Can You Make Them Ahead Of Time
These fried chicken tenders are best served as soon as they are cooked so that the coating is nice and crispy. You can coat them in the buttermilk and flour a few hours before frying them and keep them covered in the fridge.
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days and can be reheated in the oven or an air fryer to re-crisp the breading.
Tips For The Best Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders
-Make sure your flour is well seasoned. If you arent confident in that area, Ive given you measurements for salt and pepper in the recipe.
-Use a good skillet that controls heat well. Of course Im going to recommend cast iron.
-Press the breading on your chicken tenders really firmly, then let them sit for a couple of minutes before you fry them. This makes the breading soft of gooey and it crisps up even better.
Ingredients For Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders
- Chicken. As we discussed in the paragraph above, you need chicken tenders! You can buy chicken tenders, or cut up a chicken breast into 1 strips.
- Panko Breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are a staple in Japanese cooking and they yield the crispiest fried goods.
- Dijon Mustard. Dijon mustard is in the batter and the honey mustard sauceits so flavorful!
- Worcestershire. I add Worcestershire sauce to my batter as well because it adds so much flavor. Dont skip it!
- Oil. Because were frying our chicken tenders, oil is necessary. I like to use canola or peanut oil, but vegetable oil will work too.
- Pickle Juice. Pickle juice is an important component of our creamy honey mustard sauce. It adds a little acid for balance and its addictingly good!
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Before You Start: Essential Tools
- Look for wide, shallow bowls like these ceramic bowls from Le Tauci to dredge your chicken. The flat bottom makes it easy to fit and flip the tenderloins while the sides prevent the egg wash and bread crumbs from ending up on your counter.
- When it comes to breading chicken, tongs are an absolute must. These tongs from Tovolo are coated with silicone to grip the chicken and be comfortable in your hand. Plus, theyre dishwasher safe!
- Keep your chicken tenders from sticking to the baking sheet with some good ol Pam cooking spray. The neutral oil wont add any flavor to your tenders and helps them crisp up.
Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders
In contrast to fried chicken tenders, where you simply coat in flour, for oven baked chicken tenders youll want to coat them in breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumb Tip #1Panko breadcrumbsLarger breadcrumbs = more crispiness! Breadcrumb Tip #2 Toast your breadcrumbs before coating!
You can simply spray your breadcrumbs with oil and bake them, but I prefer to fry in butter. Simply melt butter into a pan over medium heat, stir in your breadcrumbs and fry until light golden. A ratio of 1 tbsp butter : 1 cup breadcrumbs works great. Although its tempting, any more butter and the crumbs become too oily/wet.
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How To Cook Tender Moist Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are much thinner than chicken breast, which is why they can very easily become overcooked. A meat thermometer can help avoid this. Allow the chicken tenders to cook through to a temperature of 160°F, then remove them from the heat.
If youre cooking on a skillet, it should only take about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on how hot the skillet is. The cooking time for chicken tenders will be half the time it takes for a regular-sized chicken breast to cook through.
Since these cuts of meat are quite thin, you wont require a marinade or brine to achieve juicy chicken tenders.
How To Get Crispy Oven
It IS possible for these oven-fried chicken tenders to get nice and crispy and golden!
But first, a disclaimer: NOTHING will make chicken tenders as crispy as actually deep frying them. So go ahead and temper your expectations just a tad.
The key to crispy oven-fried anything is using plenty of oil and high heat. I use this same trick for my oven-fried catfish.
Place 1/4 cup canola oil on the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet. Spread it around just a little, but no need to coat the whole thing, only the part where the chicken is going to be in the center.
Then, when you place the chicken on the baking sheet, press it down into the oil and flip it over, so the top AND bottom are oiled. This will help each side crisp up as it bakes at a really high temperature in the oven.
You can also add other ingredients to your flour mixture that are naturally more crispy, such as breadcrumbs or parmesan cheese. Personally, I think that although these add a bit of a crunch, its a different kind of crispy than you get from that fried crisp. They are delicious, though!
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Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders
Truly crispy fried chicken tenders are a dinnertime staple youre whole family will love. Get all my tips for making that crispy crust you crave, seasoning like a pro , and fry them up like cast iron skillet is your middle name.
Im not going to lie or sugar coat this. If you havent ever fried anything, youll more than likely mess this up.
Because theres some sort of rule that says that if you dont get your first cast iron skillet by the age of 5, you wont be able to hack it as an adult. Nofrying takes practice. Lots of it.
