It can be challenging to cook delicious meals on hot summer days. Running the oven makes an already warm house even hotter, and oftentimes appetites drop after a day in the sun. I like to lean towards two different methods of cooking when the temperature tips over 78 degrees – grilling or skillet dishes.
One of my favorite skillet dishes to make is buffalo fried chicken tenders. I love all things buffalo flavored, but occasionally I want to have the flavor without having the ordeal of the sauce. Because that’s the thing that most people think of when they hear the word buffalo attached to the word chicken. Immediately the brain pictures the red buttery sauce that makes a mess with each bite.
My buffalo chicken tenders take a different approach and infuse the flavor directly into the chicken via an egg wash instead of having a sauce directly on top of them. This is a bonus not just because of the lack of messiness, but because of the crispy crunch that is able to be retained when the tenders aren’t being smothered.
This dish is so easy, and it is light enough to each on a warm summer day with a side of vegetables. Overall this dish is relatively quick to make, but it does need to marinade for at least half an hour before cooking, so make sure you plan ahead!
12 ounces Chicken Breast
1 cup Milk
¼ cup Buffalo Sauce
½ cup Flour
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
¼ tsp White Pepper
¼ tsp Paprika
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
1. The first step of making buffalo chicken tenders is to cut up the chicken breasts. To make sure that the chicken will fry up quickly, the chicken should be cut into into ½ inch pieces. By making the tenders thin, this allows the chicken to cook thoroughly while keeping the breading from burning during the process.
2. The next step to making buffalo fried chicken tenders is to prepare the egg wash. In this recipe the egg wash serves two purposes. First, it does what all egg washes do, it ensures that the breading will stick to the chicken. However, it also provides a marinade to infuse the chicken with buffalo flavor.
To make the egg wash, whisk the milk, buffalo sauce and egg together. Pour the mixture into a shallow container large enough that all of the chicken strips will be able to soak in it. It is important for the tenders to soak in the egg wash for at least half an hour. This gives the buffalo flavor time to seep into the tenders. This container should be stored in the fridge while soaking for best food safety practices.
3. While the chicken is marinating, use this time to create the flour breading mixture. Use a bowl that will be large enough to hold both the flour mixture and all of the chicken tenders. Pour the flour and all of the seasonings into the bowl and whisk them together.
4. Once the chicken strips are finished marinating, pull them out of the fridge and use a fork to transfer all of the tenders into the flour bowl. Using the same fork, stir the chicken tenders into the mixture until they are thoroughly coated with a breading. The more coated they are, the crispier the tenders will be after they are fried.
5. After the chicken has been coated it is time to move over to the stove top. A large frying pan will be needed, and enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan in about an ⅛ – ¼ inch layer of oil. This seems like a lot of oil, but because the chicken is breaded, the flour will soak it up very quickly. Think about it this way, even though it seems like a lot of grease, it’s still way less grease than using a deep fryer.
When the chicken tenders are frying up, it is important that they are all in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. If you are doubling this recipe or don’t have a large enough frying pan to do this, then tenders may need to be fried in batches.
Kitchen Tip: In order to make sure that the chicken tenders turn out perfectly crispy it is essential that you let your oil heat up before putting the chicken tenders into the pan. I usually like to let the oil heat up for 3-5 minutes on the burner before adding in the chicken. It should get a bubbly sheen, as seen in the picture above, when it is ready. Be very careful once the oil is hot though, grease burns hurt A LOT! You do not want that oil to touch you. In fact, usually I wear long sleeves when cooking up this dish because sometimes the chicken splatters the grease up when you add it in or are flipping it, and those grease splatters can hurt if you are wearing a short sleeved shirt.
6. Once the oil is heated, it is time to add the chicken tenders in. Use a slotted spoon or fork to transfer the tenders from the bowl to the frying pan, and try to get just the tenders, not all the extra flour that is sitting in the bowl. If a lot of extra flour gets into the frying pan it can soak up some of the oil instead of allowing that oil to fry the tenders.
As long as the tenders are cut small enough, these tenders should cook up in 10 minutes, flipping them over after the first 5 minutes. If the breading doesn’t look quite crispy enough after 10 minutes of cooking you can keep them on a little longer. The longer you leave them on, the crispier the chicken will get, but be careful with this. There is a very fine line between crispy and burnt chicken, and that’s not a line you want to cross.
7. When the chicken is done cooking, transfer the tenders onto a plate lined with three paper towels. The paper towels will soak up any residue grease on your tenders and leave you with perfectly crispy tenders. Before serving put one more paper towel on top of the chicken to quickly dab any more excess grease off them.
8. Now the chicken tenders are ready to serve! My personal favorite way to serve them is to coat them in a layer of shredded cheddar before they hit the table and then drizzle ranch dressing over the top of them, but they are also equally good on their own. Enjoy!
Looking for a great side to go with these chicken tenders? Try out my Oven Baked Steak Fries!