Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

These Buffalo Chicken Tenders are the perfect healthier alternative to fried spicy Buffalo chicken fingers! Baked in the oven until juicy and crispy, then tossed in a delicious hot buffalo sauce, these buffalo tenders are better than take-out! They’re easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to serve on game-day. 

Baked Buffalo Chicken tenders. Healthy chicken tenders baked till crispy and then tossed in a delicious buffalo sauce.

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If chicken wings or fried chicken fingers are foods you’ve put on the back burner while you’re working on healthier eating habits, then I’m about to become you’re new best friend!

These baked Buffalo Chicken tenders are everything you love about messy, greasy, fattening wings and fingers but much healthier.

I promise these chicken fingers will rival anything you can order from your favorite pizza joint! Trust me; you’ll never know these are baked and not fried.! This means these chicken tenders can become a regular in your weekly meal plan. You’re welcome!

Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Healthier version of a fried favorite! Lean chicken breasts dipped in egg, dredged lightly in breadcrumbs, baked until golden brown, and then tossed in the simplest buffalo sauce—no heavy breading or frying.
  • Super quick and easy – You can have these buffalo chicken tenders on the table faster than ordering takeout.
  • Can enjoy in various recipes. Dip in blue cheese or cut the tenders up and toss in a salad; the meal options are endless.
  • Make-ahead! You can prep the chicken ahead of time for a quick weeknight dinner or make it entirely ahead of time to eat in salads or wraps all week. I’ll give more tips below.

The Ingredients

The ingredients to make baked buffalo chicken tenders.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – For best results, purchase high-quality organic chicken. 

Eggs – help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken and create a thicker coating.

Ranch Seasoning – You can use store-bought or homemade ranch seasoning mix in this recipe. I recommend making homemade because it keeps the recipe clean and has such a delicious flavor.

Unseasoned breadcrumbs – regular breadcrumbs work best for baked buffalo chicken tenders. Panko breadcrumbs don’t stick as well.

Olive oil – brushing the baking sheet with olive oil is my little trick to getting that “fried” look and taste.

Frank’s hot sauce – to get that authentic Buffalo flavor, using Franks hot sauce is the way to go. You can find Frank’s hot sauce in most grocery stores nationwide. However, if you can’t find it or have another favorite, then that’s fine to use.

Butter – Wing sauce is simply butter and hot sauce. So, to make an authentic buffalo sauce while keeping it healthy, the key is to use a small amount of butter.

Cooking Tips

Season the chicken first. Before adding the breading to the chicken, I season it with salt and pepper. It’s easy to overlook this step, especially when there’s a seasoning in the breading, but I find it helps keep the chicken flavorful instead of bland.

For a less spicy chicken tender, reduce the hot sauce. You can also drizzle the hot sauce on the chicken or serve it on the side. I love to toss the chicken in the sauce to get it wet and saucy.

Cut the breast into even-sized tenders. This step will help the chicken to cook fast and evenly. Many stores sell chicken breasts already cut into tenders.

Use store-bought seasoning. Homemade ranch seasoning mix brings a delicious flavor to this chicken recipe. But if you prefer a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning, that will work too. One packet of ranch seasoning equals 2 tablespoons of homemade.

Bake at a high temperature. To get the chicken crispy on the outside while keeping it juicy in the center, bake it at a high temperature of 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes. 

Baked chicken in hot sauce on a plate with a side of blue cheese.

Substitutions

  • Make it gluten-free. You can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs in this recipe. You can also use oat flour, almond flour, or other gluten-free flour in place of the bread crumbs.
  • Go low-carb. If you want to eliminate the carbs, you can leave out the breadcrumbs altogether, which also means you don’t need the egg. Season with the ranch seasoning mix and continue with the recipe instructions. Instead of tossing the chicken tenders in the sauce, either drizzle it on top, brush it on, or serve on the side.
  • Leave out the butter or use non-dairy butter. Butter gives the sauce the rich, creamy texture that we all love with buffalo wing sauce. However, if you want to leave the butter out, you can; the sauce just won’t be as velvety.
  • Leave out the oil – If you prefer, spray the sheet pan with cooking spray instead of oil. The chicken will still cook and get slightly crispy, but not the same way it does with oil.
  • Cut the chicken into smaller pieces. I like cutting the chicken into strips, but you can also make boneless wings or nuggets by cutting the chicken into 1 -2 inch pieces. Follow the rest of the recipe, but you’ll need to reduce the cooking time depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

Supplies

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Tenders in The Oven  (Step by Step)

step by step collage showing how to make buffalo chicken tenders.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, brush the olive oil onto a baking sheet and set it aside.
  • Next, prep the chicken. You want the chicken breasts to be even, so using a meat mallet,  pound each out into cutlets about ½ inch thickness. Then cut the chicken breasts into strips (fingers). Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Get the eggs and flour mixture ready. In a shallow dish, whisk the eggs until beaten. In a medium to a large bowl, mix the breadcrumb and ranch seasoning.
  • Create an assembly line with the chicken, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture.
  • Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs and then place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the chicken. 
  • Place the chicken into the oven for 20 minutes, flip the chicken halfway through. When the chicken is done the internal temperature will be 165 degrees.
  • When the chicken has about 5 minutes left in the oven, get the Buffalo sauce ready. Place the hot sauce into a large bowl. Then melt butter in the microwave and whisk it into the hot sauce.
  • After the chicken is done cooking, toss each piece of chicken into the sauce mixture and place it on a plate. It’s easier to sauce the chicken one at a time and to use tongs to do this.
  • Serve hot with blue cheese.

