How to Make Chicken Tenders

Jun 30, 2011 10:31 am

The 5-step process to chicken tenders perfection

Homemade chicken tenders
Photo: Mark Shaw
If you want real comfort food, make these easy chicken tenders at home.

You have to feel at least a little weird when you polish off that box of frozen breaded chicken, either in strip or nugget form, especially if you've ever seen this photo of what they look like before they're "assembled." It's what you feed kids out of desperation when they won't eat anything else. You're not a cranky toddler, are you?  

Instead, get your chicken fix the faster, healthier way. Make a big batch of chicken tenders at home (they reheat nicely in the oven), dip them in grown-up ketchup or chipotle mayo or Dijon mustard, and put the debate about what you're actually eating to rest. Why the buttermilk? It's the easiest trick in the book: The acid tenderizes the chicken and adds that rich fried chicken flavor folks have been raving about for some time now.  

Servings: 4


Chicken tenders
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch-thick strips
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Cooking spray
  1. Stir salt and pepper into buttermilk and add chicken strips, making sure they're all submerged. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Drain chicken strips and roll in breadcrumbs, making sure to thoroughly coat each one.
  4. Arrange, with space in between, on a baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until golden brown and crispy.
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
20 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking Time: 
25 minutes
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