crispy pan fried chicken tenders
Meats, Recipes

Crispy Pan Fried Breaded Chicken Tenders


These crispy pan-fried chicken tenders are so succulent! Marinated for 24 hours in milk and then dredged in a breadcrumb mixture to ensure they are tender and not dry when fried. You will want to make this again and again for a fast dinner or lunch!

I have cooked my fair share of chicken over the years. But this chicken tender recipe is the bomb! First, I wanted to make an easy chicken tender that wasn’t dry. Sometimes pan-frying a skinless chicken breast can dry it out. 

I also didn’t want to make the breading so overly heavy that it detracted from the flavor of the meat but instead complemented it. This recipe wowed even the chef, lol.

Why are these chicken tenders so awesome?

I love fast, simple meals. However, I am also big on meals that can be well-balanced. This chicken tender recipe is excellent to add to your recipe books. Why? You can make these in just a few minutes!

This chicken tender recipe is straightforward once it’s had time to marinate, which makes it a great fast dinner recipe so long as you remember to marinate the meat. 

Save on eating out with these tenders that rival any restaurant!

What’s the big secret to these pan-fried chicken breast tenders?

I am not going to lie. The biggest secret is marinating the chicken breast in milk for 24 hours. You absolutely must do this step for your chicken tenders to remain juicy. 

It may seem like a lot of milk, depending on how much chicken you cook. However, you can skip this step if you are low on milk and still get a passable chicken tender.

Put the chicken in a dish and cover it entirely with milk. It doesn’t matter what the percentage is of the milk, just so long as it fully covers the chicken. 

Cover the dish with saran or tin foil, whichever you prefer, and place in the fridge for 24 hrs. 

The next day at mealtime, add two inches of vegetable oil to your non-stick pan and heat it hot! When you stand a bamboo utensil into the oil, you can tell your oil is ready when it bubbles around it. 

In a bowl, while the oil is heating up, add your bread crumbs and any spices you would like to. I used a straight black pepper and salt blend here, which was delicious!


One at a time, remove chicken pieces from the milk with tongs and allow to drip excess back into the marinating dish. Then using the same tongs, take the chicken pieces one at a time to the bowl of breadcrumbs. Roll around in the crumb mixture to coat each piece thoroughly.

Place coated pieces onto a clean plate with a frying pan so they all get added simultaneously. Doing so will ensure they all have the same cook time.

Be sure to stand back a bit so as not to get splashed with hot oil. Then, take the tongs and slay each breaded piece of chicken in the pan. Leave a bit of room around the edge of each piece so they don’t stick together.

Wait to flip the tenders until you see the edges are cooking through. Generally, this is about three to four minutes if you use thinner chicken breast fillets.

Carefully, the bread coating is light; flip over your first piece to see if it is golden brown. If so, move forward with flipping the other pieces as well. Again wait the same length of time before using your meat thermometer. Fully cooked chicken tenders should temp at 165 degrees or higher. 

If you are uncertain, remove one from the pan and cut it in half to see if it’s white all the way through. I test the thickest one this way. 

Remove from heat and be prepared to be blown away by how amazing these are!

How to change these up!

You can use straight fine breadcrumbs if you prefer for less crunch. 

Adding more spices to your breadcrumb mixture may change the flavor to match your meal. For example, adding garlic powder would go great if served with mashed potato—or Italian seasoning if served with pasta.

Experiment with the spices to find the right combination for your family’s tastes. 

crispy breaded chicken tender

Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Breast Tenders

Amber Bondar
This recipe results in the most juicy chicken breast tenders imaginable! The milk marinade makes the chicken so moist and keeps it from drying out when pan-frying. Lightly breaded these chicken breast tenders cook in under 15 mins for a tasty meal or lunch idea!
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 2


  • 1 bowl Or Shallow Baking Pan to Marinate Meat In.
  • 1 Set of Tongs For dredging meat
  • 1 Non-stick Frying Pan
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • Saran Wrap


  • 8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets
  • Cups Fine Bread Crumbs
  • ½ Cup Coarser Bread Crumbs optional
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • a Pinch of Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Cups Milk Or as much is needed to cover raw chicken


  • Put the chicken in a bowl or shallow baking dish and cover completely with milk.
  • Put a cover of saran or tin foil over the dish and let marinate in fridge for 24hrs.
  • The next day, put enough oil in your non-stick frying pan as to have one and half to two inches. Heat on high.
  • Meanwhile mix the breadcrumbs with spices.
  • Use tongs to lift chicken and let excess milk drip off.
  • Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumbs one piece at a time.
  • Lay dredged chicken onto a clean plate until all are coated.
  • Test your oil for readiness. Chicken should sizzle as it is lain in the hot oil.
  • Using your tongs carefully add each piece of chicken to the frying pan.
  • Allow each piece to cook until the edges of the chicken fillets are cooking through. Generally this is 3-4 mins.
  • Very carefully because the coating is light flip each piece over.
  • Let cook until the chicken tests at 165℉ or higher with the meat themometer.
  • If you don't have a meat thermometer lift the thickest piece to a plate and cut into it at it's deepest part. If the meat is white it has cooked.
  • Be careful to not let the chicken cook at too high of a temperature as it will burn.
Keyword Chicken, chicken breast, chicken tender, dinner, easy dinner ideas, entree, lunch, main dish

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