You can trust me, I’m a Certified Chicken Tender Connoisseur.
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins or breasts cut into strips
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 C buttermilk
- 1 C cornstarch
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 3 tsp seasoned salt, divided
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- oil, for frying
- Season your chicken with about one teaspoon of seasoned salt and cover it with one cup of buttermilk and the hot sauce. You can use more seasoned salt if you like. Stir it up so all the chicken is seasoned. No tender left behind! Soak in the fridge for at least half an hour, but no longer than overnight. Even that is pushing it, to be honest, so I’ll just say no longer than 8 hours. You don’t want chicken that tastes like buttermilk.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the remaining buttermilk. Pick another bowl – or a large bag – and in that whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and all of the remaining spices.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 15-30 minutes before you’re ready to batter. This will ensure they cook evenly. Remove the tenders from the bowl one by one, allowing excess to drip off before lightly dredging in the flour mixture. You don’t want or need a thick coating, just a light dusting really.
- Dip the tender into the egg/buttermilk mixture, quickly, let the excess liquid drip back into the bowl, then place the tender back into the flour. Now this second time, coat the tender very well, pressing the flour into the chicken to help it adhere. I like to squeeze them in my fists, to be extra sure. This is how you develop what I call ‘crunchy craggies’. Set the coated tenders on a plate or baking sheet to rest while you coat all of the tenders. Try to leave a little space between them so their exteriors can dry out evenly, but that’s not mandatory.
- Heat your oil to 365°F. Use an oil thermometer if you need it. Fry the chicken in small batches – do not crowd the pan! – for about 7-10 minutes each, turning halfway through if needed. Tenders generally float when the inside is cooked through, but a thermometer or ripping them open is the only way to be 100% sure.
- Drain the cooked tenders on a wire rack over a baking sheet. If you drain them on paper towels I will hunt you down. Keep them warm in a 200°F oven if you’re cooking in batches or not eating immediately, but I say the fresher the better!
- The post above the recipe fleshes out some details, especially about the ingredients and how you can adjust ’em.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 15