Recipe Resuscitation: Buffalo Chicken Dip



With Super Bowl Sunday around the corner, you may be starting to plan your game day menu.  Few foods are as commonly associated with this occasion as buffalo wings.  Buffalo chicken dip is a popular variant of this classic dish and incorporates all of the flavors of buffalo wings into a warm, creamy dip that goes perfectly with fresh veggies and chips.

Traditional buffalo chicken dip is very high in calories and fat from a mixture of cream cheese, bottled Ranch or Blue cheese dressing and loads of shredded cheese.  I decided to perform a recipe resuscitation on this crowd-pleasing dish to shave some calories and fat without sacrificing flavor.  Here’s how I did it:

  • Swap in Neufchatel cheese instead of traditional cream cheese.  It has less calories and 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese but still has great flavor and a nice creamy texture.  It melts very well and is a good healthy option for dishes such as hot dips and creamy pasta sauces.
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt instead of bottled Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing.  Greek yogurt adds a great tangy flavor that complements the spicy hot sauce but with none of the fat and only a fraction of the sodium of bottled dressings.  Plus, Greek yogurt is naturally thick and creamy (even the nonfat variety), packed with protein and low in carbohydrates.  To read more about Greek yogurt, CLICK HERE.
  • Dried spices to add flavor.  Because I don’t use a prepared salad dressing, I up the flavor by stirring in dried spices like garlic powder and onion powder.  This also cuts down on sodium.  Remember to use garlic and onion powder, not garlic or onion salt.
  • No shredded cheese in the dip.  Many buffalo chicken dip recipes stir a lot of shredded cheese into the dip.  I found the texture of the dip from the Neuchatel cheese and yogurt to be rich and creamy enough that it didn’t need any extra cheese.  But for you cheese lovers out there, feel free to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled blue cheese on top.

So try this quick and easy dish on Super Bowl Sunday or for your next party.  You can even prepare the whole thing in advance and simply heat it up when your guests arrive.  It's definitely a crowd pleaser and your guests will love it even more when you tell them that it's healthy!


Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Makes 16 servings

1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (add more to taste)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
8 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) shredded, cooked chicken breast (can substitute turkey breast)
½ cup sliced scallions plus extra for garnish
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Optional: shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese or crumbled reduced fat blue cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Mix the softened cheese and yogurt together in a large bowl until smooth.  Stir in the hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken, scallions and pepper.

Pour the dip into a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.  If desired, you can top the dish with cheese.  If using shredded cheese, sprinkle the cheese on top before baking.  If using crumbled blue cheese, sprinkle the blue cheese on top as soon as you remove the dip from the oven.  Garnish with sliced scallions.  Serve with baked pita chips or celery and carrot sticks. 


CLICK HERE to get the recipe for my Spiced Pita Chips.  


One serving (dip alone without cheese garnish): Calories 70; Fat 3.3g; Sat 2g; Protein 7.2g; Carbs 1.5g; Fiber 0.1g




13 comments :

  1. Love the idea of lightening this stuff up! I bet it is wonderful. Will have to try. Pinning :)

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  2. This is just too good to be true but I know it is...yum yum yum all the way home. You are a genius when it comes to healthy delicious food xoxo

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  3. I am going to make this over the weekend! Thanks - it sounds wonderful!

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  4. What a perfect timing for a perfect party dip. Looks yummy and easy to create. Thanks Sonali

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  5. very colorful dip! it looks scrumptious!

    I'm a new follower, I just discovered your blog and read some of your latest recipes, they're all yummy!

    Michela @ www.cook-alaska.blogspot.it/

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  6. I would like to make this tomorrow but do not have chicken. Could I skip the chicken? Or maybe use tuna that I have on hand instead? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. The chicken is one of the main ingredients in this dish so I haven't tried the recipe without it. Tuna would probably be a good alternative. You may want to avoid the blue cheese if using tuna, it may not be the best combination of flavors. Let me know how it turns out!

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  7. You say one serving is 70 calories... How much is one serving? 1/4 cup? 1/2 cup? 2 Tbsp?

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    Replies
    1. The recipe makes about 3 1/4 cups, so one serving is 3 1/4 tablespoons.

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  8. Thank you very much. I've finally "perfected" my homemade Greek yogurt and use it for almost anything with a creamy texture. Not a fan of bottled dressings either, this very well may make an appearance today. Love your recipe resuscitations as they often make me think outside my usual healthier substitutions.

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  9. We really enjoyed this, my husband without knowing this was a healthier version said this was the best buffalo chicken dip he ever had!

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  10. Thank you for the tip on a lighter version of cream cheese and replacing Greek yogurt for bottled dressing. We love Greek yogurt.

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  11. I made this on the stove today--better than the original! I still used lowfat sour cream. I looked at the ingredients in ranch dressing mix, which most recipes call for. Since that contains buttermilk, I decided to add about 2 tablespoons of powdered instant buttermilk to mine.

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