If you’re a fried chicken lover, chicken fingers are probably one of your favorite meals. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, succulent and juicy on the inside, perfectly cooked chicken tenders are hard to resist. But mastering the art of cooking chicken fingers perfectly can be challenging. Whether you’re an experienced cook or not, this comprehensive guide will teach you how to prepare and cook finger-licking chicken tenders that will leave your taste buds begging for more.
Why Chicken Fingers are a Popular Dish
If you’re looking for something quick and easy to whip up for dinner or an appetizer for a party, chicken fingers are a no-brainer. Here are some reasons why chicken fingers are so popular:
Chicken fingers are incredibly easy to make. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flour, eggs, breadcrumbs, and oil for frying. You can also switch up the seasonings to cater to your taste buds. With just a few steps, you’ll have a tasty meal in no time.
With chicken being one of the most affordable forms of protein, chicken fingers are a budget-friendly option for many families. You can buy a pack of chicken breasts and easily turn them into a few meals or snacks. Furthermore, the other ingredients required to make chicken fingers are typically pantry staples, making this dish even more cost-effective.
Kids and adults alike love chicken fingers. They’re often served at sports bars, served as a meal at restaurants, and even served at weddings. Additionally, they’re perfect for serving at parties and get-togethers since they’re easy to eat and typically enjoyed by all.
Selection of Chicken Fingers
Chicken fingers are a popular dish among children and adults, but not all chicken fingers are created equal. When selecting chicken fingers to cook, it’s important to consider the quality of the chicken, the cut of the meat, and any added ingredients to ensure you are getting the best result possible.
Type of Chicken
The quality of the chicken used in making chicken fingers is crucial to the taste and texture of the final dish. Opt for organic or free-range chicken for a more tender and flavorful taste. Alternatively, if you are on a budget, regular chicken can be used, but be sure to read the label to ensure it is free from hormones and antibiotics.
Size and Cut
The size and cut of the chicken fingers are also important. Chicken tenders are the ideal cut for chicken fingers as they already have a great shape and size. Be cautious, as some stores label chicken breast strips as tenders. When making chicken fingers, it’s best to cut the strips evenly and not too thin, so they don’t dry out during cooking. A thickness of around half an inch is perfect.
Many chicken fingers on the market come pre-seasoned or breaded, but if you’re making them from scratch, it’s important to add some seasoning to amplify the flavor. Salt and pepper are great for basic seasoning, but you can also add herbs and spices like paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to create a more complex taste. For the breading, using panko instead of regular breadcrumbs provides a crispy crunch.
Prepping the Chicken Fingers
Before you start cooking chicken fingers, you need to prepare them properly to ensure the best flavors. Here’s everything you need to know to prep your chicken fingers perfectly.
The seasoning is the most crucial part of preparing chicken fingers. If you get it right, your chicken fingers will have a crispy exterior and delicious flavor. Begin by combining your preferred spices in a mixing bowl. Salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder are popular choices that work well together. Feel free to experiment with other spices that pique your curiosity.
Pour the seasoning over the chicken strips and mix them well. Remember to press the seasoning into the chicken with your fingers to help it stick. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or even better, marinate them overnight in the fridge.
Marinating chicken fingers is a crucial step to lock in the juices and infuse the flavor into the meat. Pick your marinade according to your taste buds. You can use lemon, soy sauce, Italian dressing, honey mustard sauce, or even beer as your marinade. All you need is a resealable bag and enough marinade to cover the chicken strips inside the bag. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours, turning the bag occasionally to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken fingers, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature before proceeding with the next step.
A crispy exterior will elevate your chicken fingers to a whole new level. To achieve this, you need to coat them well. Begin by preparing three shallow bowls- one with flour, the second with a beaten egg, and the third with breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken strips in the flour first, then into the egg, and finally coat them with breadcrumbs. Make sure they’re well coated with breadcrumbs to get a nice crispy texture.
Before frying the chicken, you can freeze them for a few minutes. Freezing them (if the recipe requires it) will help the coating adhere and stop the breading from falling apart during cooking.
Cooking the Chicken Fingers
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal that everyone in your family will enjoy, chicken fingers are a great option. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also relatively easy to cook. In this article, we’ll discuss the different cooking methods for chicken fingers, including pan-frying, deep-frying, oven-baking, grilling, and air-frying.
