Super Crispy Chicken Tenders

Crispy Chicken Tenders marinaded in buttermilk then fried (or oven baked!) golden brown are juicy and flavorful with southern seasonings.

We love recreating fun family favorite American restaurant meals at home and these tenders are great served with Cole Slaw, Baked Beans my famous Baked Mac and Cheese and Macaroni Salad.

crispy chicken tenders
 The Best Ever Chicken Tender Recipe

I literally cracked a secret code in making chicken tenders crispy, juicy and flavorful. These Homemade Chicken Tenders are soaked in buttermilk and fried crisp are super flavorful, moist and extra crispy on the outside. Plus with spices like the kinds you’d get at KFC they are perfect for replacing fast food cravings and even game day parties. Plus I have directions for an oven baked version too, so there can be no feeling guilty about indulging in this awesome chicken fingers recipe.

The addition of the KFC spices that I use in my potato wedges recipe takes these chicken fingers over the top. KFC always said their chicken was finger licking good, you will want to because this chicken, like my Ultimate Fried Chicken Recipe (oooh, or my Oven Fried Chicken) is that good.

They’re golden brown fried chicken tenders made with either chicken breasts (make sure you use skinless chicken breasts) that you can slice into thinner chicken strips or you can use chicken tenderloin pieces and skip an extra step in the preparation.

If you’re using a chicken breast you will cut it along it’s long side to make chicken strips the right length for these chicken tenders. If you cut the chicken strips the shorter way they’ll be about 2-3 inches long and be closer to the size of an average fish stick.

Want some different seasoning ideas for next time?

  • Italian Chicken Tenders: Swap out the paprika for grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Cajun Chicken Tenders: Add 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning and double the garlic powder.

How to keep Chicken Tenders Crispy once fried:

Once fried you can keep the chicken tenders crispy on a baking sheet or a cookie sheet in a low oven at 250 degrees while you finish frying the remaining chicken tenders or keep them warm until your even starts.

The low temperature will ensure the chicken fingers stay juicy too, it isn’t hot enough to dry them out unless you leave them in there for hours. Do not cover the chicken though as it will create steam which will ruin the texture of the crispy chicken.

With the big game coming up we are looking for fun finger foods and chicken tenders are the perfect finger food. If you’re looking for more game day food look no further!

Game Day Recipes:

chicken tenders platter

Dipping Sauces for Chicken Tenders

Why Marinate in Buttermilk?

The buttermilk acts as a tenderizer which makes the chicken juicy. Even just a half an hour soak will help with flavor and it also acts as a binding agent for the first coat of seasoned flour.

Even if the chicken tenders are going to be oven baked they should still be marinaded in buttermilk before baking.

Panko Breadcrumbs and Regular Breadcrumbs

If you would like to use panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs in this recipe to add more of a texture or crunch, like in a tempura recipe, you will have to reduce the flour to make up for the additional coating. Using breadcrumbs also allows you to bake this recipe instead of frying it (see baked chicken tenders recipe below).

If you fry the recipe with the use of the panko be aware the fat content (and saturated fat) of the recipe may be slightly higher as breadcrumbs tend to absorb more total fat than a flour based coating.  Serve this meal up with some roasted vegetables for some additional dietary fiber to make up for it! 😉

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders (Healthy Chicken Tenders)

  • After the buttermilk marinade add the spices to panko crumbs or breadcrumbs instead of flour.
  • Dredge the chicken from the buttermilk into the breadcrumbs then add to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  • Brush with just 2 tablespoons of melted butter or spray with cooking spray (melted butter will give better flavor).
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Looking for some more fun fried chicken and sides?

Tools Used In This Recipe:
Deep Fryer: Easy for keeping temperature on point and kind of fun to use!
Accent Seasoning: The x factor in the original KFC copycat recipe (use 1/2 teaspoon) (this is MSG, so use at your discretion).

