Looking to spice up your weeknight mealtimes? Try my take on Chicken Caesar Salad with deliciously crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders and a tangy yoghurt Caesar dressing. This recipe utilises an Air Fryer for quick and efficient cooking (with less mess). And it makes excellent leftovers which are perfect for lunch the next day. The easy Caesar dressing uses Greek yoghurt instead of mayonnaise and is simply blended together in a food processor (or just with a whisk in a pinch.) There’s no complicated steps or ingredients. Add it to your meal rotation now and you won’t be disappointed!
3 Reasons to Try Buffalo Chicken Caesar
- It’s EASY – The yoghurt based Caesar is really simple to pull together. Combine all the ingredients and blend or whisk together. There are a few steps to bread the chicken, but I’ve got some tips below to make it as quick and easy as possible.
- So TASTY – The creamy, tangy dressing goes SO well with the spicy buffalo sauce coating the chicken. And there is a range of satisfying textures from the crunchy croutons, tender chicken and earthy kale.
- Unique Spin on a Classic – Everybody knows a classic caesar salad, but this recipe adds a unique and tasty spin with crispy Buffalo Chicken tenders. It still has everything you love about the classic recipe, with a unique and unforgettable twist.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- Get everything ready before you start – make sure you have a separate container for the egg, flour and cornflakes. Get them laid out before you begin. Have a plate or the air fryer basket ready and in reach so you can easily place the coated chicken.
- Season in layers – season the chicken tenders before you start. Add salt and pepper to the egg mixture and flour for dusting.
- Flour, egg then crumb – Add the chicken tenders to the flour first. You want a light dusting on the chicken which will help the wet egg to cling to the chicken. Next, toss in the egg mixture so the chicken is fully coated. Shake off any excess to avoid soggy clumps of cornflake breading.
- I find it easiest to use a fork or small tongs or kitchen tweezers to transfer the chicken between the flour, egg and cornflakes, as this avoids getting your fingers coated in a gloopy mess.
- Crush the Cornflakes – I prefer to do this part in batches. Depending on how many tenders you are making at once, add half or a third of the cornflakes to a food safe plastic bag. (You can also use a bowl, but the bag method is easier and makes much less mess). Crush using a wooden spoon or rolling pin (or a food processor) until you have fine crumbs.
- Use a bag for cornflake crumbs – Once you have coated the chicken in flour and egg, add it directly to the bag with the crushed cornflakes and give it a shake to coat. The cornflakes should easily stick to the chicken but you may need to use your hands to add a little pressure to help the crumbs stick. Swap out the cornflakes for a fresh batch after every few tenders. This will avoid the cornflake crumbs becoming clumped and soggy due to the moisture from the egg mixture.
Air Frying Buffalo Tenders
- Cook Immediately – don’t leave the breaded chicken sitting around before cooking, as this will get the cornflake crumb soggy. Coat the chicken then immediately cook. Depending on the size of your air fryer you may need to cook the chicken in batches. Get the first batch cooking while you coat the second batch.
- Coat in hot sauce when ready to serve – the tenders will get a little soft once coated with the hot sauce, so it is best to add the sauce right before serving. Add cooked tenders to a shallow bowl and pour over the sauce. Then gently toss the chicken so all sides get coated in sauce. If you make the chicken ahead of time, don’t add the hot sauce until ready to serve.
Choose Your Favourite Buffalo Sauce
I use Frank’s Red Hot Wings sauce for my Buffalo tenders. It is classic for a reason, but do feel free to use your preferred hot sauce. I have been enjoying the Sauce Shop Buffalo Hot Sauce recently, though I advise caution as it is particularly spicy!
Alternatively, or if you want to control the level of heat, just drizzle some hot sauce over the chicken and salad along with the caesar dressing.
Yoghurt Caesar Dressing
I love how light and tangy this yoghurt Caesar Dressing is. Using Greek yoghurt instead of mayonnaise not only lightens up the dressing calorie wise, but adds a boost of protein. (½ cup whole milk Greek yoghurt has about 10g of protein compared to 1 gram protein per ½ cup of mayo).
I do still like to add a dash of olive oil to help get that smooth consistency for the dressing, but you can skip this if you prefer.
Anchovies may be a divisive ingredient, but they really do add that extra special umami flavour typical of a caesar dressing. I use whole anchovies from a tin. If you have anchovy paste then use two teaspoons instead.
You really cannot taste them in this recipe, but if you absolutely don’t want to use anchovies or anchovy paste (or if you cannot eat them) then substitute a tablespoon of capers to replicate that salty tang.
I make my dressing using this handy little food processor, but you can also just whisk the ingredients together. If you are not using a food processor or blender, make sure to very finely chop and/or mash the anchovy fillets, or use anchovy paste.
Kale Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce may be typical for Caesar Salad, but I love to use kale in this version. I find that kale leaves hold up really well to the strong flavours from the Caesar dressing and Buffalo sauce.
Curly Kale or Black Kale both work well as a Caesar Salad base. Spinach or mixed baby leaves are also a good salad base for Buffalo Chicken Caesar. Or use Romaine, or any kind of lettuce you prefer.
Whatever salad base you choose, make sure to wash the leaves well in cold water – this keeps the leaves crisp.
Cornflakes are great for air frying versus breadcrumbs as they have a great texture and crunch which is difficult to replicate with breadcrumbs unless deep frying. But you can use breadcrumbs or panko for the crispy chicken coating. I would recommend toasting the breadcrumbs first if using.
Add some additional vegetables to Buffalo Chicken Caesar salad for extra texture and variety – sliced bell pepper, cucumber and tomato are some personal favourites.
Toss some pasta, rice or grains in the Caesar salad to make a more substantial meal.
Make this salad vegetarian by swapping the Buffalo Chicken for Buffalo Cauliflower. You can also used plant-based nuggets – I love these quorn nuggets.
I use a Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker to cook my cornflake coated chicken tenders. It has an Air Fryer function as well as steam or bake, and also works as a pressure or slow cooker. I highly recommend it, especially if you have a small kitchen like me with limited counter space!
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
More Easy Salad Recipes:
- Chicken & Sweetcorn Pasta Salad
- Halloumi Bulgur Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Blackberry Basil Chicken Salad
Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad with Kale
- 600 grams chicken tenders about 4 breasts sliced
- 2 eggs beaten
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 3 cups cornflakes crushed
- 300 grams kale
- ½ cup Buffalo Hot Sauce
- salt and pepper
- oil spray for frying
- 2 cups croutons
- ½ cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 4 anchovy fillets or 2 tsp anchovy paste
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Prepare the flour and beaten eggs in two shallow bowls and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the cornflakes to a food bag and crush to make small crumbs.
- Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper, dust each tender with flour then dip in the egg mix. Shake off any excess liquid, add to the bag with the cornflakes and gently press to make sure all sides of the chicken are covered with cornflake crumbs.
- Place the chicken tenders into the air fryer basket and spray or brush lightly with oil. Air fry at 200℃/400℉ for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Flip halfway through cooking.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the Caesar dressing by adding all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blending until smooth.
- When the chicken is cooked, add to a shallow bowl and pour over the hot sauce. Gently toss to make sure the chicken is covered.
- Assemble salad bowls with prepared kale, croutons and sliced chicken tenders. Drizzle over Caesar dressing and garnish with extra cheese to serve.