KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders Copycat

45 mins
15 mins
KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders just like Colonel Sanders makes them! After going viral on TikTok, my husband and I went to go try them and they were so good but now that they're sold out, it's time to make them at home and EVEN better.
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KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders Copycat

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders Copycat

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders just like Colonel Sanders makes them! After going viral on TikTok, my husband and I went to go try them and they were so good but now that they're sold out, it's time to make them at home and EVEN better.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders just like Colonel Sanders makes them! After going viral on TikTok, my husband and I went to go try them and they were so good but now that they're sold out, it's time to make them at home and EVEN better.

45 mins
15 mins

Ingredients

CHICKEN
  • 2 large chicken breasts about 1.5 pounds
  • sprinkle of salt
  • peanut or vegetable oil for frying
DRY
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
WET
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
SPICY OIL
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cayenne powder add more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
  • 3/4 cup frying oil

Instructions

CHICKEN
  1. Cut the breasts into thin long strips. Two large breasts should make about 10 to 12 strips.
  2. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle a little salt on both sides. Do not over-salt. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to reduce moisture on the skin so the breading sticks really well.
DRY
  1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, mustard powder, black pepper, and baking powder. Set aside.
WET
  1. In a deep bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, hot sauce, pickle juice, and baking powder.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the wet batter into the dry and mix around to create a flaky texture just like KFC. Set aside.
SPICY OIL
  1. In a heat-safe bowl or cup-big enough to dip the fried tenders in-mix together brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne, dry mustard, garlic powder, and salt. After frying the chicken in the next step, take 3/4 cup of the hot oil and pour into the spice mixture. Mix and set aside.
BREADING AND FRYING
  1. Dip each strip first in the dry, then into the wet, then back into the dry. Make sure to let any excess wet or dry fall off before dipping into the next. Once all the tenders are breaded, allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil to about 365°F in a frying pan, about 1.5 to 2 inches high.
  3. Drop tenders in, making sure not to overcrowd them. Fry in 2 batches if needed. Fry until golden brown all around, about 7-8 minutes. Make sure to rotate the tenders around as needed for even browning. Transfer to a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  4. Dunk each tender in the spicy oil and transfer to a plate.
  5. Serve with pickles and toast!
Tips & Notes
  • The hot sauce I used is Louisiana-style Crystal Hot Sauce but you can also use Frank's Red Hot or any personal favorite.
  • These tenders came out with a spicy level of medium which is how the KFC Hot Tenders would be. It's the perfect spice level as there is a strong kick but it's not too much. If you like hotter than medium, add more cayenne powder to your taste.
4.6 based on 10 reviews

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE?

Rate + Review

I made chicken sandwiches with this recipe. So good! I’ve made several times!

Followed recipe
Sooo good!
Will be making for Super Bowl fo show!

Followed recipe, 1 exception, I only dipped in dry mix once. Tuned out,…. Amazing,!!!
Was a little concerned making them, thinking of Hubby’s mouth on fire….
We give this recipe a 10!!!!

It was great. However, to make it taste a little more like the KFC recipe, I put 2 and a half to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in the spicy oil rather than just the 1 tablespoon in the recipe. It turned out near identical to the KFC recipe, minus the chicken being a slight different texture. If the chicken was marinated prior to cooking, I think that may have made up the difference.

I will give it 5 stars but I will make a suggestion. Instead of 1 tablespoon of brown sugar for your spicy oil, use about 2 and a half to 3. It will turn out a little closer to the Nashville hot chicken tenders. Don’t add too much or it will be too sweet, though. I made half my batch and realized that it was close but didn’t taste quite sweet enough compared to the KFC version. Adding that extra brown sugar made it basically exactly the same.

Can Extra Virgin Olive Oil be substituted for the vegetable oil?

The instructions are not clear. Take oil out of your spicy oil mix so people don’t prematurely put oil where it doesn’t belong

Hi Zoya! I’ve never tried it with an air-fryer but you can definitely experiment with it. You would still have to dip it in the oil and spices after air-frying though. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

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