Crispy, spicy, flavorful, and delicious - these Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders are everything you want the classic game-day appetizer to be. Greek yogurt keeps the chicken moist and juicy while the panko breadcrumbs crisp up beautifully in the air fryer. In just 30 minutes, you can have these healthy buffalo chicken tenders ready for a football party or a fun weeknight dinner. Egg-free, low-carb, high protein.
I don't know anyone who doesn't like buffalo chicken tenders. They're spicy, dippable, and the perfect appetizer for game-day parties.
If you're looking for a healthier take on classic buffalo chicken wings, look no further than this healthy air fryer buffalo chicken tenders recipe. Made with chicken tenders, Greek yogurt, panko breadcrumbs, and homemade buffalo sauce, you'll love how easy and flavorful this recipe is.
Instead of a traditional egg wash, I used Greek yogurt mixed with ranch-inspired herbs and spices to give these chicken tenders tons of flavor. The yogurt also helps keep the chicken moist in the air fryer.
So, if you're looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious buffalo chicken recipe, give these air-fried buffalo chicken tenders a try!
>> Rather buffalo chicken dip instead? Try my Healthy Greek Yogurt Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Low-Carb- Lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs, a serving of these air fryer buffalo chicken strips is less than 10 grams of carbohydrates.
- High Protein- Each serving of air fryer buffalo chicken has about 38 grams of protein.
- Ready in 30 Minutes- Using chicken tenderloins makes these homemade buffalo chicken tenders super quick and easy to make.
- Perfectly Spicy- Not too hot, but not mild either. The heat of the cayenne pepper hot sauce is nicely balanced with the coolness of the butter and yogurt.
- Crispy- The panko breading crisps up beautifully in the air fryer.
- Flavorful- The yogurt mixture is seasoned with the flavors of ranch dressing, making these chicken strips extra flavorful.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Chicken Tenders- Chicken breast tenders make this recipe a breeze to throw together. However, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that you cut into strips yourself.
- Greek Yogurt- I use plain 2% Greek yogurt. Coating the chicken in seasoned yogurt not only adds flavor but also helps keep the chicken moist and juicy in the air fryer.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- Use plain panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are larger than regular breadcrumbs, making the chicken tenders extra crunchy.
- Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce- My go-to hot sauce for anything buffalo flavored is Frank's RedHot Sauce.
- Butter- Just a few tablespoons of butter creates a rich, flavorful buffalo sauce right at home.
- Seasonings- A blend of garlic powder, chives, dill, and parsley gives the Greek yogurt a ranch-like flavor.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Air Fryer- This recipe was made using a basket-style air fryer. I have not tested this in a toaster oven-style air fryer. However, I believe it would work about the same. Keep in mind, the chicken tenders may take a few minutes longer to cook in an oven-style air fryer. I love my 5.5-Quart Ninja Max XL Air Fryer.
- Meat Thermometer- Having a digital meat thermometer in your kitchen tool belt is so helpful for making sure your chicken is safe to eat while still being moist and juicy. If you don't have one, I highly recommend investing in one. They're relatively inexpensive and super useful.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make these air fryer buffalo chicken tenders.
Step 1: Make the buffalo sauce. Cut the butter into small pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Whisk in the hot sauce until a smooth, well-blended buffalo sauce forms. Set aside.
Step 2: Bread the chicken. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the Greek yogurt and seasonings together. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a separate mixing bowl. Bread the chicken tenders by first dipping each piece into the yogurt mixture until well-coated. Then, place the yogurt-coated chicken tenders into the bowl of breadcrumbs, tossing until fully breaded.
Step 3: Air fry the chicken tenders. Preheat the air fryer to 390°F for 2 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray and place the breaded chicken into the basket in a single, even layer. Work in batches, if necessary, to prevent overcrowding. Cook the chicken for 8-12 minutes (depending on size and thickness), flipping halfway through. The chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.
Step 4: Coat the chicken in buffalo sauce. Place the cooked chicken tenders in a large mixing bowl. Pour the buffalo sauce over the chicken and toss the bowl vigorously to thoroughly coat the chicken. Serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice.
Tips for Success
- Work in batches. It takes two batches for me to cook a pound of chicken tenders in my 5.5-quart basket-style air fryer. Working in batches ensures your chicken cooks up to crispy perfection quickly and evenly.
- Check for doneness at 8 minutes. Air fryers dry out chicken breast meat fast. I recommend checking the temperature of the chicken around the 8-minute mark, especially for smaller chicken tenders, so that you don't end up with dry buffalo chicken.
- Use a meat thermometer. Meat thermometers take the guesswork out of knowing when the chicken is fully cooked through.
- Toss the chicken with buffalo sauce just before serving. To keep the chicken from getting too soggy, only coat the chicken tenders in buffalo sauce just before serving.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this air fryer buffalo chicken tender recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Chicken Tenders- If you don't have chicken tenders, you can cut whole chicken breasts into strips. You can also skip breading the chicken altogether and use frozen chicken tenders or bone-in chicken wings.
- Greek Yogurt- Sour cream, mayonnaise, or dairy-free yogurt can be used in place of Greek yogurt. Of course, using a traditional egg wash is also an option.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- Try using regular breadcrumbs, crushed almonds, pork rinds, pretzels, or chips in place of panko breadcrumbs.
- Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce- Frank's RedHot Sauce is my go-to brand. However, feel free to use your preferred hot sauce. Frank's also makes a ready-to-use buffalo wings hot sauce.
- Butter- Dairy-free butter or margarine can be used instead of regular butter.
- Seasonings- Try replacing the dry seasonings with 2 teaspoons of ranch seasoning.
- Gluten-Free- Use your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs in place of regular breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free- Swap the Greek yogurt for dairy-free yogurt and replace the butter with dairy-free butter or margarine.
