These Crispy Chicken Tenders are hand-breaded with the perfect blend of spices and made with a secret ingredient then fried until golden brown! Learn the secret in how to make chicken tenders like the Restaurants!

crispy chicken tenders with a golden BBQ mustard sauce as a dipping sauce

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I love recreating American Restaurant Favorites and these chicken tenders are another successful recreation! Try our TGI Friday’s Sizzling Chicken and Cheese or Olive Garden’s Chicken Piccata! We love chicken recipes and these are super flavorful!

The Best Chicken Tenders Recipe

I found out the secret to commercial making breaded chicken! These are hand-breaded and not processed but I carefully watched how chicken tenders were made in a chicken facility and the recipe development began! No Msg, buttermilk, or even a deep fryer machine! It’s all made from scratch and tastes like the boneless chicken wings a wing Restaurant makes near me! The fast-food craving will easily be satisfied with this homemade fried chicken recipe! Make this chicken breading for skinless chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or any chicken cuts! This has the perfect blend of spices and tastes like the frozen pre-made bag of crispy chicken strips you’d pick up at the grocery store! Are you in for a real treat!

Get the recipe for my Boneless Chicken Wings with Golden BBQ Sauce here.

crispy fried chicken tenders hand breaded and coated in a Golden BBQ sauce

So what’s the secret ingredient to Crispy Fried Tenders? 

Cornstarch is the secret to the crispiest fried chicken! The Asian cuisine uses it for a Tempura batter and there is a reason behind it! The chicken tenderloins at the facility were made with a 3-step technique. The conveyors would bread the chicken first, then run them through a slurry shower (looked like a cornstarch slurry) and then breaded again. So that’s exactly what I did. But since I used chicken breasts I quickly marinated the chicken strips in a baking soda solution that tenderizes the meat in as quick as 10 minutes!

Although cornstarch seemed like the real deal, eggs came into play because the breading wasn’t fluffy enough. Eggs gave fluffiness to the rather dull cornstarch breading and it’s no wonder because my Chinese Chicken Fingers recipe used eggs with the dry breading too!

As of a result, the addition of brown sugar amazed me! That’s what I’ve been missing out on! It’s the ingredient that gives the frozen breaded chicken tenders it’s signature taste without the msg! It’s by far the most flavorful fried chicken that I’ve made and tastes like Breaded Tyson chicken if not better! KFC lovers you have to try these Chicken Strips! And there completely homemade!

hand-breaded fried crispy chicken strips


How to make Crispy Chicken Tenders:


Crispy Chicken Tenders

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24 chicken tenders
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
These Crispy Chicken Tenders are hand-breaded with the perfect blend of spices and made with a secret ingredient then fried until golden brown! Learn the secret in how to make chicken tenders like the Restaurants!


  • pot or dutch oven


Crispy Chicken Tenders:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 2/3 Soybean oil for frying


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Wet Batter:

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs


How to Make Crispy Chicken Tenders:

  • dry homemade breading for fried chicken and a bowl of wet batter for fried chicken strips being dredged and dipped in both before frying
    Cut each chicken breast into 4-6 strips. Prepare the breading and batter into two separate bowls.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the breading then into the wet batter and then into the breading again. Shake off excess flour and repeat with the other chicken pieces.
  • homemade crispy chicken being fried in a large pot with soybean oil
    In a large pot or dutch oven heat oil to 350°F. Fry chicken in small batches for 6 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!


Notes: can use canola or vegetable oil. 
  • Quick-Meat Tenderizer: let chicken strips sit in 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 Tbsp of white vinegar for 10 minutes. Then rinse and pat dry to proceed with the recipe. 
  • Coat Chicken in your favorite wing sauce!
  • To Make-Ahead: Keep tenders warm in a 250°F until serving for chicken wings to stay crispy. Toss with the wing sauce before serving if desired.
  • If your breading looks flat give it another dip in the slurry and flour.
  • Add a tablespoon of hot sauce to the cornstarch slurry for extra flavor.

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1chicken tenderCalories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 9gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 439mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 96IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg


Can I use Buttermilk?

Buttermilk works as a meat tenderizer due to its sour creamy culture. I skipped the use of buttermilk for this crispy chicken and used baking soda and vinegar (sour) for an even quicker meat tenderizer. Marinating the chicken tenders in baking soda takes as quick as 10 minutes to work whereas soaking chicken in buttermilk takes at least 20+ minutes resulting in a longer soaking period in order to work.

You can omit the cornstarch slurry for the buttermilk if you wish, but cornstarch improves the crispiness of the chicken.

What are the KFC spices used for the Crispy Chicken Strips?

KFC is known for its delicious fried chicken and the spices make all the difference in a good fried chicken recipe! Here is KFC’s full ingredient and nutrition guide for everything you want to know about your fried chicken ingredients! Just remember the spices are kept confidential so very few people know the exact spices.

How do you make KFC Chicken?

Apparently, all KFC Restaurants hand-bread their chicken. The chicken comes to the location and so does the pre-packaged secret flour blend. So, all the employees have to do is wet, dredge, and pat the flour mixture into the chicken, before it gets pressure-cooked in oil.

However, according to the KFC ingredient list, the chicken is injected with a water and salt solution and then breaded with flour, salt, spices, msg, Leavening, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids.

How to season Fried Chicken?

According to KFC ingredients for chicken breast strips, the most common spices found are rice starch, onion powder, dehydrated chicken broth, leavening. Breading: flour, salt, spices, msg, leavening, garlic powder, hydrogenated soybean, and cottonseed oil, corn starch, extractives of Turmeric, and Extractives of Annatto.

To season crispy chicken tenders use spices like onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, or even chicken bullion powder. Those are the most common spices used for breaded chicken. Feel free to add a pinch of Turmeric.

Dipping Sauces for Chicken Tenders?

  • ketchup
  • honey mustard
  • Golden BBQ Sauce
  • ranch
  • blue cheese
  • buffalo sauce
  • Chick-Fil-A Sauce

Wing Sauces to Coat Boneless Chicken Wings?

Crispy Chicken Tenders and Boneless Chicken Wings are the same things! Here are some sauces you can coat your chicken for finger-licking’ good chicken strips!

  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Golden BBQ Sauce
  • Honey BBQ
  • Chick-Fil-A Sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Honey Mustard
  • Jamaican Jerk
  • Sweet Onion BBQ
  • Hot Garlic
  • Chipotle BBQ
  • Sweet Chili
  • Srirachayaki
  • Mango Habanero


What does Cornstarch do in Breading?

Cornstarch improves the crispiness of Breaded or battered chicken. Asian cuisine uses it for many of their deep-fried recipes too!

How do you make Oven Baked Chicken Tenders?

This recipe is intended for frying in oil due to the use of cornstarch and flour. If you wish to make oven-baked Chicken Tenderloins check out this version by Spend with Pennies. It’s made with a mixture of cornflake crumbs and panko crumbs, although regular bread crumbs could work too.

What oil is KFC Chicken Fried in?

KFC uses partially hydrogenated soybean oil to fry their chicken strips.


hand breaded fried crispy chicken tenders


  1. Toss crispy fried chicken tenders in your favorite wing sauce!
  2. Keep tenders warm in a 250°F until serving for chicken tenders to stay crispy.
  3. If your breading looks flat give it another dip in the slurry and flour.
  4. Add a tablespoon of hot sauce to the cornstarch slurry for extra Southern Flavors to the chicken strips.
  5. To get the perfect crackly and wrinkly chicken skin the chicken strips should look sticky and kind of wet before frying.



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4.93 from 13 votes

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    • Lana

    So crispy and flavorful chicken recipe. Good with honey mustard sauce. Thank you!

    • Carolina Parker

    It was easy and I added one cup of seasoned panko bread crumbs to your recipe and it was great. Thank you Carolina

    • Dee

    This was an awesome recipe. The only reason i gave it 4 stars is because it was kind of bland when i followed the recipe exactly. You will need to adjust this to your taste. I added more of everything especially salt and some creole seasoning and oregano. But the technique worked perfectly. My tenders were crispy juicy and tender. Definitely use a thermometer if you can to make sure your oil is hot enough and let it recover between batches.

    • Darla

    Delish recipe, our go to when we want tenders.

    • Abbey Hartman

    Can I use vegetable oil to fry?

      • Alyona Demyanchuk


    • Gary Sutton

    Tried it today. Was delicious. Followed the directions….easy/

    • Sarah morales

    Delicious and so crispy!!!!

    • Ronnie

    Delicious and I love the texture 😀

    • Cynthia Brewer

    I just made these (still munching now-lol) and they are absolutely the BEST chicken fingers I’ve ever made!!!! So crunchy, so juicy, so tender…….if loving that is wrong, I don’t want to be right!!
    Thanks for the cornstarch tip- that’s the secret ingredient that makes the crunch- and I’m finding this out after I’ve been cooking 50 years!?!?! You’ve taught this old dog a new trick!! Take care😊

    • Charlene

    Tried this recipe last night, and these chicken tenders were outstanding!! My grandson said this was the best crispy chicken tenders that he has ever eaten😊

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      That’s wonderful, Charlene! You have yet to try our Popeyes Chicken too!

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