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Fried Cajun Chicken Tenders

Perfectly seasoned, tender pieces of chicken fried golden brown. A dinner recipe that everyone will actually love.

This recipe is the perfect meal for any night of the week. They’re perfectly seasoned and fried until crispy golden brown.

plate of tenders

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • They’re perfectly seasoned. Not too spicy, but plenty of flavor. These tenders will be a hit with kids and adults.
  • Easy to make. Cajun seasoning does all the work for you so you don’t have to measure out lots of spices.
  • They can be made ahead of time. The chicken can marinate for up to 4 hours, so you can prep much of this dish ahead of time and then fry them up when you’re ready to eat.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need the following:

  • boneless skinless chicken breast 
  • buttermilk
  • salt (if using salt-free Cajun seasoning)
  • Cajun seasoning
  • honey
  • flour

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  • Deep fryer
  • 2 large bowls

🍴Instructions

Step One: marinate

dish of buttermilk and cajun seasoning

In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk, Cajun seasoning, salt, and honey. Add the chicken and coat it with the mixture. Cover and let it sit for 1 hour at room temperature or 4 hours in the fridge.

Step Two: bread

mixing bowl with flour and tenders

To begin, preheat oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, shaking off any excess. Working in batches, coat the chicken in seasoned flour.

Step three: Fry

deep fryer basket

To prepare the chicken, first line a baking sheet with paper towels. Then, place a wire cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Deep fry the chicken in a single layer for 6 minutes, or until it is medium golden brown and cooked through. Once it is done cooking, allow it to drain on the cooling rack.

Step Four: serve

plate of finished chicken tenders

Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200-degree oven. Serve with ranch dressing.

🥫 Storage instructions

If you have any leftover chicken tenders, you can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the oven or microwave before eating, or enjoy them cold.

They don’t freeze very well. The breading doesn’t stay crisp.

🔍 FAQs

What’s the purpose of the honey?

It helps your tenders turn a beautiful golden brown. They won’t be sweet, don’t worry.

Can I fry them in a skillet instead?

Yes, but you’ll need to turn them halfway through.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • To make sure the chicken is evenly coated, I recommend using a baking dish for the marinade and a large bowl for the breading. As a bonus, a baking dish is easier to fit in the fridge.
  • Make sure your oil is at 365 degrees before frying the chicken. If the oil’s too cool it won’t brown properly.
  • Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding and ensure that each piece of chicken is cooked evenly.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

Need to make a crowd-pleasing family dinner? Make these too:

hand dipping tender into ranch

📖 Here’s the recipe

hand dipping one fried tender into ranch
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Cajun Fried Chicken Tenders

Print Recipe
Perfectly seasoned, tender pieces of chicken fried golden brown. A dinner recipe that everyone will actually love.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
marinating:4 hrs
Total Time:4 hrs 55 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Equipment

  • Deep fryer
  • 2 Large bowls

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch strips then cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 quart oil for frying peanut recommended

For the marinade

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if using salt-free Cajun seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning without added salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

For breading the chicken

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if using salt-free Cajun seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning

Instructions

  • Marinate the chicken. Combine the buttermilk, Cajun seasoning, salt, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken and toss until fully submerged. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Bread. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, shaking off any excess. Working in batches, coat the chicken in the seasoned flour.
  • Fry. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with paper towels and laying a wire cooling rack on top. Deep fry the chicken in a single layer for 6 minutes, or until medium golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Allow it to drain on the cooling rack while you finish cooking the remaining chicken.
  • Serve. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200-degree oven until serving. Serve with ranch

Notes

If your Cajun seasoning contains salt, reduce or eliminate the salt you add to the marinade and to the breading.   I’d recommend leaving it out of the breading entirely.  Taste the tenders after frying and sprinkle with salt while they’re still hot it they need it. 
You can also fry these in a skillet with a 1/2 inch of oil, but you’ll need to turn them halfway through.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 2266mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: cajun chicken tenders, fried cajun chicken
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 542kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
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