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Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders

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If you’re looking for a healthier version of buffalo chicken tenders you’ve got to try our easy air fryer version! It’s the perfect balance of tender chicken with a crispy coating and finished with a tangy, slightly spicy sauce.

Our air fryer buffalo chicken tender recipe is full of flavor and made with simple ingredients. This classic comfort food makes a perfect appetizer or easy dinner for any day of the week and is sure to become a family favorite.

Overhead view of air fryer buffalo chicken tenders on a cutting board with a bowl of dipping sauce.

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When I decided to ditch the deep frying method, breaded chicken tenders was one of the first air fryer recipes I made. And I discovered it was so simple to make, and I liked that I could add different sauces like you would with wings. That’s when the buffalo version was born.

The whole family fell in love when I served them up on game day with mozzarella sticks and meatballs. So I thought you might like them, too!

Labelled ingredients needed to make air fryer buffalo chicken tenders with text overlay.

Ingredients Needed

  • chicken tenderloins – be sure to pat them dry before starting.
  • eggs – helps to keep the breading on.
  • hot sauce – any brand will work. If you’re worried about them being too spicy you can omit.
  • flour – we used all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • cornstarch – a secret ingredient to get the tenders crispy.
  • garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, black pepper – adds flavor to the breading.
  • Buffalo sauce – our favorite buffalo sauce is Frank’s Red Hot. 

How to Make Air Fryer Buffalo Tenders

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.

Two images of chicken being trimmed and egg wash in a container and seasonings in a different container with text overlay.

If needed, remove the tendons from the chicken tenders by placing them on a cutting board. Then firmly grip the tendon with a paper towel. Place a sharp knife edge on the tendon and against the board, pulling the tendon away from the chicken.

Side by side images of spices in a dish, egg and hot sauce in a dish, and chicken in breading with text overlay.

Set up the breading station: Whisk the eggs and hot sauce together in a shallow bowl (these are the bowls I use). In a separate bowl, combine the spices, flour, and cornstarch.

Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, then into the beaten eggs, and back into the flour.

Side by side images of chicken in flour mixture and chicken placed in an air fryer basket with text overlay.

Use on oil mister to spritz the basket with a little oil. Add the tenders to the basket in a single layer.

Lightly mist the chicken with oil and air fry for 10 minutes, turning at the halfway mark.

Two images of chicken strips halfway cooked and cooked chicken being brushed with buffalo sauce with text overlay.

Brush the tenders with the buffalo sauce and cook for another 2 1/2 minutes. Flip the chicken, brush with sauce, and cook until done.

Tips for Making

  • Patting the chicken dry removes the moisture, helps the coating to stick and makes for a crispier outside.
  • The spiciness will vary based on the sauces you use.
  • During the breading process, make sure the chicken is coated evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F before serving.
  • Do not overcrowd the basket, or the tenders won’t be as crispy.
  • Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may want to cook these in batches.
  • If needed, you can keep the cooked breaded chicken warm on a baking sheet in the oven on low heat while you finish the rest.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast can be used in place of the tenderloins. Try to cut the pieces in equal-sized strips. If the pieces are bigger, the cooking time may need to be increased.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – can be used in place of the flour and cornstarch.
  • Gluten free – choose a gluten-free flour instead of all purpose flour.
  • Low carb – use almond flour.
  • Buttermilk – instead of eggs, you can use a buttermilk mixture.
Front view of air fryer buffalo chicken strips next to a bowl of dipping sauce on a wooden cutting board.

What to Serve With

Air fryer buffalo chicken strips go great with ranch dip, blue cheese dressing, and carrots and celery sticks. We also love homemade onion rings and potato chips with these flavorful chicken tenders.

This is also an easy recipe for meal prep. You can use the leftovers in tacos, serve over a salad, or make wraps with them.

How to Store

Buffalo chicken strips are crispiest when eaten fresh but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Just know they lose a little of their crispiness when they are refrigerated.

Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds or in the air fryer at 350 degrees F until warm. If desired, brush with additional buffalo sauce.

Whether you’re serving these flavorful tenders for a family dinner or a party snack, they are sure to have your peeps reaching for seconds.

**Save Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tender Recipe for Later**

Air fryer buffalo chicken tenders stacked on a wooden board next to a bowl of dipping sauce with text overlay.

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Our easy buffalo chicken tenders is a healthier version of the classic comfort food. The perfect balance of tender chicken with a crispy coating and finished with a tangy, slightly spicy sauce.
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Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 201kcal
Author: Lori @ I Heart Air Frying



  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 12 tenders), rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce


  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  • If needed, remove the tendons from the chicken pieces before proceeding. Place the tenders on a cutting board, gripping the tendon with a clean paper towel. Forcefully place a sharp knife edge on the tendon and against the cutting board, pulling the tendon away from the chicken. Repeat as needed until done.
  • Create a dredging station:
    #1 – Make an egg wash by mixing the eggs with the hot sauce in a shallow dish.
    #2 – Mix the flour, cornstarch, and spices in a second shallow dish (this is the breading).
  • Place each tender first in the breading to lightly coat, then dip in the egg wash, and back in the breading for a second coating. Make sure the tenders are evenly coated after each step.
  • Use an oil mister to lightly spritz your air fryer basket with oil. Place the tenders in the basket, making sure the pieces aren’t touching so the air can circulate.
  • Spritz the tenders with oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning at the halfway mark.
  • Brush each tender with Buffalo sauce and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the tenders, brush with sauce and finish cooking for 2 1/2 minutes until done. Chicken should reach 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove tenders to a plate and allow to rest for 3-4 minutes before serving.


  • You can substitute chicken breast for the tenders, just cut them into similar-sized strips.
  • The heat level will vary based on the sauces you use.
  • Best served fresh but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Note that they will lose crispiness when refrigerated. Reheat in the air fryer to restore some of the crispiness.
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Nutritional Estimate

Serving: 2tenders | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 785mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 171IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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