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Even though boneless Buffalo wings are made with healthy white-meat chicken, they're usually deep-fried and drenched in hot sauce laced with butter. The solution: chicken tenders are dredged in seasoned whole-wheat flour and cornmeal, pan-fried in only a small amount of oil and then drizzled with a tangy hot pepper sauce. With a fraction of the saturated fat, calories and sodium, these boneless wings are reason enough to throw a party.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2007

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Read the full recipe after the video.
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Here's how we made over this recipe to be healthy and diabetes-friendly:

1. Serve it with a good sauce! Buffalo wings aren't complete without a dipping sauce. But most versions are loaded with mayonnaise and blue cheese, which are typically high in saturated fat. Our version replaces that mayo with reduced-fat sour cream and gets an extra-tangy boost from vinegar. And with just the right amount of blue cheese to impart flavor, but not contribute a significant amount of saturated fat, it's truly a dunk-worthy dip. 

2. We use chicken tenders instead of wings. That means you'll get more lean protein than you would if you were using bone-in wings. Consuming lean protein is an easy way to balance your carbohydrate intake and helps with satiety by slowing digestion. Going the tenders route also means that you'll be skipping out on the skin, which is a prominent source of saturated fat that can contribute to higher heart disease risk, a condition that's commonly associated with diabetes.

3. A marinade adds flavor and moisture. Chicken breast (and tenders) can be flavorless and dry when overcooked. Introducing a marinade like the one used in this recipe is an easy way to make this lean protein moist and delicious. The addition of a tangy Buffalo sauce adds to the flavor while eliminating the need for any extra salt. 

4. Breading adds another layer of flavor! Traditional wings are coated with breading and then deep-fried. To create that same experience, we created a breading using crunchy cornmeal, and pan-fried instead of deep-fried, to keep the total fat and saturated fat low. So you'll still get all of the crunch in a more heart-healthy way.

Tips from the EatingWell Test Kitchen

If I can't find chicken tenders, can I use boneless, skinless chicken breast instead?

You definitely can! To create tender-size pieces from whole chicken breasts, simply cut lengthwise into pieces that are ½-inch thick. An average chicken tender weighs around 2 ounces, so you'll get about 8 tenders out of 1 pound of chicken breasts.   

Can I use plain yogurt in place of reduced-fat sour cream?

We love the idea of using yogurt, but would recommend choosing Greek-style yogurt or Icelandic skyr for this application. They have a thicker consistency, similar to sour cream. And since they are naturally tangy, similar to sour cream, they make the perfect substitute.

I don't have buttermilk, what can I use instead?

Buttermilk powder is a great ingredient to keep in your pantry—you can follow the package directions to make buttermilk as you need it rather than buying a bottle. Or you can make "sour milk": mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup milk and let stand for 5 minutes before using.

Can these be baked?

Looking to skip the stovetop and use your oven instead? We say go for it! Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Follow the recipe as written through Step 4. Arrange the chicken on the prepared pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 8 minutes, then flip and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the other side. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 more minutes.

If I don't have distilled vinegar, can I use something else in its place?

Great question! Vinegar is used twice in this recipe and, luckily, you can use other vinegars or citrus in its place. If you need a vinegar substitute, white-wine vinegar, red-wine vinegar or rice vinegar would work. And if you have lemons on hand, fresh lemon juice would be a great swap, too.

How far in advance can I make the dip? What about the marinade? 

Planning is always a great idea and, luckily, both the dip and the marinade can be made up to one day in advance. Just be sure to label them and refrigerate them airtight.

Could I make these meatless?

We think a meatless wing would be delicious. And while we haven't tried making this recipe meatless, we think it's possible. Seitan, tofu or other plain meat substitutes could work, but you may need to play around with it a bit. If you're not up for experimentation, then try our recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings.

Ingredients

Spicy Blue Cheese Dip
Wings & Vegetables

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare dip: Whisk sour cream, blue cheese, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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  • To prepare wings: Whisk buttermilk, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl until combined. Add chicken; toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  • Meanwhile, whisk flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until evenly coated. (Discard remaining marinade and flour mixture.) Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, placing each piece in a little oil. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to the platter. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved hot sauce mixture. Serve with carrots, celery and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: The chicken can marinate (Step 1) for up to 1 hour.

No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”

Nutrition Facts

2 “wings,” 1/2 cup vegetables & 2 tablespoons dip
229 calories; protein 30g; carbohydrates 11.9g; dietary fiber 2.4g; sugars 2.2g; fat 7.9g; saturated fat 2.1g; cholesterol 63.8mg; vitamin a iu 5609.9IU; vitamin c 2.9mg; folate 18.3mcg; calcium 65mg; iron 1.1mg; magnesium 8.9mg; potassium 221.4mg; sodium 280mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 1/2 lean meat

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