If you are obsessed with buffalo chicken and are looking for a healthier option that is lower in fat, you are in the right place. This air fryer buffalo chicken is super delicious and easy to make.
This air fryer buffalo chicken recipe is a great addition to a weeknight dinner or can be a great snack for guests. This would pair well with some ranch dip or blue cheese (whatever you prefer), or you can make it into a full meal with rice and veggies. If you love buffalo chicken, you need to try out this recipe, you won’t regret it!
Look how beautiful they are! This recipe will be a guaranteed crowd pleaser. But… they are quite spicy. If you prefer a milder flavor, I would recommend removing the hot sauce form the egg coating and adding less hot sauce to the final product. But, though they are spicy, the flavor is quite worth it.
Why make buffalo chicken in the air fryer?
There are two main reasons that I like making this recipe in the air fryer. The first reason is because it is a healthier alternative to deep frying. The second reason is because it is so fast and easy when you use the air fryer.
When it comes to health, using an air fryer as opposed to a deep frying really cuts back on the amount of oil you use. Therefore the recipe is going to be lower in fat and overall lower in calorie compared to deep fried options.
To address the second point, using an air fryer makes the recipe far easier and faster. From my experience, air fryers cook food about three times faster than an oven. Along with this, an air fryer typically heats up in 3-5 minutes, while an oven can take up to 10-15 minutes to heat up. While the cooking time may be slower than deep frying, it’s faster to set up and requires less resources like cooking oil. Plus, who wants to deal with all that clean up? I know I sure don’t.
Overall, using an air fryer to make this recipe not only makes it healthier, but also makes it easier and faster compared to other cooking methods. Just pop the prepped chicken slices into the air fryer chamber and that’s it!
The ingredients you need
Other than the chicken breasts and maybe the hot sauce, you likely have all the ingredients you need already in your kitchen or pantry. The following are ingredients you will be needing for the recipe:
- Chicken breast, ideally tenderloins
- Hot sauce, I use Frank’s Red Hot
- All purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Oil of choice
And that’s it! You can also add a few more spices in the flour if you want to experiment a little. Personally, I like to keep it nice and simple. The spices used in this recipe are classic and give a very “wings from your local pizza place” kinda vibe!
What substitutions do you recommend?
There are a few substitutions you can make based on personal preferences and allergies or intolerances. Before I mention them, I would like to say I haven’t tested them out, so proceed with caution.
Substitutions for flour:
- Gluten free all purpose flour
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
Substitutions for butter:
- Vegan butter alternative
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Avocado oil
Substitutions for egg:
- Vegan egg replacer
- Chia seed egg
- Flax egg
There shouldn’t be any huge changes to the end result with one of these changes, but if you swap out several items, you will notice quite a change to the recipe. Ingredients I really don’t recommend cutting out about the spices and hot sauce. These really give the recipe it’s signature flavor and it won’t taste the same without them. But, if you want to go another route you can always try a different sauce like BBQ or honey sriracha for a unique vibe.
Kitchen appliances you need
All you will need for this recipe are three medium sized bowls and an air fryer. It’s really that simple!
Getting an air fryer was probably the best decision I have ever made, not even exaggerating. It has cut back my cooking time by so much and I love how all my air fryer meals turn out. I’m slowly figuring out that you can make just about anything in the air fryer. Plus, it’s not just an alternative to deep frying, it can be used to replace any recipe that uses an oven.
I’m guessing you probably have an air fryer considering “air fryer” is in the recipe’s name, but if you don’t for any reason, I strongly urge you to purchase one. It saves so much time and is hands down the best kitchen appliance I’ve purchased.
I highly recommend this air fryer in particular (this is the one I personally use). The brand is very reputable and this product works so well. The chamber is large enough to fit a whole pound of meat and it heats up in minutes. We’ve had this in our kitchen for about a year now and I don’t think I’ve gone a week without using it. In fact, I use it almost every night!