What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Tenders?

For an authentic Buffalo experience, serve these baked buffalo tenders, alongside a sheet pan pizza, with blue cheese dressing. However, if you’re not a blue cheese fan, then ranch dressing will work.

On a salad – If you’re all about keeping carbs under control, then serve this chicken with a salad.

In a sub  – If you’re feeling a Buffalo chicken sub, then put a couple of tenders on a roll with blue cheese dressing, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Yum!

With potatoes and vegetables – Buffalo chicken tenders served with ranch roasted potatoes, and roasted broccoli brings weeknight dinners to new levels.

cooked buffalo chicken tenders on a plate with a side of blue cheese dressing.

How to Store

Meal prep for the week

There are a couple of different ways to store buffalo chicken tenders ahead of time. First, you can prepare and assemble the chicken tenders so they’re ready to bake during the week. After you put the breading mixture on the chicken store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. Continue with the recipe on the night these are on the meal plan.

You can also cook the chicken tenders completely on the weekend to use in recipes during the week. Place the cooked, and slightly cooled, chicken into an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Eat cold or warm up in the microwave or oven.

Freeze

These buffalo chicken tenders can be frozen in a couple of different ways. First, you can prep the chicken tenders and freeze them raw. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe, this takes 1-2 days so plan accordingly. 

You can also cook the chicken tenders completely, toss them in the sauce, and freeze them in a container or freezer bags. Heat up in the microwave or oven. 

You can also let the cooked frozen tenders thaw in the refrigerator and eat them cold in salads or wraps.

Healthy Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

These Buffalo Chicken Tenders are the perfect healthier alternative to fried spicy Buffalo chicken fingers! Baked in the oven until juicy and crispy, then tossed in a delicious hot buffalo sauce, these buffalo tenders are better than take-out! They’re easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to serve on game-day.

Print Pin Rate

Course: dinner, dinner recipe

Cuisine: American

Keyword: baked buffalo chicken tenders, buffalo chicken tender recipe, buffalo chicken tenders

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 people

Calories: 491kcal

Author: Tammy Overhoff

Equipment

  • Large baking sheet

  • Pastry brush

  • Mixing Bowls

  • Tongs

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 3 medium-sized chicken breasts
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons homemade ranch seasoning mix can substitute 1 (1 ounce) packet of store-bought ranch seasoning mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce reduce the amount of hot sauce for less spice
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, brush the olive oil onto a baking sheet and set it aside.

  • Next, prep the chicken. You want the chicken breasts to be even, so using a meat mallet,  pound each out into cutlets about ½ inch thickness. Then cut the chicken into 8 strips. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  • Get the eggs and flour mixture ready. In a shallow dish, whisk the eggs until beaten. In a medium to a large bowl, mix the breadcrumb and ranch seasoning.

  • Create an assembly line with the chicken, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture.

  • Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs and then place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the chicken.

  • Place the chicken into the oven for 20 minutes, flip the chicken halfway through.

  • When the chicken has about 5 minutes left in the oven, get the Buffalo sauce ready. Place the hot sauce into a large bowl. Then melt butter in the microwave and whisk it into the hot sauce.

  • After the chicken is done cooking, toss each piece of chicken into the sauce mixture and place it on a plate. It’s easier to sauce the chicken one at a time and to use tongs to do this. Discard any leftover sauce.

  • Serve hot with blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce.

Notes

How to Store

Meal prep for the week There are a couple of different ways to store buffalo chicken tenders ahead of time. First, you can prepare and assemble the chicken tenders so they’re ready to bake during the week. After you put the breading mixture on the chicken store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. Continue with the recipe on the night these are on the meal plan. You can also cook the chicken tenders completely on the weekend to use in recipes during the week. Place the cooked, and slightly cooled, chicken into an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Eat cold or warm up in the microwave or oven. Freeze These buffalo chicken tenders can be frozen in a couple of different ways. First, you can prep the chicken tenders and freeze them raw. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe, this takes 1-2 days so plan accordingly.  You can also cook the chicken tenders completely, toss them in the sauce, and freeze them in a container or freezer bags. Heat up in the microwave or oven.  You can also let the cooked frozen tenders thaw in the refrigerator and eat them cold in salads or wraps.

Nutrition

Serving: 2chicken fingers | Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

Other Buffalo Chicken Recipes

Have you tried this baked buffalo chicken tenders recipe? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it!

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