Sometimes youll burn things, sometimes youll cook it too low and all the breading will fall off. Sometimes it will be golden on the outside and raw in the middle.
You just cant give up. If you need to, use an electric skillet where you can set the heat or a fryer for safety. Please dont burn your house down.
Dont walk away from it. Dont do laundry. Dont take a nap.
My crispy fried chicken tenders dont have any buttermilk listed, but if you want to wet yours in some before you drop them in the first round of flour, you can do that. I just didnt here because I get the best crust with egg and flour.
No matter whatonce you get the hang of this, you can FRY ANYTHING.
You can make your family the most unhealthy ones on the block. I meanthink about it: donuts, pickles, Twinkies, funnel cakes. Oh man. Funnel cakes. Im just looking out for your best interests here.
I am your enabler.
Crispy Chicken Tenders Ingredients
It starts with the buttermilk marinade in this recipe. Then, the chicken strips are coated and fried to golden brown perfection.
Buttermilk: Use full-fat buttermilk for marinating the chicken strips. The buttermilk helps break down protein in the chicken for a more tender piece of chicken. It also helps the breading stick to each piece. If you dont have any buttermilk on hand, I have homemade buttermilk recipes here.
Panko: Not only will you be dredging the chicken strips in a flour and cornstarch mixture, but also a panko mixture. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that is lighter and will stay crispier longer. Look for panko in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store.
Oil: To fry the chicken, use vegetable oil or canola oil.
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More Healthy Chicken Recipes:
- If you have 20 minutes, then you have enough time to whip together this Creamy Chicken and Peas recipe from the archives. It is nothing fancy but my family always loves the creamy sauce and tender chicken.
- When you dont have a ton of time to prep dinner, toss this 5-Ingredient Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs recipe into the oven and let the oven do all the work.
- For a twist on the classic, this healthier version Chicken and Biscuits Casserole is a great Sunday dinner that totally hits all those comfort food buttons!
- We are always trying to make over classics like this Healthy Chicken Paprikash or this Chicken A La King.
- Our Mexican Chicken Casserole is inspired by Chicken Chilaquiles but all served up in a cozy casserole!
- When all else fails, a batch of Healthy Garlic Herb Chicken Marinade will do wonders for even plain chicken breast.
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on . If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie
- Fiber:1 g
Keywords: healthy chicken tenders, healthy baked chicken tenders, how to make chicken tenders,baked chicken tenders,breaded chicken tenders,healthy chicken fingers
The Ingredients In These Crispy Chicken Strips
- Flour is the first necessary ingredient to coat the chicken. A thin layer of flour will dry out the meat and allow the next coat to adhere. Its crucial!
- Cornstarch is mixed with the flour to ensure a light texture. We do not want gummy, gluey flour, so cornstarch helps maintain the correct texture.
- Garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper provide some of the seasoning when mixed with the flour. Since this is the layer thats the closest to the meat, the seasoning is super important.
- Eggs are the second coating. The flour mixture is added first so the egg has something to which to adhere. The egg mixes with the flour to create a glue for the crispy final coating.
- Chex cereal in crushed form is the final coating. This cereal has the unique ability to create a crispy coating that will remain crispy without the need to fry in oil.
- Parmesan cheese mixed with the cereal act as an additional seasoning. The saltiness in the Parmesan provides a rich flavor to the coating and also toasts during baking, which creates even more flavor!
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How To Keep Chicken Tenders Crispy Once Fried:
Once fried you can keep the chicken tenders crispy on a baking sheet or a cookie sheet in a low oven at 250 degrees while you finish frying the remaining chicken tenders or keep them warm until your even starts.
The low temperature will ensure the chicken fingers stay juicy too, it isnt hot enough to dry them out unless you leave them in there for hours. Do not cover the chicken though as it will create steam which will ruin the texture of the crispy chicken.
With the big game coming up we are looking for fun finger foods and chicken tenders are the perfect finger food. If youre looking for more game day food look no further!
Use A Dry Brine Method No Buttermilk
To dry brine chicken means to salt it and let it sit uncovered in the fridge for several hours. This accomplishes 4 things:
I choose to dry brine the chicken instead of soaking it in buttermilk, , simply because I sometimes just find it to be easier.
Note: You can still have delicious chicken tenders if you have to skip the dry bringing step due to lack of time.
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What Are Chicken Tenders
Did you know that chicken tenders are an actual part of chicken anatomy? If youve ever cut up a whole chicken, the chicken tenders are two strips that live UNDER the chicken breast.
Think of them as the filet mignon of the chicken breast. Chicken tenders are, like the name implies, extra tender and flavorful. Chicken tenders are a colloquialism for chicken strips, but the tender is an actual part of the chicken. Because chicken tenders are so popular, most grocery stores now sell whole packages of tenders. Check with your local grocery store or butcher!
Recipe Tips And Notes
- For perfectly fried chicken pieces, be sure they are not too thick . Maintain a decent depth of oil and the proper oil temperature for best results.
- Use an instant read thermometer to check and monitor the temperature of the oil.
- A dutch oven works well for stovetop deep frying because it holds the temperature more evenly than lightweight pots and pans.
- When you add the chicken to the oil, the oil temperature will drop. Avoid adding too many pieces of chicken at once which can lead to a more dramatic shift in oil temperature. Likewise, the oil can easily heat above 350°F, burning the breading before the chicken is cooked through.
- Two coatings of buttermilk and flour mixture make a nice, crispy thick breading. Its not necessary, but I do like it extra yummy if Im going to go to the effort of deep frying.
- Use vegetable oil, shortening, or peanut oil for best results.
- If you have access to a deep fryer, they work really well because the oil temperature is held even and you dont have to toss the oil every time.
- Strainers work really well for lifting the fried chicken from the hot oil without breaking apart the breading. Tongs will work also.
This crispy fried chicken tenders are a real crowd pleaser! The chicken comes out so juicy and succulent and that coating is all kinds of delicious!
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How To Make Baked Chicken Tenders At Home
These baked chicken tenders are the perfect recipe to make during a hectic week. They don’t take a lot of effort, and they are pretty hands-off since most of the work will be done by your oven. You can find the whole list of ingredients below here is a quick overview for easier preparation.
Why do you use panko breadcrumbs? We use panko breadcrumbs instead of homemade breadcrumbs or fine breadcrumbs in this recipe. The reason is that panko breadcrumbs create a more crispy and golden exterior that adds so much texture and flavor.
How To Cook Chicken Tenders In The Oven
Lightly grease a baking sheet or tray with nonstick cooking oil spray. You can also use a sheet of paper towel dipped in oil to wipe over the surface of the baking sheet, or use a pastry brush.
Arrange crumbed tenders on the baking sheet, then lightly spray them with a cooking oil spray, . This is what makes them SUPER CRISPY without the need to deep fry!
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How To Set Up A Breading Station
Youll want to set yourself to make a big batch of these. To make sure your crunchy coating goes on well and sticks, youll want to set up a good breading station.
First youll prep your chicken so its ready to be dredged. Set up one shallow dish with flour, salt and black pepper. In a small bowl that you can fit your chicken pieces in, mix up the Greek Yogurt, lemon juice and water. In a second shallow dish put your ground up corn flakes, salt and black pepper. Its extremely important to season at every stage.
How To Cook Crispy And Tender Chicken Breast
Want to cook crispy chicken breast but you still want it moist and tender? This recipe will give you exactly that and is a great quick and easy lunch . You can served is up so many ways and its super healthy too!
Chicken breast is a great cheap cut of meat, but can so often be very dry and bland once cooked. So here I hope to be able to share my tricks for making a fairly budget cut of chicken, juicy and crispy, in all the right places!
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Helpful Tips For The Best Chicken Tenders
- For the crispiest chicken tenders, stick with panko bread crumbs rather than standard fine bread crumbs.
- I recommend cutting off the tough white tendon thats attached at the top of the chicken tenders for a better chewing experience. I just use kitchen shears and cut off the upper portion, but you can remove the whole thing as done here.
- Dont skip the wire rack. It ensures the chicken doesnt end up with a soggy bottom side and allows heat to more evenly circulate.
- Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness in center of chicken. It should be 165 degrees, dont cook over or theyll start to dry.
- If some are smaller you may want to check those first and remove early.
- For better flavor dont use the shelf stable powdered parmesan in this recipe, grate it fresh from a wedge.
- If you want a little more richness, spray with olive oil cooking spray near the end of baking.
How Do You Keep Breading When Frying Chicken
Place the coated chicken tenders on a wire rack when frying. Placing them on a wire rack will not allow the breeding to fall off.
This was the whole recipe for the KFC crispy chicken tenders. Make these chicken tenders at home and tell me in the comments how well you liked them. See you next time with another recipe.
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