I think I speak for all of us when I say, we are always on the lookout for the best possible chicken nugget or chicken bite recipe. Let this be a sign that you are that much closer in your search, because these buffalo chicken bites may just top your list! I've said it before, and I'll say it again, bread anything and I am a fan. These boneless bites are no exception that rule.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- These chicken bites are made in the air fryer! No taking out and heating up messy oil, and a much lighter alternative.
- No messy breading steps needed. Give the chicken bites a quick marinade, and transfer directly into the breading. No eggs, or flour needed.
- These chicken nuggets are kid friendly! You can adjust the spice level to as little or as much as you want. The best part, you know exactly what went into them, and there's no mystery meat involved.
- These buffalo chicken bites only take 9 minutes in the air fryer! It does not get quicker than that.
- Flavour: These bites are relatively mild in flavour, as they only get a quick drizzle of hot sauce at the end. Although there is plenty of hot sauce in the marinade, it is nothing too overpowering. Think of your favourite buffalo chicken bite (frozen or store bought), but a lot lighter. You won't realize you've had 3 servings!
- Ease: It does not get easier than these bites. Most breaded chicken recipes require the standard three step breading process - flour, egg, and breading. The marinade for the buffalo bites acts as the perfect "glue" for the breading, making this a two-step recipe. It's foolproof, and even a great recipe to get the kids involved with.
- Time: The most time consuming part of this recipe, is letting the chicken sit in the marinade. This takes a minimum of 30 minutes, but if you can afford to do this a few hours prior, or even overnight, all the better. The cooking time is a measly 9 minutes in the air fryer, which is weeknight dinner-time friendly, if you ask me!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: I strongly suggest using white meat for these chicken bites. Although many people find that white meat can get a little bit dry, the marinade and cooking time ensure that these boneless bites are juicy and moist as ever.
- Milk and Lemon: Now - this is my substitution for buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk helps with tenderizing meat, but I don't have enough uses for buttermilk to make a separate purchase for it. Regular milk, with a tablespoon of lemon does the trick!
- Louisiana Hot Sauce: The key to making these chicken bites, buffalo chicken bites, is hot sauce! Everyone has their favourite, but I used Frank's Red Hot sauce.
- Panko and Regular Seasoned Breadcrumbs: I use a mix of both panko and regular seasoned breadcrumbs. Panko adds a really great crunch to breaded chicken, adding the perfect amount of texture. I find that regular seasoned breadcrumbs brown better in the air fryer, so I mix the two together!
- Prep the Chicken: Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks. The easiest way to do this, is cut the chicken breast in half vertically, and then cut those strips into bite-sized pieces. You can make these chicken bites as big or small as you desire.
- Mix the Marinade: In a bowl, add the chicken, buttermilk (or milk+lemon that has sat for 5 minutes), hot sauce, and garlic powder, onion powder and old bay seasoning. Let this sit for a minimum of 30 minutes - the longer the better!
- Bread the Chicken: Once the chicken has sat in the marinade, drain off the excess liquid, and toss in the panko/breadcrumb mix.
- Air Fry the Chicken: Spray your air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray, and arrange the chicken bites. Depending on the size of your air fryer basket, you may need to do this in a couple of batches. Spray the top of the chicken with some more cooking spray, and air fry for 9 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Drizzle with Hot Sauce: Once the chicken bites are done in the air fryer, drizzle with some extra hot sauce.
Tips and Tricks
- If you do not have an air fryer, you can bake or shallow fry these bites. Baking may increase the time slightly.
- You can toss these chicken bites in a mix of hot sauce and butter if you prefer a sauce-y buffalo chicken bite! I recommend using one stick of butter, and ¼ cup of hot sauce.
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Buffalo Chicken Bites (In the Air Fryer!)
- Mix the Marinade: In a bowl, add the chicken, buttermilk (or milk+lemon that has sat together for 5 minutes), hot sauce, and spices (except salt and pepper). Let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Bread the Chicken: Draining off the excess marinade, toss the chicken pieces in the panko and breadcrumb mixture (with salt and pepper added).
- Air Fry the Chicken: Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken in the basket, and spray with cooking spray on top. Air fry for 9 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Drizzle with Hot Sauce: Drizzle with extra hot sauce once done.