Why You Should Avoid Using Canned Meat In Buffalo Chicken Dip

Canned chicken can be the thrifty home cook's ace in the hole for throwing together a well-rounded dinner on a busy weeknight. You can even use canned chicken in a pot pie. When it comes to hosting game night, however, skip the canned meat when making buffalo chicken dip.

When you're looking for a mess-free party snack, no plates or utensils required, chances are you're whipping up a bubbling, creamy vat of tangy, sweet-hot buffalo chicken dip (assuming you're willing to share it, that is). Canned chicken could seem like a logical shortcut, but don't be deceived by its economic glory.

Despite its straightforward-sounding name, canned chicken isn't exactly butcher shop-worthy meat stored in a can. To be safely canned, chicken meat is subjected to heavy processing, which involves sterilization to discourage bacterial growth. The extra steps may make your chicken safe to eat, but not without hugely impacting the flavor, texture, firmness, and quality of the meat, and it doesn't hold up well in the slow cooker. The chicken tends to break apart and the texture becomes more mealy than meaty (sound appetizing?).

Canned meat is just not the same

Canned chicken may be pre-cooked and ready to use, making it both an affordable and convenient option for your recipes. But, the taste and texture are unmistakably different from fresh chicken meat, and not in a good way. Most importantly, with buffalo chicken dip, taste and texture is kind of the entire thing. The dip combines cream cheese, buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, and shredded cheese. The only toothsome component comes from the chunks of shredded chicken breast, and if the only thing you're sinking your teeth into is a wad of wet, spongy canned chicken, it's not a great look. Resist the temptation to take the cheap 'n easy route — a route we usually love, but not so much when it comes to buffalo chicken dip.

For the most flavorful, pleasant buffalo chicken dip, homemade shredded chicken works best. To cut down on prep time, fork-shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store works here, too. You can find these at the deli counter of many supermarkets, or swing by your local butcher shop. Frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts from the grocery store that you pan-fry can make an okay substitute, as well.

From tailgates to potlucks to Sunday football watch parties in the den, serve your crave-able buffalo chicken dip on tortilla chips or celery sticks, or even roll it into a burrito. However you enjoy it, you'll enjoy it more if you use fresh chicken.