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Chicken Tenders

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A bunch of Chicken Tenders on a plate with sauce
Fried to crispy perfection, this chicken tenders recipe adds plenty of flavor to an already popular dish that everyone will love dipping in their favorite sauce.
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Table of Contents
  1. Chicken Tenders Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Chicken Tenders Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Who doesn’t love chicken tenders? They’re juicy and so darn delicious, with a delightfully crispy coating that makes them perfect for dipping. With simple ingredients, the chicken is coated in a spicy buttermilk and flour breading that is loaded with seasonings before being fried to perfection.

A bunch of Chicken Tenders on a plate with sauce

Chicken Tenders Ingredients

Chicken Tenders raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast tenders (or 4 medium-size boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into tenders)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • Dipping sauce of your choice (optional) – try our copycat Chick Fil A sauce

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

SPICE: If you are making the tenders for small children or have picky kids when it comes to spice, you can omit the sriracha from the buttermilk mixture.

BUTTERMILK: If you do not have any buttermilk on hand, measure 2 cups of whole milk and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. You can also add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice if you do not have white vinegar.

CHEESE: Add a cheesy spin to your crispy crust by mixing in ¼ cup of parmesan cheese with your flour.

How to Make This Chicken Tenders Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

This is not a “small” kid-friendly meal as it has a spicy breading. Of course, that is up to you since you know what your little ones like.

STEP ONE: Add the buttermilk and sriracha to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

buttermilk and sriracha whisked in a bowl

STEP TWO: Place the chicken breast tenders in either a gallon-size Ziploc or a disposable 1-gallon container with a lid. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken breast tenders. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

pieces of chicken in a container of buttermilk mixture

STEP THREE: Add the flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, baking powder, and smoked paprika to a large shallow bowl. Whisk to combine. Set it aside.

flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, onion powder, baking powder and paprika whisked in a bowl

STEP FOUR: In a second shallow dish, add the eggs and beat with a fork. 

STEP FIVE: Add the vegetable oil to a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven and heat on high until the oil reaches 350°F.

PRO TIP:

It is not a must, but it is very helpful to use a thermometer for the oil temperature. This will help keep your oil at the correct and safe temperature. 

STEP SIX: Line a separate baking dish or large platter with paper towels to drain the cooked tenders.

STEP SEVEN: Using tongs, remove the marinated chicken tenders, one at a time, and dredge in the flour mixture.

STEP EIGHT: Next, dredge in the beaten egg mixture, and then dredge once more in the flour mixture. Discard the buttermilk marinade once all of the tenders are removed. Do not reuse the buttermilk marinade.

piece of chicken dredged in the egg mixture and then on the flour mixture

STEP NINE: Place the dredged chicken in the heated oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Cook up to 4 to 5 tenders at a time. Keep a close eye on the oil, if the oil temperature becomes too high, reduce the heat to medium-high or medium. 

PRO TIP:

For perfectly fried chicken pieces, maintain a decent depth of oil and the proper oil temperature of 350°F for best results.

pieces of chicken placed in a skillet of hot oil

STEP TEN: Once the tenders are golden brown, place chicken tenders on the paper towel to drain. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or white gravy.

PRO TIP:

When removing the chicken from the pot, use a slotted spoon to make sure you drain as much oil as possible before transferring it to the plate.

How To Serve

There are so many ways to enjoy this chicken tenders recipe. You could make a chicken tender Po’boy sandwich with this recipe or serve it with fries, Texas toast, and white gravy! 

There are so many choices for dipping your tenders too. Dip them in dijon mustard, honey mustard sauce, our chicken finger dipping sauce, or our Carolina mustard BBQ sauce.

Our popcorn chicken and potato chip chicken tenders are two more chicken recipes that you will enjoy dipping.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the homemade chicken strips for up to 1 month. Allow the tenders to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

close up shot of a bunch of Chicken Tenders on a plate

This crispy chicken tenders recipe is super easy to follow, and the end result is fantastic. I’ll bet you’ll never want to eat take-out again! This recipe dresses up a kid favorite with plenty of extra spice and flavor to create these grown-up chicken fingers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze these fried chicken tenders?

This easy recipe can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.

What kind of hot oil is best for deep frying?

Fry only with oils that have a high smoking point. The smoking point is the temperature it takes for the oil to start to break down and smoke. Once it smokes, it’s not suitable for frying. Good oils to use are peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, or vegetable oil. Olive oil, on the other hand, is not a good oil to fry in.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts in this recipe?

Chicken thighs will also work in this recipe if you prefer dark meat to white meat.

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A bunch of Chicken Tenders on a plate with sauce

Chicken Tenders

5 from 1 vote
Fried to crispy perfection, this chicken tenders recipe adds plenty of flavor to an already popular dish that everyone will love dipping in their favorite sauce.
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 14

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast tenders, or 4 medium-size boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • dipping sauce of your choice, optional – try our copycat Chick Fil A sauce

Instructions
 

  • Add the buttermilk and sriracha to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Place the chicken breast tenders in either a gallon-size Ziploc or a disposable 1-gallon container with a lid. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken breast tenders. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Add the flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, baking powder, and smoked paprika to a large shallow mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Set it aside.
  • In a medium-sized shallow mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat with a fork.
  • Add the vegetable oil to a 5 to 6-quart dutch oven and heat on high until the oil reaches 350°F.
  • Line a separate baking dish or large platter with paper towels to drain the cooked tenders.
  • Using tongs, remove the marinated chicken tenders, one at a time, and dredge in the flour mixture.
  • Next, dredge in the beaten egg, and then dredge once more in the flour mixture. Discard the buttermilk marinade once all of the tenders are removed. Do not reuse the buttermilk mixture.
  • Place the dredged chicken in the heated oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Cook up to 4 to 5 tenders at a time. Keep a close eye on the oil, if the oil temperature becomes too high, reduce the heat to medium-high or medium.
  • Once the chicken tenders are golden brown, place them on the paper towels to drain. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or white gravy.

Notes

  • This is not a “small” kid-friendly meal as it has a spicy breading. Of course, that is up to you since you know what your little ones like.
  • It is not a must, but it is very helpful to use a thermometer for the oil temperature. This will help keep your oil at the correct and safe temperature.
  • For perfectly fried chicken pieces, maintain a decent depth of oil and the proper oil temperature of 350°F for best results.
  • When removing the chicken from the pot, use a slotted spoon to make sure you drain as much oil as possible before transferring it to the plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg
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