A cast iron dutch oven makes Deep Fried Chicken Tenders easy to cook up in less than 30 minutes. With only 7 ingredients you have the best basic chicken tenders on your table in a flash.
Deep fried chicken is the best recipe for getting your feet wet in deep frying with your dutch oven. You don’t need some fancy frialator or the newest Air Fryer. Nope. You just need some patience, a thermometer, some good oil, and the best basic deep fried chicken tenders recipe. Lucky for you, I got that covered.
Basic Ingredients for Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are an easy meal to cook up for picky eaters on the weeknights and cheap enough to cook in batches for a weekend summer party. This classic comfort food has 7 basic ingredients. From there, you can add spices, sauces, and other variations until you find your favorite.
- Chicken – Pre-sliced tenders take out all the prep work. You can also purchase breasts and slice them yourself.
- Eggs – For 1 to 2 pounds of chicken you’ll need 2 eggs for your egg wash. The egg wash acts as a binder for the breading to the chicken.
- Cream or Milk – I use heavy cream for the richness, but you can also use milk or another dairy-free, flavor-free creamer. The higher the fat content the better.
- Seasonings – For a basic chicken tender recipe use salt and pepper. When you start with variations for your tastes, start here. Add garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle, or any other dried seasoning to mix it up.
- Flour – All-purpose flour works great here. You can also substitute gluten-free flour if needed.
- Breadcrumbs – Italian Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs is where it’s at. The panko style are bigger and more texturized than a traditional breadcrumb topping that you would use for chicken fried steak.
How to Make Basic Chicken Tenders
Four steps and about 30 minutes is all that’s standing between you and dinner tonight, with half of that being the prep work.
- Start by preheating your oil in the dutch oven. Peanut oil is my favorite to use for deep frying, but you can use vegetable oil or canola oil if that’s what you have on hand. On my stove, I only need to heat the oil over the biggest burner on the low setting. This takes a little longer for the oil to reach the temperature of 350F but then I don’t need to mess with it as much once it reaches temperature.
- Using two large bowls, combine your dry ingredients in one and the wet ingredients in another. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Dry your chicken with a paper towel and discard it. Using tongs, dip your chicken in batches in the egg-wash bowl.
- Remove from the egg-wash bowl using your tongs and dredge (or coat) the chicken in the dry ingredients bowl. Use a fork to cover with the breading and lightly press down onto the chicken to assist in the sticking of the breading.
- Once your oil has reached between 350-360, drop 3 to 4 pieces of breaded chicken tenders into the hot oil and start the timer for 7 minutes. Use a spider spoon or slotted spoon to remove the finished chicken from the dutch oven. Set them onto a plate lined with a paper towel to cool and release any excess oil.
How long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders
That will depend largely on the size of your tenders. However, in a dutch oven with oil heated to 350F it should only take about 7 minutes to fry and cook completely. Always check your oil temperature before and after each batch. Oil temperature can change quickly and will alter your results. A lower temperature will peel the breading from your chicken, and too high of a temperature will burn the outside while the inside remains raw.
The Best Thermometer for Deep Frying
You want to minimize disturbing the oil or putting your hand or arm over the dutch oven with hot oil. That’s why I love my Infrared Thermometer from Thermoworks. I can stand at a safe distance and check multiple spots in the oil for the most accurate temperature reading. You can also use a digital candy thermometer. Attach it to the side of the dutch oven before you start heating it on the stovetop and leave it during the cooking process.
The Best Sauces for Chicken Tenders
- Got enough carbs in the breading? Try this Low Carb BBQ Sauce from Wholesome Yum.
- Fry Sauce isn’t just for fries either. Check out The Typical Mom’s recipe using pantry staples!
- Roll Tide, Roll with this Alabama White BBQ Sauce at your next tailgate from House of Nash Eats!
- And of course, the standard favorites are favorites for a reason: ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing, bleu cheese dressing, and mayo.
Make it a Meal
Need a way to round out the meal? These are some of our favorite side dishes for Deep Fried Chicken Tenders. Let us know what you pair it with in the comments!
Deep Fried Chicken Tenders
- 64 ounces peanut oil
- 1-2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs with italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat, add peanut oil. Heat to 350F. Should take approximately 15 minutes. Prepare your chicken while oil comes to temperature.
- Pat dry your chicken tenders with a paper towel and discard it. In a large bowl combine eggs and heavy cream with a whisk. Dip and dredge the chicken in the egg using a pair of tongs.
- In another large bowl combine the flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper with a dry whisk. Transfer the chicken from the eggwash bowl to the breading bowl. Use a fork to fluff the breading onto the chicken and press down slightly.
- Once the oil has come to temperature, use the tongs to carefully drop the breaded chicken (3 to 4 at a time) into the hot oil. Allow to bubble and fry for 7 minutes.
- Remove from the oil using a spider strainer and place on a paper-lined plate until cool enough to enjoy.