5 SIMPLE STEPS TO THE ULTIMATE BUFFALO CHICKEN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH
What if you could take the best of the game-day foods and combine it with the king of the comfort foods? Mixing the kick of buffalo wings with the melty perfection of a classic grilled cheese sandwich?
Well, wonder no more, my friend. Because that’s exactly what we’ve done with this Cooper® Sharp Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese recipe. It’s a best-of-both-worlds kind of comfort food that’ll feel just as at home watching the big game as it does just lunching on a Tuesday.
No matter where, how or with whom you indulge in this culinary combo, you just might find you’ve got a new favorite way to do grilled cheese.
Because, yes, it’s exactly as unbelievable as you think.
Shall we begin?
STEP 1: PREPARE THE CHICKEN
Cooper® cheese is, of course, the star of any grilled cheese sandwich. But for this version, its highly regarded costar is the Buffalo chicken. So that’s where we need to start.
And you can’t have great Buffalo chicken unless you begin with perfectly cooked non-Buffalo chicken. Which means we need to first cook up some of the juiciest, most mouth-wateringly delicious chicken we can imagine.
Now, you can go about this a few ways. We’re partial to grilling. You can also pan-sear your chicken. Or, if you plan to shred it, poaching is a great way to go (in the cooking sense, not the illegal hunting kind). For this Buffalo chicken grilled cheese recipe, we’re starting with boneless, skinless chicken breast.
METHOD 1: HOW TO PERFECTLY GRILL YOUR CHICKEN
Hands down, grilling is our favorite way to cook chicken. Not only does it get that fantastic grill flavor and crispy sear, but a good grilling helps keep the juices inside your chicken, right where they belong.
The main thing with grilling chicken (or any method) is to make sure you cook it all the way through. Time is a good benchmark for how long to keep your chicken on the heat, but checking the internal temp with a meat thermometer is the only surefire way to know your chicken is ready. The magic number, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is an internal temperature of 165°F.
But getting the whole piece of chicken to that temperature at the same time can be a challenge. The thin parts can get overcooked while you’re waiting for the thick parts to catch up. So, one trick to help you get a nice, even cook is to have at your chicken with a meat tenderizer. You know, one of those weird poky hammers you used to see in the utensil bin and think, “What kind of nonsense medieval spatula is this?” It’s like the iron maiden of kitchen utensils.
The idea with tenderizing is to hammer your chicken until it’s an even thickness all the way across. Even thickness means even grilling. Which means it’s easier to get your whole piece of chicken to that safe internal temperature of 165°F.
To tenderize your chicken, just place a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap onto your work surface, put the chicken on top, then cover the chicken with another sheet of parchment or plastic. Then hammer it. Hammer it good. But do be careful not to over-tenderize your chicken. We’re not making paté here. We just want evenness.
Once you’ve tenderized and your chicken breasts are a nice, even thickness, you’re ready to grill. If you want, go ahead and season it with a little salt and pepper first. Then go for it.
- Preheat your grill to about medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken breasts on the grill and give them about 4 minutes or so per side.
- Check with your meat thermometer every few minutes to see how it’s going.
- Once you’ve hit the magic number of 165°F, remove your chicken from the grill.
And quick note … if your chicken sticks when you try to flip it, give it another minute. The thing with chicken is, if you give it enough time to get those perfect grill lines, it should release from the grate on its own, when it’s good and ready.
Now you’ve got your chicken perfectly grilled, so take a second to admire it, maybe pat yourself on the back. Go ahead, it’s not weird. You can even taste-test it if you want, just keep enough for the Buffalo chicken grilled cheese we came here for in the first place.
METHOD 2: HOW TO PAN-SEAR YOUR CHICKEN TO PERFECTION
Second method for perfect Buffalo chicken is to pan-sear it. A lot of the same ideas apply. You’ll want to pound your chicken to an even thickness. You’ll still want to cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F. You’ll just arrive at your finished chicken a little differently. You know, inside your house. Assuming that’s where you keep your stove.
