This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CrispyCreations #CollectiveBias #CrispiestChicken Crispy Chicken Tenders- these are the tastiest, crunchiest, juiciest chicken tenders you will ever make!
Crispy Chicken Tenders
Who loves crispy chicken strips?! They are one of my all-time favorite foods! Ordering them from restaurants can be hit or miss and are usually a miss. Either there is way too much breading, the chicken is super dry and tough, they are flavorless, or since most are cooked from a frozen state, they don’t cook all the way through (gross I agree and it happened to me once!).
Also, like all things, ordering out gets expensive. So I’ve come up with this tasty recipe, that can be made at home and it is THE BEST!
The first time I made these chicken strips, my husband and I ate the entire batch in one go. They are that good. Want to know my secret to them? There’s two.
- Using cornstarch in the breading- I use Argo® Corn Starch and love it.
- Soaking the chicken in a buttermilk brine. This makes the chicken soooo juicy
Let’s talk corn starch for a minute. Argo® Corn Starch creates the crispiest chicken. It helps the batter fry up nicely. Did you know Argo® Corn Starch is the leading corn starch brand with over 100 years of quality and trust over multiple generations. Awesome right?!
Argo® Corn Starch is really versatile and can be used in many things- not just fried chicken!
I love using it in all my recipes that need corn starch whether that’s baked goods (like my mini apple pies) or my tasty Asian Dipping Sauce! It can be used to thicken sauces and soups, or to fry up tempura style treats (which is why these chicken strips turn out so deliciously crispy!).
Not only are the chicken tenders crunchy, but the Argo ® Corn Starch helps them achieve the beautiful golden-brown color that is irresistible, while helping seal in the tasty juices into the chicken.
Argo ® Corn Starch is such an important part of this recipe- or any really! There are so many uses for it and it will hep take your cooking to the next level!
Another necessary part of making these the best chicken tenders ever- is soaking the chicken in buttermilk- for 4 hrs or overnight. This will make the chicken so juicy and delicious!
How to make chicken tenders:
- Mix up the seasoning in a small bowl
- Combine buttermilk, an egg, salt, and a little bit of the seasoning mix together.
- Dip the chicken tenders in the buttermilk mixture making sure top coat them well.
- Pour all the buttermilk and chicken into a bag and refrigerate for 4hrs at least.
- Combine the Argo® Corn Starch, flour, remaining seasoning, more salt, and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add a little bit of the buttermilk marinade to the corn starch mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Dip each chicken tender into the corn starch mixture and then knock off any extra breading using a fine mesh strainer.
- Fry each chicken tender in hot oil for 6 minutes (3 minutes on each side).
- Once done frying, place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any extra grease.
- Eat while still warm and enjoy!
How to get a good coating on the chicken tenders:
Dip your chicken tenders in the corn starch mixture one at a time. This allows you to get a good coating on it and will make the crispiest chicken!
How long do I let it fry on each side?
Let your chicken cook for 3 minutes before moving it in the fry pan to flip. If you move it sooner it may make the breading come off and we don’t want that!
How do you keep your hands from getting really messy when you dip the chicken in the batter?
I like to keep one hand as a wet hand and one as a dry hand. The wet hand picks up the buttermilk-soaked chicken and places it in the cornstarch mixture. The dry hand then covers the chicken tender with the mixture and places it in the strainer.
Why do you use a strainer?
A fine mesh strainer is used to remove excess cornstarch mixture from the chicken tenders. This actually helps them to have better, crispier, breading once fried. See the pictures below for using a strainer vs not.
Do I have to use a strainer to get rid of the excess breading?
Nope- they will still be delicious, just maybe not as crispy. See the pictures below for an example.
Left is chicken that was shaken in a fine mesh strainer- Right was not shaken in strainer
Both types of chicken tenders look delicious and do taste delicious BUT the ones that were strained are more craggy (left picture) compared to the ones that weren’t (right).
Why marinate the chicken in buttermilk?
This is one of my favorite ways to make keep chicken moist. It helps tenderize the chicken and add flavor to the meat!
Why add some of the buttermilk marinade to the corn starch mixture?
This is a great tip from the The Food Lab Cook Book. The reasoning is that it gives the fried chicken that craggy texture that we all love by helping the breading clump together just a little. I love dipping these chicken strips in ranch dressing, bbq sauce and my Chick-Fil-A Copycat Sauce! Let me know how these crispy chicken tenders turn out for you! I’m sure you’ll love them as much as we do! For more tasty recipes check these out:
- Homemade Baked French Fries
- Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
- Carnitas Tacos
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Green Chile Stew
- Spinach Dip
- Smoked Chicken
- Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
Best Crispy Chicken Tenders
- 1 tbs paprika
- 1 tbs pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbs salt divided into 2 tsp and 1 tsp
- 2 lbs chicken tenders
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch I love using Argo® Corn Starch!
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2-3 cups corn oil
Combine the paprika, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Mix well and set aside. (1 tbs paprika, 1 tbs pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper)
In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and 2 tsps salt. Then add in 1 tbs of the mixed spices and whisk until well incorporated. (½ cup buttermilk, 1 large egg, 2tsp salt)
Place the chicken tenders in the buttermilk mixture, making sure they are well coated. Place all contents of the bowl in a Ziploc baggie and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, making sure to flip the bag every now and then to make sure the chicken is evenly coated. (2lbs chicken tenders)
Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 1 tsp salt, and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl- stirring until evenly mixed. (½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornstarch, ½ tsp baking powder).
Add 2 tbs of the buttermilk marinade from the ziploc bag to the flour mixture, mixing it well into the flour. Remove a chicken tender from the bag, allowing any excess buttermilk to drip off, and dip into the flour mixture. Toss to coat. You made need to press the flour onto the chicken to get to stick nicely.*
One at a time, transfer the chicken pieces to a fine mesh strainer and shake off any excess of the flour mixture.* Then set on a separate plate.
In a cast iron pan or large fry pan or cast iron pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (~400°F) place the chicken tenders into the oil, making sure they don’t touch. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes* then flip each piece and fry an additional 3 minutes. (2 cups corns oil)
Once fried place on a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool enough to serve.
Eat hot and enjoy!
*Dip your chicken tenders in the flour mixture one at a time. This allows you to get a good coating on it and will make the crispiest chicken!
*Let your chicken cook for at least 3 minutes before moving it in the fry pan to check for it to be done. If you move it sooner it may make the breading come off and we don’t want that!
This recipe is adapted from The Food Lab Cook Book- love this book and all the science that it explains about cooking!