The Best Thick Buffalo Sauce

This super thick Buffalo sauce recipe made with cashews adds a creamy, spicy kick to pretty much anything. Just blend and enjoy it as-is, or thin with water to get your perfect consistency.

I think we can all agree there are few things better than a meal dipped, bathed, or slathered in sauce. 

They’re one of my secret weapons for simplifying mealtime since you can literally transform any plain protein or bowl of pasta into something magical. 

Take, for example, these crispy, goldenly delicious, baked chicken tenders. Delicious on their own, or dipped in ketchup as my kids prefer them, but bathe them in this thick and creamy homemade Buffalo sauce and tuck them into a warm tortilla with some crunchy lettuce, cucumbers, and a drizzle of Bleu cheese, and Oh. Ma. Gosh. Best adult dinner on the planet! 

I started making this sauce shortly after we moved to Spain because Buffalo sauce doesn’t exist here. I was all, SAY WHAT? 

Want to know what they do have in Spain, though? Amazon Prime. 🙌🏻

Naturally, I ordered the most giant bottle of Frank’s RedHot that I could get my hands on (like a gallon) and got to work replicating my two favorite store-bought brands: Mitch’s Best Buffalo Sauce and Primal Kitchen’s No Dairy Buffalo Sauce

Just blend and enjoy it as is, or thin with water to get your perfect consistency.

I’ll be honest. The first few versions were utterly butterly disappointing. They were thin and drippy — not at all like my favorite bottled brands. To make matters worse, they were made with butter, which meant they separated and solidified over time. 

This thick Buffalo sauce is made with cashews (not butter) which means it’s basically health food and won’t get all weird in the fridge. It’s also super thick and creamy, not sad and drippy like so many other sauces out there. 

Keep reading for everything you’ll ever want to know about Buffalo sauce, including the history and how to adjust the consistency, or jump straight to the recipe card to get right to it!

A glass jar of thick Buffalo sauce with a spoon and wings with celery in the background

What is Buffalo sauce? 

Buffalo sauce is a spicy sauce most famously known for slathering over chicken wings, though it’s used for adding spice to many other recipes as well. Many Buffalo sauce recipes contain Frank’s hot sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire, and spices. 

In this recipe, creamy cashews replace the butter yielding a healthier, thicker, authentic-tasting Buffalo sauce that won’t separate or solidify in the fridge.

Where did Buffalo sauce come from? 

According to Frank’s RedHot, Buffalo sauce was born Buffalo, New York back in 1964. As the story goes, Teressa Bellissimo, co-owner Anchor Bar & Grill in Buffalo, fried up some chicken wings and tossed them in a new, secret hot sauce one night —which we now know was made with Frank’s RedHot. Not surprisingly, they were an instant hit with customers, and today Buffalo sauce is loved by millions all over the world. 

Ingredients for thick and creamy Buffalo sauce

Cashews are the secret ingredient for making a super thick, authentic Buffalo sauce. To make this thick Buffalo sauce recipe, you’ll need

  • Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce
  • Plain cashews
  • Vinegar: Rice or white vinegar both work great
  • Worcestershire sauce: For a vegan Buffalo sauce, use soy sauce instead.
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Water for thinning if desired

How to store Buffalo sauce

Transfer Buffalo sauce to a mason jar or other airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Because this sauce contains blended cashews and not butter, it won’t solidify in the fridge. Before serving, shake well and warm in the microwave or over low heat on the stove, if desired. 

How to freeze Buffalo sauce

This Buffalo sauce freezes well. To freeze, transfer the leftover sauce into a freezer bag, pressing out any air from the bag as you seal it. Lay the bag flat to freeze as this will save significant freezer space and make sauces easier to grab once frozen.

How to thicken Buffalo sauce

You can thicken Buffalo sauce in a couple of ways, by using a starch-based thickener or with cashews. 

Starch-based thickeners: When added to liquid and heated, starches expand, absorbing some of the liquid, which thickens the sauce. Some popular starch-based thickeners include all-purpose flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, and arrowroot powder.

 Cashews: When ground in the blender, cashews transform into a thick and creamy paste that adds body and richness to Buffalo sauce.

How to thicken Buffalo sauce with cashews 

You can thicken buffalo sauce with cashews by blending them directly into a premade Buffalo sauce. Alternatively, you can easily make your own homemade buffalo sauce with cashews, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, onion powder, and garlic powder. 

The key to making a thick and creamy buffalo sauce with cashews is grinding the cashews incredibly fine. Using soaked cashews and a powerful blender will yield the best results. In this recipe, I recommend soaking the cashews in the hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, and spices for at least 30 minutes and blending everything in a high-power blender. 

How to thin overly thick Buffalo sauce 

The easiest way to thin Buffalo sauce is with water. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir well until you get your desired consistency.

If the sauce is made with butter and has solidified, heat the sauce and stir well to reincorporate the ingredients. If it’s still too thick, add a little water and stir well. 

