Make everyone swoon at your next party when you set out this creamy, spicy smoked Buffalo chicken dip! Three different cheeses are mixed with tender shredded chicken and spicy Frank's RedHot Sauce and finished low and slow on the smoker to make the most irresistible dip that's perfect for game day. One scoop and your guests will keep coming back for more.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
An extra kiss of smoky flavor: You may have had a classic Buffalo chicken dip straight from the oven, but once you taste that extra depth of flavor the smoker adds, you’ll never make this dip any other way.
Always a favorite party snack: Buffalo-flavored anything is a guaranteed party hit, so you know you will have lots of compliments coming your way when you set down this dip for your friends and family to devour. It truly tastes like Buffalo chicken wings in dip form.
Smoke it along with your other meats: We smoke this dip at a low temperature, just like most of our other smoked meats. That means it can cook along with all sorts of smoked meats perfectly, like my smoked tri tip or smoked ribs, and it doesn’t require much additional space.
Makes for easy entertaining: This dip requires very little preparation work, and you can make it well ahead of party time. Plus, this is one easy appetizer with a few simple ingredients, and cooks of all skill levels can master this recipe.
Chicken: I like to make my smoked whole chicken, shred the meat and use that for a blend of white and dark meat. You can even try it with my smoked chicken quarters or smoked chicken breasts if you prefer one over the other. A store-bought rotisserie chicken also is great if you’re short on time.
Frank’s RedHot Sauce: This cayenne-based hot sauce is the classic ingredient to make that signature Buffalo wing sauce, which is essentially Frank’s RedHot Sauce mixed with butter.
Cheeses: We use a combination of cheddar and Gouda.
Cream cheese: This gives us that creamy base. For the best flavor and texture, make sure you use full-fat cream cheese in bar form.
Sour cream and mayonnaise: Like the cream cheese, I recommend buying the full-fat versions here.
Ranch dressing seasoning: You can buy this as either a packet or an entire bottle of seasoning. Most grocery stores carry it near the salad dressings and condiments.
Step 1: To make the base of our dip, we beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic cloves and ranch seasoning in a large bowl and then add the Frank's RedHot Sauce to make one cohesive mixture (photo 1). Besides a hand beater or stand mixer, you can do this by manually stirring the mixture or blending the ingredients in a food processor.
Step 2: Now we stir in the shredded chicken with some shredded cheddar and Gouda (photo 2).
Step 3: From here, we spoon the chicken mixture into a cast-iron baking dish or aluminum pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheeses (photo 3).
Step 4: We’re now ready to place the Buffalo dip in a 225-degree F smoker with a water pan, close the lid and allow the dip to cook until it’s hot and starting to bubble on the sides. After smoking, we top that hot dip with our favorite garnishes and serve (photos 4 and 5). I like blue cheese crumbles and chopped fresh cilantro, but a drizzle of ranch or blue cheese dressing works just as well.
Recipe testing note: I tested this recipe on my Pit Boss vertical pellet grill, but you can use any brand or type of smoker.
How to Serve
Now let’s grab our favorite dippers and start snacking on our spicy, creamy dip.
- Cold-cut vegetables: Of course, celery sticks and baby carrots are favorites with Buffalo chicken, but you have so many other options — think bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower florets, sugar snap peas or zucchini slices.
- Fresh bread: You can slice a baguette or use toasted crostini for a crunch. Some freshly baked garlic naan is also delicious.
- Chips and crackers: Tortilla chips, Ritz crackers, thick-cut kettle potato chips, Frito Scoop and pita chips all work well.
Bonus: If you can’t get enough Buffalo-flavored recipes, you’ll also love my Buffalo chicken pizza and Buffalo chicken subs for the big game. You might also want to put some wings on the menu. My honey-sriracha wings, spicy mango wings, smoked chicken wings and smoked turkey wings are great for any casual get-together.
I absolutely love making dips ahead of time. Not only does it give the flavors time to meld but it makes hosting so much easier. Here’s how to prepare this dip ahead of party time.
- Make the dip as originally directed through step 3.
- Tightly cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two or three days.
- Remove the dip from the refrigerator an hour before smoking to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Smoke and enjoy.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
In the unlikely event you have leftover Buffalo chicken dip, you can spoon it into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for two to three days. To reheat it, let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes and then bake it in the oven until it’s hot and bubbly. The exact cook time can vary quite a bit, depending on how much you reheat, so just keep an eye on it.
The microwave is also a great option. Since microwaves vary so much, I recommend starting with a 30-second blast and going from there.
