Make Spicy Fried Chicken Strips

Spicy fried chicken

The Spruce Eats/Nita West

Prep: 2 hrs 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
444 Calories
24g Fat
16g Carbs
39g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 444
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 117mg 39%
Sodium 905mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 39g
Calcium 132mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

You may think chicken tenders are strictly the domain of bar food, takeout, or fast food, but making chicken tenders at home is easy, and it allows you the opportunity to customize them exactly how you like them. Giving them a kick is just a matter of adding in some heat, but it's easy. These spicy chicken strips are excellent for an everyday meal, tailgating, or as an appetizer for a party. Serve alongside homemade french fries, a green salad, and coleslaw.

This recipe works best with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The chicken marinates in a combination of buttermilk, which makes it tender and juicy, and hot sauce, for flavor. You'll need some Buffalo wing sauce, which you can definitely make on your own, or your favorite hot sauce, too, to pull this off.

This recipe requires the use of a deep fryer or a large saucepan or deep sauté pan for the stovetop, and a deep-frying thermometer.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (without skin)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of a similar hot sauce, such as Texas Pete or Frank's)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (divided)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sweet ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Optional: chipotle mayonnaise, Buffalo aioli, blue cheese or ranch dressing (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for spicy fried chicken

    The Spruce / Nita West

  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch strips, about 3 to 4 inches in length.

    Chicken breast cut into strips in a bowl

    The Spruce / Nita West

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce or wing sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder.

    Buttermilk, hot sauce, and seasonings whisked together for chicken tenders

    The Spruce / Nita West

  4. Put the chicken strips in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.

    Marinate the chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Nita West 

  5. In a large shallow bowl or pie plate, combine the flour, oregano, remaining garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and ground black pepper.

    Flour combined with seasonings for spicy chicken tenders

    The Spruce / Nita West

  6. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Coat each piece with the flour mixture, arranging them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

    Dredge the chicken in the marinade and seasoned flour

    The Spruce / Nita West 

  7. Dip each chicken strip once again in the buttermilk mixture, then coat again with the flour mixture. Discard any remaining buttermilk mixture.

    Dip chicken into sauce

    The Spruce / Nita West

  8. In a large saucepan or deep sauté pan, heat vegetable oil to 365 F. Fry the chicken strips in small batches, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

    Spicy chicken tenders removed from hot oil with tongs

    The Spruce / Nita West

  9. Remove to paper towels to drain.

    Spicy chicken tenders draining on a paper towel

    The Spruce / Nita West

  10. Repeat with the remaining chicken strips.

    Spicy chicken strips draining on a paper-towel-lined baking pan

    The Spruce / Nita West

  11. Serve these tasty chicken strips with chipotle mayonnaise, Buffalo aioli, or a blue cheese or ranch dressing.

    Serve fried chicken strips with mayonnaisse

    The Spruce /Nita West 

Tip

  • Don't use chicken straight from the fridge. If you put cold chicken into hot oil, it will significantly reduce the temperature of the oil. The chicken won't cook evenly nor will it be super crispy once it's fried. Instead, take your chicken out and let it sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before you plan to bread it.

How to Store Spicy Chicken Strips

Fried chicken always tastes best the day you make it. You can keep this in the fridge, wrapped in foil, for three to five days. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a low oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Use it cold straight out of the fridge and add it to a salad, put it in a wrap, or turn it into a creative grilled cheese sandwich.