How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders? [Find Out Now]

Chicken tenders gained popularity in the 1970s when people started being afraid of eating red meat.

Since chicken tenders are made from a part of the chicken breast that used to be thrown out, chicken producers quickly pushed these products so that less chicken would be wasted.

Popular with kids and parents because they are easy to eat and taste delicious, chicken tenders are now a staple in many American households.

When using a deep fryer, it takes 6-8 minutes at 375°F to deep fry chicken tenders that are one inch thick. If your tenders are larger, like two inches thick, it will take 10-12 minutes. Do it in small batches, about 6 to 8 tenders at a time. Each side of the average chicken tender takes 3-4 minutes to brown. Larger chicken tenders make take 5-6 minutes to crisp.

Keep reading to learn more about the different ways and temperatures that you can deep fry chicken tenders.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders Raw

Deep-frying chicken tenders raw is the most traditional way to prepare a chicken tender.

This will take about 6-8 minutes if your raw chicken strips are one inch thick and 10-12 minutes if your chicken strips are 2 inches thick.

You should have your oil at around 375°F. To make sure the oil is at the right temperature, use a candy thermometer.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the dip test.

Cut off a small piece of your chicken and place it in the heated oil. If the chicken floats, then your oil is at the right temperature.

Raw chicken tenders

If it sinks, take it out and try again in another minute or so. Repeat this over and over until the chicken floats (although it shouldn’t take too many tries!).

Before you fry your chicken tenders, make sure you prep them properly.

If you’re using chicken breasts, cut them to your desired one or two-inch sizes. Wash the chicken thoroughly with water and then let any excess water drain.

Then add your chicken strips to a mixing bowl and throw in some pepper, paprika, buttermilk, and ginger-garlic paste.

Combine all these ingredients well and let them marinate in the refrigerator for half an hour.

While your tenders are marinating, place two egg whites in one bowl and a mix of flour, pepper, salt, and red chili flakes in the other.

Dip your marinated chicken in the eggs, then roll them in the flour mixture. This will give you a nice crispy crunch once your tenders are done frying!

How Long to Deep Fry Frozen Chicken Tenders

The nice thing about deep frying frozen chicken tenders is that you can purchase frozen chicken already the size of tenders, so you don’t have to cut the chicken before frying.

Plus, deep frying frozen chicken tenders is faster than deep-frying raw ones.

It takes 3-5 minutes to deep fry frozen chicken tenders in a pot over your stove.

When deep-frying frozen tenders, use a candy thermometer and pre-heat your oil to 350°F.

You don’t have to defrost your chicken before frying it because the high heat in the oil removes any extra moisture and helps your chicken cook fast.

This gives it that nice, crispy crunch on the outside.

Leave your frozen chicken fully submerged in the oil for 3-5 minutes. Take them out and check the temperature.

You know they are finished when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

If they haven’t reached that temperature, put them in for another minute and check again. Repeat this until they are properly cooked.

I recommend buying frozen chicken tenders that are already prepped for frying.

This means you don’t have to do any extra prep and you can throw them straight in the deep fryer.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders on the Stove

You don’t have to have a deep fryer to make crispy chicken tenders, you can make them right on your stovetop in a dutch oven.

It takes six minutes to deep fry chicken tenders on the stove on medium heat.

With this recipe, you don’t have to know the exact temperature of the oil, just keep your burner on medium heat.

Make a mixture in one bowl of flour, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder, and in another bowl crack two eggs and mix them.

Run your chicken tenders first through the flour mixture, then through the eggs, and back through the flour mixture again.

Preheat the cooking oil of your choice (I like grapeseed oil because of its high smoke point) over medium in a dutch oven. Once hot, add 4-5 chicken tenders at a time, and don’t crowd the pan.

Cook the tenders for minutes on one side, then flip them and cook them for three minutes on the other.

Once the chicken tenders have an internal temperature of 165°F, they are ready to eat.

Do be careful with any stovetop recipe when you take the chicken tenders in and out of the pan.

With hot oil, it is likely to spit out hot oil when you put the tenders in, and you risk burning yourself if it hits your hand.

To avoid this, use long tongs that are safe in high heat so your hands don’t have to go near the pan when you are taking the chicken in and out.

Also, use oven mitts to give your hands an extra layer of protection.

Another way to prevent burning yourself is to use a pan with high sides.

But still, be careful and use long tongs and oven mitts to be safe.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders in the Pan

If you’re going to pan-fry chicken tenders, always use a non-stick or well seasoned cast-iron skillet.

It takes 16-20 minutes to fry chicken tenders on in a pan at 350-360°F.

To deep-fry chicken in a skillet, heat two inches of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 365-375 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken by dipping it in a mix of egg and water and rolling it in a mix of flour, salt, and pepper.

Add the chicken five pieces at a time. Cook it on one side for 8-10 minutes until it’s golden brown, then flip the pieces and cook them for another 8-10 minutes.

When cooking with chicken, you need a reliable meat thermometer because chicken is safe to eat once it hits an internal temp of 165°F.

Once the tenders hit 165°F, you can take them out of the pan. After letting them rest for a couple of minutes, they are ready to eat.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders in the Deep Fryer

If you’re lucky enough to have a deep fryer in your home, you can make delicious, crispy chicken tenders that taste just like the ones you get in a restaurant.

At 375°F, It takes six to eight minutes to deep fry chicken tenders in the deep fryer.

