Looking for a quick and easy dinner that’s sure to please everyone at the table? Try this homemade crispy and juicy chicken tenders recipe! These tender and flavorful chicken strips are perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce or pairing with your favorite side dishes. And the best part is, they’re super easy to make at home. With just a few simple ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, you can have a delicious and satisfying meal on the table in no time. So, grab your apron and get ready to cook up a storm!
The History of Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are a popular food item that have been enjoyed for many years. While the origins of chicken tenders are somewhat unclear, they are believed to have originated in the United States in the 1950s or 1960s. Chicken tenders were likely created as a way to use up leftover chicken meat, and they quickly gained popularity due to their unique flavor and texture.
The Rise of Chicken Tenders
The popularity of chicken tenders continued to grow throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as more and more fast food chains began to offer them as a menu item. In fact, chicken tenders remain a popular item at fast food chains today, and are often served with a variety of dipping sauces to enhance their flavor.
- Todayâ€™s Chicken Tenders
Today, chicken tenders are enjoyed by people all over the world. They are often prepared in a variety of ways, and can be seasoned with a wide range of spices and herbs. Some people enjoy their chicken tenders deep-fried, while others prefer them grilled or baked. Regardless of the cooking method, chicken tenders remain a beloved food item that are enjoyed by people of all ages.
The Best Cuts of Chicken to Use for Tenders
Chicken tenders are one of the most popular dishes that many people love, and with good reason. They are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, making them a perfect meal for any occasion. However, it is important to use the right cuts of chicken to get the best taste and texture. Here are some of the best cuts of chicken to use for tenders:
Breast tenderloins are the most common cut of chicken used for tenders. These are small, thin pieces of meat that are removed from the underside of chicken breasts. They are lean and flavorful, making them a great choice for making crispy and juicy chicken tenders.
Thighs are another great cut of chicken to use for tenders. They are darker and have more fat than breast tenderloins, which means they have a richer flavor. Thighs are also more forgiving when it comes to cooking, so they are less likely to become dry and tough. You can use boneless or bone-in thighs, depending on your preference.
Drumsticks are a popular choice for making chicken tenders because they are easy to handle and have a built-in handle (the bone). They are also less expensive than other cuts of chicken, which makes them a great option if you are on a budget. Drumsticks have a good amount of fat and collagen, making them perfect for creating juicy and tender chicken tenders.
The Science Behind Juicy and Crispy Chicken Tenders
Ever wondered why some chicken tenders turn out perfect while others are dry and tough? The secret lies in the science behind achieving the perfect balance of crispy and juicy chicken tenders. Here’s how you can achieve it:
The Importance of Brining
Have you ever noticed how fast-food chicken tenders have that perfect juicy and tender texture? That’s because they undergo the process of brining before cooking. Brining is the process of soaking raw chicken in saltwater solution for a few hours, which allows the chicken to absorb the flavorful liquid and lock in moisture. It also tenderizes the meat and helps prevent it from drying out while cooking.
- The optimal brine ratio is 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 cup of water.
- Brining time depends on the size and thickness of the chicken tenders. For best results, brine them for at least 2 hours, but no more than 4 hours.
- Make sure to rinse the chicken thoroughly after brining to remove excess salt and avoid making your dish salty.
The Power of Cornstarch
When it comes to achieving crispy chicken tenders, the addition of cornstarch to the breading mix is crucial. Cornstarch helps create a crispy and light outer coating by absorbing moisture and preventing the breading from getting too heavy. It also helps the breading adhere better to the chicken, resulting in a perfect crispy texture.
- When preparing the breading mix, mix equal parts of cornstarch and all-purpose flour.
- Adding spices like paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to the breading mix adds flavor and enhances the crispy texture.
The Secret to Frying
The final step in achieving the perfect chicken tenders is frying them to perfection. The key is to fry them at the right temperature and for the right amount of time. Frying chicken tenders at a high temperature will result in a crispy exterior but dry and undercooked interior. On the other hand, frying them at a low temperature will result in a greasy and soggy texture.
|3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown
Remember to let the fried chicken tenders rest for a few minutes on a wire rack after frying to allow excess oil to drain off and achieve maximum crispiness.
Health Benefits of Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are not only a popular dish but also a healthy option for those aiming to maintain weight or reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. They have a delicate flavor and are easy to digest, making them perfect for a light meal or a snack between meals.
Chicken tenders are an excellent source of protein, an essential macronutrient that is needed for the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. A single serving of chicken tenders (100 grams) provides approximately 30 grams of protein, which is equivalent to the same amount of protein found in a cup of lentils. Besides containing protein, chicken tenders are also rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health:
- Vitamin B6: required for many bodily functions such as protein metabolism, red blood cell formation, and neurotransmitter synthesis.
- Niacin: helps regulate metabolism, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Phosphorus: important for strong bones and teeth, and is necessary for the formation of ATP, a molecule that stores and releases energy needed for cellular functions.
