Crispy Chicken Tenders with Tangy Ranch Sauce recipe

If you’re craving the deliciousness of a McDonald’s snack wrap, look no further! This recipe for Crispy Chicken Tenders with Tangy Ranch Sauce is an absolute delight for your taste buds. The crispy, golden-brown chicken tenders are paired with a homemade ranch sauce that’s rich and zesty, creating a flavorful experience that’s even better than the fast-food version. While the process involves a bit of prep work, the end result is well worth the effort. Get ready to savor the perfect combination of crunch and tenderness!

Cooking time:

The cooking time for the crispy chicken tenders will depend on various factors, including the thickness of the chicken tenders and the temperature of the oil. However, as a general guideline, you can follow these steps:

  1. Frying Temperature: Heat the cooking oil to about 365°F (185°C). The oil should be hot enough to ensure that the chicken cooks quickly and becomes crispy on the outside.
  2. Frying Time: Drop one chicken tender at a time into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the tenders until they are golden brown all around. This usually takes about 7-8 minutes. Rotate the tenders as needed for even browning.
  3. Doneness Check: To ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, you can cut into one of the thicker pieces to check if the meat is white and no longer pink in the center.

Remember that the cooking time may vary slightly based on the size and thickness of your chicken tenders. Always use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F (74°C).


For Chicken:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into small thin tenders (or chicken tenderloin)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Buttermilk Marinade:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Ranch Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Ranch Sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, combine mayo, buttermilk, yellow mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to make a rich and tangy ranch sauce.
  2. Mix the ingredients well until smooth and set the sauce aside.

Chicken Preparation:

  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Set this dry mixture aside.
  2. In a deep bowl, whisk together buttermilk, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  3. Take 3 tablespoons of the wet batter and add it to the dry mixture. Mix to create a flaky texture.
  4. Dip each chicken tender first into the wet buttermilk mixture, then into the dry flour mixture, back into the wet, and finally into the dry for a double coating.
  5. Allow any excess wet or dry batter to drip off before moving to the next step. Once all tenders are breaded, let them rest for about 10 minutes.


  1. Heat cooking oil in a frying pan to about 365°F (185°C), about 1.5 to 2 inches deep.
  2. Drop one chicken tender at a time into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if needed.
  3. Fry the tenders until they are golden brown all around, which should take about 7-8 minutes. Rotate the tenders as needed for even browning.
  4. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer the tenders to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.


  1. Serve the crispy chicken tenders warm with the prepared ranch sauce for dipping.
  2. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a burst of color.

Tips for Making Crispy Chicken Tenders with Tangy Ranch Sauce:

  1. Marinating Time: Allow the chicken to marinate in the buttermilk mixture for an extended period, ideally for a few hours or overnight. This enhances the tenderness and flavor of the chicken.
  2. Seasoning Adjustments: Tailor the seasoning in both the dry coating and the buttermilk marinade to match your taste preferences. Experiment with additional herbs and spices to create a custom flavor profile.
  3. Double Coating Technique: Ensure a thorough and even coating by following the double coating technique. This helps achieve a crispier exterior.
  4. Resting Time: Let the breaded chicken tenders rest for at least 10 minutes before frying. This allows the coating to adhere better, resulting in a crispier texture.
  5. Oil Temperature Control: Maintain the oil temperature around 365°F (185°C) for optimal frying. Use a kitchen thermometer to monitor and adjust as needed during cooking.
  6. Frying in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the pan during frying. Frying in smaller batches ensures each tender cooks evenly and maintains its crispy texture.
  7. Draining Excess Oil: After frying, place the cooked chicken tenders on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. This helps retain the crispiness.
  8. Serve Fresh: For the best eating experience, serve the crispy chicken tenders immediately after frying. This ensures they remain hot and crispy.


  1. Spicy Kick: Add cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the buttermilk marinade for a spicy twist. Alternatively, sprinkle some chili powder in the dry coating.
  2. Parmesan Crust: Mix grated Parmesan cheese into the dry coating for an extra layer of flavor and a cheesy, crispy crust.
  3. Lemon Zest Infusion: Add lemon zest to the buttermilk marinade for a hint of citrus freshness that complements the savory flavors.
  4. Herb-Infused Coating: Mix chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary into the dry coating for a fragrant and herbaceous kick.
  5. Panko Crust: Use Panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs for a lighter and crunchier coating.
  6. Garlic Butter Drizzle: After frying, brush the chicken tenders with melted garlic butter for added richness and flavor.
  7. Sweet and Savory: Incorporate a touch of honey or maple syrup into the buttermilk marinade for a subtle sweetness that balances the savory elements.
  8. Dipping Sauces: Serve with a variety of dipping sauces such as honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or a spicy aioli for a personalized flavor experience.

Why You’ll Love It:

  1. Irresistible Crunch: Experience the satisfying and irresistible crunch of perfectly fried chicken tenders, creating a delightful contrast with the tender and juicy chicken inside.
  2. Homemade Goodness: Enjoy the pleasure of crafting this delicious dish from scratch, savoring the authentic flavors of homemade comfort food.
  3. Tangy Ranch Perfection: The tangy ranch sauce adds a flavorful and creamy element, elevating each bite with a zesty kick that complements the crispy chicken beautifully.
  4. Versatile Snacking: Perfect for various occasions, from casual family dinners to movie nights or gatherings with friends. These tenders are a versatile and crowd-pleasing snack.
  5. Family-Friendly Favorite: Loved by both kids and adults, this dish is a family-friendly option that brings everyone together over a shared plate of tasty, homemade goodness.
  6. Customizable Flavors: The recipe allows for customization, whether adjusting the seasonings in the ranch sauce or experimenting with different dipping sauces to suit your taste preferences.
  7. Nostalgic Appeal: Capture the nostalgic appeal of a beloved fast-food snack wrap while enjoying the satisfaction of creating a fresher and more flavorful version at home.
  8. Visual Delight: The golden-brown exterior of the crispy tenders and the creamy ranch sauce create an inviting and visually appealing dish that’s as delightful to look at as it is to eat.
  9. Easy to Share: Ideal for sharing with friends and family, these crispy chicken tenders are perfect for social occasions, potlucks, or as a delightful appetizer at gatherings.
  10. Restaurant-Quality at Home: Elevate your dining experience with restaurant-quality flavors and textures right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
  11. Comfort Food Joy: Experience the joy of indulging in a classic comfort food combination of crispy chicken and tangy ranch, bringing warmth and satisfaction to your meal.
  12. Rewarding Cooking Experience: While the preparation involves some effort, the end result is a rewarding and flavorful dish that makes the cooking process well worth it.

How to store it :

To store Crispy Chicken Tenders with Tangy Ranch Sauce and maintain their freshness, follow these guidelines:


  1. Allow the cooked chicken tenders to cool to room temperature before storing.
  2. Place the tenders in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.
  3. Refrigerate the tenders for up to 3-4 days.


  1. If you want to store the chicken tenders for a longer period, consider freezing them.
  2. Arrange the tenders in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid.
  3. Once frozen, transfer the tenders to a freezer-safe bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  4. Label the container with the date for easy tracking.
  5. Frozen chicken tenders can be stored for 1-2 months.


  1. When ready to enjoy the frozen tenders, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.


  1. To reheat refrigerated tenders, preheat your oven to around 325°F (163°C).
  2. Place the tenders on a baking sheet and heat for 10-15 minutes or until they reach the desired temperature.
  3. For frozen tenders, reheat in the oven at a slightly higher temperature for a longer duration until thoroughly heated.


  • Reheating in the oven will help maintain the crispiness of the chicken tenders better than using a microwave.
  • Avoid reheating tenders too many times, as it can affect their texture.

Always use your judgment and ensure that reheated chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat. Proper storage and reheating practices will help preserve the quality of your Crispy Chicken Tenders with Tangy Ranch Sauce.

Popular Questions and Answers:

  • Q1: Can I use chicken thighs or drumsticks instead of chicken breast? A1: Absolutely! Feel free to use chicken thighs or drumsticks if you prefer dark meat. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they are fully cooked.
  • Q2: Can I make the ranch sauce ahead of time? A2: Yes, the ranch sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just give it a good stir before serving.
  • Q3: Can I bake the chicken tenders instead of frying them? A3: Yes, you can bake the chicken tenders for a healthier option. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Flip them halfway through for even cooking.
  • Q4: Can I freeze the uncooked, breaded chicken tenders? A4: Yes, you can freeze the uncooked, breaded chicken tenders. Arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid before transferring to a freezer-safe bag. Fry or bake them directly from frozen, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
  • Q5: What sides pair well with these chicken tenders? A5: These chicken tenders go well with a variety of sides such as coleslaw, potato wedges, or a crisp green salad. You can also serve them with your favorite dipping sauces.
  • Q6: Can I use a different type of flour for the coating? A6: Yes, you can experiment with different types of flour, such as whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour blend, for the coating. Adjust the quantities as needed.
  • Q7: How do I prevent the coating from falling off during frying? A7: Make sure to let excess wet or dry batter drip off before dipping into the next coating. Allowing the breaded tenders to rest for 10 minutes before frying helps the coating adhere better.
  • Q8: Can I use store-bought ranch dressing instead of making the sauce from scratch? A8: Yes, you can use store-bought ranch dressing if you prefer a quicker option. However, the homemade ranch sauce adds a unique flavor that enhances the dish.
  • Q9: Can I air-fry the chicken tenders? A9: Certainly! Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and air-fry the tenders for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Q10: Can I make these tenders for a party in advance? A10: Yes, you can prepare and cook the tenders in advance and reheat them in the oven before serving. This ensures they stay crispy.