This Dairy-Free Buffalo Chicken Dip is spicy, creamy and tangy with shredded chicken, buffalo sauce and a cashew base. It has all the classic flavour of a buffalo chicken dip without the cheese or cream cheese, but it’s so tasty, your guests will never know it’s dairy-free!
When it comes to party foods or game day snacks, dips are at the top of the list in our house. And, since we love cashew dips (like this cashew queso and this caramelized onion dip), I thought it was about time I made a classic buffalo chicken dip with cashews.
This dip leaves out the cheese and cream cheese and uses blended cashews for creaminess and nutritional yeast for a hint of cheesy flavour. You still get the tang from a little mayo and dairy-free ranch dressing, and of course, there’s the spicy kick from the buffalo sauce.
We normally enjoy this dip with veggie sticks and air fryer pita chips or tortilla chips. (Be sure to check out this post on how to make air fryer tortilla chips with 5 flavour options)!
Other cashew dips to try
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s completely dairy-free! It doesn’t contain any cheese or cream cheese. The creamy base is made with soaked cashews blended with nut milk.
- This dip is easy to make, especially if you take a shortcut and use pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken.
- It can easily be made in advance and then baked just before your guests arrive.
- The spice level is customizable. Just use more or less of the buffalo sauce to make the dip just the way you like it.
What is buffalo sauce?
Buffalo sauce is a popular hot sauce that’s normally paired with chicken. While hot sauce is made with hot peppers, vinegar and salt, buffalo sauce is just hot sauce with butter mixed in. This gives it a silky smooth texture.
You can definitely make your own buffalo sauce, but for this recipe, we’re keeping it simple and using store-bought. Just look for a dairy-free buffalo sauce for this recipe. (I normally use Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce).
Details on the ingredients
Chicken – You’ll need two cups of shredded or chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, or you can cook a few chicken breasts or thighs. As a shortcut, you can even use rotisserie chicken or pre-packaged shredded chicken. (Using some leftover chicken from this dutch oven roasted chicken recipe would also be perfect!)
Buffalo sauce – Buffalo sauce is an essential ingredient as it brings the heat to this dip. There are different brands to choose from. Just make sure the one you choose is dairy-free (if you need this recipe to be dairy-free). You can also substitute another type of hot sauce in a pinch.
Cashews – They create the dairy-free creamy texture in this dip. I normally use raw and unsalted cashews (whole or halved) and soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes. You can also soak them in cold water and leave them for a few hours, or overnight.
Milk – Any type of non-dairy milk will work. I normally use unsweetened almond or cashew milk. (Avoid sweetened or flavoured nut milks).
Mayo – Some mayo adds a tangy flavour and additional creamy texture. While most mayo is dairy-free, be sure to check the label to make sure.
Ranch dressing – I used a dairy-free ranch dressing for this recipe. It adds more tangy, zippy flavour.
Nutritional yeast – In the absence of cheese, I added a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast, which is a deactivated yeast that has a cheesy and nutty flavour. If you don’t have any, you can just leave it out.
Vinegar – To tame the spicy flavour of the buffalo sauce, I like to add 3-5 teaspoons of vinegar to the dip. It also adds more tangy flavour. Lemon juice will do the same thing. Sometimes I use a mix of vinegar and lemon juice.
Garlic powder – This is added for some contrasting flavour.
How to make buffalo chicken dip dairy-free
Add the cashews and hot water to a large glass dish. Cover and let soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender or food processor along with the other ingredients (except the chicken).
Blend on high until smooth. You may need to add more milk to blend into a smooth texture. (This depends on the power of your blender or food processor).
Taste and adjust with more buffalo sauce, vinegar or ranch dressing, if necessary.
Add the blended cashew mixture to a bowl and stir in the chicken.
Spread the dip out into a greased baking dish or oven-safe skillet and bake on 350F for 20 minutes, or until the dip is heated through.
Swirl a little more ranch dressing onto the top of the dip (optional) and top with chopped green onions.
Serve immediately with veggie sticks and chips.
- If you don’t need this recipe to be dairy-free, you can use dairy milk and regular ranch dressing.
- You can substitute the ranch dressing with a blue cheese dressing. (You can get dairy-free blue cheese dressing).
- If you don’t care for ranch dressing, feel free to use more mayo.
- Instead of vinegar, you can use lemon juice or a mix of both.
- In place of buffalo sauce, use another type of hot sauce.
