You know what sucks? That Chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday's (real hot take, I know) because a tray of Chick-fil-a nuggets would be the perfect addition to any Super Bowl party. But don't worry, these potato chip crusted chicken tenders are just as good! They're both super crispy and incredibly juicy. I've also included the recipe for easy, homemade honey mustard but you can serve them with whatever sauce your heart desires!
These tenders are super easy to make and just require a few simple tricks to maximize the flavors!
Trick One: Bite-sized pieces!
Obviously bite-sized pieces are great because they're, well, bite-sized, but there's even more to it than that! Smaller pieces cook a lot faster which is a big plus when deep frying. The longer the cook time, the more likely the outside will burn or get overdone. 2 inch pieces cook in about 5-7 minutes which is the perfect amount of time to achieve a crispy crust and still tender meat inside. Also, smaller pieces means more of that yummy potato chip crust per bite!
Trick Two: Dry Brine!
Dry brining is a fantastic way to add flavor and tenderize your meat. Since we're working with little 2 inch pieces, we only have to dry brine the chicken for about 30 minutes. What is dry brining? It's literally just a fancy way of saying that we're going to salt the meat and let it sit for a while. The salt draws the juices to the surface of the meat and then dissolves forming a brine that is then reabsorbed by the meat. This leads to super tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken!
Trick Three: Vodka!
If you haven’t heard of this trick, you’ll never fry chicken another way again! I mix vodka with my egg before applying the potato chip coating. This is the key to getting that super crisp exterior! Just trust me, it's so worth it!
What kind of vodka to use? I use Tito's because it's the best 'multipurpose' vodka in my opinion. It's not cheap but it's also not expensive. I like to drink it but I also don't mind using it to cook with. You can buy cheaper vodka just for cooking but I always have Tito's on hand and I don't cook with it that often.
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Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup vodka
- 1 large bag Lay's classic potato chips, or whatever chips your heart desires
- 2-4 cups canola oil, for frying
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized (2 inch) pieces and evenly coat with kosher salt. Don’t go too crazy, but a nice even layer is good! Dry brine the chicken for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Then sift the ingredients together onto a medium size plate.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and vodka.
- On another medium plate, crush up your potato chips into small even pieces. Try not to leave any large pieces because those are more likely to fall off when frying. I usually crush about half the bag at first because you can always add more.
- Start heating 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in your Dutch oven or large pot (about 2-4 cups depending on the size of your pot) over medium-high heat while you bread the chicken tenders. You want the oil to reach about 370°F. You can tell if it's ready by dropping a little bit of flour in and if it sizzles, it's ready.
- Lightly coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg/vodka mixture, and lastly coat with crushed potato chips. You want to firmly press the potato chips onto the chicken as opposed to just sprinkling them, this will make them stick better. Note: I only prepare a few at a time because it takes me 3-4 batches to fry them all and I don’t want the potato chips to get soggy while waiting.
- Add 5-6 pieces at a time (make sure they aren't crowded in the pan) and fry for 5-7 minutes. They will be a dark golden brown. Note: I like to fry a single tender first and cut it in half after about 5 minutes to make sure the timing is right. Use an instant thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches 160°F in the center.
- Let cool for 10 minutes on a paper towel before eating.
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. That's it!
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