Crispy Chicken Tenders (Fried or Baked)

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Chicken Tenders are a favorite in my house. This fried chicken tenders recipe is so easy to make and turns out so crispy and delicious. We also show you how to bake these for a healthier version.

Downward view of the chicken in a basket.

Crispy Chicken Tenders

These Chicken Tenders are so good and are great for appetizers, lunch, or dinner. These tenders are so crunchy and flavorful. You can use these chicken tenders in sandwiches, wraps, or cut them up into a salad. This recipe is such a simple and easy chicken recipe. If you ever find yourself looking for more recipes, this Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup or BBQ Chicken Quesadilla are other tasty chicken lunches or dinners.


  • Flour- Use all-purpose flour for the best results.
  • Garlic Salt- Use this to add a great aroma to your tenders.
  • Sea Salt- This will bring out the flavor of the chicken tenders.
  • Black Pepper- This will be used for taste.
  • Paprika- This will add a slightly smokey flavor.
  • Onion Powder- This will be used for additional flavoring.
  • Buttermilk- This will be used to attach the flour to the chicken pieces.
  • Hot Sauce- You can use Cholula or Tobasco to mix into the buttermilk.
  • Chicken Tenders- You will need about 10 tenders for this recipe.
  • Oil- You can use vegetable oil or shortening for frying.

How to Make Chicken Tenders

Thaw out your chicken and drain any excess liquid. Use paper towels to pat dry.

Add about 4 inches (preferably 6″) of oil into a dutch oven or heavy stockpot.

Set the temperature to 350 degrees (takes about 15 minutes to reach this temperature). Heat the oil while you prepare the tenders.

Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a bowl.

Add the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder into another shallow bowl or on parchment paper and combine.

Begin dipping the ends of the tenders into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk, and then, a second coat of flour. For more breading, just do this process again.

Coating in flour.

Add each of the coated tenders into the oil carefully.

Fry each tender until fully cooked (the center should reach a temperature of 165 degrees). The outer shell will become a deep light brown color and crispy.

Frying in hot oil.

Try to keep the oil at 350 degrees the entire time for the best results.

The frying will take about 5 minutes to cook all the way through.

Make sure the temperature is maintained so that the tenders cook thoroughly.

Put the finished tenders on paper towels or brown paper bags to absorb the excess oil.

Serve right away and enjoy!

Chicken tenders stacked on eachother.

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

This baked version makes healthy chicken tenders with less guilt. These won’t be as crispy, but are still delicious!

  • Replace the flour with panko bread crumbs.
  • After you marinade, add the spices to the breadcrumbs.
  • Cover the marinated chicken with the bread crumbs then transfer to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  • Brush the chicken with melted butter (about 2 Tablespoons).
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

How to Store?

Storing your chicken tenders is very easy. Make sure to store them in the fridge in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. You can also store them in the freezer to enjoy another time or if you have more leftovers.

How to Reheat These so That They Are Crispy Again?

You will want to take the chicken tenders out of the freezer to thaw beforehand or let them sit out of the fridge to reach room temperature for a few minutes. Place the chicken tenders into a hot oven on a wire rack or sheet. The hot oven will allow the outer bread shell to crisp up and heat the middle as well.

The chicken tenders in a shallow bowl.

More Chicken Recipes:

Tenders in a bowl with tissue paper.
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Crispy Chicken Tenders

Do you have a picky eater on your hands? Maybe they're just tired of the same old thing and want something new. Well, we've got the perfect recipe for crispy chicken tenders that will be sure to please any child.
Servings: 10 tenders
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes


  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Cholula or Tobasco hot sauce
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken tenders about 10 tenders
  • vegetable oil or shortening for frying at least 4cups


  • Be sure that chicken is thawed completely, drained, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Fill a dutch oven or heavy stockpot with at least4 inches of oil, preferably 6”. Heat the oil until it reaches 350°F (this will take 15 minutes or so) Get the oil heating while preparing the chicken.
  • In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder in a shallow bowl or on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Dip each side of the chicken tenders in the flour mixture, then dip into the buttermilk mixture and back into the flour mixture. For extra breading, repeat this process one more time.
  • Carefully drop one chicken piece at a time into heated oil and fry until cooked through (the center should reach 165°F). The outside should be deep golden-brown and crispy. Maintain an oil temperature of 350°F for best results. The chicken tenders will cook through in about 5 minutes. I’ve found that as long as the oil temperature is maintained correctly, the chicken will be cooked by the time the breading is a deep golden brown.
  • Place cooked chicken on paper towels or brown paper bags to soak up excess oil.
  • Serve immediately.

Last Step:

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Recipe for Baked Chicken Tenders in the post above.
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Fried coating is best right after cooking. Reheat in the oven or an air fryer to re-crisp the breading.


Crispy Chicken Tenders

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