Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This crockpot buffalo chicken is made in the crockpot and becomes so tender and flavorful as it cooks. Since it makes a big batch, it’s perfect for a crowd, or to make ahead and freeze.

How long it takes: 10 minutes prep and 4 hours on high, or 6 hours on low
Equipment you’ll need: small bowl, slow cooker
Servings: 12

Crockpot buffalo chicken sandwich with fries and celery.
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The slow cooker is a magical thing especially for those really crazy days. You know the ones, where you’re going to get home right at dinner time after being gone all day, and then somehow you have to find the energy to cook for your family?

It can seem so overwhelming and the crockpot is the perfect solution. 

This crockpot buffalo chicken has all the flavor of buffalo hot wings that you love but in a fun and delicious sandwich form. Serve it on a bun topped with blue cheese or blue cheese dressing and extra hot sauce.

If you love everything buffalo, try Instant Pot buffalo chicken pasta, cheesy crockpot buffalo chicken dip, or meatless air fryer buffalo cauliflower “wings”.

Overhead view of sandwich with fries and blue cheese dressing.

About This Buffalo Chicken

Very little hands-on time. This crockpot sandwich recipe is a great one because you just dump everything in the slow cooker and let it cook. It only takes about 10 minutes to prep and then it’s pretty much all hands-off.

Makes enough for a crowd. Having a lot of people over for a party? This recipe serves a lot; it makes enough chicken to fill at least 12 regular size buns or a lot more sliders. It’s a nice alternative to sloppy Joes or pulled pork. If you’re looking for more game day ideas, check out my collection of Super Bowl Recipes.

Freezes well. Because it makes a big batch of chicken, you can put the extra in the freezer for a future dinner.

A healthier way to enjoy buffalo chicken. Buffalo chicken sandwiches are a healthy alternative to buffalo hot wings. Eat it with or without a bun, use a whole wheat or gluten-free bun, or substitute a lettuce wrap or tortilla, whatever works best for you personally!

Ingredient Notes

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken: Use both thighs and breasts for the best results. You’ll need approximately one and a half pounds of each.
  • Onion: Any type of onion you happen to have will work. I usually use a yellow cooking onion.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Any color of bell pepper is fine.
  • Tomato Sauce: A large can of tomato sauce makes this perfectly saucy. Look for low sodium or no-salt-added tomato sauce.
  • Hot Pepper Sauce: Frank’s Hot Sauce is a good choice but there are plenty of options. Use your favorite.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds umami and depth to the sauce.
  • Yellow Mustard: Other types of mustard will work but yellow mustard seems to provide the best tangy flavor for buffalo chicken.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: Just one tablespoon mellows out the tartness of the tomato sauce. If you rather, use honey or maple syrup, or just omit it completely
  • Garlic Powder: If you love garlic, use more garlic powder or add fresh minced garlic.
  • Cornstarch: This is added to thicken the sauce up. Crockpot recipes tend be somewhat juicy.
  • Blue Cheese, Optional: Garnish the sandwiches with crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese dressing.
Sandwich in aluminum container.

How To Make Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Prep the chicken. Remove the chicken from the package and put it in the crockpot. If the thighs seem to have excess fat, use a sharp scissors to trim it off if you want.

Chop the veggies. Chop an onion and a bell pepper. For a sandwich filler, it’s better if the veggies are a small dice instead of a rough chop so use your knife skills and get the pieces nice and small. Add the veggies to the crockpot with the chicken.

Make the sauce. In a small bowl, stir up the sauce ingredients. That’s pretty much everything else on the list except the cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir it up so the chicken is coated with the sauce.

Slow cook. Put the lid on the slow cooker, plug it in, and set it for either High or Low, depending on how long you have. It will take 3 to 4 hours on High, and 6 to 7 hours on Low.

Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is really tender (test it with a fork), remove it from the slow cooker and put it on a large plate or cutting board. Let it cool slightly so you can handle it. In addition, remove about a half cup of the sauce and set it aside to cool. Using two forks, shred the chicken. It should be super tender and shred very easily. Put the chicken back into the crockpot as you go.

Thicken the sauce. The sauce that you removed should be cooled off to room temperature by now. Stir in the cornstarch until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add the sauce back to the crockpot and simmer it on High until it thickens.

Serve. Put a good scoopful of the buffalo chicken on a bun and top with crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese dressing. Add an extra drizzle of hot sauce, if you like.

