Pantry-friendly chicken tenders for a comforting dinner

We could all use more comfort food right now, and if you can find chicken breasts, you can’t do much better, comfort-wise, than a batch of homemade, pantry-friendly chicken tenders.

Typically, breaded chicken, whether it be in tenders or any other form, gets what’s called a “standard breading”: some type of flour, followed by a dip in beaten eggs, and then finally a crunchy topping, which is often some form of breadcrumb. If you’re counting, that already takes us up to four ingredients, and we haven’t even considered seasonings or dips.

Instead, I’ve trimmed down the breading ingredients to two — sour cream and crushed potato chips. The sour cream functions as a glue in the same way as the flour and eggs, and it can do double duty as the main ingredient in a quick dip. The potato chips, well, those bring crunch and plenty of seasoning to the dish. The only other ingredient I’m adding to the chicken tenders themselves, other than salt and pepper, is garlic powder, which complements the salty tang of the chips and adds complexity to the mild flavor of the chicken, without the additional prep time that fresh garlic cloves would add. Garlic powder also makes an appearance in the dip, along with smoky chipotle chiles in adobo, which I stir into sour cream while the chicken cooks.

Speaking of cooking the chicken, it will take the bulk of our 30-minute window, so it is imperative to make it easy to get the tenders into the oven. Simply toss the chicken tenders in a bowl with the sour cream and seasonings, then add to a large zip-close bag filled with crushed potato chips. (You can crush the chips with your hands or a rolling pin.) Seal and shake it all together, then spread out the tenders on a wire rack-lined baking sheet. The rest of the cooking is hands-free, in the oven. If you need a side dish, steam some broccoli or cauliflower while the chicken is baking — the florets will also be great dipped in the sauce.

Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

Potato Chip Chicken Tenders
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders, cutlets (halved lengthwise) or boneless, skinless breasts sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup sour cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups plain potato chips
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chiles in adobo, plus more to taste
  • On the side: Steamed broccoli
  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • While the oven is heating, combine the chicken with 1/2 cup of the sour cream, the garlic powder, and the salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir well.
  • Place the potato chips in a gallon-sized zip-close bag and crush with your hands until the largest pieces are about 1/4 inch wide. Transfer the chicken to the bag with the chips, leaving any extra sour cream behind. Seal the bag, then shake until the chicken is coated with the chips. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and discard whatever remains in the bag.
  • Bake until the chicken fingers are browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While the chicken bakes, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sour cream with the chipotle chiles. Stir in 2 teaspoons water, then season to taste with salt and garlic powder.
  • Serve the chicken tenders with the chipotle sour cream dip and broccoli on the side. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: 661 calories (percent of calories from fat, 43), 58 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 32 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 151 milligrams cholesterol, 986 milligrams sodium.


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