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Although Buffalo Chicken Dip has been around at parties, picnics and tailgating since sometime in the early 2000s, until several years ago I had never heard of it. 

In the autumn before Covid, I was invited to cater the food for a ladies’ social. The evening’s theme was “Tailgating,” not one of my frequent pursuits. As hot dogs, burgers and iced beer summed up my knowledge of that mode of socializing, I sought help from our younger restaurant staff who were UGA students.  

“Buffalo Chicken Dip,” new to me, was their stand-out preference. Through Google, I checked recipes. Assembling something that seemed plausible, I warmed it, took it to the venue and put it in a chafing dish. The next day as I picked up the serving equipment the reviews were strongly positive.  

Buffalo Chicken WINGS, a specialty I’ve long enjoyed and on which the dip is loosely based, date back to 1964 when they were created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. As the story goes, Teresa Bellissimo, the bar’s co-owner, one evening threw together a spur-of-the-moment snack from food items on hand when her college-aged son and some friends suddenly showed up. She deep-fried raw chicken wings, doused them in hot sauce (reportedly Frank’s “RedHot”) and melted butter, then added celery sticks and blue cheese dressing from the salad bar. Very soon the spicy wings were added to the bar’s menu.  

Buffalo Chicken Wings quickly emerged as a sports bar and casual restaurant favorite. They became particularly linked with football, starting with the Super Bowls in the 1980s and ‘90s when the Buffalo Bills made multiple appearances.  

Since Buffalo Chicken DIP is recent and includes many approaches (most served hot), I assumed artistic liberty. In warm weather, I prepare a cold rather than a hot baked dip. I also keep its preparation simple, using supermarket ingredients in the quantities in which they’re sold.  

The recipe makes about two quarts, which will feed a lot of people. Based on the ingredients, the mixture should keep in the refrigerator for at least a few days. The dip can be served cold or, if preferred, baked till hot in a shallow casserole dish. For dipping, offer corn chips, ideally with low salt. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip 

  • 1 pound cream cheese 
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled 
  • 1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream 
  • 3 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot sauce (or Louisiana hot sauce), plus more for serving 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar 
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts 
  • 3-inch piece of celery stalk 
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, typical supermarket size 

Place cream cheese, unwrapped, in a large mixing bowl to warm and soften. With wooden spoon or firm spatula, mix cream cheese well till soft. Add crumbled blue cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. 

On a large cutting board, using a chef’s knife, very finely mince together the green onion (use white and green parts, minus the roots and any ragged green tips) and the celery. Add this to the bowl. 

Using rubber gloves, or well cleaned hands, remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken (save skin and bones to make broth for another use). Pick meat off the bones, and feel the meat well to detect any bits of bone or cartilage. With the chef’s knife, cut, then chop the chicken finely, a part at a time. Add it to the bowl. 

Mix thoroughly. After a few minutes, taste and, if slightly under-salted, mix in a little salt. Refrigerate until needed. Keep cold in an insulated bag if going to a party or picnic on a hot day. Have the hot sauce bottle with the chicken mix, since you will need it for serving. 

To serve, place about half the dip in a shallow bowl. (Keep the rest cold until needed.)  Sprinkle lightly to heavily with hot sauce, depending on the preferences of the group. Accompany with corn chips (low salt is better for this use) or other dipping items. 

Tim Dondero is co-owner and executive chef at Donderos’ Kitchen. Retired from the Centers for Disease Control as an epidemiologist and an enthusiastic cook since childhood, Dondero traveled extensively and always sought out local cooks and local restaurants.  

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