Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers

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EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chicken fingers are one of those childhood comfort foods you’ll never grow out of. Long gone are days by the swimming pool snack bar where my 11 year old friends and I would chow down on extra crispy chicken fingers with french fries followed by a thrilling game of sharks and minnows. (Forever my favorite pool game.) After we’d run around and eat Flintstones push-up pops. Remember those? Do they still exist? Also: I’m seriously craving summer. And now, popsicles.

Life was good! Life’s still good because I have a billion and a half glorious chlorine-soaked memories from my swim club days. What’s more is that I still crave chicken fingers, but don’t need to visit my old stomping grounds to enjoy finger food that’s just as tasty, hot, comforting, and crispy. Some may think chicken fingers are just for kids. I am not one of them. And I know you aren’t either!

EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

What I did today is spruce up strips of chicken with extra crunch, extra flavor, and baked them in the oven instead of frying since we’re no longer 11 year old calorie burning machines. It’s nearly impossible to replicate crunchy chicken fingers fresh out of the fryer, but these baked buffalo fingers come remarkably close.

And the secret’s in the coating.

There’s 3 important steps: coat them, bake them, then cover with buffalo sauce (more on that soon). Between massively crunchy pretzels and corn flakes– I’d say my favorite crunchy chicken coating is corn flakes cereal. If you’ve tried my popcorn chicken, you’re aware of corn flakes’ crunchy powers. I was going to leave the corn flake crumbs plain, but added a little extra flavor pizazz like I did with my honey bbq popcorn chicken. It really makes a difference! I blended it with smoked paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. “Plain” is not in my chicken finger language.

EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Before baking, the chicken fingers need to be coated in flour, egg/milk mixture, then corn flakes. There’s a rhyme & reason for all! Flour makes the egg stick, eggs make the corn flakes stick. Tip: This coating process can get a little messy, so what I usually do is have 1 hand for the wet (eggs) and 1 hand for the dry (flour and corn flakes). Still a little messy, but it helps!

EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

After baking comes the buffalo sauce. My favorite beyond favorite BBQ sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s, makes a buffalo wing sauce as well. Did you know that? I’ve been known to buy their original BBQ sauce in shockingly large bulk size, but it was only recently that I discovered their wing sauce. In its tangy ‘n’ hot glory. SBR’s was kind enough to send me boxes of both, so I did what any condiment loving obsessed person would do– I made bbq meatballs and today’s buffalo fingers ’til the cows came home. Or something like that. But in all seriousness, everyone has a favorite wing sauce brand they love and I can honestly say that Sweet Baby Ray’s has just the right amount of flavor, richness, and heat. I know you’ll love it.

Another tip: Make sure you coat the chicken fingers while they’re still warm so the sauce soaks in completely. If you don’t like super saucy chicken fingers, go light on the sauce. Or, if you’re like me, heavy-handed all the way.

And now for dipping… because there HAS to be dipping when we’re talkin’ chicken fingers… serve the crispy buffalo chicken fingers with a really simple blue cheese dipping sauce. I know not everyone is a huge fan of blue cheese, so your favorite ranch dressing works just as well. The blue cheese sauce though: blue cheese, mayo, sour cream, milk, and a little Worcestershire sauce. There’s a reason the two are always paired together: the creamy coolness of blue cheese hits the spot when paired with the spicy kick of buffalo.

EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The coated chicken fingers are the perfect balance of crunchy, tender, spicy, and saucy, rendering them absolutely irresistible. Undoubtedly the best chicken fingers I’ve ever made. Magically close to those poolside fried little numbers!

Retro popsicles for dessert not mandatory, but strongly encouraged.

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Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 5 cups (140g) corn flakes cereal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's buffalo wing sauce (or more, depending on preference!)
  • optional for serving: celery sticks and blue cheese sauce (recipe below)

Creamy Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (104g) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup (75g) blue cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. If using chicken breasts, pound down and cut into strips.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  3. Place the corn flakes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika into a food processor (you can do this in stages if the processor isn't large enough). Pulse 4-5 times until the cereal is broken down. Not completely crushed; some larger pieces can remain. Pour into a large bowl. Place the flour into a separate bowl. Then in a third bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.
  4. Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg mixture and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the corn flakes, shaking off any excess. Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about more 10 minutes. Baking times may vary, just make sure the chicken is cooked through by cutting into a thick piece. If you like them browner, bake a couple minutes longer. Careful, you don't want to dry out the chicken inside.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet (I usually make the blue cheese sauce during this time), then carefully place the chicken fingers into a large bowl. Pour the buffalo sauce on top and gently stir to coat. Taste and add more sauce if desired. Serve warm with blue cheese dipping sauce.
  7. Blue cheese dipping sauce: Stir sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and serve.
  8. Leftover chicken fingers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in the microwave or for 10-12 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven.