Serve the sandwiches with air fryer French fries or air fryer sweet potato fries. Crisp celery sticks are a must!

Cooking Tip

If you’re not ready to serve dinner yet, just cover the crockpot and keep it on Warm until you’re ready. It will be fine for at least an hour.

Recipe Variations

There are lots of ways to adapt this recipe to suit your taste.

  • Use all white meat or all dark meat. This recipe uses a combination of dark and light meat. The dark meat gives it more flavor. However, if you’re dead set against one or the other, the recipe will turn out fine if you substitute breasts for thighs or vice versa.
  • Adjust the spice level. Don’t care for spicy foods? Reduce the amount of hot sauce. This recipe is very mild so you might love it the way it is. Can’t get enough spice? Add more! Or choose a spicier hot sauce, like a habanero hot sauce.
  • Don’t like blue cheese dressing? This recipe is turns out well without it. Or try drizzling ranch dressing over the chicken on your sandwich.
  • Low carb alternative: Serve the chicken on a lettuce wrap or low carb wrap instead of a bun.
  • Paleo or Whole30: Omit the sugar and substitute arrowroot powder for the cornstarch.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Head start: If you really want to speed things up in the morning, prep everything the night before. Dice the onion and pepper and refrigerate in a covered bowl or resealable bag. Prep the sauce and place that in a bowl in the fridge. In the morning, just put the chicken in the crockpot, add the veggies and sauce, turn it on and walk away.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Refrigerate/Freeze: Leftover buffalo chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to six months. For freezing, divide the chicken into freezer containers or freezer bags and label. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating for best results.

Reheat: Warm the chicken up in a saucepan or skillet on the stove, or in a microwave safe container in the microwave, until heated through.

Leftover Love

  • Add it to a bowl with a grain of your choice, chopped greens, celery, green onions, tomato, and avocado. Drizzle a little blue cheese dressing on top.
  • Add buffalo chicken to hot cooked pasta with additional blue cheese.
  • Make buffalo chicken tacos or burritos.
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Free Meal Plan

Interested in a weekly meal plan that includes this recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan #6. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week! We add a new meal plan weekly.

More Slow Cooker Sandwiches

Recipe

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 hours 10 minutes
Total: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
This crockpot buffalo chicken is made in the crockpot and becomes so tender and flavorful as it cooks. It's perfect on sandwiches or sliders! 
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (excess fat trimmed off)
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomato sauce (low sodium or no-salt-added)
  • ¼ cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank’s (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hamburger buns or slider buns
  • Blue cheese, for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Place chicken, chopped onions and red pepper into slow cooker. 
    1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 yellow onion, diced small, 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • In a medium bowl, mix tomato sauce, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, and garlic powder.
    1 can (14.5 ounces) tomato sauce, ¼ cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank’s, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pour over chicken and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours, or on LOW 5 to 6 hours, or until chicken is very tender.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker; place on platter or flat bowl; cool slightly. Turn slow cooker to HIGH.
  • Remove ½ cup of the sauce; let cool. 
  • Shred chicken with two forks and return meat to slow cooker. 
  • When reserved sauce has cooled to room temperature, whisk in cornstarch until no lumps remain. Add to slow cooker and stir well. Cook on high for about 10 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly. Taste, add salt and pepper, if needed.
    2 tablespoons cornstarch, Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Serve with buns, additional hot pepper sauce, and crumbled blue cheese.
    Hamburger buns or slider buns, Blue cheese, for garnishing

Notes

  • If you prefer spicier buffalo chicken, increase the amount of hot pepper sauce, or serve extra sauce on the side.
  • Nutrition information does not include buns or toppings.
  • Blue cheese dressing can be used instead of blue cheese.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 476mg, Potassium: 521mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 502IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4 Comments

  1. Lorraine Salstrand says:

    5 stars
    I saw this recipe in my inbox today and went out and bought the few items I needed. I also looked up Rachel’s Cole Slaw Recipe and the combination was so good! Thank you for endless delicious recipes. We are never disappointed :)

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Your comment brought a smile to my face! I even read it to my husband and kids. :) So glad you like the recipes!

  2. Rachel says:

    I know, I love Everyday Food! I get so excited when it arrives in the mail.

  3. Autumn@Good Eats Girl says:

    I am a buffalo chicken and spicy fan…this is right up my alley! I'm going to try this soon! Everyday Food has some awesome recipes!