken, then set aside.
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside. (Or, heat in a microwave-safe container in the microwave).
Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onions and celery soften, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and the flour. Cook, while whisking constantly, until the flour turns light brown in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the warmed milk into the flour mixture. Continue whisking until smooth. It will get thick at first and then thin out.
Return the saucepan to medium heat and while whisking constantly cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in cream cheese and all but a handful of the cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and 5 tablespoons of the hot sauce. Taste the dip for spiciness and seasoning then adjust with additional hot sauce and salt. Stir in shredded chicken.
Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.
Pour the dip into a 2-quart baking dish then top with the leftover cheddar cheese. Place baking dish onto a baking sheet lined with foil then broil dip until the top is bubbling and the cheese begins to brown. Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks.