Did you know that you can buy chicken in a can? I just learned this! In the packaging, it looks just the same as tuna in a can. I grew up with tuna in a can so it doesn’t seem weird to me. And, I’m not sure why it’s different, but canned chicken somehow feels… unsettling. However, home cooks I trust have told me it’s perfectly good.
But the reason I even learned about canned chicken though, is because I became obsessed with making buffalo chicken dip.
I got tunnel vision on buffalo chicken dip a few weeks ago when Ryan and I were on our family vacation to the beach. In fact, I think we all got kind of addicted to it.
Ryan’s sister Tia brought her boyfriend John. And John brought buffalo chicken dip. He brought it in a giant tray with instructions for reheating. At first we thought it was too much dip. That we’d need to have people over and share it with our friends. Then as the week went on we ate it. We ate it all. We brought it the beach, served it as a pre-dinner snack, and when it was gone we talked about making more.
Needless to say, there was a lot of us shoving our mouths full of dip and exclaiming, “this is so good!” I asked John to text his mom for the recipe, which he did, and she quickly got back to him. I kept calling this “John’s mom’s recipe,” which for some reason gave us the giggles. But I promised when I finally made it I’d give her full credit and not call her “John’s mom.” So here it is: Thank you Melissa! This recipe is delicious.
I did adapt the recipe somewhat. I made it a bit spicier with lots of Buffalo wing sauce and I added way more chicken. And that brings me back to canned chicken. It’s a fast and convenient way to get shredded chicken for the dip. However, I enjoyed making my own shredded chicken because you have more control. You can make thing shreds, fat chunky shreds, whatever you like to suit your taste. I also recommend making your own because I think it has a richer, bolder chicken-y flavor.
So, for the recipe itself I’ll give instructions for how to prepare shredded chicken. If you’re going to use canned then you’ll be able to skip a few steps. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe for your next party, vacation, or whatever. Personally, I loved bringing it to work for lunch. It made me excited to run to go to the refrigerator every day I had it. Ryan and I have already eaten the first batch I made. Now I think I’l need to make more.
Adapted from a recipe shared by Melissa.
Messy level: Shredding your own chicken is messy good fun. You’re going to get your hands dirty pulling apart chicken. When I think about it, it makes me feel like a horrible animal tearing a chicken apart. But it also was a stress relief and so satisfying to see a few chicken breasts turn into a heaping mountain of shredded chicken. However, my friend Kim did say instead of using your hands and a fork you can use a food processor.
- 1½-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (results in 5-6 cups shredded chicken)
- water or chicken broth, enough to cover the chicken in a large pot.
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1½ cups Buffalo Wing Sauce
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 8 oz/ 226 grams cream cheese, softened
- Put the chicken in a large pot. Cover with water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Use tongs to remove chicken from the pot. You can save the water/broth for making a stock if you'd like.
- Put the chicken on a cutting board and let it sit until cool enough to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Using two forks, or a fork and your hands, pull the chicken apart into shreds. You can make the shreds as thick or thin as you like, but think about what would work best for scooping onto a chip. [Alternatively I'm told you can put the hot chicken into a food processor and pulse it to get a good result]
- In a large bowl mix together the cheddar, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and cream cheese. Try to mix it as well as you can so you don't have giant lumps of cream cheese.
- Add the shredded chicken to the bowl and stir until well coated.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9x13" pan.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until bubbling.
- Let cool just slightly, then serve warm with chips.