Halloween Buffalo Chicken Dip is an easy to decorate hot dip with no ranch or mayo. Baked in a cast iron skillet and topped with black tortilla chips in the shape of a jack-o’-lantern face, this dip is made with chicken thighs, cream cheese and three cheeses. A spooky buffalo chicken dip with blue cheese crumbles is perfect for parties, a Halloween movie night or waiting for trick or treaters. Most of the cooking time is inactive, so it’s a relatively easy buffalo chicken dip to make.
Tips and Tricks
What do you serve with buffalo chicken dip? Tortilla chips, carrots, celery, cucumbers, raw bell peppers or toasted baguette pieces are great to serve with buffalo chicken dip. Anything that is crunchy and can hold up to being dipped will work well.
What other dishes go with buffalo chicken dip? Other dishes to serve at an event could be crispy air fryer pumpkin seeds, Italian stromboli, or stove top meatballs. All of these dishes are delicious appetizers and snacks ideal for a party, movie night or on Halloween night handing out candy to trick or treaters.
Can you make this ahead of time? You can prepare this up to three days before you want to serve it by keeping the mixture in the fridge in a covered large mixing bowl for up to three days. About 45 minutes before you want to serve the dip, add the mixture into the cast iron skillet.
Top it with the remaining cheeses and cook it in the oven. You may need to add a few minutes to the cook time because the mixture is coming from the fridge and is colder.
When do you add the jack-o-lantern face? You add the chips to the dip after it has come out of the oven and right before you set it out for the event.
Can you freeze buffalo chicken dip? Yes, you can freeze the base of the buffalo chicken dip if you want to make it in advance or you have leftovers. If you are freezing it before it is baked, I would NOT add the extra cheese on top or the chips. Freeze for up to six months.
If you have leftovers, remove any chips and freeze for up to six months. To reheat in either situation, allow the dip to thaw overnight in the fridge and warm up in a cast iron skillet in the oven for best results, with extra cheese on top if desired. Reheat at 350 F until warmed through and bubbling. I do not recommend freezing it in your cast iron pan.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs - or any variety of cooked chicken with no skin or bones
- Buffalo sauce - Make your own or use your favorite brand
- Cream cheese - softened to mix easier
- Shredded fontina cheese - a mild melting cheese
- Shredded sharp cheddar - a flavorful cheese
- Crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola - Add as much or as little as you want
- Black tortilla chips - These make the jack-o’-lantern face but can also be used to serve with the dip
See recipe card for specific quantities.
Where do you find black tortilla chips? Black tortilla chips are usually out around Halloween time, I often see black and orange chips out. However, if you can’t find those, look for black bean tortilla chips. If all else fails you can get blue corn tortilla chips!
What’s the best buffalo sauce? I like a buffalo sauce that is already ready to use and I usually buy Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing sauce. There is usually a bottle in the fridge or pantry. Feel free to use your favorite sauce as well.
How to make shredded chicken? The fastest way to make shredded chicken is in the pressure cooker. Place five boneless skinless chicken thighs into a pressure cooker with one cup of buffalo sauce. Set the pressure to high for 20 minutes. Once it is done cooking, manually release the pressure carefully. Put the chicken and all the sauce into a large mixing bowl and shred with two forks or a hand mixer.
Another option is making the shredded buffalo chicken in a slow cooker for four hours on high or eight hours on low. Shred the chicken after it has been cooked and proceed with the recipe.
Also, if you have leftover cooked chicken you can use that. Use between 1 ½ -2 cup of chicken if you’re doing it this way. Cut the chicken up to small pieces and toss with buffalo sauce.
How to make buffalo chicken dip? First, make shredded buffalo chicken in the pressure cooker. While chicken is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 F. Shred one half cup of fontina cheese and one half cup of sharp cheddar. Put the cheese mixture into a small mixing bowl.
Once the chicken is done cooking, pour the sauce and chicken into a large mixing bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks and then add cream cheese and half the shredded cheese mixture. Mix well to combine, making sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese.
Add into a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Top with reminding shredded cheese and crumbled blue cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling. Allow to sit for five to ten minutes and add the jack-o’-lantern face. Serve with tortilla chips, raw vegetables or toasted baguette slices.
Hint: Using softened cream cheese will make it easier to mix together with the buffalo sauce, chicken and other cheeses.
Can you substitute chicken breasts in this recipe? Yes, boneless skinless chicken breasts will work in this recipe. I recommend adding one quarter more buffalo sauce so the chicken is not dry.
