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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.

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. 
4.84 from 83 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 499kcal
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

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Recipe Rating




Rawkkah

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

Just a couple of tips...

Using peanut oil is our preferred method... it just seems to work perfectly every time and never "burns".

Also, using a 1:1 mix of flour and cornstarch instead of just flour gives it a crunch from another universe!

Gary

Friday 18th of December 2020

Is it 8-10 min per side or total? Thanks.

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 19th of December 2020

It's about 8 minutes per side, depending on how thick they are. Mine are usually 1 1/2 to 2 inches. --Rachel

First Timer

Saturday 12th of December 2020

I followed your advice and my chicken turned out great! I did add a few additional seasonings ( paprika, garlic salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper) since I like spicy chicken. Thanks for sharing!

GREG DENNY

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Two questions, can you use olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and, can you re-use the oil?

Ronnie DeJong

Sunday 27th of December 2020

@Rachel Ballard, Extra virgin olive oil for frying? If you are going to use olive oil for frying, I think you need regular olive oil. Extra virgin oil has a lower smoke point and really isn’t a good choice for frying.

Patricia M Bruni

Saturday 12th of December 2020

@GREG DENNY, That's all I use and it's delicious!

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 3rd of December 2020

Olive oil isn't great for deep frying. It depends a bit on what kind of olive oil you have of course, but extra virgin is the only one you could use (smoke point 410 degrees) but the flavor won't be ideal in your chicken. I use avocado oil or refined coconut oil now. Second, anytime you heat an oil it destabilizes the molecules in it making it more likely to turn toxic when heated too many times. It can also change flavor, go rancid or catch fire. Fried chicken leaves a lot of flour in the oil and it's hard to get it clean enough to re use. --Rachel

elaine willman

Saturday 7th of November 2020

These were delicious, such a simple thing, "flour,egg,flour" nice tip. Thanks!