Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders is a lighter version of boneless Buffalo chicken wings. This recipe uses no breading which makes it paleo and keto friendly. It’s perfect for a no-fuss super quick dinner or a healthier game night appetizer.
If you’re a fan of Buffalo chicken anything, you absolutely must try this recipe. It is so easy and delicious, I am currently completely obsessed and find it to be the best, tastiest way to prepare chicken tenders. Using a bit of mayo in the marinade makes chicken tenders incredibly juicy and almost locks in the moisture in the chicken. I use that handy trick in one of my other popular recipes for Chicken Caprese Sheet Pan dinner.
My family loves chicken wings but they are pretty messy to eat and can take a while to prepare. Also, there always seems to be that one person around who “doesn’t eat chicken on the bone” which makes serving regular chicken wings hard. If your kids (guests or family members) prefer boneless “wings”, this easy recipe is a game changer!
Why you'll love this recipe
- These air fryer Buffalo chicken tenders are super easy and quick to make – they take less than 30 minutes (and that includes chopping the side of celery)
- Perfect chicken recipe for air fryer beginners – it cannot NOT work
- Chicken tenders are juicy and delicious thanks the secret ingredient (mayo) and the wonders of air frying
- Only 4 basic ingredients
- Wonderful healthier alternative to regular fried Buffalo chicken wings or breaded boneless Buffalo wings
- This chicken recipe is sugar free, gluten free, nut free, dairy free (if you skip the blue cheese dressing) and paleo and keto friendly (see my notes about hot sauce below)
- Perfect as leftovers or as meal prep – it makes an awesome lunch salad the next day
- Make sure to also check out my Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Thighs (boneless & skinless) for another great version of boneless wings
To make this recipe, you will need:
- Chicken Tenders: for best taste and texture use high quality chicken, preferably organic.
- Hot Sauce: I use the classic Frank’s Hot Sauce (NOT wing sauce which contains lots of oil). Another great Buffalo sauce choice is this whole30 and paleo approved wing sauce from Noble Made.
- Mayo: avocado oil mayonnaise is my top choice but any mayo will work
- Garlic Powder: for an extra layer of flavor
- Salt & Pepper: optional final touch if you want even more seasoning. Hot sauce already contains salt so you don’t need much extra salt. I like a very light sprinkle of freshly ground pink Himalayan salt.
How to make air fryer Buffalo chicken tenders
Step 1: Make the Buffalo marinade. Mix hot sauce, mayo and garlic powder in a small bowl until mostly smooth.
Step 2: Cover the chicken in marinade. Pour it over the chicken and stir until well coated. For best results, let the chicken sit in the sauce for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors penetrate the meat.
Step 3: Air fry at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, turning the chicken tenders half way through.
Step 4: Drizzle with a little more Buffalo sauce, if desired. This will make your boneless wings extra sticky and saucy.
Step 5: Serve with a side of celery sticks and blue cheese (or ranch) dressing for dipping.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make these boneless Buffalo wings in the oven. To do so, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken tenders covered in Buffalo marinade on a baking sheet (spaced apart) and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half way through. Drizzle with more hot sauce and serve!
The classic pairing for any Buffalo chicken dish is obviously blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. Serve it that way for a lightened up version of Buffalo chicken wings.
If you're serving these chicken tenders for dinner or lunch, a big salad, roasted vegetables or creamy mac and cheese will work best as sides. Check out my Chickpea Greek Salad, La Scala Chopped Salad or Spinach Strawberry Caprese Salad for some salad inspiration.
Store leftover chicken tenders in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can enjoy them cold (for example in salads) or reheat by throwing in your air fryer for a few minutes.
Yes! If you don’t have chicken tenders, cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into long strips (about 2-3 per breast) and follow the recipe as directed.
Essentially yes! They are also sometimes called “chicken fingers”.
Yes! You can also bake these chicken tenders in the oven on a baking tray (see oven instructions above).
This recipe is naturally low-carb which makes it a perfect whole30/ paleo/ keto meal. To make sure it’s compliant, make sure to use whole30 approved mayo and hot sauce (all 3 wing sauces I list above are whole30 approved). As far as dipping sauces go, blue cheese dressing is not allowed on whole30/ paleo (since it contains dairy), so you might want to swap it for a mayo-based ranch dressing.
I highly recommend giving mayo a try in the Buffalo marinade because that’s what makes the chicken exceptionally juicy. However, if you’d rather not use it, feel free to swap it for avocado oil (or other neutral tasting oil).
You may also like
- Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Caprese Sheet Pan
- Instant Pot Jerk Chicken and Meal Prep
- Chicken Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash Fries
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
- Brined Chicken Wings (Oven or Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer Chicken Kabobs (Kebabs)
If you try my No Breading Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders, be sure to leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating. I would love to hear from you and see how it turned out for you! You can also share and tag me on Instagram!
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Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders (No Breading)
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- ¼ cup hot sauce plus more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste, optional
- Make the marinade. In a small bowl combine hot sauce, mayo and garlic powder until mostly smooth.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken tenders and mix to coat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before air frying.
- Air fry in one layer at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, turning the chicken half way through.
- For saucier and spicier tenders, drizzle with more hot sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or let cool and use in salads or meal prep.