Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, crispy chicken tenders are full of flavor and texture. One bite of these and you’ll never want restaurant chicken nuggets again.
Let me guess, you only eat chicken nuggets from that famous fast food restaurant with the brightly colored arches, and you wouldn’t dare get them anywhere else because those are your favorite. No worries! I get it. We all have our “must haves” and favorites, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
When my son, Kale, was little, he too loved the cute little kid’s meal that comes in a box with a “special” toy. He used to ask me to stop for chicken nuggets several times a week. I hate to admit it, but I gave in. A LOT. I was a working mom, and it was usually late by the time we got home. A quick stop for dinner was often part of the routine.
Fast forward a couple of years. When Kale was six, we moved to a suburb of Miami that only had one fast food restaurant. That’s right! Only one. Don’t get me wrong, there was no shortage of restaurants and we went to our share, but fast food became a distant memory. Guess what that meant? No more famous restaurant with the brightly colored arches.
I wasn’t horribly disappointed that fast food was no longer an option. I knew it wasn’t good for us. Eventually, Kale quit asking for his beloved chicken nuggets, and life went on.
Sometime later, after my cooking skills began to evolve, I was in the kitchen watching John make fried chicken. It was one of his favorites but not something he made very often. I decided to watch, so I could make it for him the next time. What I didn’t tell him was, I was going to change his method and recipe. I noticed he struggled to keep the outside of the chicken crispy, and I thought I might have a solution.
After a couple of attempts, I had my recipe down to a science. John and Kale both say it’s the best chicken they’ve ever had. I’m sure they’d eat it several times a week if I made it that often, but for now, I only make these crispy chicken tenders every couple of months.
I like to use a dry, wet, dry method in this recipe. It helps to lock in moisture and keeps the chicken tender. Many recipes use corn flake cereal or butter flavored crackers to add crisp and crunch to the outside of the chicken, but mine uses saltine crackers. The tenders brown nicely, and crackers add the right amount of crunch.
If you make Crispy Chicken Tenders, I’d love to know how they turn out. Please leave a comment with your experience. 🙂
- 1 pound chicken tenders cut into bite-sized pieces
- Canola oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned salt (to taste)
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 package saltine crackers (crushed into small pieces)
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Season chicken generously with salt and black pepper.
Pour cooking oil into a deep skillet leaving about 2 inches from the top of the skillet for the oil to expand. Heat on medium-high heat.
Combine flour and seasoned salt in a medium bowl.
Beat eggs, hot sauce and milk in a medium bowl until combined.
Combine crushed saltine crackers and flour in medium bowl.
One at a time, place a piece of chicken in the first dry mix, making sure it is evenly coated. Shake off excess flour.
Dip in wet mix and allow excess to drip off.
Place in the second dry mix and thoroughly cover with cracker mixture. Press gently to ensure crackers stick.
Carefully place chicken in hot oil.
Cook for 5-6 minutes. Use tongs to turn chicken and cook the other side for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Place cooked chicken on paper towels to cool.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.