Main Dishes

January 25, 2022

Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets (2 Ways!)

Made in the oven or the air fryer, these Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets are so easy to make and so delicious! All you need is 4 ingredients. These healthy buffalo chicken bites are naturally dairy-free, easily gluten free, and ready in 30 minutes.

Ever since I moved out of home, I stopped caring about football season. But, when the Super Bowl rolls around, I'm pumped!

You know why? It gives me an excuse to make lots of fun appetizers, festive main dishes, and festive desserts!

Let's be real though. I bet you'll show up to the store a week in advance thinking you're ahead of the game, only to realize there are NO buffalo chicken wings or drumsticks to be found. It's totally happened to me before and I feel like you can't celebrate the Super Bowl without wings!

Well today's recipe is exactly what you need. No more worrying about how many bags of wings are left at the store! My homemade Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets (made two different ways) use lean chicken breasts instead and are a fun twist on a Super Bowl classic!


Why you'll love this recipe

Easy to make: no bones, short cooking time, and a few simple ingredients means less mess and more flavor!

Two methods: since there's other delicious recipes you're probably wanting to make, I wanted to make sure you had options. I've included instructions to make your baked buffalo chicken nuggets in the oven OR the air fryer!

Secretly healthy: you'd never know that these buffalo nuggets are baked, naturally dairy free (thanks to this brand of buffalo sauce), and easily gluten free! They're also lower in saturated fat and sodium and higher in protein.

Kid friendly: some kids don't like skin, chewy fat, or bones. These boneless buffalo chicken bites are just pure chicken dredged in crispy breadcrumbs.

Peace of mind: let everyone else have their wings and drumsticks. These buffalo bites use chicken breast instead so you don't have to fight the crowds or go shopping three weeks before game day.

A tray of baked buffalo chicken nuggets with celery and bleu cheese dressing

Ingredients you'll need

  • Chicken breasts: the leanest cut of chicken and the easiest cut for homemade nuggets. Make sure you roughly chop the chicken into pieces that are at least 1" by 1" and not bite size pieces.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: the key to an extra crispy breading. Feel free to use gluten free breadcrumbs or make your own.
  • Large eggs: to help the breadcrumbs stick to each piece of chicken.
  • Buffalo sauce: I used Primal Kitchen because it's a healthier option, but you can use any wing sauce you like, like Frank's Red Hot Sauce or homemade buffalo sauce.
  • Simple spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt, and a touch of black pepper. You could even add some chili powder or cayenne pepper for an extra spicy sauce!

Now, you'll notice there's no flour mixture. This is to minimize unnecessary calories and make this easy recipe even easier.

That being said, if you're having a hard time getting the eggs to stick to the chicken, you could toss the nuggets in a bit of corn starch before dipping them in the egg.

Two ways to make baked buffalo nuggets

In the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, then place a wire rack on top.

Set out two shallow bowls. In one, toss the breadcrumbs with the seasonings; in the other, whisk the eggs until you have a smooth egg batter.

Dredge your chicken pieces in the panko breadcrumbs, place in an even layer on the sheet pan on the cooling rack. Sprinkle extra breadcrumbs on the top of the chicken nuggets.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. To ensure your chicken is cooked completely, test a thicker chicken nugget in the thickest part with a meat thermometer. Internal temperature should read at least 165°F.

Let the nuggets cool on a serving dish for 5 minutes, then toss in the buffalo sauce. For the best results, keep a small bowl of extra sauce nearby for even more flavor!

A man pouring buffalo sauce over baked chicken nuggets

In the air fryer

I love using the air fryer for homemade chicken nuggets because they crisp up just a bit better than in the oven. They do take a bit longer though, so if you don't mind some extra time, it's worth it!

Note: I recognize there are many different air fryers out there, but these instructions should work for any brand you have! I personally use this air fryer because it saved me some space in my small kitchen and I already had the base for it.

Set out two shallow bowls. In one, toss the breadcrumbs with the seasonings; in the other, whisk the eggs until you have a smooth egg batter.

Dredge your chicken pieces in the panko breadcrumbs, then place in an even layer in the air fryer basket.

