Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites are a fun and flavorful appetizer inspired by the popular restaurant chain LongHorn Steakhouse.
They feature juicy bites of chicken breast coated in a crunchy breadcrumb coating and seasoned with a spicy blend of spices.
Making these at home is easy to do and much cheaper than ordering them at a restaurant.
Follow this simple step-by-step guide to make these tasty chicken bites and the delicious sauce for your next party or game-day get-together.
Easy Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites Recipe
Making spicy chicken bites at home gives you complete freedom over the flavorings you use. In doing so, you can reduce the amount of fat, sodium, and calories in the dish without sacrificing flavor.
Making spicy chicken bits at home is a fun and tasty way to spend an evening in the kitchen, proving once again that cooking can be a pleasurable and rewarding activity.
Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites Ingredients
- 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or tenders work great)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Oil for frying (vegetable or canola oil works well)
For the spicy Buffalo sauce:
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (Franks RedHot is perfect)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Simple enough, right cowpoke? Now let’s get cooking!
How to Make Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites and Sauce
Saddle Up and Prepare the Chicken
The first step is easy – just cut the chicken into bite-sized nuggets. I aim for 1-1.5 inches big, but the size is up to you.
Next up, pour the buttermilk into a bowl or plastic bag. Add the chicken and let it soak for 15-30 minutes. This step helps keep the chicken extra juicy and tender.
While the chicken is soaking, mix together the flour, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
Once the chicken is done marinating, working in batches, coat the nuggets in the flour mixture until fully covered. Place the coated nuggets on a baking sheet or plate.
Fire Up the Oil and Fry ‘Em Up
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 350°F. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Fry the chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook for 4-6 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Transfer the fried nuggets to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess grease.
Repeat with the remaining chicken until all the pieces are cooked.
Rustle Up the Spicy Buffalo Sauce
While the last batch of chicken fries, make the sauce.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, and garlic powder. Heat for 2-3 minutes until bubbling.
Remove from heat and use immediately or store for later.
Time to Chow Down!
To serve, toss the crispy chicken bites in the spicy Buffalo sauce until coated. Enjoy them right away while they’re hot and crisp!
The tender chicken pairs perfectly with the creamy, tangy, and spicy sauce. An irresistible combo!
Customize the Heat to Your Taste
If you’re spice-sensitive or cooking for kids, start with less hot sauce and add more to taste. I use about 1/4 cup in my recipe, but you can use less or more depending on how much heat you want.
For extra spicy bites, go heavy on the hot sauce or add a pinch of cayenne pepper. The sauce ingredients can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
Ranch It Up with a Cool Dip
While I love the chicken as is, a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing cools things down. It adds a nice tangy creaminess for dipping.
For an even bigger flavor party, offer both ranch and blue cheese and let your guests decide!
Some substitutes for Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites?
Don’t have buttermilk? No problem, pardner! Use plain milk or eggs instead.
Out of hot sauce? Sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or harissa work too.
No Cajun seasoning? Use a blend of paprika, garlic, onion, and cayenne.
With a few simple swaps, you can pull this recipe off with the ingredients you have on hand. The chicken bites will still turn out finger-lickin’ good.
Expert Tips and Tricks for the Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites
Here are some expert tips and tricks for making delicious Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites at home:
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts for added juiciness and flavor. The extra fat helps keep the meat moist and tender.
- For maximum crunch, let the coated chicken pieces rest for 5-10 minutes in the fridge before frying. This helps the flour coating adhere better.
- Fry in small batches and don’t overcrowd the pot or the oil temperature will drop too much. Keeping the oil at the right temp (350°F) prevents greasiness.
- Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer chicken from the oil to the paper towel-lined plate. Letting them sit for 1-2 minutes helps excess grease drain off.
- Toss the sauced chicken bites with the sauce while still hot. The residual heat helps the sauce coat and cling better before serving.
- Make the Buffalo sauce a day in advance and store it in the fridge so flavors have time to meld. Just reheat it before tossing it with chicken.
- Upgrade the blue cheese dip by mixing in sour cream and fresh chopped chives. The sour cream makes it creamy.
- Offer fun dipping options like buttermilk ranch, honey mustard, and barbecue sauce for variety.
- Save leftover cooked (unsauced) chicken bites to use later in wraps, on salads, or in sandwiches. The cooked chicken keeps well.
- Swap in crushed pork rinds or panko for a gluten-free crisp coating on the chicken.
- For a less messy appetizer, bake the chicken on a sheet pan rather than frying. Still delicious!
What is the best way to serve Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites?
What else should you serve alongside these finger-lickin’ chicken bites? Here are some fun pairings:
- French fries are a no-brainer – who doesn’t love fries and chicken? Bake or fry up a batch.
- Coleslaw adds a crispy crunch and cools the heat.
- Corn on the cob is a classic barbecue fare that pairs well. Grill or boil to serve.
- Mac and cheese or baked beans make it feel like a downhome BBQ joint.
- A fresh green salad balances out the fried food. Top with shredded cheese, croutons, and ranch dressing.
How To Store Homemade Longhorns spicy chicken bites
You can keep leftover spicy chicken bites from Longhorn Steakhouse in the fridge for up to three days if you put them in an airtight container.
The chicken bites can be reheated by heating them in a preheated oven at 350°F for around 10 to 15 minutes. Chicken bits can also be heated in the microwave in 30-second increments.
Place the chicken bites in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze them for up to three months for longer-term storage. Chicken bits can be reheated from frozen by first defrosting them in the fridge overnight, and then cooking them in the oven or microwave as mentioned above.
Keep in mind that improper storage can lead to food poisoning or spoiling of chicken bites. Keep the chicken pieces in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container, and reheat them to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
FAQs – Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites With Sauce
I know you must have some questions about my recipe for Longhorn Copycat Chicken Bites, so let me help you:
What type of hot sauce works best?
I like to use Frank’s RedHot as it’s tangy with a hint of sweetness, but any hot sauce like Tabasco or Cholula will do. Start with less and add more to reach your desired spice level.
Do I need to double-bread the chicken?
No, a single coating of seasoned flour is enough to get a good crunch. Double breading can make the coating too thick.
What’s the best oil for frying?
I recommend using a neutral oil like vegetable or canola with a high smoke point. Avoid olive oil as it can burn.
Longhorn Spicy Chicken Bites Recipe
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over the top. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
- In a shallow dish, combine the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
- Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and toss it in the flour mixture, making sure to coat each piece evenly.
- Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when a pinch of flour sizzles when it is added to the skillet.
- Working in batches, carefully place the coated chicken pieces into the hot oil. Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the oil and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Serve the spicy chicken bites hot, with your favorite dipping sauce on the side. Ranch dressing, blue cheese, or honey mustard all make great options!
Perfect for a party or a quick weeknight meal, these spicy chicken pieces will have everyone talking. With a spicy flavor that will leave you wanting more, they are both crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. Making them at home also allows you to adjust the spice level to your preference by adding or subtracting chili powder.
Instead of frying the chicken bits, baking them is a better option. To bake the coated chicken pieces in a hot oven, you need only to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake them for around 15 to 20 minutes.
These spicy chicken bites from Longhorn Steakhouse are guaranteed to please any crowd, regardless of preparation method. Why not try them out tonight at home? Your stomach (and wallet) will appreciate it.
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