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Fried Cajun Chicken Tenders

Cajun chicken tenders bring a little spice to a family favorite dinner that nothing from a box can ever rival. Learn all the tips and tricks to fry like a pro and watch them disappear.

A plate of fried cajun chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce
This post was originally published in 2017 for Yellow Bliss Road.

Fried chicken is a southern right of passage–we learn to fry it up from a young age and never seem to stop loving the stuff. Crispy on the outside, perfectly seasoned and juicy inside: It’s time for you to learn to do this yourself.

My traditional fried chicken tenders are a consistent winner and you can find plenty of tips for frying there but we’ll go over them again here just so you know.

The basics of frying

First know that if you’ve never fried before, you’ll probably stink at it for the first few times. Just be patient with yourself and if you need it, use an electric skillet or other device that will control the temperature of your heat until you feel comfortable enough to use a skillet on the stove.

Next make sure to use the right oil. Lots of people use vegetable oil but we don’t anymore and here’s why. I like to use refined coconut oil which doesn’t taste like coconuts and is more affordable than avocado oil.

When you’re frying your chicken should sizzle immediately. If it doesn’t your oil isn’t hot enough. If it’s smoking, it’s too hot. Remember that the more chicken you put in your skillet, the more it drops the temperature of your oil and that will make your breading fall off. Don’t add more than 4 or 5 tenders to a 12-inch skillet.

Use the right chicken

Your cajun chicken tenders will be best if you don’t actually use tenders. Those little suckers have tendons that run right through them and to me, they are anything but tender.

Use chicken breast meat instead and cut them in to 1-inch wide strips. If you want to go even one step further, make sure to buy chicken tenders that are low in “retained water” AKA chicken that’s been pumped full of water during processing. You can read the label to find one that has low or no retained water. Look for one with less than 5%.

how to fry chicken tenders

What to serve with cajun chicken


Everything from honey mustard to Zaxby’s sauce will all go great with your chicken but there’s no need to buy a bottled version. Check out these 12 dipping sauces for lots of inspiration.

Side dishes

Everything goes with chicken, right? Maybe not, but try pairing yours with any of these southern sides:

a cajun chicken tender dipped in honey mustard

Fried Cajun Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders with a kick! Breaded just right and full of flavor that's better than anything from a box.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 582kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard



  • In a large, shallow bowl or dish with sides, add the flour, cajun seasoning, onion and garlic powders. Stir to mix. Taste it to see if you want more spice. Add more if you do, but don't taste it once you've dipped any raw chicken in it. Set aside. 
  • In a second bowl, beat the eggs, hot sauce and water. Set aside.  
  • Dip one chicken tender at a time into the flour then the eggs, and then back into the flour, pressing to coat the chicken well. Repeat with the remaining tenders and set them aside while you heat the oil. Allow the chicken to rest 3 or 4 minutes before frying so the breading can "set".
  • If using a 12 inch skillet, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat on high to 375 (you can use a thermometer to check if you aren't sure). Slowly add three to four pieces of chicken, reduce heat to medium high, and allow them to fry until just brown on one side–about 5 minutes–then turn and cook until golden on the second side–6 to 7 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and repeat with the other tenders.
    **Make sure to stay by the stove! If your oil starts to smoke, turn the heat down or pull the skillet off the burner carefully for a minute or two. If your chicken is cooking too slow and the breading is soggy or falling off, turn the heat up. 


Check the ingredients in your cajun seasoning. If it doesn’t contain salt and pepper, add 1/2 teaspoon of each to your flour with the garlic and onion powders. 


Serving: 3tenders | Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 969mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1792IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 4mg

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