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This 2-ingredient marinade is coming to the rescue when you can’t take one more bite of bland, boring chicken. Before that chicken goes on the skillet, the grill, or in the oven, douse it in this mega flavor (and still really healthy) marinade and your taste buds will be so happy.
The Best Buffalo Chicken Marinade
I love this buffalo chicken marinade so much. I’ve made it dozens of times and it always makes me so happy. What I love most is the flavor and also the accessibility! Unlike some marinades, this one calls for ingredients I always have on hand: Franks Red Hot and lemon juice. That’s it, my friends!
Pan-sear, bake, grill, or even air-fryer that chicken to perfect doneness and use it to top your next zesty salad, stuffed potato, sandwich, or eat it with crackers. Enjoy!
Buffalo Marinade Ingredients
This flavorful marinade is made with just TWO ingredients. Incredible, right? Here’s what you’ll need:
- ½ cup of hot pepper sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot)
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 ½ pounds of chicken breasts or thighs
How To Make Buffalo Chicken
Making your own marinade is incredibly easy! For this one, you’ll just…
- Add ingredients to a bag or bowl – add the hot pepper sauce and lemon juice to a large bowl or bag (big enough to fit your chicken), and stir or shake to combine.
- Add the chicken and marinate – place the chicken in your bag or bowl, submerging it in the marinade. Let it sit for 1-2 hours.
- Cook – cook the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop, in an AirFryer, Sous Vide, in the oven, on the grill (instructions below!).
- Slice, shred, or cube – once the chicken is cooked, you can slice it into strips (this is great for enjoying next to veggies for dinner), cut it into cubes (this is my favorite way to enjoy it on a salad), or shred it (this is ideal for stuffing a potato, using in soup, putting in a taco, or even using in a casserole).
How long to marinate chicken in buffalo sauce?
If you add the lemon juice right away, try to keep the marinade to just 2 hours in order to maintain the best chicken texture.
If you want to marinade your chicken for longer than 2 hours, I recommend only using the hot sauce. Then, just before cooking, add the lemon juice. 24 to 48 hours will work for this method!
How do you cook buffalo chicken?
How do you cook buffalo chicken? You have some options! Here are our tried and true ways to cook perfect buffalo chicken every time:
Cooking Buffalo Chicken on the Grill
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 450°F.
- Place the chicken on the grill, then cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 165°F.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
THIS is my favorite grill-safe meat thermometer! Learn more about how to grill chicken in my unabridged article HERE.
Cooking Buffalo Chicken in the InstantPot
- Place the chicken and 1/2 cup water in the Instant Pot, then secure the lid until you hear it beep.
- Close the lid and make sure the steam release valve is sealed, then set the pot to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release for at least 15 minutes, then turn the steam release valve to release any additional pressure. Once it is fully released, remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a bowl.
- Shred the chicken in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, with an electric hand mixer, or with two forks, then serve or store for later.
THIS is my favorite InstantPot! I love the size and versatility. Learn more about how to cook chicken in the Instant Pot in my unabridged article HERE.
Cooking Buffalo Chicken in the AirFryer
- Preheat the AirFryer to 400F.
- Place the chicken breast in the AirFryer basket and cook for 10 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
- Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes (this helps the juices settle), then slice, chop, or shred.
My favorite AirFryer is (hands down) the Cosori AirFryer. Make it a full meal and follow my guide for a complete chicken dinner in the air fryer HERE.
Cooking Buffalo Chicken in a Sous Vide
- Preheat the water to 150°F.
- Place the marinated chicken in the bag, making sure not to get any of the mixture on the top 2 inches of the bag so that you have enough room to seal it.
- Sous vide the chicken breasts for for 1½ hours, then remove from the water.
- Let the chicken rest in the sealed bag for 10 minutes, then remove it from the bag, slice, and enjoy.
My favorite Sous Vide is the Anova Sous Vide. You can learn more about how to Sous Vide your chicken HERE!
Cooking Buffalo Chicken on the Stove
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat (olive oil, ghee, butter, or coconut oil will all work). Once the oil is melted and running thin, place the chicken on the skillet.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 165°F.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
THIS is my favorite meat thermometer.
Cooking Buffalo Chicken in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 F on a thermometer at the thickest part of the breast and the juices run clear and the chicken just begins to brown.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
THIS is my favorite oven-safe meat thermometer. Find my unabridged “how to cook chicken in the oven” article HERE!
What does Buffalo chicken go with?
Buffalo chicken goes with SO MANY THINGS! Here’s a list of some of our very favorite sides:
- Pan Fried Sweet Plantains
- Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
- Oven Roasted Butternut Squash
- Roasted Potatoes
- Chilled Spring Veggie Rice Salad
- Perfect Quinoa
- Italian Side Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Best Spinach Salad with a Spicy Lemon Salad Dressing
- Lemon Sea Salt Arugula Salad
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Buffalo Chicken Marinade FAQs
This is such a good question! You can only marinate chicken with lemon juice for up to 2ish hours (a few extra minutes won’t ruin anything!). The lemon juice does a really wonderful job of tenderizing the chicken, but after the 2 hour mark, the fibers in the chicken will start to break down too much, causing the chicken to become mushy.
If you want to marinate it longer, just use the hot sauce and then add the lemon juice right before cooking. You can do it this way 24-48 hours in advance.
The main ingredient in this marinade is hot pepper sauce (Frank’s Red Hot), which does have a bit of kick to it. I probably wouldn’t serve this buffalo marinaded chicken to my kids, but it isn’t knock-your-socks-off spicy – it falls somewhere in the middle of the spicy spectrum.
This recipe actually calls for a hot pepper sauce vs. a Buffalo sauce, so using a hot pepper sauce is perfect!
For the most flavor, marinate your chicken for at least 1 hour.
Just for You
Want more recipe ideas like this?
Buffalo Chicken Marinade
- ½ cup hot pepper sauce (we used Frank's Red Hot)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1½ pounds chicken breasts or thighs
- Add the hot pepper sauce and lemon juice to a large bowl or bag (big enough to fit your chicken), and stir or shake to combine.
- Place the chicken in your bag or bowl, submerging it in the marinade. Let it sit for 1-2 hours.
- Cook the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill. Enjoy!
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