Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

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Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

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Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

Chicken tenders are a beloved classic, perfect for both kids and adults. Making them at home ensures they are fresh, crispy, and free from preservatives. This homemade chicken tenders recipe is easy to follow and results in juicy, flavorful tenders with a golden, crunchy coating.


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (plain or seasoned)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking oil for frying (vegetable, canola, or peanut oil)


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Buttermilk Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk (or milk with vinegar) and chicken strips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to tenderize the chicken and enhance the flavor.

Step 2: Prepare the Breading Stations

  1. Flour Mixture: In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Egg Wash: In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs until smooth.
  3. Breadcrumb Mixture: In a third shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese (if using).

Step 3: Bread the Chicken

  1. Coat in Flour: Remove the chicken strips from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off. Dredge each piece in the flour mixture, ensuring it is fully coated. Shake off any excess flour.
  2. Dip in Egg: Dip the floured chicken pieces into the beaten eggs, coating them completely.
  3. Coat in Breadcrumbs: Roll the chicken strips in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to ensure the breadcrumbs adhere well.

Step 4: Cook the Chicken Tenders

  1. Heat the Oil: Pour enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom by about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C), or until a breadcrumb dropped into the oil sizzles and bubbles.
  2. Fry the Tenders: Carefully place the breaded chicken strips into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet. Fry the tenders in batches if necessary. Cook each piece for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Drain the Tenders: Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken tenders to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Serve Hot: Serve the chicken tenders hot with your favorite dipping sauces, such as ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing.

Tips for Perfect Chicken Tenders

  • Even Sizes: Cut the chicken into evenly sized strips to ensure they cook at the same rate.
  • Temperature Control: Maintain the oil temperature at around 350°F (175°C) to ensure crispy and evenly cooked tenders.
  • Baking Option: For a healthier version, bake the breaded chicken tenders in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.


  • Spicy Tenders: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the buttermilk mixture for a spicy kick.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs to make the recipe suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Herbed Tenders: Mix in some dried herbs like oregano, basil, or thyme into the breadcrumb mixture for an extra burst of flavor.

Storage and Reheating

  • Refrigerate: Store any leftover cooked chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, freeze the uncooked breaded chicken tenders on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen or thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Reheat: Reheat the tenders in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.

Homemade chicken tenders are a delicious and easy way to enjoy a classic favorite. With this simple recipe, you can whip up a batch of crispy, juicy tenders that everyone will love.