I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a long time and have been so excited to share it! Homemade fried Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Comeback Sauce. Oh my goodness! The tenders are super crispy and bursting with flavor. The Comeback Sauce is, well, so delicious you’ll keep coming back for more! (See what I did there???)
Making the Chicken Tenders
I used to think that frying my own chicken at home was so intimidating. It’s really not at all! I prefer it over restaurant fried chicken because I know what all the ingredients are and I also know that my oil isn’t years old. The first step in making the tenders is to soak them in seasoned buttermilk.
The buttermilk has just enough acidity to tenderize the chicken and the enzymes help break down the chicken protein which results in a tender, flavorful bite.
Next, flour is seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, and seasoned salt. Notice how we are seasoning the buttermilk AND the flour dredge? When you do that, the tenders come out SO flavorful!
You’ll want to use a large, deep pot for frying. A candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer are also a must so that you can control the temperature of the oil. It has to stay as close to 350 as possible the entire time you’re frying!
When you’re ready to fry, set everything up in a row so that you can stay organized and there’s less mess. As you can see pictured below, I have my buttermilk chicken, flour dredge, hot oil, paper towel-lined platter, and even my plate ready for pictures.
I didn’t get a picture of the frying process because it was just too hard to do. If only I had a photographer to follow me around the kitchen! It’s so easy to do though! Once oil reaches 350 degrees, you remove from buttermilk, dredge in flour, and fry to golden brown perfection.
Making the Comeback Sauce
What is Comeback Sauce? It is a bold, tangy, slightly spicy sauce that originated in Mississippi. It is also similar to a Louisiana remoulade. To my Utah friends, it’s like a fry sauce on steroids, ha! There are lots of different variations but they all begin with mayonnaise and chili sauce. I’ve made it so many times and I will confidently say that I have perfected it.
As you can see, Comeback Sauce has a lot of ingredients but you probably have most of them in your pantry and friends right now. You just combine it all, and save it in the fridge for up to a week. It’s amazing!
The BEST Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Comeback Sauce
I can’t wait for y’all to make my Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Comeback Sauce. Skip the restaurant and make these at home. You’ll wow your family! Of course, kids LOVE these!
Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 16-22: Family Pack Chicken Breasts, organic lemons
Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Comeback Sauce
For the Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
- 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Lawry's seasoned salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 3-3 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 inch wide strips
- 48 oz Canola or Vegetable Oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Comeback Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add buttermilk to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon pepper then stir to combine. Add chicken strips and stir to make sure they are coated well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
- Make Comeback Sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for up to one week refrigerated.
- Pour oil into a large, deep pot for frying. Heat oil to 350°.
- While oil is heating up, make the dredge by combining flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large, wide, shallow bowl (I use a round or square cake pan).
- Once oil reaches temperature, use tongs to grab one chicken tender from the buttermilk. Let some of the excess drip back into the bowl then place in flour mixture. Turn to coat well then leave in flour mixture or set aside. Continue coating 4-5 chicken strips then place all of them in hot oil.
- Fry the chicken strips until they are dark golden brown and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Sprinkle with extra kosher salt as soon as they are placed on the platter if desired.
- Fry 4-5 chicken strips at a time so that the pan doesn't get too crowded and lose heat. Keeping the oil at 350° is essential.
- Makes about 20 chicken strips. Serve hot with the Comeback Sauce for dipping.