To deep-fry chicken tenders, heat oil in your deep fryer to 375°F.

Put bread crumbs in one bowl, flour, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in another bowl, and beat two eggs in a third bowl.

Coat one piece of chicken at a time first in the flour mixture, then the eggs, and last the bread crumbs.

In small quantities, fry the chicken tenders for 6-8 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Once they are golden brown, remove them immediately and carefully pat them dry with paper towels so that they stay nice and crispy before you serve them.

When you’re using your deep fryer, you want to lay the chicken down in a single row. This ensures that the whole surface of the chicken gets nice and crispy.

If you lay them on top of each other, they will fry together and come out as an unappetizing clump.

And any time you are frying, don’t heat a certain oil over its smoke point and do not overcrowd the basket, which can lead to undercooked food that looks done but is actually unsafe to eat.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer

For a healthier way to deep fry chicken tenders, try using an air fryer.

When you pre-heat your air fryer to 400°F, it takes 10 to 12 minutes total to deep fry chicken tenders.

Air-fried chicken is better for you in general because you don’t have to use any oil in your preparation.

To deep-fry chicken tenders in the air fryer, dip your chicken tenders in egg and then coat them in a mix of panko or bread crumbs.

Place them in the air fryer that’s been pre-heated to 400°F.  Leave the chicken in for five to six minutes on each side.

Cook them until they are golden and crispy on the outside. Use a meat thermometer to check if they are at 165°F.

Method of Deep Frying Chicken TendersHow Long It Takes to Cook
StoveSeven minutes at 350-360°F
Pan10-13 minutes over medium heat
Deep FryerSix to eight minutes at 375°F
Air Fryer10-12 minutes at 400°F

How Do You Tell if Fried Chicken Tenders Are Done

Because chicken is not a shelf-stable food, you have to make sure it is fully cooked before eating.

To tell if your fried chicken tenders are done, use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, the only way to tell if your chicken tenders are done is by cutting one open.

Cut open your chicken: if the juices run clear, your tenders are fully cooked. But if the juices run red, stick them back in for a bit longer until the juice is clear.

How Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders at 325°F

The time it takes to fry your chicken depends on the heat of your oil.

When deep-frying chicken tenders at 325°F in a dutch oven over the stovetop, it will take eight to ten minutes. You’ll first need to heat the oil to 350°F, then once you add your chicken tenders maintain a frying temperature of 325°F.

Use a candy or instant-read thermometer to maintain the correct oil temperature.

Deep Fried Chicken Tenders

Cook the tenders for four to five minutes on one side, then flip them and do four to five minutes on the other side.

How Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders at 350°F

The hotter your oil is, the quicker your chicken tenders will cook.

If you’re frying in a large dutch oven over the stove set to 350°F, it will take six to eight minutes to cook your chicken tenders.

Put enough oil in your dutch oven so that the chicken is fully submerged in the oil

If you’d rather pan-fry them, keep your tenders on one side for three to five minutes. Then once that side is crispy and golden, flip it to the other side and cook it for another three to five minutes.

Either method you prefer, check them for an internal temperature of 165°F to make sure they are finished cooking.

How Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders at 365°F

365°F is a standard temperature to deep fry chicken at, and it takes about six to eight minutes total when you are using a dutch oven with two inches of oil.

It might need longer, but this way you don’t risk overcooking it.

With this method, your chicken tenders will be fully submerged in the oil. If you have particularly large pieces and they are not fully covered in the oil, be sure to flip them after three to four minutes.

And if you are pan-frying your chicken tenders, check that they are golden brown at three to four minutes.

If they’re ready, flip them to cook on the other side for three to four more minutes.

How Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders at 375°F

There’s such a small difference between frying chicken tenders between 365°F and 375°F, so it takes the same amount of time when frying in a dutch oven over the stove, six to eight minutes.

I would just be sure to check your chicken tenders at six minutes to ensure that you don’t accidentally overcook them.

How Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders at 400°F

Since 400°F is such a high temperature, the best way to cook chicken tenders at this temperature is in the air fryer.

If you deep fry chicken tenders at this temperature, you risk the outside of the tender burning before the chicken is fully cooked through.

It takes 10 to 12 minutes to air fry chicken tenders at 400 °F in the air fryer.

Cook one side for five to six minutes, then once that side is golden brown, flip it and cook the other side for five to six minutes.

TemperatureHow Long To Deep Fry Chicken Tenders
325°F8 to 10 mins in a dutch oven over the stove
350°F6 to 8 mins in a dutch oven over the stove
365°F6 to 8 mins in a dutch oven over the stove
375°F6 to 8 mins in a dutch oven over the stove
400°F10-12 mins in the air fryer. Do not fry them in oil at this temperature or the outside will burn before the inside is cooked.

Final Thoughts

Chicken tenders should be a staple in any household because they’re a good source of protein and pretty easy to make.

Any way of cooking chicken tenders takes less than 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about sitting at the oven or deep fryer for too long.

It’s important to make sure the inside of your chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to make sure it’s safe to eat.

Do not rely on how the chicken tender looks on the outside to make sure if it’s cooked or not.

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut a chicken tender open, and if the juice is clear, it’s safe to eat. If the juice is red, it needs more cooking time.

While the most popular temperature to cook chicken at is 365°F to 375°F, try out these other temperatures and methods to see which one your family likes best.

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