skip to Main Content

Chicken Tenders: A Look at America’s Favorite Finger Food!


Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or chicken strips, are a beloved food enjoyed by people of all ages. They are thin strips of boneless, skinless chicken breast that are typically breaded and fried, and they are often served with a variety of dipping sauces. Whether you’re a fan of classic breaded chicken tenders or prefer a healthier grilled version, there’s no denying the versatility and deliciousness of this classic dish.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the history of chicken tenders, explain the differences between chicken tenders, strips, fingers, and nuggets, and help you create the perfect homemade chicken tenders!

The History of Chicken Tenders

The origin of chicken tenders is somewhat disputed, but it is generally believed that they were first popularized in the United States in the late 20th century. Some sources claim that chicken tenders were created by a chef at a New Orleans restaurant in the 1960s, while others attribute the invention to a chef at a restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina in the 1970s.

Regardless of their exact origin, chicken tenders became widely popular in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly at fast food chains and casual dining restaurants. They were often served as part of a meal with french fries and a dipping sauce.

In the 21st century, chicken tenders have continued to be a popular choice at restaurants and in home cooking. They have also evolved beyond just being breaded and fried, with many variations now including grilled or baked options as well. Today, chicken tenders are enjoyed by people of all ages and can be found on menus at a wide range of dining establishments.

Differences Between Tenders, Strips, Fingers, and Nuggets

Chicken tenders, strips, fingers, and nuggets – what on earth is the difference? While all four of these chicken dishes are popular and delicious, they do have some very significant differences. Here’s a breakdown of what sets each of these chicken treats apart!

Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders are thin strips of boneless, skinless chicken breast that are typically breaded and fried. They are often served with dipping sauces, such as ketchup, barbecue or buffalo sauce, or honey mustard. Chicken tenders are usually tender and juicy, making them a popular choice for both adults and kids.

Chicken Strips

Chicken strips are similar to chicken tenders, but they are usually thicker and longer. They are also usually breaded and fried, and they are often served with dipping sauces. Some people prefer chicken strips because they have more breading and are therefore more flavorful.

Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers are thin strips of breaded and fried chicken breast. They are often served with dipping sauces, just like chicken tenders and strips. Chicken fingers are usually smaller and more finger-like in shape than chicken tenders or strips.

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are small, bite-sized pieces of breaded and fried chicken. They are often served with dipping sauces, and they are a popular choice for kids (and adults who are kids at heart). Unlike chicken tenders, strips, and fingers, chicken nuggets are usually made from ground chicken or chicken scraps rather than whole chicken breasts.

Okay, we admit it: we lied. There really aren’t many differences between chicken tenders, strips, fingers, and nuggets. They are all small cutlets of fried chicken served with fries and dipping sauces. Nuggets are easily the most distinct of the four.

Essentially, the only differences come down to the size and shape of the chicken. Chicken strips are thicker and longer than tenders, while chicken fingers are thinner and finger-shaped. Chicken nuggets are small and bite-sized. However, no matter which type of chicken dish you choose, they are all delicious and satisfying!

How to Make Mouth-Watering Chicken Tenders at Home!

Believe it or not, chicken tenders are actually super easy to make at home, which makes them perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Plus, your kids will love you for making them one of their favorite foods for dinner!

  1. Gather your ingredients: To make homemade chicken tenders, you’ll need boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all-purpose flour, eggs, breadcrumbs, and your choice of seasonings (such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika). You’ll also need oil for frying, unless you plan to bake your chicken tenders.
  2. Preheat your oven or heat your oil: If you plan to bake your chicken tenders, preheat your oven to 400°F. If you plan to fry your chicken tenders, heat your oil in a deep fryer or a heavy-bottomed pot to 350°F.
  3. Cut the chicken into strips: Slice your chicken breasts into thin strips about 1-inch wide and 3-4 inches long.
  4. Prepare the breading mixture: In one shallow dish, mix together the flour and your chosen seasonings. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third shallow dish, mix the breadcrumbs with any additional seasonings you want.
  5. Coat the chicken strips: Dip each chicken strip into the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then, dip it into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, coat the chicken strip in the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere. Repeat with the remaining chicken strips.
  6. Cook the chicken tenders: If you are frying the chicken tenders, carefully place them in the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown and cooked through. If you are baking the chicken tenders, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Once the chicken tenders are cooked, remove them from the oil or the oven and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Serve the chicken tenders hot with your choice of dipping sauces. Enjoy!

Come Enjoy Some Chicken Tenders at Kate’s Kitchen!

You’re probably craving some mouth-watering, juicy chicken tenders now, aren’t you? If you aren’t in the mood to make your own, come visit the Kate’s Kitchen family, and we’ll make some for you!

Take a look at our breakfast menu!

Give us a call if you would like to place a to-go order!

Kate’s Kitchen… (816) 436-7200

Ronnie’s Restaurant… (913) 831-8600

Back To Top