Chicken Tenders: Crispy and Not Greasy, So What’s the Secret?

Crispy, crunchy, not-greasy Chicken Tenders, really? Yes! Really! I am so excited to share with you my secret to making a crispy, crunchy non greasy chicken tenders. Sometimes, comfort food like fried chicken is something that we just cannot say no to. This is one food that most kids and adults both enjoy eating. Although I rarely make fried foods at home, when I want to give in, I make my chicken tender this way. Ready for the reveal? Keep reading to find out.

Small Batch Crispy Chicken Tenders

I am breaking my rule, just for this chicken tenders. I still favor baked over fried, just to be clear. But there are days that I really miss eating the commercialize crispy and tender fried chicken. Last week, that craving took over me and I gave in. I went on what I called my weekend chicken hunt and went out to go to a chicken restaurant. You can just imagine how much I had been craving for it for me to actually go out of my way and have it as part of my itinerary for that day. How difficulty it is to find a good quality crispy fried chicken? It shouldn’t be that hard, right? I thought so, until I went home disappointed and still not satisfied. Well, enough of that chicken hunt, I decided to put the matters to my own hand and made one for myself. Homemade crispy, tender and not greasy fried chicken.

Breaded Chicken Strips

I had 3 goals in mind when I made this Chicken Tenders. I wan to replicate the commercialize deep fried version, I want it to be crispy and crunchy, but I do not want it to be greasy and dripping in oil. So how do I do that? The answer is to half fry it, then finish it off in the oven to make the coating crispy and to allow the oil from frying to drip. Ever since I tried this method, I never went back to doing full deep fried chicken. It still uses oil for frying, but the amount of time it is soak in oil is less than usual. I only deep fry each piece 1 minute, no more no less. 30 seconds on each side was all it takes to brown the coating. The rest of the time was spent in finishing it in the oven.

Chicken Tenders

This is chicken tenders are very flavorful, with a really nice kick of heat 🙂 It is not too greasy and most especially, very crispy. Just the way I like it, now the chicken hunt is finally over. I paired this with my Zucchini Bread and Kaleslaw Salad and it was so good! Definitely better than take-out. The joy of home cooking! Let me show you my trick on how to do that. Let’s get started!

Crispy Chicken Tenders

Tips for Non-Greasy, Crispy,Crunchy & Flavorful Chicken Tenders:

  1. Coat, Dip, Coat: Don’t go easy on the dipping and coating. Coat the chicken as much flour as possible. The flour coating is one of the key to having a crunchy chicken tenders. the more flour you can make to stick to the chicken, the better it will be.
  2. Season Well: Don’t be scared  to add more seasonings than usual. You need the flour mixture to have enough seasonings as this is the main source of the taste for the chicken. Add less and you will end up having a bland chicken. If you are not sure how spicy you want it to be, add the seasoning gradually and fry a small piece then taste it. This way you can adjust it before cooking the entire batch. I like mine spicy, so I added variations of peppers.
  3. HOT Pan: Hot pan will require less time for the chicken to be submerge in oil, so make sure to heat up your pan before putting the chicken. To test if it is hot enough, sprinkle small amount of water, if it splatter, the oil is hot and ready for frying.
  4. Do NOT Over Fry: 30 seconds each side will do the job if the oil hot. You just need the coating to clump together and have a slightly brown color. Over frying will result to dry chicken tender. Do not worry about the chicken being under cooked because there is still another step of baking that will finish the cooking of the chicken.
  5. Let it Drip:  Put an oven safe wire rack on top of the cookie pan. Use a pan with high edge to catch the oil drippings. The use of wire-rack is very important as this will allow the oil to drip without the chicken absorbing the oil and juice that will come out during the baking process.
  6. Do NOT Over Crowd: No over crowding please. Leave spaces between strips to allow the heat to fully cook and reach all sides of the chicken. Over crowding will create steam, making the chicken coating soggy in some parts.
Non Greasy Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Boneless Chicken Breast – cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1/3 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Oil for frying

Note: Adjust seasonings as desired. I like hot and spicy tenders so I added variation of peppers.

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat a deep pan with flavorless oil.
  3. Cut chicken into strips, about 5 – 6 strips, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg.
  6. Dip and Coat: One at a time, coat the chicken strips with flour mixture, then dip it in the beaten egg, then coat it with flour mixture again. Make sure to cover the entire chicken with flour. The thicker you get the coating, the crunchier it will be.
  7. Frying: Drop the chicken in the heated pan (medium heat) with oil and cook until the color turns slightly brown (about 30 seconds each side). It is important that the oil is hot so that the flour coating turns brown easily. The intention is to slightly cook only the outer coating. If you have a small pan, do few strip at a time to avoid over crowding. Set aside each partially cooked strips in a plate with paper towel or in a wire rack to allow the oil to drip.
  8. Bake: Place the chicken in a wire-rack with a cookie sheet or pan underneath. I used a cast iron pan. Transfer the pan in the oven to finish cooking the chicken tenders, about 35 – 40 minutes or until it turns brown and crispy. Flip the chicken tenders halfway through the baking so both sides gets even cooking. Leave spaces between strips to allow even baking. It is very important to have the chicken in wire-rack as this will allow the oil to drip freely while it bakes without the chicken absorbing the oil. You will be surprise to see how much oil it will drain from the chicken. This will result in a crispy and not greasy chicken tenders. Now you know my secret 🙂

Serve while hot and crispy. Left over can be stored and freeze. Re-heat in the oven or toaster for 10-15 minutes.

Serves 1 – 2

Small Batch Chicken Tenders

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Hi, I'm Marilou. Welcome to my website SweetNSpicyLiving. My website is where I share my passion for baking, cooking, photography and traveling. It's a small piece of my Sweet & Spicy Life that I like to share with you.

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