One thing I cannot resist – Popeyes Chicken tenders. They’re tender, flakey, and perfectly seasoned. Today I’m sharing my take on them, cooked a couple ways to give you some options. Plus gives a couple versions to enjoy for the particular ones in the family.
These chicken tenders are marinaded overnight in buttermilk, then dipped in a flour dredge with Cajun seasonings, and fried to perfection. They freezable and makes the ultimate family dinner meal!
One of the things I love about these chicken tenders, is how thin they are. Very similar to a chicken cutlet, or parmigiana, I like to pound thin, or simply cut into quarter inch or less cuts.
A second must is letting it sit overnight in buttermilk. Butter milk helps to tenderize your chicken and is essential for any fried chicken recipe
Lastly, and a controversial one is MSG.
I feel like this is cheating in a sense, but its a horribly kept secret that Popeye’s uses monosodium glutamate – at least until 2025. If you’re going to a pound for pound knockoff, unfortunately you have to use this ingredient, but I’m opting out.
Here’s what I’m using for this recipe
Then there’s the question of the dredge.
I’m doing this two ways. I’m doing one batch that is straight from the buttermilk marinade to the flour.
Then a second batch where I take extra step and go to an egg wash, then one last flour dredge.
Both came out good it’s just what you prefer.
The single dredge felt closer to the Popeye’s version, but if you’re an extra crispy fan, you gotta double dredge.
If you want to go spicy here what I do – Add a good dose of buffalo sauce (or even Louisiana hot sauce) to your buttermilk marinade. Then dredge.
And if you want to crank up that heat, double down on your cayenne pepper for the flour to add the heat. I can’t not go spicy with my chicken tenders, so this is a must
When frying chicken, your oil temperature is critical. You want to keep your temperature consistently hovering around 375 F for a good fried chicken.
I suggest two methods
And by all means, DO NOT OVERCROWD. Adding too much chicken at once will reduce the temperature of the oil and till create a soggier chicken tender. No one likes a soggy chicken tender.
Let your tenders sit on a paper towel lined wire rack to soak up any residual oil , and if you want them to hold temperature, I prefer setting my oven to 160 F and let them hold in the oven while I fry the remaining chicken tenders.
One last tip – In my home our kids cant hang with spicy food (I know, right?!). But when it comes to chicken tenders the wife and like to feel the burn.
So to keep prep low, I like to cook their first from the same batch. Then about half way through, I add the cayenne pepper to the flour, and hot sauce to the buttermilk.
And Voila! I’ve got spicy and regular chicken tenders all done in one batch without having to make twice the mess.