Steps to make Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken
Step 1: Mix egg and hot sauce in a medium sized bowl. Mix flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Step 2: Coat chicken pieces with flour mix, egg mix and back into flour mix.
Step 3: Add 1-2 tbsp of oil to the air fryer. Add chicken pieces and cook for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Melt butter and mix in hot sauce and garlic powder. Coat chicken in sauce.
Extra tips to make it better
There are a few things you can do to make this recipe even better. First, if you like your chicken extra crispy, you can cook it for a little longer in the air fryer. Just keep an eye on it and when the edges start to brown, take it out of the air fryer.
Also you can replace the second coating of flour with panko breadcrumbs or italian breadcrumbs. This is a good idea if you are looking for a more textured, crispy coating. Plus, it will add some nice flavor and the sauce will cling to the surface better.
And finally, if you love your chicken extra hot and flavorful, you can coat the chicken once in hot sauce, throw it back into the air fryer for several minutes, and then coat it one more time. Talk about flavor overload! Got to love a double coat.
Is the air fryer buffalo chicken healthier than normal buffalo chicken?
Yes, air fryer buffalo chicken is definitely healthier than normal buffalo chicken. The main reason for this is that it is lower in fat. While fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing, balance is important! The healthier option is going to be the food that is more balanced.
For example, six pieces of boneless buffalo chicken wings are about 373 calories, with 75% of those calories coming from fat. On the other hand, these air fryer buffalo chicken tender’s calories are about 40% from fat.
Therefore the air fryer version is going to be the healthier, more balanced option. If you are looking to make the recipe even healthier, then you can always replace the butter in the sauce with olive oil since it will reduce the amount of saturated fat in the recipe.
Also it’s important to note that no one food can make you healthy or unhealthy, what matters is your overall diet. By pairing this recipe with a good source of carbohydrates and fiber rich vegetables, you’ve got an awesome meal!
How should I store the leftovers?
After coating the chicken breasts in the sauce, let them cool for about 30 minutes to an hour. If you are going to eat the leftovers within 3-4 days, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you aren’t going to eat the leftovers anytime soon, you can store the leftovers in the freezer. I would recommend storing them in an airtight container, and separating the pieces with parchment paper. That way, when you go to unfreeze them, they are super easy to separate and you can have just one if you only want one.
What’s the best way to reheat the leftovers?
When you are ready to reheat the leftovers, I highly recommend heating them back up in the air fryer. If you heat them back up in the microwave, they will turn out fairly soggy.
If you are reheating leftovers from the refrigerator, you can heat it up at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 minutes. If you are reheating leftovers from the freezer, try 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 minutes. These are almost as good reheated as they are fresh. If you really want to step it up a notch, you can also add another layer of sauce on top of the reheated pieces.
What should I pair this recipe with?
There are so many options with this recipe. You can make this recipe into a snack (or party favor) or a whole meal.
If you want to make it into a snack, you can pair it with celery sticks and ranch dressing. If you want to make it a finger food, you can also cut the buffalo chicken strips into small pieces before coating and cooking to make buffalo chicken bites.
If you want to make it into a full meal, here are some ideas:
- Make it into a sandwich with mayo, lettuce and tomato
- Add some rice and roasted vegetables
- Add it to pasta with alfredo sauce
Did you try out this recipe? Let me know how it turned out!
If you tried out this recipe, I would love some feedback. You can comment your thoughts down below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, show me how it turned out! Share your pictures on Instagram and tag me @tasteitwithtia.
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken
- Air Fryer
- Medium mixing bowls
- 1 lb chicken breasts (ideally tenderloins)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1-2 tbsp oil of choice
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Slice chicken into long thin strips.
- Mix together egg and hot sauce in a medium mixing bowl. Mix together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder in another mixing bowl.
- Coat chicken strips in flour, then egg, then back into the flour.
- Coat bottom of air fryer with oil. Add chicken strips and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.
- In separate bowl, mix together hot sauce, melted butter and garlic powder.
- Coat cooked chicken strips in sauce and set aside. Enjoy!