- Selenium: an antioxidant mineral that protects cells from oxidative damage, helps regulate thyroid function, and boosts the immune system.
Fitting Chicken Tenders into a Healthy Diet
Chicken tenders can be included in a healthy diet in different ways, depending on individual dietary preferences and meal plans. Baked or grilled chicken tenders can be added to salads, wraps, or sandwiches, providing a satisfying meal that is low in calories and high in nutrients. For those who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet, chicken tenders can be breaded with almond flour or coconut flour instead of breadcrumbs, and served with a side of steamed vegetables or roasted sweet potatoes.
Tip: It is important to choose high-quality chicken tenders that are free from antibiotics and hormones, and come from sources that follow sustainable and ethical farming practices.
Pairing Sides with Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders make for a quick and easy meal that’s always a crowd-pleaser. However, to take your chicken tenders to the next level, it’s important to pair them with sides that complement their flavor and texture. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best sides to serve with your crispy and juicy chicken tenders, and how to create a balanced and satisfying meal.
1. French Fries
No juicy chicken tender is complete without a side of crispy, golden french fries. Whether you opt for sweet potato fries, curly fries, or classic shoe-string fries, this starchy side dish is sure to satisfy your cravings. For an added burst of flavor, sprinkle your fries with garlic powder, paprika, or parmesan cheese.
The creamy, tangy crunch of coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to crispy chicken tenders. A traditional coleslaw is made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and onion, mixed with a dressing of mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. For a healthier twist, try swapping out the mayo for Greek yogurt or a vinaigrette dressing.
3. Mac and Cheese
If you’re craving some comfort food, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of gooey mac and cheese to pair with your chicken tenders. You can make your mac and cheese from scratch with a blend of cheeses, milk, and pasta, or opt for a boxed mix for an easy shortcut. For an extra burst of flavor, try adding bacon, jalapenos, or breadcrumbs.
4. Baked Beans
If you’re looking for a warm, savory side dish to pair with your chicken tenders, baked beans are a fantastic choice. Slow-cooked with bacon, molasses, and spices, baked beans are a flavorful and filling accompaniment to any meal. For a healthier version, try making your baked beans from scratch with navy beans, tomato sauce, and maple syrup.
5. Steamed Vegetables
If you’re looking for a lighter side dish to pair with your chicken tenders, steamed vegetables are a great choice. Broccoli, carrots, and green beans are all great options that are packed with nutrients and fiber. You can steam your veggies on the stovetop with a steamer basket, or in the microwave with a little water and some plastic wrap.
By pairing your chicken tenders with a variety of sides, you can create a balanced and satisfying meal that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Whether you prefer classic sides like french fries and coleslaw, or want to mix it up with mac and cheese or steamed veggies, the possibilities are endless!
Creative Chicken Tender Recipes
If you’re tired of the same old chicken tenders, it’s time to try something new! Here are some creative recipes that will give a fun twist to your classic chicken tender dish.
1. Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tenders
If you like a little heat with your sweet, this recipe is for you. Combine honey, soy sauce, sriracha, and garlic to make a marinade for the chicken tenders. Grill or bake the tenders until crispy and coated in a delicious glaze.
2. Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Upgrade your chicken tenders to a gourmet level with this recipe that uses parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Coat the chicken in a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning before baking to a crispy golden brown.
3. Buffalo Chicken Tenders
This classic recipe is a crowd-pleaser. Dip your chicken tenders in a mixture of cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and flour. Fry until golden brown and toss in your favorite buffalo sauce. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
4. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders
Take your chicken tenders to the next level by wrapping them in bacon. Season your chicken tenders with salt, pepper, and garlic before wrapping them in bacon. Grill or bake to a juicy and flavorful finish.
5. Pesto Chicken Tenders
Add some Italian flair to your chicken tenders with this pesto recipe. Spread a mixture of basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil over your chicken tenders before grilling or baking. This dish is perfect for a summer barbecue.
6. Teriyaki Chicken Tenders
If you’re craving some Asian-inspired flavor, try this teriyaki chicken tender recipe. Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic to make a flavorful marinade for your chicken tenders. Bake or grill the tenders until caramelized and coated in a delicious glaze.
Enjoy Your Crispy and Juicy Chicken Tenders!
Thank you for taking the time to read our recipe on how to make delicious crispy and juicy chicken tenders. We hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as we do! Don’t forget to bookmark our page and come back soon for more mouth-watering recipes.
Crispy and Juicy Chicken Tenders Recipe
Learn how to make crispy and juicy chicken tenders that are perfect for a quick and easy meal or snack! This recipe is easy to follow and will show you how to get the perfect coating every time.
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 400Â°F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Dip each chicken tender first in the buttermilk, then in the flour mixture. Make sure each tender is fully coated.
- Place the coated chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the chicken tenders for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with your choice of dipping sauce.