These tenders can be a game day appetizer or a main meal item. If you are looking for a new take on a delicious dish give these Frito Fried Chicken Tenders a try.
By Taylor Mathis and Sally James
My youngest brother, Clifton, loves chicken tenders! When he was younger, some would say Clifton was a picky eater, but I prefer saying he had a very selective palate. My Mom quickly discovered that he would always eat chicken tenders, which lead to chicken tenders being on the family menu at least once a week. Check out this video instructional with Sally.
Clifton likes his tenders only one way and eats the same meal every time. A plate full of tenders, ketchup, a side of green beans, and corn. That is the way he likes it and being the baby of the family, that’s the way my Mom makes them.
Clifton may enjoy the consistency and same tenders every week, but I am a little more adventurous in my tastes. Sally and I were discussing how she could change up her chicken finger game. Her solution: add the crunch and saltiness of Fritos. Genius! When paired with a Sweet & Spicy Peach Dipping Sauce you have an appetizer or entree that is perfect for any entertaining occasion. Chicken Tenders are a food that was meant for tailgating. They are versatile in that you can have one or two as appetizer or a plate full as a main meal. You can eat them with one hand while standing up and they can feed a crowd! If you are looking for a new take on a delicious dish give these Frito Fried Chicken Tenders a try!
- 1½ half pounds chicken tenderloins (tenders)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 cups self rising flour
- 2 cups instant corn masa flour
- 1 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 bag (9¾ ounces) Fritos Corn Chips
- peanut oil for frying
- 1 jar hot pepper peach jam (11-13 ounces)*
- Juice of 1-2 fresh limes
- Cut the chicken tenderloins in half lengthwise. Put the tenders in a bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir until all the tenders are covered with the buttermilk. Set bowl aside. (at this point you may refrigerate the tenders up to 6 hours before proceeding with the recipe)
- Fill a large, high- sided pot or dutch oven pot ⅔ the way up with peanut oil. Set the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pot being careful not to rest the thermometer on the bottom of the oil filled pot. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl add the flour, masa, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork or whisk until the dredge is well blended. Using one hand (or tongs) for the wet poultry and one had for the dredge, drop the tenders into the dredge a few pieces at a time. Toss the tenders in the flour mixture and remove the chicken and place on a baking sheet. Repeat process until all of the tenders are coated with the dredge. Set the baking sheet and the dredge mixture aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the whole milk and the egg. Stir the mixture with a fork until well blended. Put the Fritos into the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse the Fritos ON/OFF until the corn chips are just ground (some larger crumbs are alright). Add the corn chip crumbs to the remaining dredge mixture. Stir with a fork until the crumbs and flour mixture are well blended. Dip the chicken tenders in to the egg and milk mixture and then coat in the corn chip dredge. Put the coated tenders back on the baking sheet. Continue dipping and dredging until all of the chicken tenders are coated.
- Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Cover the paper towels with a layer of parchment paper. When the oil is between 360 and 370 degrees, carefully drop 4 or 5 tenders into the oil. Using a spider of slotted spoon, occasionally turn the tenders over in the oil until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on the prepared parchment lined baking sheet. Continue to fry the chicken in batches until all of the chicken is fried. Put the chicken into the oven and let it continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the dipping sauce. Put the hot pepper peach jam into a small bowl. Add the juice of 1 lime. Stir the jam until it is well mixed. Taste the sauce and add additional fresh lime juice to taste. Remove the Frito Fried Chicken Tenders from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature with the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce.