Is there anything better than crispy, crunchy fried chicken fingers? My recipe for Nana’s Fried Chicken Fingers is ridiculously easy to make and comes with a choice of two dipping sauces – honey mustard and spicy ketchup.
The recipe I have for you today is all about fun. There aren’t too many things that put smiles on kids’ faces like Fried Chicken Fingers.
For years, whenever we’d grab a quick bite to eat with our grandkids, I didn’t even have to ask the youngest what she wanted – it was always chicken nuggets. She’s a much more adventurous eater these days, but back then it didn’t matter where we were dining – it was always chicken nuggets. Even better if they came with a “prize” in the box.
Well, I can’t guarantee a prize with these, but I can guarantee that your kids, whether they’re 3 or 83, will love Nana’s Fried Chicken Fingers.
I was looking around at other recipes online for chicken fingers and 99% of the ones I found are baked. Now I’m going to tell you right up front that these are not. They’re fried. In peanut oil.
So, if you’re looking for what’s considered “healthy” chicken fingers, these won’t fit your criteria. However, I’m not convinced that they’re all that bad.
When I fry anything, I make sure the oil is plenty hot and I drain the food well on either a rack or paper towels after it’s fried.
These fingers don’t feel or taste greasy in the least because there’s very little oil absorbed. Just a delicious, crispy, crunchy coating.
I serve these with a choice of dipping sauces and I’ve included my recipes for honey-mustard and spicy ketchup. Yum!
Why We Love This Recipe
- It’s quick to make! You’ll have the finished chicken fingers on the table in about 30 minutes.
- Uses easy to source ingredients. Even though there are a few spices in the coating mixture, they’re commonly found in any grocery store or online. You probably have every one of them in your pantry.
- They taste fantastic! Homemade fried chicken fingers beat the socks off any fast food.
About the Ingredients
- Chicken Breasts – I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but boneless thighs work here as well.
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- Yellow Cornmeal – Adds a little extra crunch to the fried coating.
- Peanut Oil – Peanut is my preferred oil for frying because of its high smoking point. You can also use canola, sunflower, or grapeseed oil.
How to Make Fried Chicken Fingers
- Dry the breasts well and cut them into approximately 1” thick strips.
- Generously season all sides of the chicken strips with salt and pepper.
- Next, in a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg whites.
- Add the seasoned chicken strips and stir so that each is well coated with egg white.
I like to use a plastic cutting board when working with poultry so it can go directly from the work surface into the dishwasher when finished.
- In a small pan, combine the flour, cornmeal, paprika, poultry seasoning, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, and parsley flakes.
- Now place 3 or 4 chicken strips at a time into the mixture turning until each is coated. Place the coated strips on a plate or wire rack while heating the oil.
- In a deep frying pan, heat 1” of peanut oil over medium high heat.
My trick for telling whether the oil is ready to fry is to place the end of a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan. If the oil bubbles nicely around the spoon handle, it’s probably ready.
- Fry the chicken strips in batches if necessary taking care not to crowd the pan. Turn the chicken strips halfway through frying – they’ll take about 5 minutes on each side. When the chicken is golden brown on all sides, remove it from the oil to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a low oven until all the chicken strips are cooked.
- While the chicken strips are cooking, make the honey-mustard and spicy ketchup dipping sauces by combining the ingredients for each in small bowls and stirring until thoroughly mixed. Serve the warm chicken fingers with the dipping sauces.
Air Fryer Method
Even though it’s hard to beat a deep-fried chicken finger, I know some of you really want to try these in your air fryer. Am I right? Ok, so here’s what you do:
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F.
- Generously spray the air fryer basket with oil.
- Place the breaded chicken strips in the air fryer basket leaving about an inch between them (you’ll have to do this in batches to prevent overcrowding).
- Generously spray the prepared chicken strips with oil.
- Air fry for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and spray with more oil.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of a chicken strip. It should be 165 degrees. If it hasn’t reached 165 degrees, continue cooking.
(Different brands of air fryers cook differently. Yours may cook faster or slower.)
Fried foods are always best served and enjoyed as soon as possible. However, leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two and reheated in a low oven for about 10 minutes. Home fried foods just don’t freeze well, so it’s not recommended.
Why Aren’t My Fried Chicken Fingers Crispy?
The most likely reason that your chicken fingers aren’t crispy is oil temperature. Regardless of which type of oil you use, it should be heated to 350 degrees before adding the fingers and maintained at that temperature while cooking.
Oil that’s too hot overcooks the outside leaving the inside undercooked. Oil that’s too cool will allow the finished chicken to become too oily and soggy. Use a cooking thermometer to help you. An electric skillet with its built-in temperature control is a great option as well.
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Nana’s Fried Chicken Fingers
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 3 egg whites
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 2 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- Peanut oil
For the Honey-Mustard Sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons mustard yellow or Dijon
- Pinch garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Spicy Catsup:
- ½ cup catsup
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- Cut the breasts lengthwise into approximately 1” thick strips.
- Generously season all sides with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Add the seasoned chicken strips and stir so that each is well coated with egg white.
- In a small pan, combine all the remaining ingredients except the peanut oil.
- Place 3 or 4 chicken strips at a time into the coating mixture turning until each is coated. Place the coated strips on a plate or wire rack while heating the oil.
- In a deep frying pan, heat 1” of peanut oil over medium high heat.
- Fry the chicken strips in batches if necessary taking care not to crowd the pan. Turn the chicken strips halfway through frying.
- Remove from the oil to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a low oven until all the chicken strips are cooked.
- For the dipping sauces, add the ingredients to two small bowls stirring until thoroughly combined.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.