Buffalo chicken bites make for a wonderful game day appetizer and a fun family dinner idea. But, before you get to the bites, you have to get to the sauce, and a Buffalo sauce that won’t “break” is essential. The basic formula for Buffalo sauce is a simple one: It is a combination of hot sauce (store-bought or homemade), oil and seasoning.
HOW TO MAKE A BUFFALO SAUCE THAT DOESN’T BREAK:
If you’ve ever attempted making a homemade Buffalo sauce, only to have the sauce “break” (i.e. separate), you my friend, are not alone. And the cause? The sauce was not properly emulsified. If you’ve ever made a homemade salad dressing, you’ll remember that the oil is typically added toward the very end of the process, and should be added slowly, and with constant whisking. The same principle applies when it comes to Buffalo sauce.
Butter makes for a rich and flavorful sauce, and therefore, will be the oil we use in this recipe. Adding the butter gradually at the end of the cooking process, and with constant movement is essential to a sauce that won’t separate. Therefore, butter should be cut into cubes and added gradually to the hot sauce in small increments. Another important aspect of this process is the temperature of the butter itself.
The butter should be cold when added to the sauce. Because butter is a combination of both water and fat, adding it in cold slows down the time in which it takes the butter to melt. Meaning, you have more time to emulsify properly into the sauce.
Now that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, things can get a little more personal: I love Buffalo chicken. Always have, always will. I mean, what’s not to love about fried chicken smothered in a tangy, perfectly spicy, buttery sauce?
Obviously, based on the food description I just fed you alone, we can gather it’s not necessarily one of those super healthy food options one should consume on a regular basis, however, everything in moderation, right? Unfortunately for me, moderation turned into deprivation when it came to those beloved Buffalo chicken bites.
Before children (when eating out was still an enjoyable affair), Buffalo bites were one of my absolute favorite menu items. A restaurant treat, if you will. However, spicy sauces, messy hands, and toddlers don’t really mix all that well, and sadly, one of my favorite restaurant treats fell by the wayside…until now.
On a mission to create a restaurant-style buffalo sauce at home, I came up with a simple recipe that requires only a small amount of technique and very little time.
NOW FOR THE CHICKEN:
You can go about this recipe two ways: (1) 100% homemade, in which you would make the sauce and the chicken nuggets yourself. Neither task is necessarily difficult, however, I know there are some novice at-home chefs out there that might be shuddering at the thought of frying chicken.
Which leads me to our second option, (2) store-bought nuggets and a homemade Buffalo sauce. The store-bought nugget option simplifies the recipe significantly, and if you are short on time, or whipping up a batch for entertaining purposes, this route will seriously cut back on your to-do list.
This recipe is the perfect cure to any hankering for Buffalo chicken bites, and recipes just don’t get any better when it comes to game day entertaining. Please, enjoy.
- 1 stick 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 8 ounces Frank's Hot Sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder See below for both store-bought chicken nugget version and homemade chicken nugget version
For the buffalo sauce, quarter the cold stick of butter lengthwise. Make eight cuts across so that the butter is cut into tiny cubes. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. Add Frank's hot sauce, onion powder, Kosher salt, and garlic powder to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir and allow to come to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to low. Begin adding in the butter 2-3 cubes at a time, whisking constantly. Once the butter has melted into the sauce, add another 2-3 cubes, and repeat until all of the butter has been incorporated. Do not rush this process.
Once all of the butter has been added, remove the sauce from the heat and set aside until ready to use. Makes about 1 1/2 cup of sauce.
Store-Bought Nugget Variation: 16 ounces (about 20) frozen chicken nuggets. Cook the chicken nuggets according to package directions, dip in prepared buffalo sauce and serve right away.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, patted dry
- 1 tablespooon TAK House Seasoning separated
- 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3 dashes of hot sauce
- 3 cups Canola oil
On a large work surface, using the tenderizer side of a meat mallet (or a rolling pin), pound out chicken breasts so that they are no more than a 1/2" in thickness. Cut the pounded out breasts into strips, about 2" wide. Then, cut the strips into pieces 1 1/2 - 2" in diameter. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of TAK Seasoning, and toss to combine. Set aside while you prepare your dredging station.
Have ready three breading trays, pie dishes or shallow pans. In the first pan, add 1 cup of flour. In the second, whisk together milk, eggs and hot sauce. In the last tray, mix together 1 1/2 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of TAK Seasoning.
Before you begin dredging the chicken, bring the oil to proper temperature. Add oil to a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and allow to reach 350-375°. To dredge the chicken, thoroughly coat it in the tray with plain flour, followed by a dip in the egg mixture, and then, a thorough coating in the seasoned flour.
Have ready a wire rack, with a few paper towels underneath to catch any oil drippings. Carefully drop nuggets into the oil, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. You will likely need to fry in 2-3 batches. Fry nuggets for 2 minutes, then turn and fry for 2 minutes more. Transfer cooked nuggets to wire rack to cool slightly.
Once the chicken nuggets are cool enough to handle, dip in prepared buffalo sauce and serve right away.
- 1/2 c Mayonnaise
- 1/4 c Whole Milk
- 1/4 c Sour Cream
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 5 ounces Blue Cheese such as Danish Maytag or Gorgonzola Dolce, separated
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, sour cream, Worcestershire, and salt. Using the back of a spoon, mash in about 3/4 of the blue cheese and stir.
Add the remaining blue cheese and delicately fold it into the dressing, taking care not to break it apart. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Course: Salad Dressing Cuisine: American Servings: 2 Cups