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.
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.
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.
Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders
- 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.