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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

Serving: 3tendersCalories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 24gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 467mgPotassium: 391mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 76IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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444 Comments

    1. Hi Jenn, I’ve never found it necessary here but you are welcome to add some to the flour. Without a wet batter, it probably won’t do much and could make the final result bitter though so that’s something to keep in mind. If this was a batter, you could add baking soda and make a tempura style crust. I do use baking soda on the skin of chicken when I make wings and that works wonderfully for drying out and crisping the skin but in this recipe it probably won’t give much benefit. –Rachel

    1. Hi Mark, that goes back to the science behind frying. Just like with onion rings, deep fried mushrooms or any other food you’ve had that comes with a flour based breading, there’s something called the Maillard reaction that takes place in conjunction with the dehydrating of the surface of the food when frying that helps create that crisp texture we know. –Rachel

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, for once in my life, the batter finally stuck! I wish I could give 10 stars. Now my friends will stop saying, “how can you be black and not be able to make fried chicken?😂” Thanks R. Ballard

    1. That’s a tough calculation to make Donna. The computer generated nutrition facts say 29 for about 3 1-inch wide tenders, but that’s assuming you eat a lot of the 1 1/2 cups of flour used in the recipe which no one does–it’s just a dusting on the outside. Depending on what flour you use (wheat, gluten free, cassava, etc.) will also change the carb count. It’s hard to nail down exactly but that’s as close as we can get. –Rachel

  2. For calculating calories did you factor in the oil used in cooking? And how many oz was the calories you provided for?

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.