So, here’s what you’ll do:
- Once you’ve tenderized, throw a little salt and pepper on your chicken.
- Heat up some cooking oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken, sauté for about about 5-7 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until you’ve hit that 165°F internal temp and the outside of the chicken is a nice golden brown.
As with the grill, your chicken will tell you when it’s ready to flip—if it sticks on your first try, give it another minute. And when you flip, you can add about a tablespoon of butter to the pan to add flavor and help with that crispy, golden exterior.
METHOD 3: POACH YOUR CHICKEN FOR SHREDDING
No, not that kind of shredding.
Okay, final method. This is specifically meant for shredding your chicken. And it’s super easy. Here’s how to poach your chicken:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Place your chicken breasts in the water and boil for about 10 minutes, or until you’ve hit that all-important 165°F internal temperature.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool a few minutes.
That’s all. Now you’ve got nice, juicy cooked chicken ready for shredding.
Which is the next step to prepare your chicken (well, that or cutting it into chunks), no matter which method you’ve used for cooking.
CUT OR SHRED YOUR CHICKEN
You’ve got a choice here … you can just cut the chicken into chunks, which is super fast and easy, if a little less fun. Or you can take a couple of forks and pull the chicken apart until you have a satisfactory pile of shredded chicken. You can also shred it using a stand mixer if you prefer. Use the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the chicken meets your own likely stringent shredding specifications.
And there you go! You’ve got chicken that’s perfectly cooked, it’s cut into nice bite-sized pieces or shredded, and you’re all ready to add some of that tasty Buffalo flavor.
STEP 2: TURN IT INTO BUFFALO CHICKEN
Okay, this is going to take a few steps. Here we go.
- Get a box big enough for your chunked or shredded chicken.
- Place the chicken in the box, close it and tape it shut.
- Mail it to Buffalo.
There you go. Now it’s not just chicken. It’s Buffalo chicken!
Okay, sorry. Just kidding. That’s not helpful.
Really, this step is almost too simple to warrant its own step. You literally just mix your chicken together with your Buffalo sauce. In a bowl.
But, if you’re feeling adventurous, or you’re just way too stubborn not to do this whole thing from scratch, you can make your own Buffalo sauce. Of course, if you really, really wanted to do this completely from scratch, you’d have to bake your own bread. And raise your own chickens. Cooper® cheese is all for making it yours, so you do you.
But back to the Buffalo sauce. Here’s a simple recipe to try:
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BUFFALO SAUCE.
This is about the simplest recipe for Buffalo sauce we can find. Go ahead and try some things out, see what you like best. But this should give you a good foundation to start from.
You’ll need two things:
- Your favorite hot sauce.
Just combine about 2 parts hot sauce with 1 part melted butter and whisk them together.
Other recipes include vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings (maybe some cayenne pepper and garlic salt), which you’re certainly welcome to add to the mix. And the hot-sauce-to-butter proportions vary a bit, so try some things there, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble across liquid gold, some majestic new Buffalo sauce the likes of which the world has never tasted. Maybe accidentally start yourself a hot sauce business. Just don’t forget us little guys when you’re on Shark Tank.
STEP 3: ADD THE PEPPERS.
There’s a pretty magical combination that happens when you get the spice of jalapeños together with the sweetness of red bell peppers. They add some color, a little bit of crunch, and a whole lot of flavor. Flavor that pairs perfectly with the tangy heat of the Buffalo sauce and the sharp, creamy awesomeness of Cooper® cheese.
So you’ve got your chicken, Buffalo sauce and peppers all together. Mix that up until everything’s well combined. The chicken should be nicely coated with Buffalo sauce, and the peppers should be well distributed.
Now we’re ready to put this masterpiece of a grilled cheese chicken sandwich together.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE YOUR SANDWICHES. AND GRILL THEM.
You’ve been patiently preparing all the fixings. Stealing glances at that Cooper® cheese, barely resisting the urge to snack it out of existence.