Be sure to spray the air fryer basket really well with olive oil cooking spray. This keeps the chicken nuggets from sticking or burning and helps them bake to crispy perfection. Place the little bites in a single layer

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400°F until the nuggets are golden brown, then let cool in a large bowl for 5 minutes.

Toss in the buffalo sauce and enjoy!


What to serve with baked buffalo nuggets

You can also use any leftover buffalo chicken nuggets to make more buffalo recipes like a quick buffalo chicken salad, these buffalo chicken tacos, buffalo chicken dip, or my 5 minute buffalo chicken wraps!

A man dipping a buffalo chicken nugget in bleu cheese dressing

Frequently asked questions

Can these buffalo chicken nuggets be gluten free?

Simple! I'm using regular panko bread crumbs for this recipe, so just find your favorite brand of gluten free panko breadcrumbs and use those instead. The buffalo sauce I recommend is naturally gluten free, so if you choose to use a different brand make sure it's certified gluten free!

Can I make my buffalo bites ahead of time?

Yes and no. You can make the breaded nuggets up to 48 hours in advance, but I would wait to toss them in the buffalo dressing until they've been heated again and are ready to serve.

Can I use a different cut of chicken?

Sure! I think boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders would work well, too.

How long do buffalo chicken nuggets stay fresh?

In the fridge, they will last up to 3 days in an airtight container, preferably glass.

If you want to freeze them, cook and let cool at room temperature, then seal in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to three months. Toss in the buffalo sauce after thawing and reheating.

More game day recipes

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Nuggets

Easy Homemade Pizza Bagels

Sugar-Free Birthday Cake Puppy Chow

Baked Mint Chocolate Protein Donuts

Mini Pigs in a Blanket Blossom

Healthy Edible Brownie Batter

A tray of buffalo chicken nuggets with celery and cilantro

When you're looking for the perfect appetizer for your next party, you have to make these air fryer buffalo chicken bites! They're so easy to make, a lot less stressful than scrounging for drumsticks, and much healthier than store-bought buffalo wings.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review below if you try this recipe so other readers know how you liked it! Your reviews help other people find my recipes and they help me know what type of content to create in the future.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets (2 Ways!)

Made in the oven or the air fryer, these Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets are so easy to make and so delicious! All you need is 4 ingredients. These healthy buffalo chicken bites are naturally dairy-free, easily gluten free, and ready in 30 minutes.

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

15

min

cook:

15

min

total:

30

min

servings:

4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into nugget-sized pieces
  • 1 C original panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ C Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

For the Air Fryer

  1. Set out two shallow bowls. In one bowl, whisk the eggs well. In another bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder, and salt.
  2. Dip the pieces of chicken in the egg wash, shaking off any excess, then dredge in the breadcrumbs until well coated. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs.
  3. Spray your air fryer basket or tray with cooking spray, then place the chicken nuggets in an even layer with some space in between each piece to prevent overcrowding. Fry in batches for 14-16 minutes at 400°F until the outside is crispy and the inside reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  4. When all the chicken nuggets are finished frying, toss them in a large mixing bowl with the buffalo sauce*. Serve with your favorite dressing and veggies and enjoy!

For the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, then top with a cooling rack. Set aside.
  2. Set out two shallow bowls. In one bowl, whisk the eggs well. In another bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder, and salt.
  3. Dip the pieces of chicken in the egg wash, shaking off any excess, then dredge in the breadcrumbs until well coated. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs, then place on the cooling rack on the baking sheet. Leave some space in between the nuggets so they're not overcrowded.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the until the outside is crispy and the inside reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. Toss the finished nuggets in a large mixing bowl with the buffalo sauce*. Serve with your favorite dressing and veggies and enjoy!

Notes

*Don't toss in the buffalo sauce until you're ready to serve.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1/4 of the prepared chicken nuggets, including the buffalo sauce. If serving for a party instead of dinner, this recipe can serve up to 6 people.

Nutrition

Serving: 9 oz. / Calories: 423 / Fat: 16.5g / Saturated Fat: 3g / Carbohydrates: 18.7g / Fiber: 0.5g / Sugar: 2g / Protein: 52.8g