Are you craving a flavor-packed sandwich that’s both easy to make and satisfying? Look no further, as the crock pot buffalo chicken sandwich is here to save your day. This mouthwatering meal is perfect for those who love the tang and spice of Buffalo chicken wings and appreciate the convenience of a slow cooker. Not only will this recipe save you time and effort, but it’ll also bring a bold taste to your dinner table, or add a kick to your game-day menu.
The crock pot buffalo chicken sandwich combines tender, shredded chicken cooked to perfection in buffalo sauce, which is typically a mix of hot sauce and butter. Served on soft buns or ciabatta rolls, it is often accompanied by cooling ranch dressing or blue cheese. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld, resulting in a savory, moist chicken bursting with Buffalo goodness. Moreover, the versatility of this dish allows it to be used in various ways, including dips, salads, sliders, or even pizza toppings.
Preparing this delicious sandwich is incredibly simple and requires minimal ingredients. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs, if you prefer), hot sauce, butter, buns, and your choice of ranch or blue cheese dressing. By using a crock pot, you have the added convenience of a low-maintenance, set-it-and-forget-it approach to cooking, leaving you with plenty of time for other activities. So, go ahead and give this irresistible Buffalo chicken sandwich a try—and enjoy the burst of flavors it brings to your table.
Slow Cooker Essentials
For an easy and delicious Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwich recipe, you’ll need a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker to ensure even cooking. Don’t worry if you don’t own one; they’re easily available at most stores, or you can choose from a variety of sizes online. Make sure you have measuring spoons and forks handy for measuring the ingredients and shredding the chicken.
Buffalo Chicken Basics
Now, let’s move on to the main components of this delightful recipe. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 2/3 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Ranch dressing mix
Cook Time: 6 to 7 hours on low
Total Time: 6 to 7 hours
For this recipe, you want to make sure you use thawed chicken, as using frozen chicken is not recommended for slow cookers. Start by placing the chicken in the slow cooker and pouring in hot sauce and ranch dressing mix. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Shred the chicken using two forks and then mix in melted butter.
Once your slow cooker buffalo chicken is ready, it’s time to assemble the perfect sandwich. You’ll want to choose a good quality hoagie roll, ciabatta roll, or any other roll of your preference. Follow these steps for building your sandwich:
- Slice your roll in half horizontally.
- Generously pile the shredded buffalo chicken mixture onto the bottom half of the roll.
- Optional: top with your favorite cheese (I recommend blue cheese or Monterey Jack)
- If you like some additional tang and creamy texture, spread a dollop of ranch dressing on the top half of the roll.
- Place the top half of the roll on top of the chicken, completing the sandwich.
With these steps, you now have a scrumptious Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwich that is perfect for dinner or game day gatherings. Enjoy!
When making a crock pot buffalo chicken sandwich, it’s important to choose the right type of chicken. The most common choice is boneless skinless chicken breasts. These are lean and easy to shred, making them an ideal option for sandwiches. If you prefer a slightly different texture, you can opt for boneless skinless chicken thighs as well. Make sure to use non-stick cooking spray in the crock pot to prevent the chicken from sticking.
Sauce and Seasonings
Selecting the appropriate sauces and seasonings helps give the buffalo chicken its signature kick. Buffalo sauce, a spicy and tangy hot sauce, is essential for this recipe. You can either buy a pre-made option or make your own by combining hot sauce and melted butter.
Incorporate some flavor profile variety by using a dry ranch dressing mix to season the chicken. This adds a complementary tanginess to the spicier buffalo sauce.
Here’s an example ingredients list for your buffalo chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
- 1/2 cup melted butter (if making your own buffalo sauce)
- 1/2 (1 ounce) package dry ranch dressing mix
Personalize your crock pot buffalo chicken sandwiches with a variety of additional toppings. Common options include lettuce for some added crunch, and cheese for a creamy texture. A bold choice involves using blue cheese crumbles to contrast and balance the flavors of the buffalo sauce. If you prefer a milder option, consider adding slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese.
A typical serving of Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich consists of about 300-450 calories. Of course, this varies depending on the specific ingredients you use and the size of the sandwich. The calorie count may increase with the addition of condiments or garnishes like ranch dressing, lettuce, and tomato.
In general, a Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich contains a balanced mix of macronutrients, which include protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
- Protein: The primary protein source in this sandwich comes from the chicken itself. A serving usually provides around 20-30 grams of protein. This is a good source of lean protein, especially if you use boneless skinless chicken breasts.
- Fat: Fat content varies among different recipes for Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. The amount of fat mainly depends on the type of chicken (breast vs thigh), the sauce, and any added cream cheese. Generally, you can expect around 15-25 grams of fat per serving. This includes a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. To reduce saturated fat content, you may consider using low-fat cream cheese or skipping it altogether.
- Carbohydrates: The main source of carbohydrates in this sandwich comes from the bread used, providing approximately 30-50 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the type of bread and its size. Whole grain or whole wheat buns are a healthier option because they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white bread.