Can you use already cooked rotisserie chicken? Yes, pick the meat off the bones and cut the meat up into bite sized pieces. Toss in buffalo sauce and continue to mix with the cheeses and bake.
Fontina substitutes: Any mild melting cheese like part skim mozzarella, monterey jack, havarti, swiss, oaxaca will all work.
Do you have to use a cast iron skillet? Cast iron skillets stay warm for a long time. Therefore, it will keep the dip warm longer. However, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use a 10 inch round cake pan or pie plate. The round shape of all of these help give the illusion of a pumpkin.
How else can you cook the chicken beside a pressure cooker? If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use already cooked chicken from a rotisserie chicken. You can also make shredded buffalo chicken thighs in a slow cooker on high for four hours or on low for eight hours.
The chicken thighs can also be slowly simmered on the stove top in buffalo chicken until you’re able to shred them. Finally, you can also bake the chicken in a casserole dish with buffalo sauce until cooked through.
Everyone has different physical and cognitive abilities and that can change day to day and hour to hour. Below are a few accommodation ideas to help you have success with this recipe.
- Use pre-shredded cheese - Italian blend, part skim mozzarella, or Mexican blend have great texture and flavor.
- Opt for rotisserie chicken or canned chicken - Using already cooked chicken cuts down on the overall recipe time, standing time and dishes.
- Use a stand or hand mixer to shred chicken - Let the mixer do the work on low speed until shredded.
- Use a food processor to grate cheese - Freeze fontina cheese (or any other melting cheese) for 15-30 minutes to make it easier to grate in a food processor.
- Use a pie plate or cake pan - Cast iron pans can be hefty, switching to a lighter pan can help lifting it out of the oven.
Serve in a cast iron skillet to keep the buffalo chicken hot longer.
Easy to Decorate Halloween Buffalo Chicken Dip
- 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup buffalo sauce
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup shredded fontina cheese
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 oz crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
- Black tortilla chips
Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Place chicken thighs into a pressure cooker with the buffalo sauce. Set pressure on high for 20 minutes. Once done cooking, carefully release pressure manually.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F while the chicken is cooking.
- Shred fontina cheese and sharp cheddar and place in a small mixing bowl.
- Once the chicken is done, carefully pour buffalo chicken and all the sauce into a large mixing bowl. Shred the chicken and stir well to combine.
- Add cream cheese and half of the shredded cheese into the large mixing bowl with the chicken and buffalo sauce.
- Mix well to combine. Make sure there are no large areas of cream cheese.
- Add buffalo chicken mixture into a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Top with the rest of the shredded cheese. Sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles evenly over the top and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Buffalo chicken dip is done when the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling.
- To make the jack-o’-lantern face, take 2 whole tortilla chips and place them for the eyes with the point facing up. Break the tip off a third tortilla chip and place it for the nose.
- To make the mouth, break pieces to form a smile. Break 2 tips off a whole tortilla chip for the cheese.
- Place the chips onto the dip right before serving.
- Serve with tortilla chips, toasted bread or vegetables.
Notes and Accommodations
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make shredded buffalo chicken in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, on the stove top simmered in buffalo sauce or in a casserole dish in the oven until shreddable.
- You can replace chicken breasts with chicken thighs but add ¼ cup more buffalo sauce.
- Halloween buffalo chicken dip can be made in a 10 inch round cake pan or pie plate.
- To make ahead: place chicken and cheese mixture in a covered mixing bowl in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, place the mixture in the skillet, top with remaining cheeses and cook. You may need to add a few minutes to cooking time.
- Buy pre-shredded cheese - Italian blend, part skim mozzarella, or Mexican blend will work great here.
- Use a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken - Using already cooked chicken speeds the recipe up and saves more dishes.
- Use a stand or hand mixer to shred chicken - After the chicken thighs are cooked, use a mixer on low to shred the chicken.
- Use a food processor to grate cheese - Freeze fontina cheese (or mozzarella, havarti or any other melting cheese) for 15-30 minutes to make it easier to grate.
- Use a pie plate or cake pan - If cast iron pans are too heavy, a pie plate or cake pan may be easier to lift.
This post was previously published on October 19, 2019. It has been updated with clearer instructions and tips and tricks on June 13, 2022 and October 10, 2023.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat or seafood
- Wash hands after touching raw meat or seafood
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove