Looking to whip up a delicious and easy meal? Look no further than this mouthwatering homemade chicken tenders recipe. Bursting with flavors and seasoned just right, these crispy chicken tenders are a delight for your taste buds. Perfectly golden and incredibly juicy, they are a must-try for chicken lovers of all ages. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a few basic ingredients, and get ready to make the most finger-licking chicken tenders in the comfort of your own kitchen.
To make delicious homemade chicken tenders, you will need the following ingredients:
Start by getting some fresh chicken breasts. Make sure they are boneless and skinless for the best results.
You’ll need some all-purpose flour for breading the chicken. This will give the tenders a crispy outer layer.
Eggs will act as a binder, helping the flour and breadcrumbs stick to the chicken.
Choose either panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs, depending on your preference. These will add an extra crunch to the chicken tenders.
Salt is an essential ingredient for seasoning the chicken. It helps to bring out the flavors and enhance the taste.
Add some freshly ground black pepper to give the chicken tenders a delightful kick.
Garlic powder will infuse the chicken tenders with a nice flavor. It complements the other ingredients perfectly.
Paprika adds a subtle smoky flavor and a beautiful reddish color to the chicken tenders.
Oil for frying
You will need a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying the chicken tenders.
Dipping sauce (optional)
For an extra burst of flavor, you can prepare a delicious dipping sauce to accompany your chicken tenders. This step is optional but highly recommended!
Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to prepare your homemade chicken tenders. Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Prepare the chicken
Start by slicing the chicken breasts into thin strips or tenderloin-sized pieces. This will ensure that the tenders cook evenly and quickly.
Step 2: Set up a breading station
Get three shallow bowls or plates. In the first one, place the flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. In the second bowl, beat the eggs until well combined. Finally, in the third bowl, place the breadcrumbs. This setup will make the breading process smooth and efficient.
Step 3: Dredge the chicken
One at a time, dip each chicken strip into the flour mixture, making sure it’s evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour before transferring the chicken to the egg mixture. Coat the chicken with the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Finally, place the chicken in the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere the coating. Repeat this process until all the chicken strips are coated.
Step 4: Heat the oil
In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. You’ll want enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about half an inch. Allow the oil to heat up until it shimmers, indicating it’s ready for frying.
Step 5: Fry the chicken
Carefully place the breaded chicken tenders into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. You may need to cook the chicken in batches, depending on the size of your pan. Once cooked, transfer the chicken tenders to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.
Step 6: Drain and serve
Once the chicken tenders have drained, they are ready to be served. You can enjoy them immediately while they are still hot and crispy. Pair them with your favorite side dishes, such as french fries, coleslaw, or a fresh salad.
Step 7: Make a dipping sauce (optional)
If you want to take your chicken tenders to the next level, consider making a delicious dipping sauce. This optional addition will enhance the flavors and provide an extra element of taste. Some popular dipping sauces include honey mustard, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, or a tangy buffalo sauce.
Tips and Variations
Now that you know how to make the basic version of homemade chicken tenders, here are some tips and variations to explore:
Marinade for extra flavor
Before breading the chicken, you can marinate it in your favorite marinade for added flavor. Popular options include buttermilk, yogurt, or a mixture of spices and herbs. Marinading the chicken for at least 30 minutes or overnight will make it even more tender and flavorful.
Oven-baked chicken tenders
If you prefer a healthier alternative to frying, you can bake the chicken tenders in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C), place the breaded tenders on a greased baking sheet, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. The result will be crispy and golden brown chicken tenders with less oil.
For a lighter version of chicken tenders, consider using whole wheat flour and opting for baking instead of frying. You can also experiment with gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour if you have dietary restrictions.
Spicy chicken tenders
If you like a bit of heat, add some cayenne pepper or chili powder to the flour mixture for that extra kick. You can adjust the amount according to your personal preference to create mild or spicy chicken tenders.
Besides the usual side dishes, like fries and coleslaw, homemade chicken tenders are versatile and can be served in various ways. Try turning them into a wrap by placing them in a tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite sauce. You can also slice them and serve them over a fresh salad for a nutritious meal.
Freezing and reheating
If you have leftover chicken tenders or want to make a bigger batch to enjoy later, you can freeze them. To freeze, place the cooked chicken tenders in an airtight container or freezer bag, separating the layers with parchment paper. When reheating, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and cook the frozen tenders for about 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. This will help them regain their crispiness.
Homemade chicken tenders are a crowd-pleasing dish that you can easily create in your own kitchen. With just a few simple ingredients and some crispy breading, you can enjoy delicious, golden brown chicken tenders that rival any fast food joint. Whether you fry or bake them, plain or spicy, these tender and flavorful treats will satisfy your craving for crispy chicken goodness. So why not gather your ingredients and start making your own homemade chicken tenders today? Your friends and family will thank you!