Other nutritional information to consider includes the following:
- Fiber: Buns made from whole grains contribute more fiber to your sandwich. Roughly, you can expect about 2-4 grams of fiber per sandwich.
- Sodium: Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing are high in sodium, which contributes to the overall sodium content in this sandwich. Sodium levels can range from 900-1500 mg per serving.
- Vitamins & Minerals: This sandwich provides small amounts of vitamins and minerals, primarily through the ingredients in the sauce and the bread. Some of these include vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Remember, the actual nutritional content of your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich may vary based on the specific ingredients you choose and the size of your portions. To make the sandwich healthier, you can use whole grain buns, adjust the amount of sauce, or choose healthier condiments.
Cooking the Chicken
To begin making your crock pot buffalo chicken sandwich, the first step is to cook the chicken. Prep time for this recipe is approximately 10 minutes. Place 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves into your slow cooker. Add a 17.5 fluid ounce bottle of Buffalo wing sauce, making sure to reserve some for later use. Sprinkle a 1 ounce package of dry ranch salad dressing mix over the chicken and sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours, until the chicken is tender and easily shreddable.
Once the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the meat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the slow cooker, and mix everything together. Cook on low for an additional hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Assembling the Sandwiches
When you’re ready to assemble your crock pot buffalo chicken sandwiches, prepare your bread by toasting 6 hoagie rolls or buns of your choice. For those who prefer heat, you may use blue cheese dressing, and for those who like a milder taste, stick with the ranch dressing.
Set out a variety of toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, to customize your sandwiches. Add a generous portion of the shredded chicken to the toasted buns, and drizzle with the reserved Buffalo wing sauce. Finish with a dollop of your preferred dressing and the toppings of your choice. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious crock pot buffalo chicken sandwiches!
When you’re enjoying your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, it’s always nice to pair them with some delectable side dishes. Here are a few options that complement the flavor profile of buffalo chicken.
- Coleslaw: A cool, crunchy coleslaw adds a refreshing contrast to the spicy and tangy buffalo chicken. You can opt for a classic mayonnaise-based slaw or try a vinegar-based version for a lighter option.
- Celery Sticks: Just like when you’re eating buffalo wings, celery sticks are a great palate cleanser. Plus, they add an extra crunch to your meal. Serve them alongside your sandwich or add them on top of the buffalo chicken for added texture.
- Pasta Salad: A cold pasta salad, especially one with a creamy dressing, can help balance the heat of the buffalo chicken. Choose a pasta shape that holds onto the dressing well, like rotini or elbow macaroni, and add in some vegetables for added color and nutrients.
Consider some alternative buffalo chicken dishes for variety:
- Buffalo Chicken Tacos: Swap the sandwich bun for a soft tortilla and transform your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken into tasty tacos. Add your desired toppings, such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and crumbled blue cheese.
- Buffalo Chicken Nachos: Spread your buffalo chicken over a bed of crispy tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese, jalapenos, and diced tomatoes. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and a drizzle of sour cream or ranch dressing.
To make your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches even more appealing, use the following presentation tips:
- Bun selection: Choose a sturdy bun, such as a brioche or hoagie roll, which can hold the juicy buffalo chicken without getting soggy. Make sure to toast the bun for extra flavor and texture.
- Layering: Start by placing a generous portion of buffalo chicken on the bottom half of the sandwich bun. Then, depending on your preferences, layer sliced tomatoes, lettuce, or coleslaw on top of the chicken. Don’t forget to drizzle some ranch or blue cheese dressing for an extra kick.
- Garnish: Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese or sliced green onions on the top of your sandwich for added flavor and visual appeal. This small touch can make a world of difference in presentation.
- Plating: Assembling your sandwich and side dishes on a visually appealing plate adds a professional touch. Place your sandwich on one side of the plate, and arrange the complementary sides, such as coleslaw or celery sticks, on the other half.
Storage and Reheating
To keep your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich leftovers fresh, quickly transfer them to the refrigerator or freezer. Use an airtight container to maintain their quality and prevent any odor from escaping. If storing in the refrigerator, consume the leftovers within 3-4 days. If you plan to keep them for a longer period, store them in the freezer. In the freezer, they can last up to 3 months. Make sure to label the container with the date and contents for easy identification.
Reheating for Best Taste
When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, it’s important to reheat it properly for the best taste. Here’s how to do it:
From the refrigerator:
- Remove the airtight container from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes.
- Place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish, cover loosely with a microwave-safe lid or a paper towel.
- Use the reheat function on your microwave, or microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes, checking every 30 seconds. Stir the chicken to ensure even reheating.
- Once the chicken is thoroughly heated, place it back on your sandwich bread, add your preferred toppings, and enjoy!
From the freezer:
- Transfer the frozen leftovers to the refrigerator and let them thaw for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
- Follow the same reheating steps as mentioned above for refrigerated leftovers.
By storing and reheating your Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich leftovers properly, you can enjoy their delicious taste and texture again. Just make sure to consume them within the recommended time frames for optimal freshness and flavor.