Mini Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders have always been one of my favorite foods. So, of course, I had to figure out a good recipe for homemade ones. I use to think they’d be super hard to make. Fried foods in general use to scare me. Scorching hot oil, not cooking the chicken enough, burning the outside, a grease fire, ahhh the endless horrors. Thankfully, as with everything else, I’m realizing things aren’t that difficult once you are ok with possible failure and just try anyway. Chick-fila is right down the street for backup ๐Ÿ˜…. I continuously surprise myself with what I’m able to make and cooking whatever I want has becomes easier and easier, especially over these last couple of years. Wow, I know, deep for a post about chicken tenders. Let’s get out the meat! ๐Ÿ”

I’ve used chicken breasts before, but this time I chose chicken thighs. Honestly, they are both delicious, no preference here, but for this particular recipe, I got boneless thighs.

Start off by pounding out the chicken until they have an even thickness across.

Then, slice up into thin strips. The first time I made these I sliced up the chicken way too thick, but if you like big ol’ chunks, do your thing. I like small strips.

Next, marinate the chicken. Mix together buttermilk and spices, then pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag. Toss the strips in the bag, squeeze around the end of the bag to ensure every piece of the chicken is coated, then place in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Mix together dry breading ingredients in a large rimmed dish.

Slowly drizzle in the buttermilk into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork as you go. You are aiming for lots of small little clumps (this makes thick little crunchy tid bits on the outside of the chicken).

Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and begin breading the chicken. Use one hand to remove the chicken from the bag and plop it into the mixture, then use your other hand, take a handful of flour and completely cover the strip. Pat the chicken down, cupping your hand, making sure to cover every little nook and cranny on the chicken. Place on the lined sheet and repeat. Keep your hands designated for each part, one wet, one dry (this will cut down on the sticky mess that could occur).

While you are breading the chicken, warm up the oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F.

Gently place a few strip into the oil and let cook for a few minutes until it starts to turn a nice golden color on the bottom, then flip and let the other side cook until it is golden as well. Place strips on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips.

Crunchy flavorful breading outside, tender juicy inside. Dunk your little heart away into chicken bliss.

Mini Chicken Tenders

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crunchy flavorful breading outside, tender juicy inside. Dunk your little heart away into chicken bliss.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1.5-2lbs chicken thighs (breasts work well too)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Breading

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • buttermilk (around 3 tablespoons)

Frying

  • Peanut oil

Directions

  1. Start off by pounding out the chicken until they have an even thickness across.
  2. Then, slice up into thin strips. The first time I made these I sliced up the chicken way too thick, but if you like big ol’ chunks, do your thing. I like small strips.
  3. Next, marinate the chicken. Mix together buttermilk and spices, then pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag. Toss the strips in the bag, squeeze around the end of the bag to ensure every piece of the chicken is coated, then place in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, or overnight.
  4. Mix together dry breading ingredients in a large rimmed dish. Slowly drizzle in the buttermilk into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork as you go. You are aiming for lots of small little clumps (this makes thick little crunchy tid bits on the outside of the chicken).
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and begin breading the chicken. Use one hand to remove the chicken from the bag and plop it into the mixture, then use your other hand, take a handful of flour and completely cover the strip. Pat the chicken down, cupping your hand, making sure to cover every little nook and cranny on the chicken. Place on the lined sheet and repeat. Keep your hands designated for each part, one wet, one dry (this will cut down on the sticky mess that could occur).
  6. While you are breading the chicken, warm up the oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F.
  7. Gently place a few strip into the oil and let cook for a few minutes until it starts to turn a nice golden color on the bottom, then flip and let the other side cook until it is golden as well. Place strips on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips.
  8. Crunchy flavorful breading outside, tender juicy inside. Dunk your little heart away into chicken bliss.

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