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+ servings
easy chicken tenders breaded and fried
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4.68 from 88 votes

Homemade Chicken Tenders

Best Chicken Tenders recipe for tender, juicy & flavorful chicken. Two simple tips to take your chicken strips from good to great! Shows how to make chicken tenders from scratch!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time28 minutes
Course: Appetizer, chicken, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken tenders
Servings: 6
Calories: 216kcal


  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced boneless, skinless

Quick Marinade

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Crispy Chicken Tender Coating

  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup regular breadcrumbs or Italian
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shortening or oil for frying (omit if baking)


  • To cut chicken into strips: To get a more tender strip, you need to cut against the grain of the chicken. Don't just cut the chicken any way you like- notice where the grain lines are and be sure to cut opposite them. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and set aside.
  • Next, combine milk, lemon juice and sugar in a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup. Whisk in the cornstarch.
  • Add in the hot sauce (feel free to add more if you'd like!) and the pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Pour marinade in the ziplock with the chicken and gently shake until chicken is coated. Place bag in the fridge and let marinate for at least 20 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour.
  • Heat about 2 cups of oil to 365 degrees in a frying pan. Frying the chicken in Crisco (plain shortening) yields the crispiest tenders!
  • While the oil is heating, combine all ingredients for the coating in a shallow bowl. Remove chicken pieces from bag a few at a time and thoroughly coat them in the breadcrumb mixture. I like to place them in the breadcrumbs, then spoon some on the top of the chicken, then press the chicken down- then flip and repeat the process. Repeat until all chicken is coated.
  • Once oil is hot, fry chicken pieces for anywhere from 2-4 minutes per side, depending on how big they are. The small pieces cook quickly! If you're unsure if the chicken is done, use a meat thermometer. It should register 165 degrees F.
  • Remove cooked chicken and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until all chicken is cooked. Serve hot, with Homemade Fry Sauce!

To Bake Chicken Strips

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and arrange chicken tenders. Cook 12-15 minutes, until tenders register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. (Cooking time varies depending on the size of your chicken tenders! Pay attention and check often as to not overcook them!)
  • Note that my recommendation is to fry these tenders (the photos are of fried tenders), but if you opt to bake them, they will look different as you're not submerging them in oil. To add a little moisture, spray the tenders with a little olive oil prior to baking, after you bread them. It's a lot less oil than frying!



Homemade Fry Sauce recipe: 1/4 cup mayo, 2 TBSP ketchup, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, dash of Worcestershire sauce & a couple dashes of salt & pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Serve alongside Homemade Chicken Strips or french fries. Or chicken AND french fries- even better!
Store chicken tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Tenders can be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 740mg | Potassium: 387mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1.5mg