A chicken wing being dipped into a glass jar of thick Buffalo sauce

What to make with this thick Buffalo sauce recipe

Buffalo sauce is super versatile and can add a tangy kick to whatever you love to eat. Here are a few of our favorite recipes that work great with this easy Buffalo sauce recipe:

  • Homemade Buffalo chicken tenders: Sauce up some homemade baked chicken tenders for a healthy meal or party appetizer
  • Buffalo chicken sandwich: Whip up some crispy air fryer chicken cutlets, add a bun and bite in! 
  • Buffalo cauliflower bites: Just roast some florets, toss, and enjoy!
  • Buffalo mac and cheese: Just stir some Buffalo sauce into this delicious Instant Pot Mac and Cheese for a grown-up twist on this childhood favorite
  • Buffalo chicken meatballs: These baked chicken meatballs coated in Buffalo sauce are SO good!
  • Buffalo-Bleu cheese salad dressing: Mix the two and drizzle over salad with grilled chicken breast, chicken cutlets, or tenders 
  • Buffalo chicken wings: Just slather crispy chicken wings in this delicious sauce and serve with Bleu cheese or Ranch dressing, carrots, and celery sticks for a party-perfect appetizer 
  • Buffalo French fries: Drizzle on top or serve as a dipping sauce alongside a plate of French fries!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute Tabasco Sauce for Frank’s Hot Sauce? 

Tabasco doesn’t make a great substitute for Frank’s Hot Sauce because it’s made from different peppers, and thus has a different flavor and spice profile. Tabasco is made with tabasco peppers and is significantly spicier than Frank’s RedHot, which is made with cayenne chili peppers. If you’re looking for a substitute, Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce is a better option than Tabasco, but it will not taste the same as a Buffalo sauce made with Frank’s.

What is a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce?

Soy sauce is a good substitute for Worcestershire in Buffalo sauce because of its salt and umami flavor. Soy sauce is also a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce if you want to make this recipe vegan. 

Is this Buffalo sauce authentic?

Yes, authentic Buffalo Sauce is made with Frank’s RedHot, and this is one of the main ingredients used in this recipe. Cashews add a rich and creamy texture without changing the flavor a bit.

Is Buffalo sauce healthy?

Buffalo sauce is healthy when consumed in moderation. It contains capsaicin, a compound in chili peppers that gives them their heat and also packs antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and metabolic benefits. Because it is fat-soluble, capsaicin is most effective when combined with dietary fat. While many Buffalo sauce recipes contain butter, Buffalo sauce made with cashews contains healthy fats that can also enhance the absorption of capsaicin.

That said, Buffalo sauce is high in sodium, so it’s best to use Buffalo sauce sparingly if you need to limit your salt intake.

Print
Recipe

The Best Thick Buffalo Sauce

A super thick buffalo sauce recipe made with Frank’s hot sauce and cashews. Blend and enjoy as-is, or thin with water to your perfect consistency.

  • Prep Time:
    5 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    2 1/2 cups 1x
  • Prep Time:
    5 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    2 1/2 cups 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 1 ½ cups (12 fluid ounces) Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce (not the ready-made wing sauce)
    • ½ cup plain, unsalted cashews 
    • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 46 tablespoons filtered water for thinning if desired
    • Cayenne pepper for additional spice, if desired

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, except for the water. In a high-speed blender, combine Frank’s RedHot, cashews, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and paprika. If you have a few hours to spare, give everything a quick stir, cover, and set aside. Though this is not necessary, soaking will allow the flavors to meld and the cashews to soften a bit.
    2. When you’re ready to make your sauce, blend on high until you have a thick and creamy Buffalo sauce with no cashew pieces remaining, about 1-2 minutes.
    3. Keep your sauce super thick or stir in filtered water 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. For a spicier sauce, stir in ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, adding more as needed to achieve desired spice level.
    4. Store extra Buffalo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months. You can find detailed freezing instructions in the blog post.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce: This sauce is what gives Buffalo sauce its authentic flavor. If you cannot find it, Texas Pete would be the best substitute in my opinion.
    • Worcestershire sauce: If you don’t have Worcestershire or want to make a vegan Buffalo sauce, simply substitute an equal amount of soy sauce for Worcestershire.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
    • Calories: 23
    • Sugar: 0 g
    • Sodium: 676 mg
    • Fat: 1 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 2 g
    • Fiber: 0.5 g
    • Protein: 1 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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    • I love spicy buffalo sauce but sometimes get a stomach ache from things that are too spicy, what would you recommend adding if I need to make it less spicy?

    • I may be going crazy. . .but I cannot see the sauce recipe within this post. What am I missing? Clicking on “jump to the recipe” reveals chicken tenders. My mouth is watering and I want to make the sauce, LOL! Thanks!

      • You’re not going crazy, something strange was going on with the recipe card. I just updated it. Let me know if you still can’t see the sauce recipe!