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Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

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Move over Raising Cane’s chicken fingers. These crispy fried chicken tenders are marinated in buttermilk and dredged in a seasoned flour mixture before they are fried golden brown. Serve with a homemade dipping sauce for a truly Southern taste experience that’s made from scratch.

Plate of fried chicken fingers and dipping sauce.

The buttermilk marinade gives them a unique flavor, while the seasoned flour mixture creates an equally irresistible crunchiness that will keep your taste buds coming back for more! If this isn’t enough then don’t worry because these bad boys come with homemade dipping sauce, too.

Making homemade crispy chicken strips takes a little work, but don’t let that scare you. A little bit of work never hurt anyone, right?

To make these buttermilk fried chicken tenders, make sure that you have all of the ingredients before you start.

Ingredient List for Fried Chicken Tenders

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Bread crumbs
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
Sliced chicken breasts, seasoning, buttermilk, and breadcrumbs.

Instructions

  1. The best way to start this recipe is to mix the marinade. You can place buttermilk, an egg, and garlic powder in a large zip-top bag, seal the bag, and shake it all together (this makes for easy clean-up) or you can mix the ingredients together in a large shallow container.
  2. Next, cut 3 large chicken breasts into long strips – you should be able to get 3-4 strips from each breast. Place the chicken strips into the marinade and let them marinate for at least 2 hours. You can even let them soak in the tangy goodness for up to 24 hours.
  3. When you get ready to prepare the chicken, begin by making a seasoning blend. Mix black pepper, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder together in a small bowl. One tablespoon of this seasoning mix will be used in the buttermilk mixture and the rest will be used in the flour mixture.
  4. In a large glass bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, Italian bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup of the seasoning mix. (This will be referred to as the flour mixture.)
Dipping a chicken tender in seasoned breading.

4. Combine buttermilk and the remaining tablespoon of the seasoning mix in a shallow dish. (This will be referred to as the buttermilk mixture.)

5. Pour oil into a large stockpot or Dutch oven to a depth of 2 to 2 ½ inches. Turn the heat on medium and heat until the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you have never fried anything before, check out this post on Deep Frying on the Stovetop Without Fear at Good Food Stories.)

6. Meanwhile, drain the chicken and discard the marinade.

7. Dip a chicken tender into the flour mixture and shake off any excess coating. Next, dip it in the buttermilk mixture and let the excess drip off. Dip the chicken back into the flour mixture and coat well. (It’s okay to use your fingers and press the flour onto the chicken tender to help the flour adhere to the chicken.) Place the coated chicken tenders onto a wire rack and let them rest while the oil heats.

Chicken tenders dredged in flour on a black wire rack.

Once the oil has reached 350 degrees Fahrenheit, carefully place 3-4 chicken tenders in the hot oil to cook. Cook tenders for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are fully cooked. Chicken should NOT have any pink inside.

Place the cooked chicken tenders on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Chicken tenders draining on paper towels.

Special Sauce Ingredients and Instructions

If you are going to serve a Raising Cane’s chicken tenders clone, you gotta have a sauce to go with them, am I right? This sauce recipe comes together in a jiffy. The combination of flavors lends to the name Comeback Sauce. (It’s so delicious you’ll come back for more, you know?!) To make it, you need the following ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
Mayonnaise and ketchup in a small glass bowl with a platter of chicken tenders.

Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until blended.

For more flavor, prepare the sauce around the time that you marinate the chicken. This gives the flavors of the sauce more time to meld and marry.

Platter of chicken tenders and dipping sauce.

In the mood to try something new? Check out the chicken dipping sauce at Southern Home Express. It’s made using orange marmalade and a few other basic staples and sounds pretty awesome.

Hungry for more? Don’t miss out on these chicken recipes:

Plate of fried chicken fingers and dipping sauce.

Fried Chicken Tenders

Southern-style buttermilk marinated and breaded fried chicken tenders are paired with a homemade dipping sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 38 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 546kcal

Ingredients

Marinade and Chicken

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 large chicken breasts

Seasoning Blend

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Flour Mixture

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup seasoning blend (above)

Dredge

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning blend (above)

Special Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup catsup
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Oil for frying

    Instructions

    • Make the marinade by placing buttermilk, an egg, and garlic powder in a large zip-top bag, seal the bag, and shake them together (this makes for easy clean-up). Alternatively, you can mix the ingredients together in a large shallow container.
    • Cut chicken breasts lengthwise into strips. Place the chicken strip in the marinade and refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
    • Mix black pepper, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder together in a small bowl to make a seasoning blend.
    • Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, Italian bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup of the seasoning mix in a large mixing bowl.
    • Combine buttermilk and the remaining tablespoon of the seasoning mix in a shallow dish.
    • Pour oil into a large stockpot or Dutch oven to a depth of 2 to 2 ½ inches. Turn the heat on medium and heat until the oil reaches 350° Fahrenheit.
    • Drain the chicken and discard the marinade.
    • Prepare the chicken tenders: dip a chicken tender into the flour mixture and shake off any excess coating. Next, dip it in the buttermilk mixture and let the excess drip off. Dip the chicken back into the flour mixture and coat well. (It’s okay to use your fingers and press the flour onto the chicken tender to help the flour adhere to the chicken.) Place the coated chicken tenders onto a wire rack and let them rest while the oil heats.
    • Place 3-4 chicken tenders in the hot oil to cook. Fry the chicken tenders for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are fully cooked.
    • Place cooked chicken tenders on top of a plate lined with paper towels to allow excess oil to drain.
    • Serve the chicken with dipping sauce.

    Special Sauce (Comeback Sauce)

    • Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire suace, garlic powder and, black pepper in a small bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are blended together.

    Notes

    Nutrition information excludes the oil.
    If the oil is too hot, the outside of the chicken will cook but the inside will be raw.  Do not fry over medium-high heat for this recipe.  (Medium-high heat is in between medium and high heat.)
    Canola oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oils are good for frying chicken.
    Do not skip marinating the chicken.  For optimal results, marinate chicken overnight.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 | Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 2153mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 881IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 4mg
    Tried this Recipe? Share it Today!Mention @SouthernKissedBlog or tag #southernkissed!

    These chicken tenders are great as a main meal or serve them as appetizers at your next get-together with friends and family. They taste great on salads, too!

    Chicken tender with homemade dipping sauce on the end.

    Chicken tenders can be found at almost any restaurant around the South where fried chicken is king, but why not make your own? The recipe for these tenders is inspired by both Zaxby’s and Raising Cane’s where chicken is the star.

    People will be smacking their lips after tasting these crispy, crunchy fried chicken tenders – they’re so tender and juicy. Serve with crinkle-cut fries, cole slaw, and Texas toast to complete the dining experience.

    Top Southern Food Blog

    I want to post a “shout out” here to Feedspot for recognizing Southern Kissed on the Top 30 Southern Food Blogs You Must follow in 2021. Southern Kissed is listed at #26 and we are grateful for the recognition.

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    2 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      loved it !! amazing juicy flavor the marinated butter milk gives to the chicken. I am definitely going to make more in the future ! the sauce was really good with it. Definitely gives a fun flavor to the chicken. i highly recommend everyone to try this recipe !

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