Make ahead tip: Prepare the chicken through step 4. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before continuing with step 5. You can also freeze the baked chicken fingers before tossing in the buffalo sauce. Bake frozen chicken fingers in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through, then coat in sauce.

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For the ultimate (and very orange) dinner, serve with baked sweet potato fries.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I’m working with Sweet Baby Ray’s to bring you today’s recipe. Thank you for helping me work with brands I love!

EXTRA crispy and baked buffalo chicken fingers! Coated in cornflakes for extra crunch. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

71 Comments

All Comments

  1. i hate cleaning up after frying, so i love the sound of baked!! and buffalo chicken fingers sound perfect- you get that buffalo sauce, but without having the annoyance of a bone (sometimes i’m fine with it, but other times i just want to eat asap).

  2. Another winner Sally.
    I would love to know your top 5 recipes you enjoy making from all of your recipes. (Yes I know choosing 5 would be hard, lol)

  3. YES! Chicken fingers for life!!! Loving this recipe as the only chicken fingers I can have these day are homemade anyways (THANKS, GLUTEN) annnnnd they’re so much more figure friendly than the fried version. Win, win, win. I’m a sucker for SBRs as well (and anything buffalo!) so these are certain to make an appearance in our kitchen veeery shortly 🙂 

    1. Leah have you ever made quinoa crusted chicken fingers? I feel like they’re right up your alley. I want to try them!

      1. I haven’t tried them yet, but they are definitely on my “to-try” list! I’ve made coconut crusted chicken fingers and your BBQ bites using gfree corn flakes. Both are ON POINT, so I’m excited to try those too. Chicken finger girls night soon? 😉

  4. Sally, I am right there with you on craving summer. I just loved the comforting and nostalgic picture you painted… ah to have our biggest worries be whether we should eat before or after a long swim. *Happy sigh.*
    Chicken fingers and all of the childhood comfort foods are still okay–nay, necessary for being happy as an adult, I say! 🙂 (Oh my, there I go rhyming…)
    In any case, I’m gonna have to explore this whole “corn flakes crunchy power” business. Your photos have convinced me!
    Sweet Baby Ray’s: Sally, have you tried their Creamy Buffalo Wing dip sauce? It’s Erik’s absolute favorite! I’m more a fan of their honey bbq sauce (and the hickory & brown sugar… ohmygah!)
    Speaking of retro popsicles, do you remember those Sonic popsicles with the gumball eyes? Those were the best! Haha.
    Happy Friday Sally! Thanks for getting my appetite good ‘n kicked up for the weekend. 😉

    1. I HAVE to try that dipping sauce! I forgot about those sonic popsicles. The push-up pops were always my go-to, then the choco taco.

      1. You sooo do! It’s def for creamy sauce lovers. Oh, the flintstones push-ups were the best! As for the choco tacos, you really had to eat them quick, before the shells got soggy–then you were in trouble. 😉

  5. Gawd!  If there wasn’t duct tape binding my hands behind my back and covering my mouth, I’d be licking the screen.  Phase I of the South Beach Diet doesn’t allow me to indulge, but I can fantasize, right?

  6. Have you tried marinating the tenders in the buffalo sauce prior to breading them? Similar to how you handle your honey BBQ tenders recipe. Just wondering if that would give you the flavor without the sauciness if you wanted a less messy final product for an appetizer for a party. Just curious – I may have to try that if you haven’t. We are having friends come over this weekend and I was going to make all finger foods instead of an actual meal – the honey BBQ tenders are on the menu. I might have to add this variation as well.   

    PS. Sweet Baby Ray’s is the ONLY BBQ sauce. Their slow cooker pulled pork recipe on their website (the one with cilantro and apple cider) is epic. 

    1. I have! There isn’t quite as much buffalo flavor to be honest. You can do it that way then maybe dip them in the buffalo sauce? Or just drizzle it on top instead of pouring on top. I’ll have to check out that pulled pork. I love apple cider + pork.

    2. Kerrie, could you post the link to the pulled pork recipe you’re referencing? I looked on SBR’s website, but there are a few pulled pork recipes. Thanks!

      And, Sally! Love everything you create – can’t wait to try these!

  7. Hey Sally,

    Flintstone push up pop? You are dating yourself….Lol
    I LOVE buffalo chicken tenders and have never had chicken tenders coated in corn flakes, however I am definitely trying these, thanks for the post.

  8. Oh my heavens, these sound so good. I’m not a huge fan of spicy, and buffalo sauce is basically as far as I go, but I love it (albeit with ranch). I’ll add these to the smorgaboard I’m making for the Final Four games this weekend (Go Nova!)!

