Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls with Herby Ranch Yogurt Drizzle

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Kick standard buffalo chicken salads up a few satisfying notches with Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls! Tangy, spicy buffalo chicken served power bowl-style on a base of rice & greens with spiced roasted cauliflower, carrots, & cheese. Finish with a drizzle of herbed Greek yogurt ranch dressing for iconic buffalo flavor. So light & healthy, yet completely crave-worthy & satisfying! A go-to weeknight lunch or dinner.

Majorly meal prep-friendly. Easy vegetarian & vegan variations provided. 

An overhead shot of an assembled & finished Hearty Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, easy skillet buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and herby ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. A small ceramic bowl filled with herby ranch yogurt drizzle sits alongside the bowl and a gold fork rests inside of the buffalo chicken rice bowl.

Spicy, Crunchy, Creamy, and Craveable Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowls

I absolutely cannot resist a good buffalo chicken salad. If it’s on a menu, I WILL order it. This hearty buffalo chicken bowl recipe is inspired by one of my favorite salads at Crisp & Green, a fast-casual salad shop here in Minneapolis.

These satisfying bowls are equal parts buffalo chicken salad and hearty power bowl. Its fresh and flavorful ingredients make a meal that feels light yet completely crave-able – the best of both worlds! Simply prepare an easy skillet buffalo chicken, roast some spiced cauliflower, and finish it off with an herby yogurt ranch drizzle. The fun combination of flavors and textures makes these bowls shine!

Buffalo chicken bowls boast a crave-worthy combo of spicy hot sauce, creamy ranch drizzle, tender brown rice and crispy roasted cauliflower.

As is the case with all salads and bowl-style meals, it takes time to prep a number of ingredients that create the perfect combination of well-balanced flavors and textures. But my favorite thing about dinner bowls is how endlessly versatile they are! Feel free to make the elements that sound the most delicious to you and leave out what’s not as inspiring – you should enjoy them the way you love most!

An overhead shot of ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, unsalted butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Franks RedHot, cauliflower, olive oil, plain Greek yogurt, garlic, fresh chives, fresh dill, apple cider vinegar, baby arugula, carrots, cabbage, crumbled bleu cheese, and cooked brown rice.
With a blend of veggies, grains, greens, and more, this recipe uses simple, healthy ingredients to build a filling and nourishing meal.

How to Make Buffalo Chicken

Making buffalo chicken in a skillet is so simple and quick! It takes just 3 easy steps…

Cooked cubed chicken sits inside of a skillet tossed with Franks RedHot hot sauce until coated. A wooden spoon rests inside the skillet for mixing the chicken. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
Prepping buffalo chicken in a skillet couldn’t be easier. For an extra-easy weeknight shortcut, use rotisserie chicken!
1

Prep the chicken. Cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs, if using) into bite-sized cubed pieces. Why? ⇢ Cutting the chicken into pieces helps it cook faster and gives more surface area for the meat to soak up the delicious buffalo seasoning and sauce.

2

Cook and season the chicken. Melt some butter in a skillet and then add the cubed chicken. Season with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, then cook until the chicken is golden-brown. Why? ⇢ Seasoning the chicken before coating in hot sauce creates an added layer of spiced, garlicky flavor. It’s seriously irresistible!

3

Pour in the hot sauce. Add Frank’s to the skillet and toss the chicken to coat every piece evenly in the sauce. No heat necessary here – the hot pan will quickly warm up the sauce and then the chicken is ready to go!

Easy Recipe Variation

For a vegetarian bowl, roast some extra cauliflower florets with garlic powder and smoked paprika. You can also add sweet potatoes to the sheet pan for more variety. If you’re missing the tangy-spicy hot sauce from the chicken, toss the roasted cauliflower in some Frank’s once they come out of the oven for a buffalo cauliflower bowl. Easy!

Love buffalo cauliflower? ⇢ Try our Grilled Buffalo Cauliflower Salad!

Roasted cauliflower arranged atop an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a single layer. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting alongside.
Spiced, roasted cauliflower adds tons of great texture and flavor to buffalo chicken bowls.
A side angle shot of an assembled and finished Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, easy skillet buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. A small bowl filled with herby ranch yogurt drizzle sits alongside the buffalo chicken rice bowl and a gold spoon hovers over the buffalo chicken bowl as it is used to drizzle on the ranch yogurt dressing.
Homemade ranch dressing is so easy to make, and kicks things up a notch from store-bought ranch.

Homemade Ranch with a Twist: Herby Yogurt Ranch Dressing Drizzle

This drizzle is the perfect finishing touch for any buffalo chicken bowl (or buffalo chicken sandwiches!). While I adore classic store-bought ranch, this homemade version is worth the extra effort (and it’s SO easy to make).

To make a Greek yogurt ranch dressing, simply combine Greek yogurt with a splash of ACV, finely chopped garlic, finely chopped dill, fresh chives or green onion, salt and pepper. Whisk in enough water to create your desired drizzly consistency, making it easy to pour ALL over the buffalo chicken bowls.

✨ Get the recipe! ⇢ 5-Minute Greek Yogurt Ranch

An overhead shot of an assembled and finished Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. Two gold forks rest alongside the bowl.
With a satisfying combination of flavors and textures, these buffalo chicken bowls rival your takeout favorites.

Assembly and Serving Suggestions

Once you prepare the three main components of the buffalo chicken bowls, the rest is all about assembly. This is where my love for power bowls really thrives. 😎 I’m obsessed with creating the perfect combination of flavor and texture in every bite.

Here’s how I like to assemble the perfect bowl:

  1. First, start with a layer of rice (or another grain of choice!). Grains make a sturdy foundation for any bowl.
  2. Next, greens. Top the rice with a handful of arugula or greens of choice and shredded cabbage for a great crunchy contrast to the tender grains.
  3. Pile on the skillet buffalo chicken and roasted spiced cauliflower. They’re the core of the bowl, so don’t be shy!
  4. Add-ons and finish with a generous drizzle of herby ranch yogurt dressing. The creamy dressing is the perfect first bite and warms up your palette for the tangy and spicy Frank’s.
  5. Serve the buffalo chicken bowls immediately and enjoy!

Meal Prep Tips

Save up to 20 minutes at dinnertime by chopping the vegetables, preparing the yogurt ranch, and cooking your rice ahead of time! Store them separately in the fridge up to 5 days in advance.

An overhead shot of an assembled and finished Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. A gold fork rests inside of the buffalo chicken rice bowl.
Buffalo chicken bowls are endlessly versatile – swap out the chicken for shrimp or tofu, or additional cauliflower for a vegetarian bowl.

I can’t wait for you to try these Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls! They’re the perfect balance of light-yet-satisfying, and I know you’re going to love them as much as we do. If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about and seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!

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An overhead shot of an assembled & finished Hearty Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, easy skillet buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and herby ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. Two gold forks, a small ceramic bowl filled with herby ranch yogurt drizzle with a gold spoon resting inside the bowl, freshly snipped chives, and loose fresh dill surround the bowl.

Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls with Herby Ranch Yogurt Drizzle

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Entree Salads & Bowls, Main Dishes
  • Method: Skillet, Sheet Pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Kick standard buffalo chicken salads up a few satisfying notches with Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls!

These power bowls are LOADED with goodness: tangy, spicy buffalo chicken, spiced roasted cauliflower, carrots, rice and greens. Finish with a drizzle of Greek yogurt ranch dressing for iconic buffalo flavor. They’re light and healthy, yet completely satisfying and crave-worthy. 

As is the case with any hearty salad or bowl-style meal, a little bit of prep is involved to pull together all of the components. Feel free to take or leave any component depending on how much time you have (e.g. skip the roasted cauliflower, use store-bought ranch dressing, opt for just rice or just greens, etc.). This is a flexible recipe – have fun with it! 

Easily vegetarian or vegan and majorly meal prep-friendly. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for the full how-to! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • easy skillet buffalo chicken, below
  • simple roasted cauliflower, below
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice (½ cup dry cooked according to package directions)
  • 2 cups packed baby arugula or greens of choice
  • 2 cups packed thinly sliced cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, peeled as desired and grated
  • 4 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or shredded sharp white cheddar
  • herby ranch yogurt drizzle, below

for the easy skillet buffalo chicken:

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed into bite-sized pieces (see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅓ cup Franks RedHot or buffalo sauce of choice
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired

for the simple roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (approx. 16 ounces or 4 cups florets)
  • 1 overflowing tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired

for the herby ranch yogurt drizzle:

