It's hard not to love a good chicken tender. Whether you're a kid or adult, this classic food is beloved by most of America. The best part of a good chicken tender, of course, is the flavorful, crisp breading surrounding the meat. While it's easy to go to a fast food restaurant to take care of your chicken craving, it's even easier to take care of it at home with one of these brands of chicken tenders.
To make this taste test as fair as possible, we cooked all the frozen chicken strips in an air fryer. It was pretty impressive that every frozen chicken tender brand had instructions for cooking in the air fryer. Of course, you can always cook the chicken in an oven on a baking sheet if you don't have an air fryer.
We also tried all the chicken without dipping sauce. We only did this to ensure we could taste the chicken tenders on their own. Normally, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or ketchup is a must for devouring chicken tenders. Chicken tenders make a great game day appetizer, or quick weeknight meal, so read on to find our picks for the best frozen chicken tenders.
Organic and Natural: Perdue Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips
Certified organic, made with non-GMO ingredients, and real white meat chicken, Perdue Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips landed at the bottom of our list.
The strips had an initial crunch, but each bite became less crunchy. The tenders were the smallest of the bunch, closer in size to popcorn chicken. While we were fans of the fact that their chicken has no antibiotics ever, we weren't a fan of the limp fingers.
Made for the Air Fryer: Tyson Air-Fried Perfectly Crispy Chicken Breast Strips
Tyson wins points for making a chicken strip that claims to have 75% less fat than other brands. The first ingredient is real chicken with rib meat. Tyson achieves this "lower fat" chicken strip by using a lighter breading and relying on the air fryer for cooking.
We were surprised that even with the lighter breading, the chicken was still crispy. The chicken was very juicy and the tenders were seasoned lightly with a hint of sweetness. However, those who prefer a stronger flavor profile might find them a tad bland.
Big Chicken Flavor: Good and Gather Crispy Chicken Breast Strips
Target's brand of crispy chicken strips surprised us in the best way possible. We had our doubts, considering they look like chicken patties and not tenders. Definitely don't judge a book by its cover on these.
These tenders were hefty and had the perfect ratio of meat to breading. The seasoning was on point and had a strong black pepper flavor. They reminded us of homestyle fried chicken begging for a side of gravy.
For the Crispy Chicken Lovers: Tyson 100% All-Natural Crispy Chicken Strips
It's no surprise that the largest chicken producer came in tied for first place. Their crispy chicken strips are exactly what you might envision when you think of classic chicken strips. It was honestly hard for us to believe this was frozen food and not a fast-food chicken tender.
It was heavily seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika, giving it a nice kick. The chicken was moist and juicy, and the breading stayed crunchy. These tenders also looked the most like a chicken tender and were the perfect size.
For Spice Lovers: Tyson Buffalo Style Chicken Strips
This is the overall winner simply for the delicious coating. Tyson again nailed the tender with the crispiest coating and most tender chicken.
What took this over the top was the spicy buffalo flavor. The tenders had just enough heat to make them spicy, without blowing out your taste buds. The chicken was perfectly sauced without it being too wet. The tender stayed as crispy as its regular counterpart. These tenders are begging to be dipped in a ranch or blue cheese sauce.
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