These Spicy Chicken Tenders are ridiculously delicious! Chicken strips marinated in buttermilk and hot sauce, then deep fried for extra crispiness. Need I say more?
I mean we could totally just leave it at that, but I guess you’re gonna need some sort of recipe right? Well, without further ado, let’s get straight into it…
Reading: how to make fried chicken buttermilk
These are perfect as a side dish, or even as just finger food with a dip. Heck – do we really need an excuse to whip up a batch of crispy tenders?!
Ideally you want actual chicken tenders. They are, as the name suggests, ever so slightly more tender than the breast itself. If you can’t get your hands on chicken tenders, you can dice up chicken breast into strips which works just as well!
The first step to getting juicy tenders is marinating them. Follow me…
Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
Like all good fried chicken recipes, these bad boys start with a buttermilk marinade. Buttermilk is great for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows you to easily coat the chicken with flour (unlike eggs which are far more likely to go clumpy). Secondly, it’s slightly acidic, meaning it penetrates and tenderises the chicken as it marinates. Because who doesn’t want tender chicken tenders?
I can’t find buttermilk, what can I substitute?
One sub you could use is yogurt (for acidity) thinned out with a little milk (to help texture for dredging). You could also add acidity to milk (white vinegar, lemon juice) and let it rest, then mix and use as a marinade.
Spicy Chicken Marinade
The marinade itself is really simple. You just need buttermilk, hot sauce, salt and white pepper.
How long to marinate for?
Ideally you’re looking for a minimum of 2 hours, with best results leaving over night. As long as you have time for though, even 30mins is better than no marinating!
Process shots: add buttermilk, hot sauce, salt & pepper to a bowl (photo 1), stir then add tenders (photo 2), combine then cover and marinate (photo 3).
Spicy Chicken Breading
Okay, so we’ve got a nice kick of spice from the hot sauce in the marinade, now let’s talk flour breading. The main heat here comes from cayenne pepper. Alongside onion & garlic powder and paprika, these tenders result in a gorgeous burst of flavour.
One of the key ingredients in the dredging mix is baking powder. When this hits the oil it causes a reaction, which in turn causes lots of tiny bubbles. This is what gives you that crispy, airy batter!
Process shots: Add flour and spices to a tray or bowl (photo 1), combine until fully blended (photo 2), add one chicken strip at a time (photo 3), fully coat, ensuring you cover every spec of the chicken (photo 4), rest on a wire rack until ready to deep fry (photo 5).
Deep Fried Chicken Tenders
Unfortunately/fortunately (which ever way you look at it) to get the true KFC style crispy chicken, it’s deep frying all the way.
Hey, nobody said these were healthy 😂
Best Oil to use?
You want an oil that a) has a neutral flavour and b) has a high smoking point. Vegetable and sunflower work great. Olive oil is NOT suitable.
What temp to fry at?
You want to get the oil to around 350F/175C. The temp is likely to drop when the chicken hits the oil, and that’s fine, just maintain the heat.
Serving Spicy Chicken Tenders
I usually serve these as finger food with a dip. My favourites are Blue Cheese Dip, BBQ Mayo and Garlic and Herb Dip – but do check out all my Delicious Dips for more inspo!
You could also make a meal out for them and serve them with Fries or Wedges!
If you’re looking for more Chicken Tenders recipes be sure to check out my Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders!
For more spicy chicken recipes head over to my Spicy Chicken Pasta and Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese!
Okay, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these Spicy Chicken Tenders recipe shall we!?
How to make Spicy Chicken Tenders (Full Recipe & Video)
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