Homemade chicken strips. When it comes to this type of quick weeknight dinner, we’re all about respecting the yum factor. This recipe does exactly that.
What is a Chicken Tender, Anyway?
Sorta like a beef or pork tenderloin, chicken tenders are the little strip of meat that you’ll sometimes find still attached to the underside of a breast. Sometimes, you’ll find them sold as “stir-fry strips”.
You can also remove them anytime you have boneless breasts and freeze until you have enough for a chicken finger feast.
Homemade Chicken Strips
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4 to 6
Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
Pour enough olive oil into a large heavy skillet to reach a depth of 1/2 inch. Place over medium heat until the oil registers 325°F (163°C) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place it alongside the stove.
Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Pour the buttermilk into a separate shallow bowl.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Working with half the strips at a time, dip them first in the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off, and then dredge them in the flour mixture, turning to coat all sides. (You want to stir the flour mixture often in between strips to keep the bread crumbs from settling to the bottom of the bowl.)
Carefully place a few chicken strips in the hot oil and cook, turning often, until the coating is golden brown, the juices run clear, and the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. It may be necessary to adjust the heat during frying to maintain an oil temperature of between 315°F to 325°F (157°C to 163°C). Be certain to return the temperature to 325°F (163°C) in between batches. Place the cooked strips on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Serve the chicken strips with ketchup or barbecue sauce, if desired, on the side for dipping. Originally published September 23, 2015.
- Even Healthier Homemade Chicken Strips
To sneak a little more nutrition into these homemade chicken strips, you can replace the all-purpose flour and bread crumbs with 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole-wheat flour, and 3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds.
Recipe Testers' Tips
This is my new go-to chicken strips recipe, thanks in part to my kids' "these are yummy" statements. Fast and easy input, very tasty and tender output. It took less than 5 minutes to pull together all the ingredients, but because the chicken was cooked in batches, the full cooking time was 15 minutes. About 6 minutes was sufficient time to cook each batch.
I'll admit that when my kids were little (more than 20 years ago) and my husband and I were going out on a Saturday night, I reached for Perdue chicken nuggets for their dinner. If I had this recipe then, I would have been (nutritionally-speaking) a much better mother. These chicken strips are delicious, and they’re a breeze to prepare. I used prepared chicken tenders, and I followed the basic recipe. I was a little nervous about the olive oil for frying since I only had extra-virgin, but the oil didn’t burn. To be honest, I didn't take the temperature of the oil. I just let it heat up until it was shimmering, and then put in the chicken. The cooking time was 8 to 10 minutes. The strips were crisp and not at all greasy. I ate one cold the next day, and it wasn't even soggy.
These proved to be a good weeknight meal option. The batter was crisp and clung to the chicken well. Each piece took about 10 minutes to cook through and turn golden brown. The recipe did not state to salt the chicken while still hot out of the oil, but it should.