It’s pretty impossible to pretend like I’m going to go on a “wedding diet” when The Beard makes things like this every day. I mean, hi, homemade chicken tenders. Let’s just double my waist size now. All weight related notes aside, these are amazing. The Beard’s go to “I don’t want to cook anything” meal is frozen chicken tenders. Yep, we don’t always make homemade meals. Shocking, I know. Homemade chicken tenders or really anything fried can be tricky because of the batter/protein ratio. You want a thick enough batter to cover the tenders but thin enough to get crispy and not be soggy on the inside. These ones nail it on the head.
There are a few different steps to make sure your tenders turn out perfect. But, before you start any of them you want to make sure you have a frying or candy thermometer to safely fry these guys. We use this digital one from Williams-Sonoma and absolutely love it. You can start heating up your oil in either a cast iron skillet or a large stock pot while you prep the tenders and the batter.
You’ll want three large bowls and at least two pair of tongs to batter and prep your tenders. The first bowl is going to have some flour seasoned with salt and pepper. The second bowl has a mixture of milk and egg whisked together. The third and best bowl has your beer batter in it. The fun part about the beer batter is you can use whatever brew you have around your house to change it up. We used New Belgium Fat Tire but if you have are more of an IPA person, toss that bad boy in there instead.
You’ll dip those little tenders in the milk mixture then the flour bowl and finally dredge it in your batter. Dip it once and then let some of the batter fall off a bit and then gently (seriously, gently, you don’t want to it splatter) lay it in the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan and make sure to watch your tenders so they don’t burn up. No one likes sad, burnt chicken tender. You want them nice and golden brown like the picture above. Let them cool on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel before you jump on in there because hello, they were just being fried in hot oil and are a little toasty. After a few minutes, throw them on a plate, grab your favorite sauce (we all know mine is WingTime buffalo), a favorite side dish like Annie’s mac and cheese and try to share with your friends and family.
Crispy, Crunchy, Fried Beer Battered Chicken Tenders
- 1 lb fresh chicken tenders
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- canola oil, for frying
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 bottle of beer (we used Fat Tire Amber Ale)
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Using fying thermometer, heat canola oil in cast iron skillet or stock pot.
- Whisk milk and egg together in a medium bowl.
- Mix flour, salt and black pepper together in medium bowl.
- Mix flour, beer, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in large bowl to make batter.
- Dip tenders in milk mixture then dip in flour mixture, then dredge in batter. Let a little battle fall off just the tenders are thinly coated.
- Gently lay beer battered tenders in oil that has reached 375 degrees F.
- Keep layering in chicken tenders, but don't crowd the pan or let oil spill over.
- As they finish frying and reach a golden brown color, lay them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. (see note for details.)
- Let them cool for a minute or two and then dip in your favorite sauce!
- These don't bake well. We'll give you a recipe for baked chicken tenders later on down the road.
- Tenders will fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.