Storage and reheating
This dip is best enjoyed right away. If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat, just place the dip in an oven-safe dish and heat on 350F for about 20 minutes or until warmed through.
Frequently asked questions
Some are dairy-free but others are not. Be sure to check the label to make sure the one you are buying is dairy-free.
Yes, since buffalo sauce is spicy, this dip is on the spicy side. If you prefer a mild or moderately spicy dip, you can use less buffalo sauce. You can also add more vinegar or lemon juice, as the acidic liquid will help cut through the heat. Adding more almond milk or tangy mayo and ranch dressing will also help. Just be careful adding more liquid as it can make the dip runny.
Your dip may be runny if you added too much liquid or not enough chicken. To fix this, you can try blending some more cashews and mixing them in. The easiest thing to do, however, is to add more chicken. Chilling it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight will also help thicken it up.
If you don’t have buffalo sauce, you can make this recipe with another type of hot sauce. As sauces may differ in spice level, I recommend adding hot sauce to the dip a little at a time and tasting it before adding more.
Yes, you can assemble this dip a day in advance and bake for 20 minutes just before serving.
Yes, you can make this dip vegetarian by replacing the chicken with white beans, chickpeas or tofu.
You can serve this dip with celery, carrot or red pepper sticks, sliced cucumber and radishes, tortilla chips, naan bread, pitas or crusty bread.
Yes, soaking the cashews in hot water softens them and helps them blend into a smooth and creamy texture.
While a high-powered blender or food processor works best for making cashew dips, you can use any type of blender or food processor. Just note that the texture of the dip may not be as smooth and you will likely need to add extra liquid to help the cashews blend so your dip will not be as thick.
Key recipe tips
- Soak the cashews. This is essential for easy blending and to achieve a creamy texture.
- Blender. A high-powered blender or food processor works best for this recipe.
- More liquid. The cashews require liquid (almond milk) to help them blend. If the cashew cream is too thick or not blending well, just add a little more almond milk to thin it out and help it blend.
- Spice level. Adjust the spice level by using more or less buffalo sauce. You can also add a little more vinegar or lemon juice to tame the heat.
- Half the recipe. This recipe makes enough for about 6 people, so feel free to half the recipe.
More game day appetizers
- Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers (Dairy-Free)
- Air Fryer Chicken Bites
- White Bean Dip (3 Ways)
- Air Fryer Mini Pizza
- Arugula Hummus
- Taco Cups with Ground Turkey
- Guinness Beef Sliders
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!Print
This Dairy-Free Buffalo Chicken Dip is spicy, creamy and tangy with shredded chicken, buffalo sauce and a creamy cashew base!
- 3 cups raw cashews
- 2–3 cups hot water (enough to cover the cashews)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (plus more if necessary)
- 3/4 cup buffalo sauce
- 1/3 cup light mayo
- 1/3 cup dairy-free ranch dressing
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3–5 teaspoons vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 cups cooked shredded/chopped chicken
- More ranch dressing (optional, for serving)
- Chopped green onions (optional, for serving)
- Add the cashews and hot water to a large glass dish. Cover and let soak for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a baking dish or oven-safe skillet.
- Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender or food processor along with the other ingredients (except the chicken).
- Blend on high until smooth. You may need to add more milk to help the cashews blend into a smooth texture. (This depends on the power of your blender or food processor).
- Taste and adjust with more buffalo sauce, vinegar or ranch dressing, if necessary.
- Add the blended cashew mixture to a bowl and stir in the chicken.
- Spread the dip out into the prepared baking dish or oven-safe skillet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the dip is heated through.
- Swirl a little more ranch dressing onto the top of the dip (optional) and top with chopped green onions.
- Serve immediately with veggie sticks and chips.
- To keep this recipe dairy-free, make sure your mayo and buffalo sauce do not contain dairy.
- Soaking the cashews is essential for easy blending and to achieve a creamy texture.
- A high-powered blender or food processor works best for this recipe.
- The cashews require liquid (almond milk) to help them blend. If the cashew cream is too thick or not blending well, just add a little more almond milk to thin it out and help it blend.
- You can adjust the spice level by using more or less buffalo sauce. You can also add a little more almond milk, mayo, vinegar or lemon juice to tame the heat.
- This recipe serves about 6 people, so feel free to half the recipe to serve fewer people.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: buffalo dip, dairy-free buffalo chicken