While you can reheat this dip from the refrigerator, I wouldn’t freeze any cream cheese-based dip. The texture of cream cheese can change after freezing and not in a good way.
I like to use hickory and think it’s perfect. Given that Frank’s RedHot Sauce is so strongly flavored, milder woods can disappear against the spice, but hickory gives us a prominent flavor without overwhelming the dip. Of course, you’re welcome to use a more gentle wood, but I find hickory produces the best results.
At 225 degrees F, we smoke this dip for about two hours. Some recipes smoke dip at 350 degrees F for a shorter amount of time, but a lower smoking temperature gives us a better smoke infusion. Plus, so few meats are smoked at high temperatures, so this gives you more flexibility to cook other dishes.
Odds are everyone will gobble up this dip in an instant, so this won’t even be an issue. That said, if you need to keep it warm for a longer period, you can use a small slower cooker on the warm setting or chafing dish.
Variations and Substitutions
Half the Buffalo sauce for less spice: This delicious dip definitely has a kick. If you prefer a more mild version, you can reduce the Frank’s RedHot Sauce from 1 cup to ½ cup.
Add bacon: After all, what isn’t better without bacon? Just add cooked crumbled bacon with the shredded chicken and fall in love with the results.
Try another type of cheese: The combo of cheddar and Gouda is wonderful, but any kind of melting cheese works, such as mozzarella, pepper jack, fontina, Gruyère, provolone or muenster. I’ve also used Parmesan in the past for added flavor — just make sure it’s freshly grated. Canned Parmesan doesn’t melt.
Bake in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker: No smoker? Of course, you can always turn any standard grill into a smoker with a smoke box or foil packet. You can also use smoked cheddar and smoked Gouda to get those wood notes and then make it in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Use a 1-quart dish: This size is perfect for the amount of dip. You don’t want to use a large dish because the dip will be too shallow, and it will throw off the cooking time.
Soften the cream cheese before mixing: If you try to beat cream cheese straight from the refrigerator, it won’t blend very easily. Simply let the cream cheese sit for 30 minutes at room temperature first.
Shred your own cheese: Pre-shredded cheese is coated in a substance to prevent clumping. That substance also doesn’t allow the cheese to melt as nicely as freshly grated cheese.
Double the ingredients for a large party: If I’m hosting a party of 10 or fewer people, I use the proportions in the recipe card, but for large parties, I simply double the ingredients and use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch-by-13-inch aluminum pan.
An IPA is a favorite pairing with Buffalo sauce. The hops bring out the spice, and it has just enough sweet malt to offer balance. I specifically recommend looking for an IPA that uses citrusy hops to help cut through that rich cream cheese base.
For wine lovers, an off-dry riesling is delightful. We get a touch of sweetness to counter the heat, and it comes with an acidic zip to keep the palate refreshed.
When you need the ultimate game-day snack, it doesn’t get better than this smoked Buffalo chicken dip recipe. Grab some chips, pour yourself a drink and start dipping.
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Smoked Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Wood pellets, wood chips or wood chunks
- 1-quart smoker-safe baking dish
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese in block form, softened, cut into cubes
- 4 garlic cloves minced or grated
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing seasoning from the packet or can
- 1 cup Frank's RedHot Sauce
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 1 cup freshly grated cheddar divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Gouda divided
- Blue cheese crumbles for garnish, optional
- Blue cheese or ranch dressing for garnish, optional
- Chips, carrots, celery sticks or toasted bread for dipping
- Heat the smoker to 225 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, garlic cloves, sour cream, mayonnaise and ranch dressing seasoning with a hand beater until smooth. Beat in the Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Alternatively, you can use a sturdy spoon or food processor.
- Stir in the shredded chicken, ¾ cup cheddar and ¾ cup Gouda until it becomes one cohesive mixture.
- Spoon the dip into a 1-quart cast-iron baking dish or aluminum pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ¼ cup cheddar and ¼ cup Gouda.
- Place in the smoker with a water pan. Close the lid and smoke until it's hot throughout the dip, about one an a half to two hours. Remove from the smoker. If desired, top with crumbled blue cheese, blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing. Serve with your preferred dippers. Enjoy!
- I generally smoke this dip at 225 degrees F, but it can go up to 250 degrees F. While you can smoke it at even higher temperatures, the smoke infusion won't be as good, and you'll need to adjust the cooking time down. Most smoker recipes are for 225-250 degrees F, so this range also allows you to smoke it while cooking other meats.
- To soften the cream cheese, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. It needs to be softened, or you'll have trouble smoothing it out.
- For an extra large party, you can double the ingredients and use a 9-inch-by-13-inch aluminum pan or 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.