How to Make Buffalo Chicken Tenders

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Start to Finish: 4 hours, including marinating time
Servings: 4
Level: Intermediate


Chicken strips are marinated in tangy seasoned buttermilk and then coated in crunchy Japanese panko breadcrumbs. To make this game-day favorite healthier, sear the chicken quickly in a skillet and then bake in the oven to create a crispy crust. Toss the baked tenders with spicy buffalo sauce and then serve them with homemade blue cheese dressing.

Ingredients

  • Chicken Tenders

    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 pounds of chicken breasts sliced into 2-inch strips
    • 2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 cup of panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs
    • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
    • Oil

    Buffalo Sauce

    • 2/3 cup hot sauce
    • ½ cup salted butter, sliced into chunks
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

    Blue Cheese Dressing

    • 5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
    • ¼ cup whole milk
    • ¼ cup yogurt
    • ¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
    • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon finely sliced scallions, white part only

Chicken Tender Directions

  • Mix the spices into the buttermilk and pour into a shallow baking dish. Place the chicken pieces into the mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dish into the refrigerator and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Stir the parsley into the panko and pour the mixture onto a plate. Beat the eggs together and pour into a shallow bowl. Take a marinated chicken piece from the buttermilk and shake off the excess liquid. Dip the pieces into the egg and allow the excess to drip off.

    Press the egg-dipped chicken into the breadcrumbs, carefully coating both sides. Then place the breaded chicken piece onto a cookie sheet. Continue in this manner until all of the pieces have been dipped in the egg and then coated in the panko.

    Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat the pan to medium high and test the pan by dropping in a small drop of water. Once the water sizzles, start frying your tenders in batches. Sear each side for 2 minutes or until slightly golden. Drain the seared chicken pieces on paper towels before placing on a cookie sheet to be finished in the oven.

    Bake the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes or until the center of the meat is no longer pink and the crust is golden and crispy.

Whipping up the Sauces

  • Hot Sauce

    Place the ingredients into a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Whisk the liquid and bring it to a slight boil. Turn the heat to low and continue whisking the liquid until the sauce starts to bubble, about 3 minutes.

    Place the cooked chicken strips into a bowl and toss with the hot sauce to coat.

    Blue Cheese Dressing

    This flavorful dressing is adapted from David Lebovitz's recipe.

    Mix all of the ingredients, reserving the sliced scallions. When the ingredients are fully incorporated, sprinkle the scallions on top to garnish. Serve the buffalo-coated tenders with blue cheese dressing.

Tips and Warnings

  • The USDA advises to cook chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you prefer to fry your tenders instead of finishing them in the oven, fill the skillet with ½ inch to 1 inch of oil. Fry tenders on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until the breading is golden and crispy.

    To tone down the heat of the hot sauce and to create a sweeter coating, mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey in with the sauce ingredients before bringing to a simmer.

    The blue cheese dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

    Serve the chicken tenders and blue cheese dressing with celery and carrot sticks.

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References

  • Photo Credit adlifemarketing/iStock/Getty Images
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