    I miss the snack bar at the swim club! I was always more of a freeze tag girl in the pool, but sharks and minnows is fun too! Also, I think push-up popsicles still do exist, though I’m not certain if they still have the Flintstones branding.

  9. I was raised on baked chicken with cornflake coating! Not every night of course ! This brought back memories of home cooked dinners with my Mom and Dad and siblings, the time flys by! Thanks for the recipe I am making them ASAP! 

  10. Yum! Another baked chicken recipe! I love baked chicken. I’ve already tried your Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites and Baked Honey BBQ Chicken Fingers. My mom now has an excuse not to cook if we’ll have chicken for dinner… she’ll always ask me to bake it instead haha! I’ve also tried your Baked Sweet Potato Fries… love to season them with paprika. Thanks Sally!

  11. Thank you, Sally….I have my nieces indoor soccer tournament this Sunday and I promised a snack! Guess what I’ll be bringing! Everything by SBR’s is good I swear! They are the ultimate of ‘any’ sauce imaginable! I was turned onto the BBQ 10 years ago and have NEVER looked back! Can’t wait to try these and Oh! BTW….your Lemon Curd….made it over Easter for the Coconut Lemon Cake! Lordy Lordy……so glad I didn’t skimp! Thank you! Another thing I was turned onto 10 years ago…..Jane’s Crazy Mixed up Salt! Have you tried it?

    1. I’ve NEVER heard of that salt! Where do you buy it?

      Have you tried SBR’s sweet chili wing sauce/glaze? It’s incredible!

  12. I love love LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s. My favorite is the sweet and spicy one. I always use it on my spicy pulled pork recipe. SO GOOD! I’m going to have to try this recipe next time. I love that you used corn flakes!!! *heart eyes emoji*

  13. I just had something like these last night from Smokey Bones but with their sweet bbq sauce… if you’ve never tried them, you HAVE to!!! I was eating the sauce with a spoon… I haven’t been there in years and omgosh was it good! I will definitely be trying these soon but perhaps with honey mustard sauce 🙂 I just have to ask… how do you stay so thin? Is it the running you do? I’m around your same age and I’m guessing we weigh about the same. My family owns a bakery in town (one of the best! I totally get the whole being around sweets all the time) and I think my metabolism is starting to drop lol, which kind of sucks haha… just curious if you had a trick up your sleeve for being around sweets and staying thin 🙂

    1. I haven’t tried it! Sounds incredible.

      I do run quite a bit and have always been super active. I always need to be moving! But it’s not only exercise. I eat clean as much as I can, maybe 80% of the time, so I can taste test and indulge on weekends and such. No secret. Just moderation.

  14. I just made these for dinner tonight.  They are so good!  Not everyone at my table is a fan of buffalo sauce, so I left some plain.  These are probably the best baked chicken tenders I have tried, and I have tried a lot!  Thanks, Sally, for another keeper!!

  15. These look so good, Sally!

    You mentioned that you can’t cook them a couple minutes longer to get them browner, but to be careful about the chicken drying out. Have you ever tried to brine the chicken first? Just soak it in some salt water for like 15 minutes. Then pat it dry and continue with the yummy coating. It will help keep the chicken juicy.

    1. I actually haven’t, though another reader suggested the same in another chicken finger recipe. I’m going to try it! Let me know if you do too.

  16. Thanks for the recipe Sally! I can’t wait to try it. Does it require Corn flakes or can it be any kind of breakfast type Flake? Wheat/Rice/etc.??

  17. Hi Sally!  These are on the menu for this week!  To make ahead, do you think I could coat them and then freeze before baking them first?  Or should I bake, freeze, and out in the oven again?  Thank you!

  18. I’m drooling as I’m reading this recipe! Just a quick question would I be able to use chicken wings instead ? If so how long is suggested time for cooking them ?! Thanks Sally for always sharing delicious recipes! I’m so glad I found your blog ! 

  19. I LOVE this recipe. I have made it multiple times now. It never disappoints. I sometimes like to do it with a “bang bang” sauce too! It is delish!!! I highly recommend trying!

    Mayo, Sweet Chili Sauce, hot sauce, and honey!

  20. Make your own Buffalo Sauce soo easy and add zing to your taste! And only two ingreadients! Melt butter and add Franks hot sauce to taste! That’s it and soo much cheaper than purching premade in a bottle. In stead of making blue cheese with all those ingredents go with the orginal chicken wing blue cheese – Mariea’s! It should be in the cooler area of your store (near the butter). Then you will have the taste of Buffalo wings with no bones!

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