Spicy Chicken Tenders with Garlic Butter Dipping Hot Sauce

Forget Church’s.  Forget Popeyes.

Make chicken tenders better than these two popular fried chicken depots!

Crunchy on the outside… Tender and juicy on the inside…

That’s exactly what these babies are!

My family loves chicken tenders… And we often buy them at Popeyes Chicken or Church’s Chicken… But after countless visits to these places… And after eating hundreds of chicken tenders, which most often were overly breaded.  Over fried… and stale… I had to figure out a way to make chicken tenders at home.

I have experimented with different recipes for chicken tenders.  My goal was to exceed or at least come close to what Popeyes and Church’s sells.

My first few were good but not quite the chicken tenders I had envisioned.  And then one day, I finally got it!

I finally came up with chicken tenders that are crunchy on the outside… tender and juicy on the inside… Perfectly cooked.  Perfectly breaded.  And spicy!

My husband is absolutely thrilled about my new concoction… He simply loves these chicken tenders… and so does my son…Goodbye Popeyes.

Goodbye Church’s.

Hello… Finger Lickin’ Spicy Chicken Tenders!


NOTE:  If you expect the same result as I have gotten… You must use chicken tenderloins and NOT chicken breasts.  They are a bit pricy – around $3.40 per poun.  But it’s cheaper to make them at home than buying them at these fast food chains which they charge about $1 a piece!…

Here’s what you need and the recipe…

4 pounds chicken tenderloins.

seasoned flour. (see recipe below)

canola oil.

Garlic Butter Hot Sauce. (see recipe below)


How To Make ‘Em and Fry’em

First you need to make the hot sauce…

two bottles hot sauce.

combine two bottles of hot sauce in a medium size sauce pan.

sea salt, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, granulated garlic, ground, coriander, ground cumin, and ground ginger.

add sea salt and spices to the hot sauce.

mashed garlic.

add the mashed garlic to the hot sauce. mix them up.

And then…

measure exactly one cup of the hot sauce and set it aside.

add butter to the hot sauce mixture and simmer hot sauce over low heat…

And while the sauce is simmering…

place the chicken tenderloins in a ziploc bag.  and remember that cup of hot sauce you measured and set aside… ? pour that over the chicken tenderloins.

Close the bag and shake ’em around so the sauce will coat the chicken tenderloins.   Have this bag sit while you season the flour…

combine the flour, kosher salt, spanish paprika, granulated garlic, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander.

take out those happily marinating chicken tenderloins from the ziploc bag and coat them with the seasoned flour.  four or five pieces at a time.

place the coated chicken tenderloins on a platter for about 3 minutes before frying them in hot oil…

fry the chicken tenderloins in hot oil 350°F (for 6 – 7 minutes or until cooked and crispy.

drain on paper towels and serve…

btw… you can also use chicken wings, if you like wings…

Please note:  if using bone in wings, fry the wings 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked.


Spicy Chicken Tenders with Garlic Butter Dipping Hot Sauce


4 pounds chicken tenders

Seasoned Flour – see recipe below

4 – 5 cups canola oil

Garlic Butter Hot Sauce:

1 bottle (17.5 ounces) Texas Pete Buffalo Style Barbecue Sauce

1 bottle (12 ounces) Luisiana Hot Sauce

6 cloves garlic – peeled and minced

2 tsps. cayenne pepper

1½ tsps. ground black pepper

2 tsps. coarse sea salt + 1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. granulated garlic

¼ tsp. ground coriander

¼ tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

¾ stick unsalted butter

In a medium size sauce pan, combine hot sauces, garlic, cayenne, ground black pepper, coriander, cumin and ground ginger.  Stir until smooth and free of lumps.  (You will add the butter later.)

Place chicken tenders in a gallon ziploc bog.

Measure exactly 1 cup of the hot sauce mixture and pour over the chicken tenders.

Close the freezer bag and shake or toss the toss until chicken is well coated with the hot sauce.

In the meantine, place the sauce pan with the hot sauce mixture on a stove over medium low heat.  Add the butter.  Simmer sauce until boiling, stirring occassionally.

Turn off heat.

Seasoned Flour:

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tsps. kosher salt

2 tsps. Spanish paprika

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground coriander

In a deep dish or bowl, combine flour, salt and spices.

Dredge chicken tenders, one piece at a time, with the seasoned flour.  Place dredge chicken tenders in a large plate and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.  This process allows the breading to stick to the meat.

Using a deep heavy bottomed pot or large skillet, heat 4 – 5 cups canola oil until it reaches 350°F.

Fry chicken tenders, 5 or 6 pieces at a time, for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with Garlic Butter Dipping Hot Sauce on the side.  Or Dunk the fried chicken tenders in the hot sauce before serving.  Serve with potato salad, baked beans, and or red beans and rice.

Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:

#1 – Adding the hot sauce mixture to the chicken without the butter seasons the chicken well, and allows the breading to adhere to the chicken.

#2 – Fresh garlic, and granulated garlic, gives the sauce a double dose of garlic flavors.

#3 – Ground cumin, coriander and ginger give the sauce a nice surprise.

#4 – If you want them to be restaurant style… dunk them in hot sauce before serving.  But if you want to control the heat… serve the sauce on the side.

#5 – If using wings, please fry them 8 – 10 minutes.  One of the best ways to tell if the wings are cooked… is when the wings starts to float on the oil instead of them being at the bottom.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Tess Harris

7 thoughts on “Spicy Chicken Tenders with Garlic Butter Dipping Hot Sauce

  1. Never had Church’s or Popeye’s chicken. Not in this area. Only KFC, and that’s finger lickin good! Your tenders look amazing, as I love fried chicken. Not sure how hot & spicy the family can handle, but I can play around with that. Chicken tenders here on sale run $1.99 lb. at the grocery store. Thanks for the recipe. Now you got me craving fried chicken 🙂

    • You’re welcome Tess!

      As for the heat level… this recipe is medium hot for me and mild for my husband. So I guess the hotness depends on the person and how much they can tolerate heat…

      You can always use a mild buffalo hot sauce and reduce the cayenne and eliminate the ground hot peppers. Like you said… you can play with it… 😉

      Hope you had an awesome wedding anniversary.


  2. Hey Tess ~ I usually don’t like things that you have to fry cause I make such a bloody mess when I have to do that but these chicken tenders look friggin amazing & I like that you can use wings to. Gr8 recipe as always 🙂


    • Thanks Mario!

      Yes… you definitely can use chicken wings in place of the tenderloins. Personally, the wings are crunchier because of the skins. I LOVE the wings!!!

      You just have to fry them longer than the tenderloins. About 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked. The wings usually float on top once they are cooked…



  3. Hi Tess! You’re most welcome. 🙂
    Sure, I’ll make myself at home in your interesting blog!:D
    You take care too & have a great weekend! 😀

  4. Hi Tess! So glad that I found your blog while reading at Lani’s (Food:Cooking and Capturing) post. Your blog is so beautiful with all your awesome photos and I can feel all the love and passion that you put in when cooking all the dishes that you shared here. Your Spicy Chicken Tenders with Garlic Butter Dipping Hot Sauce looks great! 😀

    • Hi Lyn!

      Thank you!

      I’m happy to see you here too! Glad you found me… 🙂

      Feel free to browse and scroll down the pages of blogs and recipes…

      I hope you find something you would like to try and cook for your family…

      Take care… and see you around… 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s