This buffalo chicken kale salad features crispy buffalo chicken pieces tossed with tender kale and fresh vegetables and topped with a creamy buttermilk ranch dressing and plenty of blue cheese.
On today’s episode of salads that aren’t very salad-like….this buffalo chicken salad is officially here and ready to improve your lunch game by leaps and bounds.
Kinda hard to argue with a big glorious pile of buffalo chicken, homemade buttermilk ranch, and allllll that leafy kale goodness.
If you needed one salad in your life, it would be this one, trust me.
This is one of those salads that I picture being the PERFECT addition to any football parties when you’re looking to stray away from the typical heavy food.
No one will complain about this salad in the lineup you can be sure of that.
This Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad features…
- Crispy air fried chicken nuggets tossed in a flavorful buffalo sauce.
- Tender fresh kale and lots of fresh veggies.
- A creamy homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.
Making the Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Chicken breasts
- Panko breadcrumbs
- All-purpose flour
- Buffalo hot sauce
- Unsalted butter
- Sour cream
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. It cooks up in only minutes in the air fryer and is perfectly juicy on the inside + crispy on the outside every time.
You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs in place of the breasts if you have them on hand! Cook time will remain the same.
Tips for Perfect Buffalo Kale Salad
- Massage kale – this really makes a big difference when it comes to fresh kale. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over kale and use your fingers to massage kale until it becomes tender.
- Cut chicken in uniform sizes – take care when cutting your chicken into cubes that it’s all the same size so they cook evenly.
- Spray basket and chicken with pan spray – this added little bit of fat helps the chicken outside crisp up.
- Shake basket halfway through air frying – this helps ensure that each chicken piece gets perfectly crispy.
- Toss chicken immediately in buffalo sauce – once the chicken is done, immediately transfer to sauce and toss well until evenly coated.
Try these ideas for a different spin on this salad!
- Change up the veggies – you can use any veggies you want in this salad! Try avocado, sweet pepper, cucumber, or broccoli.
- Try a different cheese – if you don’t care for blue cheese, try shredded cheddar or mozzarella.
- Top with a different dressing – a blue cheese dressing or even a vinaigrette would be a great replacement for the buttermilk ranch.
- Try a different green – a spring mix or romaine would be a great stand-in for the kale.
Oven and Stovetop Instructions
Don’t have an air fryer? You can still make this recipe! Read below for oven and stovetop instructions.
Oven: lay breaded chicken in a single layer on a greased sheet pan and spray well with pan spray. Bake chicken at 400F 10-15 minutes until chicken is crispy and registers 165F.
Stovetop: melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and sear on each side until crispy and chicken registers 165F.
I swear, the amount of flavor we’re packing into this salad is so insane it almost makes you forget that you’re eating a salad! The chicken is so perfectly crispy, packs a lovely punch of heat from the buffalo sauce, and just goes so well with the fresh elements of the salad.
Trust me, you may never eat any other salad again.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More killer salad recipes to try next!
Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in cubes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Canola oil pan spray
- 1/2 cup buffalo hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups chopped fresh kale
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- In a medium bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients until smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl, combine panko, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken cubes in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then roll in panko mixture until evenly coated. Place breaded chicken on a plate.
- Preheat an air fryer to 400F and spray basket well with pan spray. Working in batches, lay chicken in a single layer in basket and spray well with pan spray.
- Air fry chicken at 400F 6-8 minutes, shaking basket halfway through cooking. Whisk hot sauce and butter together in a large bowl and add chicken, tossing evenly until coated. Set aside for a moment.
- Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over top. Use your fingers to massage kale several minutes until kale is tender.
- Arrange buffalo chicken, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and blue cheese on top of kale. Serve salad immediately with ranch dressing drizzled over top. Enjoy!