Chicken Nugget Salad (air fried chicken nuggets salad)

This easy Chicken Nugget Salad starts with air-fried chicken nuggets tossed in Buffalo sauce and is ready in five minutes! One to eat for lunch or dinner – best main course salad recipe!

Two white bowls of salad ingredients including some buffalo chicken and crumbled blue cheese

When we are on a road trip, I love chicken nuggets with Buffalo sauce. When my kids told me about all the copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets in stores, I had the urge to channel road trip vibes in a salad. Thanks to the air-fryer, this amazing chicken nugget salad (with my mascarpone ranch dressing) was tossed together in five minutes —faster than an entire song on my road trip playlist.

Vacations are the best.

So is chicken nugget salad.

Why this recipe

air fried chicken nuggets in a white bowl with a small bowl of Buffalo sauce and a black fork
  • Five minutes. This is the air-fryer model I use that transforms these chicken nuggets from frozen to its glorious crispy texture in five minutes flat.
  • Big Flavor. Tossing the air-fried chicken in a tasty Buffalo sauce (the same one I use on my Buffalo Chicken Pizza) shoots it to the next level.
  • Perfect for 1 or 2 or 10 people. Any recipe that can be easily adjusted for whoever happens to show up is a good one in my book!

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The Ingredients

labeled photo of ingredients to make Buffalo Chicken Salad

As I said a few times (and maybe too many times but just in case you missed it), the salad comes together in like 5 minutes because the ingredients are ones you probably have in your fridge.

This salad is built around texture and big flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Frozen chicken nuggets. Just Bare Chicken Breast Chunks are my favorite but feel free to use your fav.
  • Two kinds of cheese. I use a creamy blue cheese and a extra sharp cheddar (Cabot is my go-to)
  • Some crunch. Thanks to diced celery and cucumber. And some optional shelled pistachios or sunflower seeds.
  • Rich and creamy. Any kind of ranch or blue cheese dressing
  • A little heat and zing. Diced red onions or pickled jalapenos would be so good too!

Step-by-Step Instructions

steps to make air fried Chicken Salad

I told you this was easy.

  1. Air-fry or oven bake your chicken nuggets according to package directions.
  2. Toss them in a mixture of hot sauce and butter (I use Frank’s Red Hot) [1].
  3. Chop up your salad ingredients and lay them on a blend of crisp romaine, butter lettuce and anything other greens you like [2].
  4. Layer on the chicken tenders and slather the whole salad in lots of ranch or blue cheese dressing [3].

Helpful Tips

white bowl with small wooden spoon and some salad dressing in it

Serving Ideas

Big Party. Cook up a large batch of chicken based on the number you’ll be serving and make up a DIY salad bar for everyone to choose their favorites from the toppings.

Optional Ingredients:

  • bacon
  • hard-boiled egg
  • avocado
  • sesame sticks
  • spinach
  • jicama
  • pickled jalapenos

Make ahead

The chicken nuggets, Buffalo sauce and salad ingredients can be prepped ahead and kept separate until you’re ready to eat. This makes a super easy meal prep salad recipe!


Store the leftover chicken in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If the salad is dressed, you might be able to eat it the next day if you like leftover salad. It’s not my thing so I typically make it and serve in individual bowls.


The chicken can be reheated for 2-3 minutes in the air-fryer at 400˚, or 30 seconds in the microwave or my favorite way…cold!

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!

Two white bowls of salad ingredients including some buffalo chicken and crumbled blue cheese
5 from 2 votes

Buffalo Chicken Nugget Salad (air fried chicken nugget salad)

This easy salad recipe can be made for 1 or as many as you want. Uses copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets to make a Buffalo chicken nugget salad.
Cook Time:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes
Servings 1
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  • air fryer (not required but helpful!)


For the Buffalo chicken

  • 5-7 frozen chicken nuggets, I use Just Bare from Costco
  • cup Buffalo sauce, I use Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the salad



    Using an Air-fryer

    • Heat an air-fryer to 400° and place the frozen chicken tenders in the basket. Set the time for 5 minutes.
      5-7 frozen chicken nuggets

    Using a conventional oven

    • Cook the chicken nuggets according to the package directions. Proceed with the recipe as follows.
    • Combine the hot sauce with the melted butter in a medium bowl and toss with the chicken until well-coated. Set aside.
      ⅛ cup Buffalo sauce, 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • Meanwhile prep and chop the salad ingredients starting with all the veggies.
      2 cups chopped lettuce, ½ cup chopped cucumber, ¼ cup sliced red onion, ¼ cup chopped celery
    • Assemble the greens first and then the veggies in a serving bowl.
    • Top the salad with the Buffalo chicken and sprinkle with the two cheeses.
      ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese, ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • Toss with the dressing or serve it on the side. Also so good with my Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing!
      Mascarpone Ranch Salad Dressing


    Optional ingredient ideas:
    • bacon
    • sunflower seeds or shelled pistachios
    • hard-boiled egg
    • avocado
    • sesame sticks
    • spinach
    • jicama
    • pickled jalapenos
    Course: Dinner, Lunch
    Cuisine: American
    Author: Lori Murphy
    Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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    1. Super easy and super delicious! Felt like a healthy version of game night at the sports bar! Great recipe for a quick, fun and tasty week night dinner.5 stars

      1. I love that sports bar reference Alison! Especially because a buffalo chicken-anything and football are the best buds. So so glad you enjoyed the salad! Thanks for taking the time to share😊