Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe

Houston’s Chicken Tenders Recipe

Are you ready to embark on a mouthwatering journey?

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with Houston’s famous chicken tenders recipe. This delectable dish will have you savoring every crispy, juicy bite.

Marinated to perfection and coated with a secret blend of spices, these tenders are truly irresistible.

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or enjoying a solo feast, this recipe will surely satisfy your cravings.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to experience the freedom of flavor!

Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe
Houston’s Chicken Tenders Recipe

Key Takeaways

  • Marinating the chicken in an acidic marinade helps to tenderize the meat and enhance the flavor.
  • The secret ingredient in Houston’s chicken tenders remains undisclosed, but the cooking technique and seasoning blend also contribute to their tenderness.
  • Cooking the chicken tenders for 10-12 minutes at 400°F in the oven results in a crispy outside and tender inside.
  • Serving suggestions and dipping sauce ideas, such as honey mustard, barbecue, or buffalo sauce, can elevate the taste of the chicken tenders and provide variety for different preferences.

Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe

Recipe by Heather SmithCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Houston's Chicken Tenders are renowned for their exceptional crispiness and delicious flavor. If you've ever wondered how to recreate that restaurant-quality tenderness and taste at home, you're in the right place. This recipe will guide you through making these mouthwatering chicken tenders that are perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you'll have a plate of golden, crispy tenders in no time.


  • 1 pound of chicken tenders

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cooking oil for frying


  • Begin by setting up a breading station. In one bowl, place the flour. In another, beat the eggs. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. This will be your seasoned breadcrumb mixture.
  • Take a chicken tender and coat it in the flour, ensuring it's fully covered. Shake off any excess.
  • Dip the floured tender into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off.
  • Place the chicken tender into the seasoned breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to create an even coating. Repeat the process for all the tenders.

Ingredients Needed for Houston’s Chicken Tenders

To make Houston’s chicken tenders, you’ll need a few key ingredients. The first ingredient is boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which should be cut into long, thin strips.

You’ll also need all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika for the coating. In addition, you’ll need eggs to create a binding mixture for the flour.

The cooking time for these tenders is relatively quick, taking only about 10 minutes to fry until golden brown and crispy. However, if you prefer a healthier alternative, you can also bake them in the oven at 400°F for around 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

This method reduces the amount of oil used, while still achieving a delicious result.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Marinating the Chicken

Now that you have prepared the ingredients for Houston’s chicken tenders, it’s time to marinate the chicken. Marinating is a crucial step in infusing the meat with flavor and ensuring it stays juicy and tender. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose your marinade: While the recipe calls for a classic buttermilk marinade, feel free to experiment with alternatives like yogurt-based marinades or citrus-based ones for a tangy twist.

  2. Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag or a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure it coats each piece evenly.

  3. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful your chicken tenders will be.

Marinating time recommendations may vary depending on your preference, but these guidelines will help you achieve delicious results.

Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe
Houston’s Chicken Tenders Recipe

How to Create the Perfect Crispy Coating for the Tenders

First, coat the marinated chicken tenders with a crispy breading for a delicious crunch. Achieving the perfect crispy coating requires a technique that ensures a golden brown exterior while keeping the chicken tender and juicy on the inside. Here is a simple yet effective way to create that irresistible crunch:

All-purpose flour1 cup
Panko breadcrumbs1 cup
Salt1 teaspoon
Pepper1/2 teaspoon
Paprika1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder1/2 teaspoon
Vegetable oilFor frying
  1. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  2. In another dish, beat the eggs.
  3. Dip each marinated chicken tender into the beaten eggs, then coat it in the crispy breading mixture.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or deep fryer.
  5. Fry the chicken tenders until they are golden brown and crispy.

Once you have mastered the crispy coating technique, you can elevate your chicken tenders by serving them with alternative dipping sauces like honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or buffalo sauce. These sauces add an extra layer of flavor and allow you to customize your chicken tenders to your liking. Now, let’s uncover the secret behind Houston’s tender and juicy chicken.

The Secret Behind Houston’s Tender and Juicy Chicken

To achieve Houston’s tender and juicy chicken, you need to follow a secret technique. Here’s how they do it:

  1. The science behind tenderizing chicken: Houston’s understands that tender chicken starts with the marinade. They use a combination of acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar to break down the proteins in the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. This step is crucial in ensuring that every bite of their chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

  2. The history of chicken tenders: Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or chicken strips, have a long history in American cuisine. They first gained popularity in the 1980s as a kid-friendly fast food option. Today, they’re a staple on menus across the country, loved by people of all ages for their crispy coating and tender meat.

  3. The secret ingredient: While Houston’s keeps their secret ingredient closely guarded, it’s clear that they’ve mastered the art of cooking chicken to perfection. Whether it’s their cooking technique, seasoning blend, or a combination of both, their chicken tenders always come out tender and juicy.

