Quick Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl
This post is sponsored by The USA Rice Federation, but as always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the foods and brands I love and use!
This fast and easy Buffalo chicken rice bowl will be your new go-to recipe when you want dinner on the table in about 10 minutes flat. It features shredded rotisserie chicken in spicy buffalo sauce, paired with leftover rice and crispy vegetables, and everything's drizzled with a tangy blue cheese vinaigrette dressing.
With all of the flavors of your favorite Buffalo chicken appetizer, this recipe is perfect for a tasty dinner, and it's super easy to meal prep for a healthy, hearty lunch.
Why This Recipe Works
Colorful salads and bowls are one of my favorite dinner ideas, but sometimes, they take lots of time to pull together. This Buffalo chicken rice bowl DOES NOT!
This is a balanced meal that checks all the food groups. And there's no cooking required unless you want to warm your chicken and rice in the microwave for a few seconds.
It's seriously the best way to turn store-bought rotisserie chicken (or any leftover chicken) and leftover cooked rice into a satisfying and delicious meal in minutes.
And turning leftovers into a completely new recipe is one of the easiest ways to reduce food waste.
I like to stick with classic buffalo chicken wings ingredients, which means chicken, Buffalo sauce, celery, and blue cheese. Here's what I recommend for this recipe, but substitutions are also listed below.
Chicken - These bowls are meant to be super simple, so I don't mess around with grilling or roasting chicken. Use shredded rotisserie chicken or any cooked, leftover chicken on hand.
Rice - I always opt for U.S.-grown short-grain brown rice because it grows right here in the U.S. in Arkansas and California. Cooking with U.S.-grown rice ensures you are eating the world’s cleanest and highest quality GMO-free rice while supporting the 5,563 rice farmers throughout the country, limiting your carbon footprint, and delivering authentic flavors with every dish.
U.S.-grown short-grain brown rice works well in this recipe because the cooked grains are softer and stickier than other types of rice, adding to the heartiness of this bowl. Plus, short-grain brown rice is a whole grain that provides complex carbs and more fiber than other rice varieties. And you'll get more than 15 vitamins and minerals with each serving.
Buffalo sauce - there are LOTS of different brands out there, with Franks Red Hot Wings Sauce being the tried and true original. I prefer a milder version, but you do you.
Blue cheese dressing - If you're from New York, it's a classic. I've included a variation of my recipe for Simple Blue Cheese Vinaigrette dressing in the recipe card. You can also substitute your favorite bottled blue cheese dressing.
Get the full list of ingredients and measurements in my recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations
Instead of celery (which is traditionally served with Buffalo chicken wings), swap crunchy diced sweet peppers, cucumber, broccoli, or jicama (read this post to learn why I love jicama).
Instead of blue cheese dressing, you can substitute ranch dressing. Ranch dressing is actually traditionally served with Buffalo chicken wings outside of the New York area.
For more of a Southwest flavor, feel free to add:
- Black or kidney beans
- Grilled corn
- Cheddar cheese
If you don't have leftover brown rice on hand, use a package of instant U.S.-grown brown rice or any other variety of U.S.-grown rice.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken and Rice Bowls
Here are the super-simple, step-by-step instructions to assemble these bowls.
First, place your pulled-apart chicken in a bowl and drizzle the sauce over it. You'll probably need less sauce than you think. I recommend ⅓ cup of sauce to 2 cups of chicken.
Second, using two forks, pull your chicken apart and combine it with the sauce. At this point, if you feel like you want your chicken saucier, add another tablespoon or two of hot sauce.
Third, cut your vegetables into bite-sized pieces. I like a chopped salad, so everything gets chopped into ½-1-inch pieces.
Fourth, make the homemade blue cheese vinaigrette dressing by combining the blue cheese, olive oil, vinegar, and onion powder in a bullet blender and puree it until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender.
Finally, combine your ingredients. If you like your bowl warm, heat the chicken and rice in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Otherwise, just combine your sauced chicken, rice, and vegetables in a bowl and drizzle the dressing over it.
I like to top my bowl with some sliced almonds for extra crunch.
This recipe makes two servings. If you only need one, save the leftovers or meal prep them for lunch tomorrow.
- For crispy lettuce, I recommend Romaine or Iceberg. For softer greens, use mixed baby greens, butter, or red-leaf lettuce.
- Always rinse your lettuce in cold water (even if it says it's prewashed). Then, spread it over a long sheet of paper towel and roll it lightly. Keep your lettuce in the refrigerator crisper drawer until you're ready to use it. These steps ensure fresh, crisp lettuce.
- Most bottled Buffalo sauce is very salty, and the blue cheese is salty, so you may not need to add salt to your salad dressing.
- Unless you're making a large batch of the blue cheese vinaigrette dressing, I don't recommend using a regular blender. The recipe makes less than ½ cup, and a blender doesn't work well with such a small amount.
How to Meal Prep These Bowls
Buffalo Chicken and Rice Bowls are so easy to meal prep, and they taste great the next day. If you start with crispy vegetables, they'll stay nice and crisp overnight.
Make sure you keep the dressing in a separate container and combine it just before serving.
When adding your ingredients to your meal prep container, keep the chicken, rice, lettuce, vegetables, and cheese in separate rows or sections. If you combine everything, the salt in the Buffalo sauce and blue cheese will start to wilt your vegetables.
To layer these, put the sauced chicken on the bottom layer of your container. Then add the rice and blue cheese.
Next, layer the celery and tomatoes. Place the lettuce and almonds on top. That way, your lettuce, and vegetables will stay crisp.
Brown rice is good for 3 days, while white rice will keep for 5 days in a tight-fitted container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze cooked rice for up to 6 months in a tight-fitted container.
Buffalo sauce usually contains cayenne pepper, vinegar, garlic, paprika, and oil or butter.
Prep your ingredients according to the instructions in the meal prep section above. Your bowl will taste best if you eat it by the next day.
Other Recipes Using Leftover Rice
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.
Quick Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 2 ounces blue cheese
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
- pinch salt optional to taste
- water to thin the dressing
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat only, no skin
- ⅓ cup bottled Buffalo sauce hot or mild
- 1 cup cooked U.S.-grown short grain brown rice
- 3 cups Romaine lettuce chopped
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- ¾ cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles optional topping
To Make the Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, 2 ounces of blue cheese, onion powder, and ground pepper in a bullet blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can put the ingredients in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the dressing is too thick. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. Set the dressing aside.
To Assemble the Bowls
- Place the chicken and Buffalo sauce in a bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and stir in the sauce until the chicken is well coated.
- Combine the sauced chicken, rice, lettuce, celery, and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Toss everything lightly to combine.
- Divide the mixture between two large serving bowls. Top each bowl with half the almonds and extra blue cheese crumbles if desired. Drizzle dressing over each bowl.
- Serve immediately.