Crispy Chicken Tenders, boneless strips of fried chicken, are a beloved favorite for all ages, especially adored by kids! If you are looking for a quick and easy (and kid-friendly) meal, make sure to check out our Baked Ziti!

A serving tray filled with crispy chicken tenders


  • Buttermilk: Full-fat buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and helps the breading adhere.
  • Panko: These Japanese-style breadcrumbs create an extra crispy coating.
  • Oil: Vegetable or canola oil for frying.

Buttermilk Marinade

Marinating the chicken tenders in buttermilk is a crucial step that contributes significantly to the succulence and flavor of these Crispy Chicken Tenders. Buttermilk serves multiple purposes in this recipe. Firstly, its acidic nature helps to tenderize the chicken, breaking down its proteins and resulting in a more tender and juicy end product. This ensures that each bite of the chicken is moist and flavorful, even after frying. Secondly, buttermilk acts as a natural binder, helping the breading to adhere more effectively to the chicken strips. This creates a crispy and well-coated exterior that adds texture and enhances the overall eating experience.

Serving Suggestions

Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce such as buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, or BBQ sauce. These would be great with a side of air fryer french fries, or a lemon parmesan kale salad.

A plate of chicken tenders with dipping sauce.

Air Fryer Option

To make these crispy chicken tenders in the air fryer, preheat it to 400°F and place the coated chicken tenders in the basket. Cook for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.

A serving tray filled with crispy chicken tenders

Chicken Tenders

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Crispy Chicken Tenders, boneless strips of fried chicken, are a beloved favorite for all ages, especially adored by kids!



  • 12 large chicken tenders
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups buttermilk


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cups cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups panko breading
  • oil, for frying


Marinating and Breading the Chicken:

  • Season chicken strips generously with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Ensure the chicken is fully submerged in buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for optimal flavor infusion, chilling for a minimum of 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
  • Before breading, allow the marinated chicken to reach room temperature. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  • In a spacious mixing bowl, blend together flour, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder to create the base coating.
  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs and water until well combined.
  • For the final coating, in another large bowl, combine a portion of the flour mixture with panko breadcrumbs, tossing to evenly distribute.
  • To bread the chicken, start by dredging each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally, the panko mixture. Place the coated chicken onto the prepared baking sheet.

Frying the Chicken:

  • Pour approximately 2 inches of oil into a large pot, ensuring it’s deep enough for frying.
  • Heat the oil over medium-low heat until it reaches 350°F, as indicated by a candy or deep-fry thermometer. To test readiness, drop a small amount of batter into the oil – it should sizzle upon contact.
  • In batches, carefully add 3-4 pieces of chicken to the hot oil, ensuring not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and achieves a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
  • Remove the fried chicken from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  • Repeat the frying process with the remaining chicken, maintaining the oil temperature for consistent results. Adjust heat as needed to keep the oil at the optimal frying temperature.
  • Serve your deliciously crispy chicken strips with your preferred dipping sauce and enjoy

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