- Extra Spicy- Like your buffalo chicken tenders extra hot? Use Frank's RedHot Xtra Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce or your favorite super spicy hot sauce.
- Mild- Reduce the amount of hot sauce in the recipe to ¼ cup and add an extra tablespoon of butter.
- No Breading- Coat the chicken tenders in a thin layer of the Greek yogurt mixture, skip the panko breadcrumbs, and air fry as directed. Toss to coat in buffalo sauce and serve.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Buffalo chicken is traditionally served with blue cheese dressing and a side of celery. But, what else can you pair with this spicy game-day appetizer? Here are a few of my favorite dips and sides to serve with these air fryer buffalo chicken tenders.
- Dips: Blue Cheese Dressing, Ranch Dressing, Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing, Garlic Aioli, Buffalo Sauce
- Raw Vegetables: Celery Sticks, Carrot Sticks, Bell Pepper Strips, Broccoli, Cauliflower
- Kale Crunch Salad
- Spinach Caprese Salad
- Cole Slaw or Broccoli Slaw
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Parmesan Broccoli and Potatoes
- Crispy Chipotle Brussels Sprouts
- Potato Chips
- French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, or Air Fryer Butternut Squash Fries
- Onion Rings
- Baked Potatoes
- Herbed Potato Salad
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Garlic Bread
How to Use Up Leftovers
While it's hard to imagine having leftover buffalo chicken, sometimes it happens. Here are a few ways you can repurpose your leftover air fryer buffalo chicken tenders into a new meal.
- Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza or Calzone (Try my 72-Hour Pizza Dough)
- Spicy Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Wraps, Paninis, or Grilled Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- Nachos, Tacos, or Quesadillas
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Place leftover buffalo chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator and store them for 3-4 days.
- Freezer- According to the USDA, cooked chicken can be frozen for up to 4 months. To freeze, wrap portions of the buffalo chicken tenders in plastic wrap. Then, place the wrapped chicken in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container to protect it from freezer burn. Defrost before reheating.
Food Safety Tip: If you're serving these air fryer buffalo chicken tenders at a party, keep in mind that they should only be left out at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours.
How to Reheat
After testing several methods for reheating these air fryer chicken tenders, the air fryer method is easily my favorite. They re-crisp beautifully and taste almost as fresh as when they were first made.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the buffalo chicken tenders in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Air Fryer- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 2 minutes. Place the leftover buffalo chicken tenders in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Heat for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Stovetop- Allow the chicken tenders to come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes or so. Then, heat 1-2 inches of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully place the buffalo chicken tenders into the skillet in a single layer. Heat the chicken for 2-3 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels.
- Microwave- Place the buffalo chicken tenders on a microwave-safe dish and cover them with a damp paper towel or lid. Heat on half power (50%) for 45-60 seconds or until fully warmed through.
- Buffalo Sauce- Prepare the buffalo sauce up to one week in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may need to warm it in the microwave or in a saucepan before drizzling it over the chicken tenders.
- Yogurt Mixture- Make the Greek yogurt mixture up to 3 days before making the chicken tenders.
- Chicken Tenders- Cook the chicken tenders up to 2 days before serving and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Then, reheat them in the air fryer for 4 minutes at 350°F. Toss with buffalo sauce.
Make-Ahead Tip: Want to have raw, breaded chicken tenders ready in your freezer for whenever the mood strikes? Follow the recipe through step 2, then place the raw chicken tenders on a baking sheet in the freezer to flash-freeze them. Store frozen chicken tenders in a freezer-safe bag for up to 9 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Raw, fresh chicken tenders will cook in about 8-12 minutes in an air fryer set to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. The total length of time depends upon the size and thickness of the chicken tenders as well as how crowded the air fryer basket is.
If you're using frozen chicken strips, they may take a few minutes longer to cook. I recommend checking them for doneness after about 12 minutes.
Yes! Skip the yogurt and panko breadcrumbs and season the bone-in chicken wings directly with the spices listed in the recipe card. Then, cook the wings for 18-20 minutes at 390°F, shaking the basket a few times as they cook.
Of course. To make this recipe using your oven, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with olive oil spray or cooking spray. Bake the chicken tenders for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Sausage
- Cheesy Air Fryer Broccoli Bites
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash Fries
- Air Fryer Turkey Burgers
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce I use Frank's RedHot Sauce
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 2% milkfat
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dried chives
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pound chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into strips
- Cooking spray
- Cut the butter into small pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Whisk in the hot sauce until a smooth, well-blended buffalo sauce forms. Set aside.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅓ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the Greek yogurt and seasonings together. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a separate mixing bowl. Bread the chicken tenders by first dipping each piece into the yogurt mixture until well-coated. Then, place the yogurt-coated chicken tenders into the bowl of breadcrumbs, tossing until fully breaded.½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon dried parsley, ¼ teaspoon dried chives, ¼ teaspoon dried dill, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¾ cup plain panko breadcrumbs, 1 pound chicken tenders
- Preheat the air fryer to 390°F for 2 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray and place the breaded chicken into the basket in a single, even layer. Work in batches, if necessary, to prevent overcrowding. Cook the chicken for 8-12 minutes (depending on size and thickness), flipping halfway through. The chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.Cooking spray
- Place the cooked chicken tenders in a large mixing bowl. Pour the buffalo sauce over the chicken and toss the bowl vigorously to thoroughly coat the chicken. Serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Make Ahead: Prepare the buffalo sauce up to 1 week in advance, the yogurt mixture up to 3 days in advance, and the buffalo chicken tenders up to 2 days in advance.
- Quick Tip: Coat the cooked chicken tenders with the buffalo sauce just before serving to prevent them from getting soggy.