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The first time I made Buffalo chicken dip, I was a senior in college. I wanted to make something special for the Super Bowl, but I also wanted to play it safe, since I had gained a reputation for being a good cook and didn't want to jeopardize it. Mind you, at the time, "good cook" meant that going to my apartment for dinner was just slightly more enticing than the dining hall. College students don't have very high standards.
That dip was such a hit that I was heralded as a culinary genius—for doing nothing more than mixing together Buffalo sauce, chicken, and cream cheese. And, because I loved both the praise and the dish itself, I made a second batch later in the week. And then I made it again, and again, and again. Pretty soon, I had become the de facto Buffalo-chicken-dip lady, which was cool, except for one thing: I wanted to branch out.
See, to me, the Super Bowl is about exciting new things. New commercials. New world champions. New curse word combinations to unleash when your team is playing like they've been hitting the Buffalo chicken dip harder than the bench press. So this year, I decided to put a new spin on it with an over-the-top seven-layer Buffalo chicken dip.
Like most layer dips, this recipe doesn't require a lengthy list of ingredients or loads of time. It starts with the same ingredients as regular Buffalo chicken dip and adds to them creamy refried beans, crispy bacon, pepper jack cheese, blue cheese crumbles, and scallion.
To prepare it as quickly as possible, I start by baking the bacon in the oven while it preheats. It's nice and crisp by the time all the other layers are assembled.
One of my biggest dip pet peeves is that they're often too thick for the chips to handle. To prevent chip breakage, I thin the cream cheese with ranch dressing and the refried beans with Buffalo sauce. It's a double win for flavor and function. Because the ranch dressing typically isn't strong enough to flavor the whole pound of cream cheese, I like to mix in a tablespoon of dry ranch seasoning as well. Then I smooth the Buffalo refried beans and ranch cream cheese into a glass baking dish, in layers.
For the Buffalo chicken layer, I use cooked white meat. The quickest and easiest option is to buy a rotisserie chicken and shred its breast meat, but you can also poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I chop those chunks into half-inch pieces—once again, to minimize chip breakage by improving scoopability—and mix it all with more Buffalo sauce. That goes on top of the cream cheese and refrieds.
Cheesiness is a requirement for any great layered dip, so, apart from the cream cheese, I add two more types. The first is grated pepper jack, which I add on top of the Buffalo chicken layer before baking so that it melts. The second is crumbled blue cheese, which I sprinkle over the hot dip as soon as I take it out of the oven so that it just begins to melt, without totally losing its crumbled texture.
The sixth layer is the bacon that was in the oven. Once it's cool enough to handle, I crumble it on top. Number seven is the thinly sliced scallions, which add a mild oniony bite and fresh crunch. The dip will taste good on tortilla chips or celery sticks, no matter the temperature—hot, warm, or at room temp.
I think I'm ready for a promotion. So long, Buffalo-chicken-dip lady. I hereby crown myself Seven-Layer Buffalo Chicken Dip World Champion. You won't even believe the halftime show I've got planned.
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