Chicken Fingers

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Chicken Tenders
4.92 from 37 votes

Super Crispy Chicken Tenders

Super Crispy Chicken Tenders made with a buttermilk marinade that makes them really tender and the crispiest crust with KFC flavored spices.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Super Crispy Chicken Tenders
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 138 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 chicken breasts boneless skinless
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • canola oil for frying


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into four tenders each and soak them in a bowl with the buttermilk and hot sauce for 30 minutes.

  2. Add the eggs to one bowl and the flour and spices to a second bowl.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken from the buttermilk bowl to the flour mixture.
  4. Dip it into the eggs then back into the flour mixture.
  5. Shake excess flour gently off and put the chicken onto a baking sheet.
  6. Repeat with all the pieces.
  7. Heat the oil (three inches deep) in a dutch oven on medium high heat to 350 degrees.
  8. Fry the chicken in small batches for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutrition Facts
Super Crispy Chicken Tenders
Amount Per Serving
Calories 138 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 459mg20%
Potassium 256mg7%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 80IU2%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Super Crispy Chicken Tenders

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Made this for the fam and they tore into them like they hadn’t ate in months. A good and easy recipe. Thumbs up to Dinner for Dessert

    1. Let’s troubleshoot. Were you measuring the temperature of the oil? Was there enough oil in the pot? Usually if it blackens too quickly your oil is running too hot. Would love to help out, this is a family favorite recipe we use often.

  2. I made these last night. It was kind of bland tasting and the batter was not crunchy, except for the edges. The batter did stay on the chicken well, but it was just kind of soft, not the crunchy recipe I’m looking for.

  3. Great recipe, easy to make and very tasty! I grabbed vindaloo spice instead of the paprika by mistake lol!! It still tasted great tho! 🙂

  4. Super easy to make and tastes sooo good. This was my first attempt at making fried chicken. I bought a new deep frier and wanted to try it out.

  5. Part of the breast is the tenderloin. You can buy a pack of all tenderloins in the chicken section of the meat dept fresh!

  6. Constantly making this! The chicken is so flavorful I haven’t bought fried chicken since discovering this recipe. Thank you very much for sharing !

  7. Sounds like a great easy recipe. One question..what kind of hot sauce do you recommend ? Tabasco? Tapatio? Thanks sop much!??

  8. I love this recipe so much! I used my air fryer, and it was very successful. 380 for 10 minutes, flip the pieces, then cook for 10 minutes longer. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  9. Seen this recipe just after I had cooked mine and seen yours is exactly the way I cook mine. Nut while family love them. There are never any left. The only difference is I do use the Panko. It gives that extra crispy everyone loves. And the buttermilk makes all the difference in the world and didn’t know this til just recently. But grateful I did. But I didn’t know you could add lemon juice 96th vinegar to regular milk to get the same result. Thanks for that tip. But just wanted to say I was glad to see the same recipe already in writing that I use. Only difference is I use different spicies. But Its all just a matter of taste of the person that is making them and who they are making them for. So everyone out there. Use whatever spicies you want. Just make sure you marinate in buttermilk. Then go into the floor then the egg. Then into the panko. They’ll come out great every single time. And make sure your oil is good and hot before you out in the chicken. I always get alit’l water on my finger and fling it into the oil. If it pops. Its ready to go. Happy cooking everyone.

  10. Remember everyone who reads this. To let your chicken sit in the fridge for at least 15-20 mins. Before frying or baking. This will give the chicken a chance to bind with the breading.

    Follow this formula and you will succeed every time.

    Marinate chicken for 3 hrs in buttermilk/ or cream. Make sure to season the mixture.
    Then when ready to try. Mix eggs with cream until perfectly blended. Then follow this step below:

    From the marinade into all purpose flour with seasoning…

    Then into the egg wash

    Then into the final coating be it flour or bread crumb.

    Let the costed chicken sit for 15 minutes in the fridge without touching it.

    Then Cook


    1. I never thought abt letting out sit so the seasonings could bind. Thanks for the tip. I’ll be trying that the next time. But I kinda disagree abt adding cream to my eggs. Cuz I want the gooeyness of the eggs cuz it makes the panko or flour stick so much better. Its really more of a quick dunk than actually submerging. But everything else you said makes alot of sense. So I’m gonna try it. Thanks so much.

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