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Fried Chicken Tenders

Whether you use a cast iron skillet or a deep-fat fryer, you can't beat the classic taste of crispy fried chicken tenders!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword buttermilk fried chicken tenders, fried chicken tenders, fried chicken tenders recipe, pan fried chicken tenders
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people (about 14 chicken tenders total)
Calories 447kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 2 lbs. chicken tenderloins
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep-fat frying (such as peanut oil or vegetable oil)


  • Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and garlic salt.
  • In a separate shallow bowl, combine the flour, ¾ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip the chicken in the egg mixture, and then dredge in the flour mixture. Let the chicken rest on a wire rack for a few minutes while you heat the oil.
  • In an electric skillet, cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer, heat about 2 inches of oil to 375°F. Fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden brown. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and season with a little more salt. Keep warm in a 200°F oven while you fry the remaining batches.


  • If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Never cover your warm fried chicken tenders with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your chicken soggy.
  • If you're using a meat thermometer to know when the chicken is done, the white meat tenders will be best at 165°F.
  • You don't need a thermometer to fry the chicken. Instead, when the oil is hot (but not smoking), add a drop of water to the pan -- if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough for the chicken. You want to maintain a fairly steady temperature as the chicken cooks, so don't overcrowd the pan with too many pieces at once (which will bring down the temperature). If the oil is really flying and it seems to be too hot, you can turn down the temperature slightly.
  • To ensure crispy fried chicken fingers, and to avoid soggy fried chicken, it's important to keep the temperature of your oil at a steady 375°F. That's why you don't want to overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many tenders at once. If the oil is too cool, the chicken will absorb the oil and have a soggy texture when done.
  • Season the warm chicken with a bit of extra salt as soon as it comes out of the oil.


Serving: 1/6 of the recipe | Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 642mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg