Crispy Sesame Chicken Strips

published Oct 31, 2021
Chicken Strips Recipe

Swap out a trusty frozen bag of frozen chicken strips for this delightfully crisp homemade version.

Serves2 to 3

Prep30 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

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Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

It’s hard to resist the lure of a bag of frozen chicken strips, but after one too many times eating less-than-stellar ones, I’ve now concluded homemade is best. With minimal ingredients and not a lot of time, these chicken strips come out crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside every single time. 

Start with boneless, skinless chicken strips for the easiest results. Cutting the chicken breast across the grain into strips is the single most important takeaway of this recipe — it will yield the most tender results once fried. Aim to keep the strips more or less even in size, although some variation is to be expected. (Simply give a little more time in the hot oil to the bigger pieces and a little less to the small pieces.)

Seasoning every layer of the breading is also key. Waiting to add salt only at the very end will likely yield bland, boring chicken (and no one loves that!). Switch up the seasoning to vary the flavors. Instead of Italian seasoning, use lemon pepper or taco seasoning. If your seasoning already has salt, either reduce or eliminate additional salt in the recipe. 

Are Chicken Strips the Same as Chicken Tenders?

Both are very similar and can be used interchangeably, although chicken tenders are usually made from the tenderloin: the small strip of meat directly under each chicken breast. Chicken strips can be made from either the tenderloin or the chicken breast. 

Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

How Do You Cook Raw Chicken Strips?

Once the chicken is breaded, you have a few options when it comes to cooking them.

  1. Baked: Baking the strips in a hot oven is a simple way to cook a large amount of chicken strips at once. They won’t be quite as crispy and golden, but if you prefer to limit your fat intake this is a good option. 
  2. Deep-fried: For the crunchiest chicken strips, the best route is deep-frying. Depending on the pan you use, you can fry quite a few at a time and fairly quickly. However, deep-frying is often messy and you’re left with a pot of oil afterwards that’s hard to get rid off. 
  3. Pan-fried: Frying the chicken strips in a skillet in a shallow layer of oil is the best of both worlds. The results are crunchy, like a deep-fried version, but not as messy. This is the cooking method of choice in this recipe. 
  4. Air-fried: An air fryer can work well for this recipe. The chicken strips will likely need a generous spray of oil before going into the air fryer so they can can crisp up. 

What to Serve with Chicken Strips

Serve a platter of chicken strips with any of the following sides:

  1. Coleslaw
  2. Potato salad
  3. Lightly dressed green salad
  4. Roasted vegetables (like asparagus or sweet potatoes)
  5. Creamed corn

Best Dipping Sauces with Chicken Strips

Serve chicken strips with any of the following sauces:

Chicken Strips Recipe

Swap out a trusty frozen bag of frozen chicken strips for this delightfully crisp homemade version.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Serves 2 to 3

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    Italian seasoning, divided

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups

    panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup

    white sesame seeds (optional)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Slice 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts across the grain into strips about 1-inch wide and 2-inches long.

  2. Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a wide, shallow bowl, and whisk to combine. Place 2 large eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt in second shallow bowl and whisk until well combined. Place 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup white sesame seeds if using, the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a third bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Working with 3 to 4 strips at a time, dip the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip each strip in egg, swiping each piece against the side of the bowl to remove any excess egg. Roll in the bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet or large plate and let rest for 10 minutes to hydrate.

  4. Fit a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Heat enough vegetable oil in a large skillet to come 1/8-inch up the sides of medium high-sided skillet (about 1 cup for a 10-inch skillet) over medium heat until 350°F. The oil is ready when shimmering and a small crumb of panko will sizzle immediately but take a minute to brown. Working in 2 to 3 batches, add the breaded chicken strips and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the wire rack to drain.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The chicken strips can be breaded up to 24 hours ahead. Store in a single layer, uncovered, in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before frying.

Storage: Leftover chicken strips can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through.