Pan-frying is one of the most popular methods for cooking chicken fingers. To pan-fry chicken fingers, you’ll need to heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken fingers and cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown and cooked through. You can serve them as soon as they’re cooked, or you can keep them warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve them.
If you’re looking for a crispy coating and juicy chicken inside, deep-frying is the method for you. To deep-fry chicken fingers, you’ll need to heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken fingers and cook them for 3-4 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and cooked through. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Oven-baking is an easy and healthy alternative to pan-frying or deep-frying. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken fingers on the baking sheet and bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and the coating is crispy and golden brown.
Grilling chicken fingers is a great way to add a smoky flavor. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates. Add the chicken fingers and grill them for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they’re cooked through and have grill marks. Serve them hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
If you own an air fryer, you can have crispy chicken fingers without all the oil. Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray the basket with cooking spray. Add the chicken fingers to the basket and air-fry them for 10-12 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Serve them hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Serving the Chicken Fingers
Chicken fingers are a classic crowd-pleaser and the perfect addition to any menu. But what’s the best way to serve them? Here are some tips and suggestions:
1. Pairing Sauces and Sides
Chicken fingers are delicious on their own, but they’re even better with different dipping sauces. Some classic sauces include honey mustard, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, and ketchup. You can also get creative and try different combinations like sweet chili sauce, garlic butter, or sriracha mayo.
When it comes to sides, think about what flavors would complement the chicken fingers. French fries, onion rings, and coleslaw are all classic choices. For something a little healthier, you could serve your chicken fingers with a side of sliced veggies or a fresh salad.
2. Plating and Garnishing
While chicken fingers may not be the most glamorous dish, you can still make them look beautiful on the plate. To start, choose an appropriate serving dish that fits the number of chicken fingers. You want them to be displayed nicely but not overcrowded.
Next, think about adding some garnish. A simple sprinkle of chopped parsley or green onions can add a pop of color and freshness. Lemon wedges are also a great addition if you want to add some acidity to the dish.
Pro tip: If you want to take your chicken fingers to the next level, try making your own homemade sauces or seasoning blends. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different plating and garnishing techniques to find the perfect presentation!
Storage and Reheating of Chicken Fingers
Leftover finger-licking chicken fingers is a meal for another day. When stored properly and reheated, the crunchiness and flavor can remain intact. Here are some of the important tips to help you store and reheat chicken fingers.
Storing Chicken Fingers
After your chicken fingers have cooled down, store them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. This will prevent moisture from escaping, which could dry out the chicken fingers. Make sure to label the container with the date of storage and consume the chicken fingers within three days. Here are some additional tips:
- Separate the chicken fingers into individual portions to make it easier to reheat and avoid contamination.
- Do not leave the chicken fingers sitting at room temperature for over 2 hours as this could cause bacteria to form.
- Avoid overcrowding the container as this could make it difficult for the chicken fingers to cool down quickly.
Reheating Chicken Fingers
There are several ways to reheat chicken fingers: you can do it in the oven, toaster oven, or on the stove. The microwave is not preferred because it tends to soften the chicken fingers and make them less crispy. Hereâ€™s how to go about it:
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 400Â°F and place your chicken fingers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy.
- Toaster Oven: Preheat the toaster oven to 375Â°F and place your chicken fingers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy.
- Stovetop: Preheat some oil in a pan over medium heat and place your chicken fingers in the pan. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crispy.
Pro-tip: Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken fingers reach an internal temperature of 165Â°F for safe consumption.
Thanks for Reading!
We hope you enjoyed learning how to perfect your chicken fingers recipe! With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make the perfect crispy and juicy chicken fingers every time. Don’t forget to experiment with different dipping sauces to find your favorite combination!
Master the Art of Cooking Chicken Fingers Perfectly
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. In another dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a third dish, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese.
- Dip each chicken tender first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then dip it in the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs to coat all sides of the chicken. Place the coated chicken tenders onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Spray the chicken tenders with cooking spray to help them brown. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F and the coating is crispy and golden brown.
- Let the chicken tenders cool for a few minutes before serving with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!