Main Dishes

January 25, 2022

Healthy 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.

The Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner and honestly, I probably won't watch it! But, it does give 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 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!

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

Why You'll Love These Homemade Buffalo Nuggets

  • Easy to make: just dice the chicken, coat in breadcrumbs, bake, and toss in buffalo sauce. That's it!
  • 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 homemade buffalo nuggets have none of those things! 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 early.

Two Ways to Make Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets in the Oven

When making homemade chicken nuggets in the oven, make sure to line your pan with aluminum foil, then place a cooling rack on top. Dredge your chicken in seasoned panko breadcrumbs, then set on the cooling rack on the sheet pan. Cooking your chicken nuggets on the cooling rack allows the bottoms to get toasted, not soggy.

Since nugget size will vary, cook times vary from 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.

A man pouring buffalo sauce over baked chicken nuggets

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.

When making chicken nuggets in the air fryer, be sure to spray the pan or basket really well. This keeps the chicken nuggets from sticking or burning.

The beauty of using the air fryer is that it actually takes a little bit less time, too. Just dredge your chicken nuggets in breadcrumbs and air fry for 15 minutes.

FAQs About Homemade Chicken Nuggets

How can I make chicken nuggets gluten-free?

Simple! I'm using regular panko breadcrumbs 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 these baked buffalo chicken nuggets be made dairy-free?

They already are! I chose this buffalo sauce because it was naturally gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan and made with cleaner ingredients.

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.

A man dipping a buffalo chicken nugget in bleu cheese dressing

How long do homemade chicken nuggets last?

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.

What do I serve with buffalo chicken?

I always have my buffalo chicken with ranch dressing, but the classic dressing of choice is bleu cheese. You can also serve celery sticks and carrot sticks on the side to cool off the heat of the buffalo.

More Homemade Snacks to Try

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

I know you'll love these Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets! 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. Happy Super Bowl

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Healthy 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