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Guy Fieri's Crispy Chicken Tenders

fried chicken fingers with french fries and dipping sauce
JWCH08 fried chicken fingers with french fries and dipping sauceAlamy Stock Photo
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
45 mins


  • 5-6 lemons, cut in half
  • quarts cold water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and separated
  • teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • gallons ice water
  • cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup pickle juice
  • 8 chicken tenders
Seasoned Flour
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
Egg Wash
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cups corn starch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dry
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt

Chef notes

These are, quite simply, the best chicken tenders you'll ever taste! They're juicy and tender on the inside, but super crunchy on the outside. Air frying them keeps them nice and crisp without adding any extra oil. This is how we make 'em at my Chicken Guy! restaurants each and every day. 


For the brine:


Place the lemons into a large sauce pot with the cold water, salt, sugar, bay leaf, garlic and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes while stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.


Strain the brine with a fine mesh strainer. Reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Add the ice water to the strained brine and stir to dissolve.


Once the brine is cooled, add the buttermilk and pickle juice. Whisk to combine.


Add the tenders and allow to soak for a maximum of 2 hours.

For the seasoned flour:

Sift all of the ingredients through a mesh screen into a mixing bowl to ensure there are no lumps. Whisk all ingredients together.

For the chicken tender breading:

Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a mixing bowl to ensure there aren't any lumps.

Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Mix well to incorporate.

For the egg wash:

Whisk the eggs and water in a bowl until fully blended.

To assemble:


Set up a breading station with seasoned flour, egg wash and breading each in a separate bowl.


Using the three stage breading method, toss the tenders gently in the flour until well coated. Shake off the excess flour and then drop each tender into the liquid egg wash.


Remove tenders from the liquid eggs, allow the excess to drip off and transfer chicken to the chicken breading.


Cover the tenders in the breading thoroughly, then firmly press the tender flat with your palm to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Flip and press again as needed to make thickness and breading even.

To cook:


Spray the tenders with cooking or pan spray lightly and place in the air fryer. 


Cook for 10-12 minutes at 350°F an air fryer.


Remove from the air fryer and serve.