These cheesy buffalo chicken bites are made crispy in the air fryer for a finger food version of buffalo cheese dip. Party guests love these air fryer chicken and cheese balls as an appetizer, but your family will also love them for dinner!
Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Bites are all the tastes of a buffalo chicken dip rolled into balls with a crispy cornflakes coating. My recipe for these cheese balls does not use fattening oil. Instead, they are fried in the air fryer, so they are lighter but still just as tasty and crispy! We serve them for game day and for family meal time. I know you'll like these, too!
Don't own an air fryer? Click here for my oven-baked version of this buffalo chicken bites recipe!
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Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Bites Recipe
This recipe uses basic ingredients, including cornflakes cereal for coating the chicken and cheese balls. Here's what you need:
- Cream cheese: Holds it all together, and adds the tangy cheesy flavor.
- Hot sauce: Your choice of buffalo or regular. I've used both.
- Shredded chicken: I have an easy recipe for cooked shredded chicken, but you can use canned or a rotisserie.
- Shredded cheddar: Because these are CHEESE bites.
- Green onions: I like the green color it adds, but the onion flavor is why it's there.
- Flour: Part one of the coating. Use all-purpose.
- Eggs: Part two of the coating. Lightly beat.
- Cornflakes cereal: Part three of the coating. Crushed. Better than breadcrumbs, IMO.
These chicken and cheese balls stand alone just fine, or dip them into a blue cheese dip or ranch sauce. They are also great served alongside other game day appetizers, or as a meal with french fries, fruit and veggies (like carrots, bell peppers and celery) on the side!
I own this air fryer I bought on Amazon. (Right now, as of 1/28/20, there is a coupon for $20 off!) We use it all the time. It's big and bulky, so I store it in my largest cabinet, but it's super convenient and easy to use! My sister has this Cuisinart version that looks like a toaster oven if you want a cute one to keep on your counter top!
How to make air fryer cheesy buffalo chicken bites
- In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients (cream cheese, hot sauce, chicken, cheddar and green onions.)
- Using a medium cookie scoop, spoon mixture onto a large baking sheet. Roll into 2-inch balls.
- In three separate shallow dishes, set out the flour, eggs and cornflakes. Pie plates are perfect for this.
- Working with 6 at a time, dip each ball into the flour, then egg, then cornflakes. Place back onto baking sheet.
- Preheat air fryer for 3 minutes. Air fry at 380°F for 10 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Store buffalo chicken bites in the fridge and reheat leftovers in the air fryer or oven. I do not recommend reheating in the microwave.
From freezer to air fryer.
Can you freeze these air fryer chicken bites? YES! In fact, I usually assemble them ahead of time for the freezer. This way, when I'm ready to fry them I can transfer them right from the freezer to the air fryer. The convenience of having these ready in the freezer is PRICELESS.
To freeze these buffalo chicken bites, place the assembled cheese balls (coating and all) onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes (this is called "flash freezing"). After 20 minutes, place the buffalo chicken bites into a freezer bag in a single layer. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
How long do you cook frozen cheese balls in an air fryer?
When ready to fry the frozen cheese balls, place up to 12 bites in the air fryer and fry for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and crispy. The air frying time for frozen cheese balls is the same if you only fry a few, but you may need to add an extra 5 minutes if frying all 12 at once.
How do I preheat my air fryer?
To preheat your air fryer for this recipe, plug in the air fryer and set the temperature to 380°F and the timer for 3 minutes. Or, you can follow the instructions for preheating your air fryer in your owner's manual.
Tips and tricks
Use a cookie scoop -- I use a medium sized cookie scoop when spooning the chicken mixture. After I spoon out all the mix (about 24 balls) I go back and roll them with my hands for a more uniform look.
Tips for coating -- When dipping these into the coating ingredients, I work with 6 at a time. Place 6 rolled chicken bites into the flour, turn them to coat. Then, transfer all 6 to the egg bowl and turn them to coat. Then transfer all 6 of those into cornflakes and use your OTHER HAND to flip and coat (since your main hand will be coated with flour and egg by now). I then wash my hands and repeat with the next batch.
Use parchment paper, or don't -- There are differing opinions on using parchment paper in an air fryer, but I like the convenience of no clean up since a tiny bit of cheese sometimes oozes out. Line the parchment paper into your air fryer AFTER preheating, otherwise the paper just floats around without it being weighed down by the food. But, be careful when placing it into the hot basket.
Air fry no more than 12 chicken and cheese balls at a time to allow the air to move freely through each bite and ensure crispiness. The frying time may vary by a couple of minutes depending on if you fry 2 or 12.
Don't have an air fryer? You can make these in the oven instead. Click here for my oven baked recipe for buffalo chicken bites.
Make them smaller. You can roll these into smaller sized balls if you want a truly bite-sized appetizer.
Try another flavor. Instead of hot sauce, try mixing in your favorite barbecue sauce for something different. Or, how about a ranch version by substituting the hot sauce for ranch dressing?
Appetizer or meal. Like I said above, not only are these the perfect appetizer, but they are also great as a meal!
Other cheesy bites you'll love:
- Garlic Cheese Bites
- Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
- Pizza Bites
- Cheesy Chicken and Artichoke Bites
- Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Bites
Print the recipe for later. Leave me a comment or star rating to let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Air Fryer Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Bites
- 4 oz. cream cheese , softened
- ½ cup hot sauce
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken , about 1 rotisserie chicken
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup sliced green onions
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 4 cups cornflakes cereal , crushed
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the first five ingredients until thoroughly combined. Use a medium cookie scoop to spoon chicken mixture onto a baking sheet and roll into smooth 2-inch balls.
- In three separate dishes, set out the flour, eggs, and cornflakes. Working with 6 balls at a time, dip and coat first into the flour, then the egg, then the cornflakes. Transfer back to the baking sheet. (Tip: Rinse hands between each batch.)
- Preheat air fryer. (Optional: Line hot air fryer basket with parchment paper.)
- Place up to 12 balls into air fryer at a time. Fry at 380°F for 10 minutes until crispy and golden. Let set 5 minutes before serving.
- To freeze: After assembling and before frying, freeze chicken and cheese balls in a single layer on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Transfer to freezer bag and store up to 1 month in freezer.
- To fry from freezer: Fry buffalo chicken bites in preheated air fryer directly from freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Nutrition facts are an estimate based on an appetizer serving size of 2 chicken and cheese balls.