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Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders w/ Dill(icious) Ranch

Calling all pickle lovers!!! These 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 pickley deliciousness.

Fried chicken tender being dipped in blue bowl of dill ranch with additional chicken tenders in background on wire cooling rack.

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I can’t remember when or where I first heard about pickle brining, but I knew the instant I did it was a technique I had to try. And OMG, it is soooo AMAZING!

If you’re dill pickle obsessed like I am, I have no doubt you are going to LOVE this recipe. Oh, and you might also like these buffalo fried pickle tacos w/ garlic ranch.

These fried chicken tenders are everything fried chicken should be. They are extra crispy and flavorful on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. BUT that’s not all! Since they are brined in pickle juice, they are infused with all the dill pickley goodness a girl could hope for. Does it get any better than that?

As a matter of fact, it certainly does! Every good chicken tender needs to be paired with an equally good dip. That’s where the dill(icious) ranch comes in. As you may have gathered from the title, its packed full of dill. And we all know dill pairs well with pickles. Dill pickles, DUH!!

This ranch is creamy, cool, and refreshing. It perfectly complements the rich saltiness of the chicken, making this pair a match made in heaven.

Fried chicken tenders on a wire cooling rack atop a sheet pan shot from above.

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 a 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.

So what do you need to make fried chicken w/ ranch? (+ substitutions)

  • 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: For the chicken and the dill ranch.
  • Mayonnaise: Full-fat recommended.
  • Sour cream: Full-fat recommended.
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh chives
  • Fresh parsley
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Large eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt: For the chicken and the ranch.
  • Black pepper: For the chicken and the ranch.

How do you make pickle-brined fried chicken tenders w/ dill(icious) ranch? (+ tips)

The first step is to brine the chicken. Put the chicken tenderloins in a shallow dish or a Ziploc bag and pour in the brine, making sure the chicken is submerged and refrigerate for two to six hours.

Chicken tenderloins in baking dish submerged in pickle brine shot from above.

Prepare the dill(icious) ranch by whisking together all the ingredients in a medium bowl or a jar. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Dill ranch in jar with whisk shot from above.

Once the chicken has finished brining, heat you oil in a deep-fat fryer or a cast-iron pan. Oil should be at least three inches deep.

Meanwhile, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a small/medium bowl. Set aside.

Buttermilk and egg mixture in a white bowl shot from above.

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

Flour coating for chicken tenders in a baking dish shot from above.

Next, remove the chicken from the brine and dredge it in flour mixture, then in the liquid mixture, and once again in the flour mixture. *The brine should be discarded after use.

Chicken tenderloins dredged in flour mixture.

In batches of four to five tenders, fry the chicken for five minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Make sure the oil returns to temp prior to frying each batch. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil. Serve warm with dill(icious) ranch for dipping.

How to store

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

Pickle-brined fried chicken tenders on wire cooling rack with small bowl of dill ranch.
Close up of a fried chicken tender with dill ranch in small blue bowl on wire cooling rack.

Product Recommendation

If you make these pickle-brined fried chicken tenders w/ dill(icious) ranch 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 ♥

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders w/ Dill(icious) Ranch

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders w/ Dill(icious) Ranch

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 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 pickley deliciousness.

Ingredients

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Tenders

  • 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 black pepper

Dill(icious) Ranch

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag. Pour in the pickle juice making sure chicken is submerged and refrigerate for 2-6 hours.
  2. Prepare the ranch by whisking together all the ingredients in a jar or small bowl. Refrigerate until ready for use.
  3. Once the chicken has finished brining, heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fat fryer or a cast-iron pan with a least three-inch deep oil.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a small/medium bowl.
  5. In a separate medium bowl or shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  6. Remove chicken from pickle brine, dredge in flour mixture, then in the liquid mixture, and once more in the flour mixture.
  7. In batches of four to five tenders, fry the chicken for five minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Make sure oil returns to temp prior to frying each batch. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil. Serve warm with dill(icious) ranch for dipping.

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

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2-3 tenders
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 685Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 3071mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 54g

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

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