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Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders

Truly crispy fried chicken tenders are a dinnertime staple you’re whole family will love. Get all my tips for making that crispy crust you crave, seasoning like a pro (and shortcuts if you don’t know how), and fry them up like “cast iron skillet” is your middle name. 

a plate of fried chicken tenders on a paper towel

I’m not going to lie or sugar coat this. If you haven’t ever fried anything, you’ll more than likely mess this up.

Because there’s some sort of rule that says that if you don’t get your first cast iron skillet by the age of 5, you won’t be able to hack it as an adult. No–frying takes practice. Lots of it.

Sometimes you’ll burn things, sometimes you’ll 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 can’t give up. If you need to, use an electric skillet where you can set the heat or a fryer for safety. Please don’t burn your house down.

Don’t walk away from it. Don’t do laundry. Don’t take a nap. (I know a friend who has!)

My crispy fried chicken tenders don’t 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 didn’t here because I get the best crust with egg and flour.

No matter what–once you get the hang of this, you can FRY ANYTHING.

You can make your family the most unhealthy ones on the block. I mean–think about it: donuts, pickles, Twinkies, funnel cakes. Oh man. Funnel cakes. I’m just looking out for your best interests here.

I am your enabler.

Tips for the best crispy fried chicken tenders

-Make sure your flour is well seasoned. If you aren’t confident  in that area, I’ve given you measurements for salt and pepper in the recipe.

-Use a good skillet that controls heat well. Of course I’m 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.

Watch me make the full recipe on YouTube

Add a skillet of cornbread and you’ll be all set! You can learn how to make cornbread here if you don’t know how or get brave and learn how to fry bone-in buttermilk fried chicken.

a plate of fried chicken tenders on a paper towel

Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders

Crispy fried chicken is a great addition to your dinnertime table and tenders are a quick and easy way to do it. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 5
Author Rachel Ballard

Ingredients
  

  • 1-2 pounds chicken tenders or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into 1-inch thick strips
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Fill a 9-inch cast iron or standard skillet with about 2 inches of oil. Start heating it over medium-high heat while you bread the chicken. (Keep an eye on it!)
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper.
  • In another large bowl, beat the egg and water
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour, coating well. Shake off excess flour and dip in the egg, the back in the flour.
  • Set the chicken to the side to rest for about 5 minutes. (This helps the coating stick better)
  • Check your oil temperature with a candy thermometer if necessary (you should be around 365-375 degrees) or drop in a little bit of flour–if it sizzles immediately, you can add one piece of chicken.
  • If the chicken sizzles, add about 5 pieces at a time and cook until golden brown on that side–about 8 to 10 minutes or so.
  • Turn, and repeat until all brown.
  • Cook the rest of the chicken in batches.
  • Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little more salt if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 499kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Recipe Rating




Joanne Dozier

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Oh wow! These were absolutely delicious! I was a bit skeptical that they wouldn't have much flavor with just the salt & pepper but I was sadly mistaken! I made them for dinner last night & it was my first attempt ever at frying chicken. Even my very picky 7 year old ate them & ate the most out of everyone. She even asked to have them for dinner again tonight and my son said "could we have these every night for dinner?" LOL The whole family raved about them. I will definitely be making these again once the smell of fried chicken dissipates from the house LOL

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 21st of April 2022

LOL it does make your house smell Joanne! I hear you on that but wow--what a win from the kids. I'm so glad they enjoyed them. Doesn't it feel nice to see them sit down and actually eat what you made and like it?! I'm so glad for you. --Rachel

Cheyenne Setzer

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

So 8 to 10 minutes on each side?

Rachel Ballard

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

I know it seems like forever, doesn't it? I think it depends on how big you cut your breast strips and your oil. It takes me 45 minutes to cook 3 skillets worth of tenders...about 4 breasts cut up. I think 5 to 6 minutes is fine for thinner smaller pieces. --Rachel

Jillian

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Are you able to do this recipe in the air fryer?

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Hi Jillian, I have never tested these in an air fryer but if I'm remembering right I think some other readers have and they felt like they came out great. I would always recommend following the recipe as written the first time but you are absolutely welcome to give it a try. --Rachel

Karen

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Will Canola oil work?

Rachel Ballard

Friday 8th of April 2022

It will if that's what you use.

Renee

Saturday 12th of March 2022

This is not a comment, but rather a question that I hope you or someone can answer very quickly...Can I fry the tenders in EVOO instead of vegetable oil? I hope so, because it's all I have right now.

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

Hey Renee, sorry I didn't get to your question faster. EVOO does have a high enough smoke point if you wanted to use it (374-405) but of course it will add some flavor to your fried chicken that you may not like. I no longer fry in vegetable oil at all and have moved to refined coconut oil for all of my frying. There's some research that says heating olive oil isn't super healthy for us so we made a switch on that. --Rachel

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