The recipe prices will vary based on fluctuating grocery costs. Please use what is posted as a guide.
Our families gobble up these Homemade Chicken Fingers every time we make them. The recipe includes instructions for baking and frying.
This recipe serves 8 and costs about $12.56 to make; that’s just around $1.57 per serving!
Homemade Chicken Fingers
We’ve all thrown a bunch of frozen chicken nuggets on a plate and put it in the microwave for a minute and called it dinner, right? This is great and certainly necessary at times. But what about some better-tasting chicken fingers than the frozen kind?
Homemade chicken fingers are so much better tasting than the frozen kind. We think they’re even better than what you can get at a restaurant. This is one of those meals that the kids will love just as much as the adults.
In this post, we’ll show you just how easy this recipe is to put together. In fact, we are going to share with you two different ways to make these Chicken Fingers: fried and baked!
You can skip the restaurant and the frozen brands by making these chicken fingers at home instead. The crispy outer layer atop the juicy chicken fingers will be your new go-to recipe on those nights when you need an easy dinner everyone will love.
Make sure you serve these along with our Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce!
PRO TIP: We always have a few pounds of these in the freezer so we can get dinner on the table fast!
What You’ll Love About Homemade Chicken Fingers
- Crunchy Texture: The Panko bread crumbs add a crispy texture that is a satisfying crunch in combination with the juicy tender chicken tenders.
- Versatility: These can be made for a summertime lunch or a weeknight meal. Make them in the oven or fry them on the stovetop. Dip them in your favorite sauce so there will be something for everyone.
- Easy Preparation: The recipe is so simple that you can get your kids involved in the process. It uses staple ingredients you most likely already have on hand.
Ingredients & Estimated Cost:
- 1 1/2 cups milk – $0.29
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice – $0.06
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour – $0.06
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch – $0.03
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar – $0.02
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs – $1.95
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder – $0.15
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano – $0.02
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt – $0.02
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper – $0.02
- 3 pounds chicken fingers – $8.97
- Optional for frying: 2 1/2 cups vegetable or peanut oil – $1.20
The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. To find out more about how we price our recipes, check out Budget Recipes Explained. The pricing for this recipe was updated in June 2023.
How to make Homemade Chicken Fingers
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
- First, whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Then, set the chicken in the bowl and chill in the fridge for fifteen to sixty minutes.
- Next, using a pie plate, whisk together the ingredients for the coating.
- To fry the chicken, place two cups of oil in a deep skillet and heat oil over medium-high heat.
- To bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, line a baking sheet with foil, and set a wire rack on top of the foil. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and cover each piece in the coating.
- If frying, fry the chicken pieces for three to four minutes on one side before flipping and frying for two to three minutes on the other side. Set the fried chicken on a paper towel-lined plate while you fry the remaining pieces.
- To bake the chicken, place them on the wire rack and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, flipping and spraying the chicken tenders halfway through. Cool for five minutes before serving.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Sometimes we omit the seasonings in the coating mixture and use 2 tablespoons of dry ranch seasoning or onion soup mix instead.
- If you want to spice things up a little, add 2 Tablespoons of Franks RedHot hot sauce to the marinade.
Homemade Chicken Fingers Serving and Storage Tips
Serve: You can keep the cooked chicken tenders at room temperature for up to 2 hours before they will need to be refrigerated.
Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Freeze: It’s best to freeze these after cooking them.
TO FREEZE AFTER COOKING: Cool them to room temperature and then place them into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. You can freeze them this way for 4-6 months.
TO COOK FROM FROZEN: Whether they were initially fried or baked, it’s best to reheat chicken fingers by placing them on a baking sheet and heating them in a 350-degree F oven for 20-25 minutes.
Homemade Chicken Fingers FAQs
Chicken fingers which are also known as chicken tenders or chicken strips. They are pieces of chicken that are found on either side of the breastbone. The raw meat is covered in a flour mixture and then put on a baking sheet to bake or into hot oil to fry.
Listen to this riddle, “why are chicken fingers called chicken fingers if chickens don’t have fingers?!” Seriously though, why are they called chicken fingers? They are called chicken fingers because strips are cut from a tenderloin that is cut to be a finger’s width in thickness.
Get Kids Involved
Ages 2-3: Let them help measure and mix the marinade and bread crumbs mixture. They can also lay paper towels out on a plate for you.
Ages 4-5: Let them help make the marinade and put the chicken in the marinade.
Ages 6-8: Have your kiddo dip the chicken in the bread crumbs and coat the pieces before frying or baking. Teach them the importance of washing their hands and the work surface after handling raw chicken.
Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe unsupervised while you do the happy dance in the corner!
Skip the lines at the drive-thru and save your money but making these Homemade Chicken Fingers at home instead of eating out.
More Main Dish Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Pepperoni French Bread Pizza
- Homemade Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
- Grilled Italian Sausage
- Grilled Brats
- Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme (Copycat)
- Chile Cheese Corn Dogs
- French Dip Sliders
- Big Mac Sloppy Joes
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- large bowl
- pie plate
- large deep skillet
- baking sheet
- wire rack
- Measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- mixing spoon
- Liquid measuring cup
- 3 pounds chicken tenders
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- pinch ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ Tablespoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pinch ground garlic
- 2 ½ cups vegetable or peanut oil
PREP THE CHICKEN:
- Trim the chicken of any of the white membranes.
MARINATE THE CHICKEN:
- In a large bowl whisk to combine the marinade ingredients.
- Add the chicken, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 60 minutes.
- In a pie plate whisk together all of the ingredients for the coating.
HEAT THE OIL OR OVEN:
- If frying the chicken, place 2 cups of oil in a large deep skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 360 degrees F. Line a large plate with 3 layers of paper towels.
- If baking the chicken, move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack right in the pan right on top of the foil. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- Take 2 chicken tenders out of the milk marinade and let the excess marinade drip off. Then, place the chicken in the bread crumbs mixture and cover all sides with the bread crumbs. Transfer chicken tenders to a clean plate and repeat the coating process with the remaining chicken tenders.
- Once the oil is up to temp, add 2-3 pieces of chicken to the hot oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Then, flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and the chicken registers 165 degrees F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.
- Move the chicken fingers to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Repeat the frying with the remaining chicken. Serve.
- Place the coated chicken tenders right on top of the wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Generously spray the tops of the chicken with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping and spraying halfway through, until golden and crispy and the chicken registers 165 degrees F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. Cool for 5 minutes and then serve.