Tips for Cooking the Chicken Tenders to Perfection

For the best results, use a generous amount of seasoning on your chicken tenders. Seasoning is key to enhancing the flavor and making your chicken tenders truly delicious.

There are various seasoning options to choose from, depending on your taste preferences. You can go for a classic blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder for a simple yet flavorful taste. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with different spice mixes like Cajun, lemon pepper, or even a spicy buffalo seasoning.

Once you’ve seasoned your chicken tenders, it’s time to cook them to perfection. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your chicken tenders, but a good rule of thumb is to cook them for about 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven at 400°F. Keep an eye on them to ensure they’re cooked through and golden brown on the outside.

With the right seasoning and cooking time, your chicken tenders will turn out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, making them a crowd-pleasing dish.

Serving Suggestions and Dipping Sauce Ideas for Houston’s Chicken Tenders

Now that you’ve mastered cooking Houston’s chicken tenders to perfection, it’s time to take it to the next level with some creative serving suggestions and delicious dipping sauces.

Whether you’re hosting a party or simply enjoying a family meal, choosing the right dipping sauce can elevate the flavors of the tender, crispy chicken. From classic favorites like honey mustard and barbecue sauce to more unique options like spicy sriracha mayo or tangy jalapeno ranch, there are endless possibilities to explore.

Additionally, consider serving the chicken tenders on a bed of mixed greens for a refreshing twist or alongside some sweet potato fries for a satisfying meal.

Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe
Houston’s Chicken Tenders Recipe

Best Dipping Sauce

Try dipping your Houston’s Chicken Tenders in a tangy honey mustard sauce for a delicious flavor combination. Not a fan of honey mustard? No worries! There are plenty of alternative sauces that can take your chicken tenders to the next level.

Here are three options to consider:

  1. Spicy Buffalo Sauce: If you crave a little heat, this sauce is for you. The tangy and spicy flavors will perfectly complement the crispy chicken tenders.

  2. Creamy Ranch Dressing: For those who prefer a milder taste, ranch dressing is a classic choice. Its creamy and tangy flavor profile adds a refreshing element to the tender chicken.

  3. Sweet and Sour Sauce: Looking for a touch of sweetness? The combination of sweet and tangy flavors in this sauce will provide a delightful contrast to the savory chicken tenders.

Unique Serving Suggestions?

To elevate your dining experience with Houston’s Chicken Tenders, consider unique serving suggestions and explore creative dipping sauce ideas.

When it comes to serving these delicious tenders, presentation is key. Try serving them in a rustic wooden basket lined with parchment paper, or on a sleek and modern platter with a side of colorful dipping sauces.

For a fun twist, you can also serve the tenders on skewers, making them easy to grab and dip.

As for dipping sauce ideas, why not try a tangy honey mustard sauce with a hint of chipotle, or a creamy avocado ranch dip?

If you’re looking for alternative breading options, consider using crushed pretzels or panko breadcrumbs for added crunch.

These unique serving suggestions and dipping sauce ideas will take your Houston’s Chicken Tenders to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Nutritional Facts:-

  • Calories: 325 kcal
  • Protein: 21g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 115mg
  • Sodium: 408mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat Instead of Chicken for This Recipe?

If you’re looking for alternative meat options for the recipe, there are plenty of vegetarian alternatives available. Consider using tofu, seitan, or even jackfruit as substitutes for chicken in this dish. Experiment and enjoy the freedom of culinary creativity!

How Long Should I Marinate the Chicken for the Best Flavor?

For the best flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, enhancing its taste and juiciness. You’ll be rewarded with tender, flavorful bites.

Can I Bake the Chicken Tenders Instead of Frying Them?

Baking vs frying: Which method yields the crispiest chicken tenders? Yes, you can bake the chicken tenders instead of frying them. For extra crispiness, try coating them in breadcrumbs and baking at a higher temperature.

Can I Make the Crispy Coating Ahead of Time and Store It for Later Use?

Yes, you can make the crispy coating ahead of time and store it for later use. Here are some tips for storing it properly: keep it in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. You can also experiment with different types of coatings and flavors.

What Are Some Alternative Dipping Sauce Ideas for Houston’s Chicken Tenders?

Looking for alternative dipping sauce ideas for your chicken tenders? Try some spicy mayo for a kick, or opt for honey mustard if you prefer something tangy. If you like heat, buffalo sauce is a great choice, and barbecue sauce adds a smoky flavor. For a classic option, go with ranch dressing.

Houston's Chicken Tenders Recipe
Houston’s Chicken Tenders Recipe


Houston’s Chicken Tenders are a crispy delight that will make your taste buds soar. With a tender and juicy interior, these tenders are a true culinary masterpiece.

The secret lies in the marination process, creating a burst of flavor in every bite. The crispy coating adds a satisfying crunch, taking these tenders to a whole new level.

Cook them to perfection and serve with your favorite dipping sauce for a meal that will leave you craving for more.

Get ready to indulge in a finger-licking experience like no other.

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