These homemade air fryer buffalo chicken tenders are crunchy on the outside and tender inside. These chicken strips have the perfect balance of spice and flavor. They are a healthy dinner option and can easily be made gluten free and dairy free.
This is a recipe that I've been making for a very long time in the oven, however I decided to make it in the air fryer and now I love it even more! I think I could make this recipe every night, if my family would let me!
Cooking these tenders in the air fryer helps create the perfectly crunchy exterior, without adding a lot of extra oil from deep frying.
Pair these delicious air fryer buffalo chicken tenders with a side of sweet potatoes fries or spinach caprese salad. If you're looking for more buffalo recipes, check out these buffalo chicken thighs or this buffalo chicken dip!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- The air fried buffalo chicken tenders are healthy! There is no added oil or fat since they are cooked in an air fryer.
- This is a quick and easy recipe. It can be made in less than 25 minutes!
- These chicken tenders are the perfect combination of spicy, crunchy and savory.
- There are very few ingredients required for this recipe!
- The chicken tenders are dipped into buffalo sauce before cooking them, which gives them a very rich buffalo flavor.
- Chicken Breast: use boneless, skinless chicken breast. Some store sell "thin sliced chicken breast" which is chicken that has been sliced so the breasts are thinner. I recommend this if you do not want to pound the meat.
- Buffalo Sauce: I recommend Sweet Baby Ray's Wing Sauce. I love this sauce because it has the perfect amount of spice and an excellent wing sauce flavor. Any type of buffalo wing sauce will work The Aldi's brand hot sauce,(Burman's hot sauce) is perfect if you prefer something with more spice!
- Panko Bread Crumbs: note that panko breadcrumbs are different than normal breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs create a crispy and crunchy texture as compared to normal breadcrumbs, however you can use either. Use gluten free breadcrumbs if needed.
- Onion and Garlic Powder: these spices add extra flavor to the chicken tenders.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Tenders: This recipe can easily be made gluten free. Substitute the panko breadcrumbs with gluten free panko breadcrumbs. Most major grocery stores carry a GF version.
Cooking Method: These buffalo chicken tenders can be made in the oven if you do not have an air fryer. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165F as measured with a meat thermometer.
Chicken: the chicken breast can be substituted with the raw chicken tenderloins, which are sold in most major grocery stores.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Pound the chicken breast using a meat pounder until they are very thin. Try to make the chicken the same thickness throughout, so that it cooks evenly.
Step 2: Cut each breast into tender sized strips. I was able to get 6 strips out of 1 pound of chicken.
Step 3: Set up dipping stations. Place the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and onion powder in one bowl and mix well. Pour the buffalo sauce into a separate bowl. (Image 1)
Step 4: Coat the tenders. Use a fork or tongs to dip one of the chicken tenders in the wings sauce. (Image 2) Cover entirely, then dip the chicken tender in the bread crumb mixture. (Image 3) Repeat with all tenders.
Step 5: Preheat the air fryer and grease the bottom. Add chicken tenders to air fryer. The tenders can be close together, however do not stack or overlap. (It may take 2 batches).
Cook for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Note: cook times may vary based on thickness of chicken and air fryer brand.
- Pound the chicken breast: use a meat pounder to pound the chicken before cutting it into strips. This will help it cook more evenly. You can purchase "thin sliced chicken breast" at the grocery store if you do not wish to pound the meat.
- Prevent chicken from sticking to the air fryer. Flip the chicken halfway through cooking. Spray the bottom of the air fryer liberally with nonstick pan release spray.
- Cooking time: cooking time may vary based on your brand of air fryer and thickness of chicken tenders. Do not overcook! My strips were very thin and took 15 minutes, thicker strips will take longer. Cook until the temperature of the chicken is 165F, as measured by a meat thermometer.
- Cooking the chicken: make sure the chicken strips are not touching or overlapping. You may have to cook them in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer. The space between the chicken will help them cook evenly and make sure they have a crunchy outside.
- Use a good quality air fryer: Here's a link to a very popular air fryer!
- Serve with a side of sweet potato fries and a side salad.
- Serve with ranch, BBQ sauce or honey mustard.
- Cut the chicken tenders into small pieces and serve on top of a salad with ranch!
- Turn this into a spicy chicken sandwich; place a couple tenders on a bun, top with ranch, cheese and lettuce.
A common cause of soggy chicken tenders in the air fryer is due to placing too much food in the air fryer. The chicken tenders should be placed flat on the bottom of the air fryer and not stacked. There should be a small amount of room in between each chicken tender so that air can circulate and allow the tenders to get crispy.
Everyone's version of spicy varies, however I would say these have a kick to them, however they weren't overly spicy. There is a enough spice that I did not feel comfortable serving them to my toddler. To add extra spice, top them with hot sauce after cooking.
You can add a small amount of oil to the chicken before air fryer to help it get crispy and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the air fryer. I also recommend spraying the bottom of the air fryer with a non stick spray.
Air fry frozen buffalo chicken strips at 400F for 10-13 minutes. The cooking time will vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken tender. Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to verify the chicken is fully cooked.
More Delicious Air Fryer Recipes
If you tried this Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a star rating and let me know how you like it in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- 1 Air Fryer
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 pound chicken breast boneless and skinless
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ⅔ cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Use a meat pounder to pound the chicken until thin. Slice into strips about 1 inch wide. (I made 6 strips with 1 pound of chicken)
- Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375F and grease the bottom very liberally using non stick pan spray.
- Set up your dipping stations. Place the breadcrumbs in one bowl and the wing sauce in a separate bowl.
- Using a fork or tongs, dip each chicken strip in the wing sauce until fully coated.
- Remove from the wing sauce and dip in the breadcrumbs until fully covered.
- Place the chicken strips in the bottom of the preheated, greased air fryer. Chicken strips should not be touching or stacked (you may have to make 2 batches).
- Cook for 15 minutes, flip halfway through. Chicken is done when it reaches 165F as measured by a meat thermometer. **NOTE: Cooking time may vary if you have thicker or thinner strips. My strips were very thin and about 1 inch wide.
- Remove and serve immediately.
- To prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer:
- Flip the chicken halfway through cooking
- Spray the bottom of the air fryer liberally with nonstick pan release spray
- Gluten Free Version: use gluten free bread crumbs
- Cooking time: cooking time may vary based on your brand of air fryer and thickness of chicken strips. Do not overcook! My strips were very thin and took 15 minutes, thicker strips will take longer.
- Cutting the Chicken: pound the chicken very thin or purchase the "thin sliced chicken breast" at your grocery store. I have found that 1 pound of chicken yields 6 strips.
- Nutrition Info: the nutrition info is based on ⅓ of the recipe, or 2 strips.