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Are Chicken Tenders Fried Chicken?

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken strips or chicken fingers, are a popular chicken dish that is often served as an appetizer or main course. But there is some debate around whether chicken tenders should be considered a type of fried chicken.

What are Fried Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders are strips of chicken breast that have been battered or breaded and then fried. The tenderloin, found on the underside of the chicken breast, is cut into long strips before being cooked. This makes the chicken tender, moist, and flavorful.

The breading helps seal in the juices and adds crunch. Chicken tenders are versatile – they can be served with dipping sauces like honey mustard or barbecue sauce, used in sandwiches or wraps, or eaten as a standalone snack or meal.

Related post: Are chicken nuggets fried chicken?

Why Are They Called Tenders?

The name comes from the fact that tenderloins are naturally more tender than other cuts of chicken. Pound for pound, the tenderloin contains the least connective tissue of any chicken cut. This makes them ideal for breading and frying without becoming tough or chewy.

The History of Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders as we know them today were popularized in the 1960s and 70s. Fast food chains started serving fried chicken strips as a way to appeal to a broader demographic. The inexpensive strips were an easy, no-hassle meal for kids and adults alike.

Restaurants began experimenting with creative sauces and spice rubs to amp up the flavor. Soon chicken tenders became a staple menu item at chains like KFC, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and more.

Is Chicken Tenders Fried Chicken?

While the preparation method is similar, there are a few key differences between chicken tenders and traditional fried chicken:

    • Fried chicken typically uses larger cuts of chicken on the bone. Tenders use a boneless breast cut.
    • The breading and seasoning flavors tend to differ. Fried chicken leans savory while tenders can be sweet or salty.
    • Fried chicken is often marinated overnight while tenders are quick to prepare.
    • Chicken on the bone stays juicier when fried. Tenders can dry out more quickly.


So while chicken tenders utilize the frying cooking technique, the smaller sliced meat, lack of bone, and lighter breading give them a different eating experience than bone-in fried chicken. Most chefs and food experts consider them a category of their own.

How to Make Perfectly Cooked Chicken Tenders

Cooking chicken tenders is easy whether baking or frying. Here are a few tips:

    • Pound the raw tenders to 1⁄2 inch thickness so they cook evenly.
    • For fried tenders, heat oil to 350°F and fry 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
    • For baked tenders, cook at 425°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
    • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
    • Let rest 5 minutes before serving to allow juices to redistribute.


Chicken tenders offer all the crispy, juicy flavor of fried chicken in an easy, dip-ready form. While they share some similarities with bone-in fried chicken, tenders have carved out a category of their own on menus across the country.


Are Chicken Tenders and Chicken Strips The Same Thing?

Yes, chicken tenders and chicken strips refer to the same type of food. They both mean thinly sliced strips of chicken breast battered and fried.

What Part of The Chicken Do Chicken Tenders Come From?

Chicken tenders come from the tenderloin, which is a tender muscle found underneath the chicken breast.

How Are Frozen Chicken Tenders Cooked?

Frozen chicken tenders can be cooked most ways including baked, air fried, pan fried or deep fried. Cook from frozen and add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

What is The Ideal Internal Temperature for Cooked Chicken Tenders?

165°F is the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken to kill any potential bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to check tenders are fully cooked.

Can You Bake Chicken Tenders Instead of Frying Them?

Yes, baked chicken tenders are a healthier alternative to fried tenders. Coat in breadcrumbs or panko and bake at 425°F for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway.

Are Chicken Tenders Fried Chicken?

Yes, chicken tenders are a type of fried chicken since they are strips of chicken breast that are battered and then fried.

Is Chicken Tenders Fried Chicken?

Chicken tenders are considered a form of fried chicken because they are breaded or battered chicken pieces that are fried until golden brown and crispy.

What are Fried Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders are strips of chicken breast that are coated in breading or batter and then fried until fully cooked and crispy on the outside. The tenderloin cut of chicken is used.

How Long Do You Cook Fried Chicken Tenders?

Fried chicken tenders need to fry for 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the breading is golden brown. Frying time can vary based on the size and thickness.

What Temp should Fried Chicken Tenders Be?

The safe minimum internal temperature for fried chicken tenders to reach is 165°F. This ensures any bacteria has been killed off.

What Type of Chicken is Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin, which is a tender muscle found under the chicken breast. Tenderloins are sliced into strips to make tenders.

What is A Chicken Tender Made From?

Chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin cut of the chicken breast. The tenderloin is sliced into long, thin strips, breaded or battered, and fried.

Are Frozen Chicken Tenders Fried?

Yes, frozen chicken tenders are already breaded and just need to be fried until heated through and crisp. Fry at 350°F for 5-7 minutes.

Are Chicken Strips and Tenders The Same Thing?

Yes, chicken strips and chicken tenders refer to the same food. They both mean thin slices of breaded and fried chicken breast.


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