Combining my favorite foods in one pot: white chicken chili, buffalo sauce, and bacon. This bowl of cozy Buffalo White Chicken Chili is everything you want for dinner! I am elevating this recipe to the top of the list of, “Best meal to make on a chilly day!” You won’t be disappointed with this dairy-free and decadently creamy chili. It’s a winner winner chicken dinner!
Recently, my family was discussing around the dinner table our top 5 dinners that I make. Everyone has their own ideas to share, and there was plenty of overlap. When it was my turn, I kind of surprised my family a bit by adding that one of my absolute favorite dinners was a thick and creamy buffalo chicken soup. “Like one of my chicken chili recipes, but with buffalo sauce instead.”
As soon as I said it, I realized, I don’t have that recipe anywhere. I knew it was time to create one!
With the Super Bowl right around the corner, the timing is perfect for a bowl of Buffalo Chicken Chili. It comes together with a blend of veggies, chicken, an amazing buffalo queso sauce that is dairy-free, and then topped with some bacon. The queso blends in perfectly with the chili to give it that creamy and decadent texture. No one realizes this chili is dairy-free!
If you are a huge fan of my reader favorite Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Chili, this one is also going to be one of your new favorites!
So let’s get started!
How to make Buffalo White Chicken Chili with Bacon:
Here is what we will need:
- chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces–you can take a shortcut and get some rotisserie chicken)
- avocado oil or olive oil
- poblano peppers
- smoked paprika
- diced green chilis
- raw cashews
- chicken broth
- buffalo hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original)
- nutritional yeast
- cilantro for garnish
Before we start, ensure that you soak the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven to medium high heat. Begin by cooking the bacon 3-4 minutes per side, or until your desired crispiness. Set the bacon aside, and crumble it when it begins to cool. Reserve 1 tbsp of the bacon grease to leave in the pot. Keep the pot hot.
- Now add the chicken (if using rotisserie chicken or the oven method, see below and disregard this step). Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, this will take anywhere between 5-8 minutes (it does not have to be cooked all the way. Remove the chicken from the pot.
- Add some oil to the pan if dry. Now saute the onion and poblano peppers together for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss in the celery, carrots, chicken, cumin, and smoked paprika.
- Pour chicken broth into the pot, bump up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.
- While the veggies and chicken are simmering, make the buffalo queso. Drain the water from the cashews. To a blender or a food processor, add the cashews, chicken broth, hot sauce, and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth!
- Pour the queso, and diced green chilis into the simmering veggies and chicken, and stir to combine. Let simmer for another 3-5 minutes, then pour into individual bowls. Top with bacon and cilantro (if using).
Options for making the chicken:
I used the stovetop method in this recipe, but there are a few other ways to make it that I use for some of my other chicken chili recipes. While you are making the bacon and sautéing the veggies, you can place the chicken breast in the oven at 350 degrees. Bake for about 25 minutes (this depends on the size of your chicken), and remove. Then cut the chicken in more of a shredded chicken method. Add it to the chili when you add the queso.
You can also use a rotisserie chicken and add 4-5 cups of shredded chicken.
Serving and Storing:
Feel free to add more of your favorite toppings to this chili! I love avocados, chopped tomatoes, green onion, jalapeños, and green onion. This chili pairs perfectly with a simple salad like my Easy House Salad.
Store in the fridge for up to 1 week. I would not recommend freezing this recipe because of the cashew based queso.
Buffalo White Chicken Chili with Bacon
- 5 slices thick cut bacon
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast* (cut into bite sized pieces)
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 2 poblano peppers (stem removed, de-seeded, and chopped)
- 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- 4 oz canned diced green chilis
- 2 + 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup raw cashews**
- 1/3-1/2 cup Buffalo hot sauce***
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional for garnish)
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven to medium high heat. Cook the bacon in the pot, 4-5 minutes per side or until desired crispiness. Remove the bacon, reserve 1 tbsp of the bacon grease in the pot. Keep the pot hot.
Now add the chicken (if not using rotisserie or the oven method) to the pot. Brown the chicken on all sides (it does not have to be cooked all the way), and remove from the chicken from the pot. Keep the pot hot!
Add some oil to the pot if it's dry, and toss in the onion and poblano pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Now add in the celery, carrots, paprika, cumin, and salt. Saute for another minute, then toss in 2 cups of the chicken broth and the chicken. Increase the temperature to a boil, then reduce and let simmer.
Meanwhile, make the cashew queso. Be sure the cashews have soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes, drain the water from the cashews. Place the cashews in a blender or food processor with the remaining chicken broth (2/3 cup), hot sauce, and nutritional yeast. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. You may have to pause and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
Pour the queso and diced green chilis into the pot with chicken and veggies. Stir until smooth, and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally so that the queso doesn't stick to the hot pot.
Place the chili into individual bowls and crumble bacon on top. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and any other toppings you like.
*You can use rotisserie chicken in place of the chicken breast. Alternatively, you can bake the chicken breast ahead of time and shred with a knife and fork. You will need about 4-5 cups of shredded chicken to add. Add the chicken with the queso and diced chilis if doing this step.
**The cashews need to soak for 15 minutes in hot water, or overnight in water. Drain the water when ready to blend.
***My family is totally fine with 1/2 cup of hot sauce, and it is mildly spicy. If you are extra sensitive to spicy, only use 1/3 cup.