Cajun Chicken Tenders are kid and adult approved! These tender chicken strips are full of flavor and perfect for dunking in your favorite dipping sauce.
Whether you call them chicken tenders, chicken fingers or chicken strips, there is no doubt that deep fried pieces of chicken is always a favorite. Kids love them because they are finger food and fun to eat. Adults love them because…well for the same reasons. They are just plain fun to eat! Not to mention delicious.
Especially when the chicken strips are seasoned every step of the way like they are in this recipe. They are first marinated in a cajun buttermilk mixture, then double coated in a cajun seasoned flour mixture before being deep fried to perfection. The result is a crunchy, tender, flavorful bite that the whole family is sure to love.
CHICKEN TENDERLOINS: Chicken tenderloins are the long muscle strip beneath the breast. For this recipe, you can use chicken breasts that you’ve cut into strips as well.
BUTTERMILK: Buttermilk helps to tenderize the chicken which is why it is used so often when making fried chicken.
HOT SAUCE: To give a little kick to the marinade. I use Crystal for this but you could also use something similar, like Franks.
FLOUR/CORNSTARCH: A combo of the two is what is going to give you that crispy exterior.
EGG/MILK: This will give the flour something to stick to.
CAJUN SEASONING: You can make your own DIY cajun seasoning or you can use your favorite.
BLACK PEPPER: Adds a touch of smoky heat to the flour.
Whenever I make coated fried food I like to set up an assembly line of sorts. It helps keep things moving smoothly. Just follow along in the step by step photos to see just how I do it.
STEP #1: Marinate your chicken in buttermilk and cajun seasoning. You’ll want to do this for at least 2 hours. After it has marinated pat it dry.
STEP #2: Set up your assembly line with the dried chicken tenders, seasoned flour and an egg wash.
STEP #3: Coat the chicken. First dredge the chicken in flour, then dip in the egg wash and then once more into the flour mixture.
STEP #4 Fry chicken, in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, at 350 degrees F until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt as soon as your remove them from the oil.
The dip you choose when you’re eating chicken tenders is almost just as important as the tenders themselves. After all, dunking food in a sauce is also part of the fun. Around here we like to dip ours in homemade honey mustard, creamy ranch dip, and garlic aioli.
When it comes to sides, I like to serve these with air fryer french fries or homemade mashed potatoes like they do when you get the Cajun Chicken Littles at the Cheesecake Factory!
These are best eaten the day that they are made but will crisp up in the air fryer!
It is the long muscle underneath the breast of the chicken and is the most tender part of the bird.
You do not need to remove the tendon! It is a personal preference but the tendon is edible. I’ve done it both ways and honestly, removing the tendon can be more effort than it’s worth.
Cajun spice hails from Louisiana. It’s a blend of spices that usually includes paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion and
Can’t get enough cajun flavor? Try these other Cajun recipes:
Note: This post was originally published in 2009. It was updated with a modified recipe, new photos and nutrition information in 2022.
TashaOctober 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Today was my second time cooking these. My family love these chicken tenders. Mine weren’t cajun even though I used McCormmick cajun seasoning. But they were still very delicious. I really like this recipe.
JoyceMay 15, 2013 at 5:45 am
There are several cajun seasonings on the market. Which one did you use in the recipe? I am looking forward to making these over the weekend.
DesereeMay 15, 2013 at 7:07 am
Hi Joyce, I use King of the Cajun. Enjoy these!
KatiegurlJune 29, 2012 at 9:34 am
I love honey mustard dressing but I have never had one as good as the one I had at a community meatball and spaghetti day on a trip to the US. It was home made and unfortunately I never got the recipe. I am so going to try this :) But Des, which vinegar do you use for it?
DesereeJune 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm
Hi Katie- I am glad to read that you are finding so much inspiration in the blog. I hope your bf enjoys the Mac N’ Cheese. For the honey mustard dressing in this recipe, I use distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar. Hope this helps! and thanks for reading :)
VictoriaFebruary 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm
I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you do anything to the chicken tenders first? Or do you take them straight out of the pack and coat them?
DesereeFebruary 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm
No question is stupid Victoria :) I just took them out of the package and then proceeded with the buttermilk marinade.
DesereeMarch 28, 2009 at 10:37 am
Emily: I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed these! And the fact that a former vegetarian also enjoyed them is pretty awesome too :)
EmilyMarch 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm
I made this chicken for my boyfriend who recently started to eat meat again after being a vegetarian for some years, and it was definitely enough to convince him that meat is great! the chicken was tender and flavorful with an amazing crunch!
DesmoineMarch 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm
Brilliant! I love chicken tenders and I love cajun food. I can’t believe I never though to put them together before.
DesereeMarch 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm
JenniferMarch 5, 2009 at 9:08 am
I LOVE the cajun kick to these!!!
DesereeMarch 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm
Thanks Rosa and Jennifer!
RosaMarch 5, 2009 at 6:41 am
That chicken and it’s dip look extremely scrumptious! Wonderful!
finsmomFebruary 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm
With two little ones, we are huge chicken strip eaters in our house. Great to see a new recipe to switch things up again! Thanks for sharing!
MichelleFebruary 24, 2009 at 1:43 pm
How funny – I made chicken tenders for dinner last night! Mine weren’t cajun but still pretty tasty. I’m bookmarking your recipe for next time. Thanks!
DesereeFebruary 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm
Michelle: How funny! I bet yours were good too! :)
finsmom: You’re welcome! I hope the little ones like them! :)