Fried Chicken Tenders are a timeless favorite, perfect for any occasion. These homemade tenders, known for their irresistible crispy exterior and tender interior, are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Made with simple pantry ingredients like chicken tenders, Panko breadcrumbs, and a blend of spices, they're easy to prepare and can be tailored to your taste.
Ideal as an appetizer or main dish, they pair wonderfully with a range of dips and sides. The secret to their perfect crunch? A special breading of Panko and flour, giving them that signature golden crispiness. Enjoy these Fried Chicken Tenders at your next gathering, family dinner, or casual meal for a truly satisfying experience.
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Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
For these delightful Fried Chicken Tenders, you'll need a few simple ingredients that are easily found in most kitchens. Let's see what they are below.
- Chicken Tenders or Chicken Breast Strips: Opt for chicken tenders for their natural tenderness and ease of cooking. Alternatively, slice chicken breast into strips for a similar effect.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: These larger, airier breadcrumbs create a superior crunchy coating, elevating the texture of the chicken tenders.
- All-Purpose Flour: Essential for a cohesive breading, flour ensures an even, crispy coating on each tender.
- Beaten Egg: This acts as a glue for the breading and introduces additional moisture, enhancing the texture of the chicken.
- Hot Sauce: Choose your favorite hot sauce to add a spicy twist to the tenders.
- Yellow Mustard: This adds a tangy, slightly acidic dimension to the flavor profile.
- Seasonings - Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper: These seasonings boost the savory qualities, with garlic powder adding a gentle garlic touch, onion powder for a bit of sweetness, and black pepper for heat and depth.
- Dried Parsley: It lends a subtle herbal flavor, but you can substitute it with other dried herbs to suit your taste.
- Oil for Frying: Use a neutral oil like vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, known for their high smoke points and minimal flavor transfer, perfect for deep frying.
How to Make Fried Chicken Tenders at Home?
Get ready to create the ultimate Fried Chicken Tenders with this easy-to-follow recipe. Watch the accompanying photos and video to see each step in action: marinating, breading, and frying to golden perfection. Let's dive into the delicious details!
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Fried Chicken Tenders
- 1¾ lb Chicken Tenders, 10-12 strips
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- ¾ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- 1½ tsp Salt, or adjust to taste
- ¾ tsp Dried Parsley
- 2 Beaten Eggs
- 3 tbsp Sriracha Sauce, or any hot sauce of your choice
- 1 tbsp Yellow Mustard
- 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1½ cup Panko Breadcrumb
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- ¾ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
- ½ cup Oil, for frying
To Marinate the Chicken
- In a bowl, combine garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and dried parsley. Stir the ingredients well to blend them evenly.
- Incorporate beaten eggs, hot sauce, yellow mustard, and 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour into the dry mix. Stir until you achieve a consistent marinade.
- Place the chicken tenders in the bowl, ensuring they are fully coated with the marinade. Seal the bowl with a lid and let the tenders marinate for at least 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse.
For Breading the Chicken Tenders
- In a shallow tray, mix together breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, and the seasonings as specified in the ingredient list. Ensure the ingredients are well combined.
- Gently press each marinated chicken tender into the breading mixture, ensuring a thorough and even coating. Repeat this process for all the tenders. Once breaded, they're ready to be fried to perfection.
To Fry the Chicken Tenders
- Fill a frying pan with enough oil for frying. Heat the oil to a temperature between 365 to 375℉ (185 to 190 ℃). To test if the oil is ready, drop a small bread piece in; it should sizzle and brown quickly. Gently add the breaded chicken tenders to the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.
- Fry the chicken tenders for 5 to 7 minutes on one side, then carefully flip them over. Continue frying for an additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side, or until they are thoroughly cooked and display a golden-brown color.
- Once fried to perfection, remove the chicken tenders from the oil. They are now ready to be served and enjoyed.
- Enjoy these crispy Fried Chicken Tenders with a variety of dipping sauces and a refreshing salad for a delightful meal. Choose from a range of sauces and complement with your preferred salad for a well-rounded dining experience.
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Marinating Time: Marinate the chicken tenders for a minimum of 15 minutes to infuse flavor and tenderness. For even more robust flavor, consider marinating for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Proper Coating: Ensure a crispy outer layer by lightly pressing the breading mixture onto the meat. This step is crucial for achieving that perfect crunch.
- Oil Temperature: Keep the frying oil between 365 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (185 to 190 degrees Celsius). Too hot, and the tenders may brown quickly but remain undercooked inside; too cool, and they might absorb excess oil and become greasy.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Fry the tenders in batches, allowing space between each for even cooking and browning. Overcrowding can lower the oil's temperature and lead to uneven frying.
- Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the tenders on a paper towel-lined plate or a wire rack. This step is essential to remove extra grease and maintain their crispiness.
- Check for Doneness: Verify that the chicken is fully cooked by using a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) as recommended by FDA. Alternatively, you can cut into a tender to ensure it's thoroughly cooked and not pink inside.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
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Enhance your Fried Chicken Tenders with these delectable serving suggestions:
- Dipping Sauces: Elevate the chicken tenders with a selection of sauces. Choose from honey mustard, aioli, tartar sauce, garlic parmesan, BBQ, mango chutney, ranch, or buffalo sauce for varied flavors.
- Side Salads: Complement the tenders with light salads. Opt for a fresh coleslaw, crisp cucumber salad, or a garden salad drizzled with zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
- French Fries or Potato Wedges: Pair the chicken tenders with crunchy French fries or seasoned potato wedges, creating a classic and satisfying combo.
- Vegetable Medley: Offer a healthy balance with a colorful assortment of roasted or grilled vegetables like green beans, carrots, broccoli, or corn, adding both nutrition and taste.
- Pasta Dishes: Indulge with a side of creamy alfredo or garlic parmesan pasta. The rich, cheesy flavors beautifully complement the crispy texture of the chicken tenders.
For the best taste and texture, it's recommended to enjoy your Fried Chicken Tenders fresh. While they can be stored and reheated, consuming them shortly after cooking will offer the crispiest and most flavorful experience. If you do need to store them, follow the provided guidelines to maintain quality as much as possible.
- Cooling: Let the tenders cool down to room temperature before storing.
- Refrigeration: Place the cooled tenders in an airtight container or a resealable bag. To keep them from sticking together, separate each layer with parchment or wax paper. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: To enjoy leftovers, reheat the tenders in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) for about 10-15 minutes, or until they regain their crispiness and are heated through.
- Freezing for Long-Term Storage: For storage up to 2-3 months, freeze the cooled tenders in a freezer-safe container or bag.
- Thawing and Reheating Frozen Tenders: Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Safety Check: Always trust your senses; discard any tenders that have an unusual odor, flavor, or texture.