Now comes your reward. Because the time has come to put all this deliciousness together into one sandwich, made exponentially more delicious by the mere act of combining these individually tasty elements into this collectively ultra-tasty form. Like the power of compound interest. Or Voltron.
Start with a preheated skillet or griddle. Then do this:
- Butter two slices of bread and place them in the skillet buttered side down.
- Add 1 or 2 slices of Cooper® cheese to each slice of bread.
- On top of the Cooper® cheese, add half the Buffalo chicken and pepper mixture to each sandwich.
- Add another 1 or 2 slices of Cooper® cheese.
- Butter your other two slices of bread and place them on top of each sandwich, buttered side up.
One thing you’ll notice is that we’re putting cheese down as a base layer, then topping it all off with another layer of cheese. A couple reasons for that. One, it’s Cooper® cheese, which is delicious. In our humble opinion, of course, Cooper® Sharp is the best possible cheese you can use for a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s got the unique sharpness of a cheddar and it melts like a dream. So, smothering this puppy in melty Cooper® goodness is a pretty momentous occasion.
And that meltiness is the second reason. Surrounding this sandwich’s inside ingredients between two gooey layers of Cooper® cheese is going to help keep the whole thing together. Like a layer of mortar, or glue—except it’s cheesy, edible, amazingly yummy mortar-glue. (Please, don’t eat mortar. Or glue. And definitely not both of them together.)
Congratulations! Those towers of tastiness are now officially sandwiches.
Grill them a few minutes, carefully checking the bottoms every so often to see how they’re cooking. Should go without saying, but you’ll want a nice golden brown on the bottom of your bread.
Once that first side is done, flip your sandwiches—carefully!—and grill on the other side a few minutes, or until the Cooper® cheese is gloriously melted and you’ve got that perfectly golden-brown crust that’s the sign of a well-made grilled cheese sandwich.
Remove your newly constructed and perfectly toasted Buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwiches from the heat, put them on plates, and you’re almost ready to dig in.
STEP 5: ADD THE BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND CELERY.
Because it’s Buffalo chicken. And there’s no better companion for Buffalo chicken than blue cheese and celery sticks (aside from the Cooper® cheese, of course). Blue cheese dressing and celery sticks are the dynamic duo of sides for Buffalo wings, and they’re just as perfect for this sandwich. No Buffalo chicken grilled cheese recipe would be complete without them.
So throw some celery on each plate, add a cup of blue cheese dressing, cut your sandwiches in half diagonally (it’s better for dipping) and serve.
Then watch some football. Any football. Even the soccer kind.
Because everyone knows Buffalo chicken belongs with football.
Except it also belongs with plenty of other things. Like holiday parties, after-parties, neighborhood cookouts, birthdays, anniversaries, regular old lunches, late-night snacks … basically anywhere you’d want food to be present.
Which means there are plenty of ways for you to make this Buffalo chicken grilled cheese yours. Here’s one, just for good measure.
BONUS IDEA: BUFFALO CHICKEN GRILLED CHEESE APPETIZERS
Yeah, this Buffalo chicken grilled cheese makes a great meal. But it can also be an awesome game-day appetizer. Just make a bunch of these, then cut them into small strips, squares or wedges. Throw them on a platter and you’ve got sorta-Buffalo-wings to share with all your game-watching friends, just in tiny Cooper® grilled cheese sandwich form.
If you want to, go ahead and stick fancy little toothpicks into each one. Because nothing says appetizer like fancy toothpicks. Maybe even team pennant toothpicks (they exist!).
READY. SET. ENJOY YOUR COOPER® BUFFALO CHICKEN GRILLED CHEESE!
So, there you go. Five easy steps, one insanely good sandwich. The best of game-day fare with the classic, cheesy goodness of a Cooper® grilled cheese.
Try these out next time you’ve got that Buffalo wing craving, for your next big gathering, or just when you want to try something new.
We’re pretty sure you’ll love it.