Homemade chicken fingers marinated in buttermilk, then fried to crispy golden brown. The ultimate chicken tenders that are even better than what you’d get at a restaurant.

When I’m stumped on what to make for dinner, I always turn to these crispy chicken tenders because I know they’ll be a hit! I serve my chicken fingers with roasted broccoli and Instant Pot mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

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Chicken fingers on a serving plate with a side of ranch.

There’s just something about fried chicken that can’t be beat – that ultra crispy coating with tender juicy chicken is a classic for a reason! I’ve learned to make restaurant style chicken fingers at home, and they’re actually quite easy to prepare. Looking for more great ways to fry chicken? Check out my list of 10 fried chicken recipes!

How do you make chicken fingers?

The first step in this recipe is to marinate the chicken in buttermilk. This tenderizes the chicken and helps the seasoned flour stick to the chicken. The chicken fingers get dipped into the flour mixture, then egg, then the flour again to create an extra thick and crispy exterior.

The final step is to fry your chicken tenders until they’re golden brown. Add your favorite dipping sauce on the side, then enjoy!

Chicken tenders in a bowl of buttermilk.

What are chicken breast tenders?

This recipe calls for chicken breast tenders, also called chicken breast tenderloins. The tender is a flap of meat that sits directly under the main part of the chicken breast. These pieces of chicken are often more tender than standard chicken breast, hence their name. If you can’t find chicken tenders, this recipe will work just as well with strips of boneless skinless chicken breast.

Breaded chicken fingers ready to go into the fryer.

Tips for chicken fingers

  • You’ll want to use a deep frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oil. If the oil is too hot, the coating can burn before the chicken cooks through. If the oil is too cold, the chicken will absorb more oil and become overly greasy.
  • Chicken fingers are best served immediately. If you need to reheat them, you can bake them at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crispy.
  • I typically serve my chicken tenders with ranch. Other great options are ketchup or honey mustard.

Crispy chicken tenders on a sheet pan.

Baked chicken fingers

If you prefer to bake your chicken fingers, you can do so by using breadcrumbs as the coating instead of flour. You’ll want to combine 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs with the spices listed in the recipe. Coat each piece of chicken in egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the chicken pieces on a greased sheet pan and coat them with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until tenders are golden brown.

A chicken finger being dipped into ranch sauce.

These chicken tenders are some of the best I’ve ever had. They make a great kid friendly dinner, or serve them up as a hearty appetizer on game day. Once you try making these tenders for yourself, you won’t be tempted to order them at a restaurant again!

More chicken recipes you’ll love

5 from 27 votes

Chicken Fingers

AuthorSara Welch
Chicken fingers on a serving plate with a side of ranch.
Homemade chicken fingers marinated in buttermilk with a super crispy breaded exterior. The ultimate chicken tenders!
Time
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Serves 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds chicken breast tenders
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken breast tenders and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  • Place the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Place the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion and baking powder in a second bowl.
  • Stir the flour and spices together until well combined.
  • Take each piece of chicken out of the buttermilk mixture. One at a time, coat the chicken in the flour, then dip in the egg, then coat again in the flour. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated.
  • Heat 3 inches of oil in a large deep pot to 350 degrees F.
  • Cook 4-5 pieces of chicken at a time for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 642mg | Potassium: 718mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2.6mg

This post was originally published on April 26, 2015 and was updated on November 19, 2019 with new content.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this and I used chicken breast and cut them up into tenders my family loved them I put a little chili powder in too have it enough spice but not to much thank you so much!!

  2. Hands down best Chicken tenders i’ve ever had. I soaked mine in the buttermilk with some added seasonings over night, and added alittle bit more garlic powder, onion powder, ranch seasoning, and some adobo to the flower batter. Amazing i will make it again πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

  3. 5 stars
    Ya know how you buy chicken fingers at the gas station and if they just made them they are pretty good? These are 100% better. I left my chicken soaking in the buttermilk overnight. I think that makes the meat more tender and juicy. This was a good recipe. Just don’t eat them right after you take them out of the oil no matter how tempted you feel. I made some ranch for dipping. Yummo. You can also cut them up and put them on a salad.

  4. Made this with my students. Melt in your mouth chicken. We also made homemade blue cheese dressing and homemade honey mustard. Holy Cow! All tasted delicious. Keeper recipe. Thank you.

  5. 5 stars
    Okay, I had no buttermilk, I used regular milk and lime juice instead. I also baked them. BUT OMG they are sooooooooooooo good.

  6. 5 stars
    I completely forgot I haven’t had chicken fingers for quite a long time now. Your recipe looks absolutely stunning – I should definitely keep it on hand these holidays!

  7. 5 stars
    Yum!! These are SO crispy! I love them dipped in spicy honey and even my pickiest , ‘dino-nugget-only’ child wolfs them down. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Thank You so Much CHEESY BAKED CHICKEN fingers is my favorite dish looking yummy will try today with your instructions