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Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenderloins

5 from 1 vote


For the marinade:

  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

For the breading:

  • 2 cups Spelt or whole wheat flour or 2 cups bread crumbs or 1/4 cup cornmeal and 1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour, or just 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour (really any combo ya want)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk reserved from the marinade
  • Oil for frying about a quart
  • 1 egg when baking them on a well-greased rimmed baking pan


  • Combine the chicken tenders with the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag tightly and smush it around to ensure chicken tenders are evenly coated with buttermilk and seasoning. Place in a baking dish (to prevent messes) and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  • Make the breading by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until mixture is evenly clumpy. (You can also use your fingertips for this.)
  • Line a baking sheet with a cooling rack (or foil). Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade a few at a time and toss into the flour mixture. Make sure to press the chicken firmly into the breading so clumps stick to the chicken. (It's best to use one hand to remove the tenders from the bag and the other to toss in the breading.) Set the breaded chicken on a large plate.
  • Add oil to a large pot or cast iron pan until the level reaches about 3/4-inch. Heat over medium heat until oil is shimmering. (If a small piece of the chicken sizzles when you drop it in, it's ready. This will take a few minutes.) Using tongs, place several chicken tenders in the hot oil without crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom side, a few minutes, then flip and cook until second side is also golden, a few minutes more. Set cooked tenders on baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Fry remaining tenders in batches. Serve hot.
  • Optional Baking Instructions. Don't want to fry your chicken strips? Bake 'em instead. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Beat egg, then dredge chicken through the egg and then your breading. Place chicken strips on a well-greased rimmed baking pan (coconut oil works well) and bake for 20 minutes, turning over half way through.


Adapted from Once Upon a Chef (http://www.onceuponachef.com/2012/01/buttermilk-fried-chicken-tenders-2.html)
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