Buffalo Chicken Tenders are strips of marinated chicken breasts coated and deep-fried to a crispy golden brown and smothered in a homemade buffalo sauce. For the same great flavor in bone-in wings without frying, try my Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings.
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders
With all the rage of boneless chicken wings, why not make your own at home? Buffalo Chicken Tenders are marinated strips of fried chicken breasts, coated with buffalo sauce for that extra kick of flavor. Because they are boneless, they are easy to eat and dip into your favorite dressing.
Breaded Buffalo Chicken Tenders
There are a few parts and steps to this recipe, but it is easy to follow and make. Plus, you can have boneless buffalo wings any time you are craving them!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Buttermilk–Make your own homemade buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand.
- Buffalo Sauce–Be aware that buffalo sauce is NOT the same as hot sauce. Check the labels carefully if using a store-bought buffalo sauce.
- Oil: Use canola or vegetable oil for frying. But, don’t throw out the leftover oil; first, check out my How to Clarify Used Cooking Oil so it doesn’t go to waste.
Marinating the Chicken
The first thing you need to do for this recipe is to marinate the chicken tenders. (Note: If you want to make buffalo chicken nuggets, cut the chicken breasts into smaller, nugget-sized pieces.)
To marinate the chicken, place the chicken strips in a large bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Top the chicken pieces with the buttermilk and buffalo sauce. Make sure all the chicken pieces are submerged in the buttermilk and buffalo sauce.
Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and set the bowl of coated chicken in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. You can marinate the chicken for up to 48 hours if you are not ready to make them the same day.
Coating the Chicken
After the chicken has marinated, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let the chicken come to room temperature. While the chicken is coming to room temperature, prepare the flour mixture, egg mixture, and panko bread crumbs. And, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In one bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Finally, in a third bowl, add two cups of the flour mixture and the panko bread crumbs and mix together. Line the bowls up in that order.
To coat each chicken piece:
- Dredge the chicken piece through the flour mixture.
- Next, dip the chicken into the egg mixture.
- Then, coat the piece of chicken with the panko mixture.
- Finally, set each coated piece of chicken on the lined baking sheet.
Heating the Oil
Heat up the oil over medium-low heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F. Use a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, it usually takes 12-15 minutes for the oil to reach a temperature of 350°F. You can always try a few testing methods as well:
- One method to test the oil temperature is to put the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. The oil will start to bubble steadily when it’s good to go. If you are seeing the oil bubbling like crazy, it’s too hot and needs to cool down a bit. If there are only a few to no bubbles, it’s not hot enough.
- Another method is using a 1-inch square of bread. Carefully put the bread into the oil and if it browns in 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
- My favorite method is the popcorn test. Put a kernel of popcorn into the pan of oil as soon as you begin heating up the oil. As soon as that kernel pops, the oil is ready!
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Once the oil is at 350°F, it’s time to get the tenders fried and dipped into more buffalo sauce. Working in batches, cook about 3-4 chicken tenders for 5-6 minutes, or until they are a crispy golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Place the batch of chicken tenders on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue with the remaining chicken.
Please note: After each batch of chicken has been fried, the oil temperature may go down. So, be sure to check that it is hot enough for each batch before adding more chicken.
After the chicken tenders have fried and drained on the paper towel-lined plate, put each piece into the bowl of buffalo sauce. Cover each tender and place them on a clean plate to serve. Serve the tenders with blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into vertical strips
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup buffalo sauce
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cups cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups panko breading
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 cups buffalo sauce
- oil, for frying
- Season the strips of chicken with salt and pepper and add to a large bowl.
- Top the chicken pieces with the buttermilk and buffalo sauce. The chicken should be fully submerged.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Let the chicken chill and marinate for a minimum of 3 hours, up to 48 hours.
- Transfer the marinated chicken to the counter to come to room temperature while you prepare the next few steps.
- Set out a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, and salt.
- Remove two cups of the flour mixture and place it into a second large bowl. To this bowl, add the panko. Toss to combine.
- In a third, medium-sized bowl, add eggs and water. Whisk to combine.
- One at a time, remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Dredge it first in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko mixture. Place on the parchment-lined pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Frying the Chicken Tenders
- Add about 2 inches of oil to a large pot and heat it over medium-low heat.
- While the oil is heating, add the buffalo sauce to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Continue to heat over medium-low until your oil reaches 350°F on a candy thermometer. Or, if you drop a piece of batter into the oil, it should sizzle when it is ready.
- Working in batches, add 3-4 pieces of chicken to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Chicken should be crispy and golden brown.
- Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil.
- Once drained, transfer the chicken to the bowl of buffalo sauce. Toss to coat and transfer to a plate for serving.
- Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.
Did you make this recipe?
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