Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

published Jul 16, 2020
summer
Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

These kid-friendly baked chicken tenders are impressively crispy, and can be on your table in just 30 minutes.

Serves4

Makes16-18 chicken tenders

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Jason Rampe

I didn’t expect it. One bite into these chicken tenders and I was brought right back to the McDonald’s playground with the hamburger-shaped jungle gym. I spent a lot of time on that playground and consumed my fair share of fried chicken strips, and although I don’t frequent fast-food restaurants as much as I did back then, I still rely on the ubiquitous chicken tender to feed my family. Truly, what (omnivore) parent doesn’t have a form of breaded chicken in their arsenal? It’s easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.

What makes this version unique is that instead of being fried in oil, the tenders are baked in the oven — and yet they’re still deliciously crispy! That’s thanks to a few smart tips, including breading the tenders in crushed potato chips.

The best potato chip-crusted chicken starts with selecting the right chip for the job. I wanted the end result to be crisp and seasoned and evoke all the best parts of fried chicken, and I found Lay’s potato chips to do all that and more. Not only are they a family favorite, but they also boast a few important qualities: light and crisp and salty, and with enough fat in the chip to make up for the fact we aren’t frying.

For fried chicken flavor, you’ll season the flour used for breading with some of my favorite fried chicken spices: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Then, for extra fried chicken-like crispiness, you’ll bake the chicken on a wire rack, which allows the air to circulate all around the chicken, leaving it with an ultra-crisp exterior. (You can also bake it directly on parchment if you don’t have a wire rack.)

Credit: Jason Rampe

If you’re looking to riff on this recipe, try using different spices in your flour mixture, or add buttermilk or sour cream to your eggs for more tang. You can even switch up the flavor of your chips! I think BBQ, Sour Cream and Onion, or even Salt and Vinegar chips would be fun to play around with.

Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

These kid-friendly baked chicken tenders are impressively crispy, and can be on your table in just 30 minutes.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Makes 16-18 chicken tenders

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    potato chips, such as Lay’s

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1 1/4 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 425ºF. Fit 2 baking sheets with wire racks, or line the baking sheets with parchment paper if you don’t have racks.

  2. Using your hands, crush 8 ounces of potato chips into very small pieces (no larger than 1/4-inch, about 3 1/2 cups crumbs) into a medium bowl. (Alternatively, place the chips in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin or bottom of a drinking glass; transfer to a medium bowl.)

  3. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt in a medium shallow bowl, pie plate, or 8x8-inch baking dish, and whisk to combine. Place 3 large eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt in another shallow bowl and whisk until blended.

  4. Pat 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  5. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, toss it in the flour mixture to coat completely. Dust off any excess flour, then dip it into the egg mixture. Let any excess egg drip back into the bowl, then toss in the potato chip crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to adhere. Place the breaded chicken on the wire rack or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken, spacing them 2-inches apart.

  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back and between racks. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven.