When Making Chicken Tenders, Don't Skimp On Seasoning

Few meals get the whole family excited like a plate of chicken tenders. Versatile and dippable, chicken tenders are a timeless crowd-pleaser with kids and grown-ups alike. But if you want your homemade chicken tenders to rival those of paragons like Raising Cane's, Mashed food developer and author of "On Ty's Plate, Tynia Peay, says you can't be shy with the seasoning.

Peay's Chicken Tender Recipe uses a classic breading technique in which the chicken tenderloins are dipped in an egg wash before being dredged through flour and fried. However, what makes her tenders "essentially irresistible" is the blend of seasonings and spices she adds along the way. While her recipe calls for a laundry list of ingredients, including garlic salt, black pepper, salt, paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce, it's made simpler by the fact that you likely have most of them in your pantry already.

Ready, Set, Season!

The difference between a good chicken tender recipe and a great chicken tender recipe is in the seasoning, according to Mashed food developer Tynia Peay. She recommends seasoning the tenderloins with garlic salt and black pepper before breading them. Not only does seasoning the meat lend to juicer and more flavorful tenders, but it also ensures that the surface of the chicken is dry enough that the coating sticks.

For an even bigger boost of flavor, Peay suggests adding a teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce to the egg wash. You can take this opportunity to really kick up the heat or leave it out altogether if you're spice-averse. However, Peay urges home chefs to "Consider choosing a very mild hot sauce instead of eliminating the hot sauce, as it does add a nice little tang."

"The breading is what makes your tenders great," Peay says. As the chicken tenders' piece de resistance, it should be seasoned as such. Peay flavors hers with a combination of salt, black pepper, paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. "You can absolutely eliminate the cayenne or replace it with 1/2 a teaspoon of chili powder," she says, as chili powder is significantly less spicy than cayenne.