Recipe for the Perfect Fried Chicken Tenders

A few weeks ago, I shared Dave whipping up some fried chicken tenders — a family favorite that we admittedly don’t have often enough — in my Instagram stories. I had an overwhelming number of requests of how to make them so today, as promised, Dave is sharing his perfectly battered, golden, crispy fried chicken tenders recipe. It isn’t too crunchy (I don’t like my chicken tender crust to be hard) and it isn’t too soggy– it’s just right.

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How to Cook the Best Fried Chicken Tenders

Fried Chicken Tenders at Home

With just two large chicken breasts, it also yields a ton — 20-24 strips — so it’s a great way to stretch your meat while you’re staying home. Yep, you read that quantity right. We literally use one pack of the fresh-frozen Costco chicken breasts for the entire batch. You can really get a lot of mileage out of these and have tenders one night, and wraps and salads later in the week. My favorite way to have them is with honey mustard and sliced pickled jalapenos… I know how that sounds but trust me! Dave turned me on to jalapenos with fried chicken and now, I love having a bit of pepper with each bite, dipped in honey mustard.

How to Fry Chicken Tenders

Dave has had a few fryers but now, he uses THIS one. It’s only $45 and ships free. One key note is to make sure you don’t overload the fry basket — which can be dangerous and cause the oil to spill out. You’ll see in the recipe below that even though the two breasts yield a large quantity, he only fries three to four at a time.

Recipe for the Best Fried Chicken Tenders

How Long to Fry Chicken Tenders

The fry temperature should be set to 375° and each round of tenders will take approximately six minutes. They should be a warm golden brown when finished and the tenders should have a minimum internal temperature of 165°.

Best Fried Chicken Finger Recipe

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

When Dave adds the spices to each mixture, as described in the recipe below, he eyeballs each — the salt, pepper, etc. should be to taste — it doesn’t have to be exact.

5 from 2 votes
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Fried Chicken Tenders

Fried chicken tenders with the perfect breading that's just crispy enough!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, fried
Prep Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • canola oil (filled to max fill line in fryer)

Water Bath

  • 1 medium bowl of water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Flour Mixture

  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

Egg Wash

  • 3 eggs (beaten)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in the fryer to 375°

  2. Create three stations: Station 1. combine ingredients for water bath in one medium bowl; Station 2. combine ingredients for flour mixture in another medium bowl; Station 3. beat three eggs in a third medium bowl. You should have three separate bowls (aka- stations).

  3. With a sharp chef's knife, slice each chicken breast thinly, length-wise -- about 1" wide. Then, cut each strip in half into shorter strips. Each breast should yield 10-12 tenders.

  4. Submerge four strips at a time into the water bath; remove and shake off excess water before dredging each in the flour mixture.

  5. Once your four tenders are each dredged in the flour mixture and coated well, shake off excess flour.

  6. Next, dip and fully coat the four tenders in the egg bath.

  7. Then, remove and shake off excess egg wash and dredge in the flour mixture a second time.

  8. Set the four tenders to the side on a plate and repeat with the remaining tenders until all have gone through the water/flour/egg/flour process.

  9. By now, the oil should be heated. Depending on the size of your fryer, place three to four strips at a time into your fryer basket *DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR FRYER & CAUSE AN OIL SPILL*. Fry for approximately 4-6 minutes, until desired color is reached, and the tenders reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°.

  10. Remove and let the tenders drain on paper towels.

  11. Repeat frying until all tenders are finished.

  12. Serve with favorite dipping sauces and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you prefer spicier chicken, you can add ground cayenne pepper to the flour mixture and egg wash, to taste.

How Long to Cook Fried Chicken Tenders -- and how to make the best coating ever!

These keep well in the refrigerator too, so don’t be shy about making the full batch. Don’t forget, paper towels are your friend when you’re frying chicken, too 😉

The Best Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

If you’re not ready to make them just yet, you can pin the image below or print the recipe above. For more recipe ideas to add to your weekly menu, you can visit my family-friendly recipe gallery HERE.

Other (Comfort Food) Chicken Recipes You May Like

How to Fry the Best Chicken Tenders

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10 Comments

  1. 4.5.20
    Cecilia from Georgia said:

    5 stars
    Make my water just reading this post! I like that everything in this recipe is already in my pantry and I don’t have to get out and shop! I bet Eliza will love these when she can eat table food. Thank Dave for sharing his special recipe!

    • 4.6.20

      Cecilia, That was certainly the goal! Believe it or not, Eliza has tried these and loves them. I will let Dave know and hope you can try them soon! xoxo

  2. 4.5.20
    Mary Brannigan said:

    I don’t know your Dave, but I feel like he’s definitely a keeper! 😘 Thanks for sharing his recipes.

    • 4.6.20

      Dave is definitely a keeper! I hope you try these and love them as much as we do. xoxo

  3. 4.5.20
    Barbara said:

    Yum. Thanks for the recipe.

    • 4.6.20

      You are so welcome! I hope you love it. xoxo

  4. 4.7.20
    Darla Johnson said:

    5 stars
    Fried Chicken and jalapenos no doubt a family tradition my brother David grew up on..Churchs Fried Chicken Bro! This looks yummy have you ever tried making with an Air Fryer which are very popular and less calories. Hopefully taste just as yummy 🙂 Love Miss ya’ll…Darlita xo

    • 4.8.20

      Darla,
      As we all know, Dave is a master in the kitchen and has introduced me to so many wonderful flavors. These tenders are a win all the way around. I imagine his nostalgia for the past makes them even better. He has not tried this recipe in the air fryer, but I sure will mention it to him. Miss y’all too. Stay safe! xoxo

  5. 4.22.20
    Tim McCollum said:

    Everytime i see a recipe like this. I follow it to a T….. and it never works out. The breading never ever sticks to the meat!!! What am I doing wrong here???

    • 4.23.20

      Hi, Tim! Here’s some troubleshooting — When you dredge in flour, especially after the egg wash, really press the flour into the chicken. Also, make sure to get the chicken pieces really wet in the liquid. Finally, make sure that oil is nice and hot. Hoping you will try again and that this is helpful. — Dave

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