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (whole milk or 2% is best)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 34 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or green onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 34 tablespoons water
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring an oven rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy clean up as desired. Gather and prep ingredients according to Ingredients List, above.Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls with simple roasted cauliflower and herby ranch yogurt drizzle ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, unsalted butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Franks RedHot, cauliflower, olive oil, plain Greek yogurt, garlic, fresh chives, fresh dill, apple cider vinegar, baby arugula, carrots, cabbage, crumbled bleu cheese, and cooked brown rice.
  2. Roast the cauliflower: Place the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top, sprinkling with garlic powder, smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Toss to coat, arranging the cauliflower such that they’re spaced out and have room to roast. Transfer to the oven and roast 25-30 minutes, until tender and browned. Remove from the oven and set aside for buffalo chicken bowl assembly.An overhead shot of how to make Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls, step 2: Roast the cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower arranged atop an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a single layer. The cauliflower is roasted until golden brown. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting alongside.
  3. Cook the easy skillet buffalo chicken: Meanwhile, as the cauliflower roasts, prep the buffalo chicken. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the cubed chicken to the skillet, seasoning with the garlic powder, smoked paprika, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Cook, flipping occasionally, 2-3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through with golden brown edges. Pour in the hot sauce. Stir to combine, tossing the chicken to coat it evenly in the sauce and pan drippings. Set aside for buffalo chicken bowl assembly.How to make Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls, step 3: Cook the easy skillet buffalo chicken. Cooked cubed chicken sits inside of a gray Staub cast iron skillet tossed with Franks RedHot hot sauce until coated. A wooden spoon rests inside the skillet for mixing the chicken. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. Prepare the herby ranch yogurt drizzle: Meanwhile, as the cauliflower roasts and the buffalo chicken cooks, prep the ranch yogurt. In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, garlic, chive or green onions, dill, and apple cider vinegar. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Whisk to combine. If needed, thin the mixture out with 3-4 tablespoons water, just until your desired consistency is reached. Set aside for serving, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.An overhead shot of how to make Hearty Buffalo Chicken Bowls, step 4: Prepare the herby ranch yogurt drizzle. Ranch yogurt sauce fills a white ceramic bowl. The sauce has been garnished with fresh dill, fresh snipped chives, and ground black pepper. A gold spoon rests inside of the bowl. The bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a small white ceramic pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, fresh bunches of dill and freshly snipped chives surround the bowl.
  5. Assemble the buffalo chicken bowls: Add the rice, arugula or greens of choice, and finely shredded cabbage to a large, shallow bowl. Pile the easy buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, and cheese over top. Finish with a generous drizzling of the herby ranch yogurt drizzle. Serve immediately – enjoy!An overhead shot of an assembled & finished Hearty Buffalo Chicken bowl. The bowl is made with cooked brown rice, a bed of arugula, finely shredded cabbage, easy skillet buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, cheese, and herby ranch yogurt drizzle over top. The bowls sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin resting underneath. Two gold forks, a small ceramic bowl filled with herby ranch yogurt drizzle with a gold spoon resting inside the bowl, freshly snipped chives, and loose fresh dill surround the bowl.


Notes

  • Ingredient Notes:
    • Chicken breasts vs thighs: You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts for these hearty buffalo chicken bowls. While I typically gravitate towards thighs (they’re so much more flavorful and juicier!), I am partial to chicken breasts for this particular recipe. 
    • Vegetarian buffalo bowls: These hearty buffalo bowls are easily made vegetarian by omitting the buffalo chicken. Instead, double up on the roasted veggies – either double the cauliflower or add a large sweet potato. Roast as directed in Step 2, though be sure to use 2 baking sheets as needed to ensure the veggies have enough room to roast well. Once they come out of the oven, toss with Frank’s and assemble the bowls as described in Step 5.
    • Vegan buffalo bowls: These hearty buffalo bowls are easily made vegan as well. Follow the vegetarian buffalo bowls guidance above. Swap the Greek yogurt with your favorite dairy-free yogurt substitute and be sure to omit cheese or use your favorite dairy-free cheese. 
  • Storage and Reheating: Leftover buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, and herby yogurt ranch drizzle will keep, stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat the chicken and cauliflower in the microwave until warmed through, then assemble buffalo chicken bowls as desired. 
  • 20-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for these hearty buffalo chicken bowls comes from prepping the veggies and the herby ranch yogurt drizzle. Prep either or both in advance to get a head start on your buffalo chicken bowls – it takes 20 minutes, tops:
    • Vegetable prep: Grate 2 large carrots, thinly slice enough cabbage for 2 cups packed, and break down 1 small head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Transfer to individual airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (>10 minutes active prep)
    • Prepare the herby ranch yogurt drizzle according to Step 4 of Recipe Directions above. Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (>10 minutes active prep)

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography & Food Styling by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 6.30.24
    Hannah said:

    Loved this bowl. We love bowl like recipes for dinner and do them frequently, this will definitely join the rotation. Very flavorful and fresh!






  2. 4.2.23
    Beth S. said:

    This recipe has become a favorite of my husband and me. It is absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing. Game changer!






    • 4.3.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks so much for your great review, Beth! We’re happy to hear you love the bowls!! 🙂

  3. 3.28.23
    Hailey Wilson said:

    Dare I say this is BETTER than Crisp & Green?! Seriously so good, and so EASY! I made it with cut up chicken thighs and they turned out so good with the seasoning and sauce. I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar and a little crumbled blue cheese, and bought their shredded carrots and shredded cabbage to save myself a few steps (a priceless luxury while cooking with a 1 year old and 3 year old!) this one is going in our regular meal rotation, thank you!!






    • 3.29.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Better than Crisp & Green is the highest praise!! So glad to hear you loved these bowls, and your additions & shortcuts sound absolutely perfect, too!! Thanks so much for the kind review!! 🙂

  4. 7.26.22
    Amy Rivet said:

    I have not made this yet and want to but not a fan of ranch dressing. Do you have an easy blue cheese recipe to use instead?

    • 7.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Amy! You could definitely sprinkle blue cheese crumbles over top of the grilled chicken or if you want to make a homemade sauce you could try our creamy blue cheese sauce found in the recipe card for these Blue Cheese Burgers here! Let us know if you give it a try! 🙂