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Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders

Calling all pickle lovers!!! These pickle-brined fried chicken tenders are super tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside with each bite delivering a flavor explosion of salty pickle-y deliciousness.

Plate of chicken tenders with a bunch of parsley, scattered pickle slices, and bowl or ranch.

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What you’ll love about this recipe


  • It’s simple! These tenders are quite simple to prepare and require very little hands-on effort/time. Aside from the brining time, they take just 30-minutes!
  • The textures and flavor! Brining the chicken takes it to another level both texturally and flavorwise. The interior of these tenders are so incredibly tender and juicy and the exterior is wonderfully crispy. What more could you ask for?!?! Oh yeah, flavor!! While subtle, they do taste mildly of pickles and are perfectly salty.
  • The whole family will love it! This is a meal that the whole family will be excited about. Because who doesn’t love fried chicken?!? These perfectly cooked chicken tenders can be served as is with your favorite sauce for dipping, added to a salad, served up in a tortilla, or on a sandwich.
A plate of crispy chicken tenders with ranch, parsley, and pickles.

Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)


Ingredients for pickle brined fried chicken tenders (see recipe card).
  • Chicken tenderloins: Or chicken breasts cut into strips.
  • Dill pickle juice: For a spicier brine, I recommend using one cup of pickle juice and one cup of Frank’s RedHot.
  • Oil for frying: A high smoke point oil is a must for frying chicken. Vegetable, canola, and peanut are all great options as they meet this criterion and are also neutral in flavor and inexpensive.
  • Buttermilk: Could sub for whole milk.
  • Large eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

How to make pickle-brined fried chicken tenders (+ tips)


1. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or large baggy. Pour in the pickle juice making sure that the chicken is submerged and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours and no more than 24 hours.

Chicken marinating in pickle juice.

2. Once the chicken has finished brining, heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fat fryer or a cast-iron pan with oil at least three inches deep.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a medium bowl.

Egg and buttermilk whisked together in a bowl.

4. In a separate medium bowl or a shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

Dry ingredients in a small baking dish.

5. Remove the chicken from the brine, dredge in the flour mixture, then in the liquid mixture, and once more in the flour mixture.

Chicken tenders dreded in wet ingredients aside tenders dredged in dry mixture.

6. In batches of four to five tenders, fry the chicken for five minutes or until golden brown and cooked through to 165 degrees. Make sure the oil returns to temp between batches. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil.

Fried chicken tenders on a wire cooling rack.

Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.


Storage


Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.


FAQ


What is brining?

Brining is a wonderful process used to generate juicy, tender, and flavor-infused meat. The technique has been around since before refrigerators and was originally used as a preservation method. To brine, simply means to soak/preserve in salty water. The use of salt allows the meat to absorb liquid rendering it juicer and more flavorful. Additionally, the salt acts as a tenderizer, breaking down the protein in the meat.

What does brining in pickle juice do?

Due to the salt and acid (vinegar), brining the chicken in pickle juice tenderizes the meat and also infuses it with flavor.

How long can chicken stay in brine?

It should soak in the brine for a minimum of two hours and no more than 24 hours. Brining it for more than 24 hours may result in overly tender and/or salty chicken.


Product Recommendation


Close up of a halved pickled brined chicken tender atop more chicken.
Hand holding chicken tender dripping with ranch with plate of tenders in background.

Don’t forget the sauce!



What to serve with these chicken tenders:


If you make these pickle-brined fried chicken tenders I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

A plate of crispy chicken tenders with ranch, parsley, and pickles.

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders

Yield: 12-14 tenders
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Calling all pickle lovers!!! These pickle-brined fried chicken tenders are super tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside with each bite delivering a flavor explosion of salty pickle-y deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 2 cups dill pickle juice (for spicy brine sub one cup of pickle juice for Frank's RedHot
  • High smoke point oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or large baggy. Pour in the pickle juice making sure that the chicken is submerged and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours and no more than 24 hours.
  2. Once the chicken has finished brining, heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fat fryer or a cast-iron pan with oil at least three inches deep.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a medium bowl.
  4. In a separate medium bowl or a shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  5. Remove the chicken from the brine, dredge in the flour mixture, then in the liquid mixture, and once more in the flour mixture.
  6. In batches of four to five tenders, fry the chicken for five minutes or until golden brown and cooked through to 165 degrees. Make sure the oil returns to temp between batches. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 691Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 219mgSodium: 4191mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 61g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

Nate Smith

Sunday 12th of November 2023

Holy moly…. The ads on this page

Edye Smith

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

The pickle brined fried chicken tenders recipe does not list the amounts of the ingredients.

Ginny

Sunday 24th of July 2022

Made these today for lunch. Delicious! I don’t fry foods very often because my food never comes out as planned. Gave it another shot that’s afternoon. The tenders marinated in the pickle juice for about 4 hours. Turned out really tasty with leftovers to pack in lunches. Thank you.

Jessica Halverstadt

Thursday 28th of July 2022

That's great to hear, Ginny! I hope you enjoy/enjoyed the leftovers just as much!

Marie

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Using pickle brine to marinate chicken is such a clever idea! It packs so much flavor in, too. These tenders were incredibly crunchy and delicious. My family loved them!

Jacqueline Debono

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Such a cool idea to brine chicken in pickle juice. Am dying to try it. Have to buy some pickles and eat a few first!

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