Crushed pork rinds make a wonderfully flavorful and crunchy coating for chicken tenders.
The chicken strips come out crispy, juicy, and delicious. And this easy recipe is ready in just 30 minutes!
These chicken tenders are so good! They are wonderfully crispy and flavorful. My kids love them and always ask for seconds when I make them. They are quite close in texture to tenders breaded with panko breadcrumbs. Nice and crunchy.
The main advantage of coating chicken tenders with crushed pork rinds is that the pork rinds themselves are very flavorful - more so than breadcrumbs. So while they don't crisp up as well as breadcrumbs, they compensate for that with their wonderful flavor.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these pork rind chicken tenders. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Pork rinds: Plain pork rinds are best. I don't like the additives used in the flavored ones.
Chicken tenders: About 12 pieces.
Dijon mustard: It's creamier and less vinegary than yellow mustard, although any mustard will probably work. You can also use mayonnaise instead of mustard.
Spices: I use garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Olive oil: For frying the chicken pieces. This is such a delicious oil. But if you worry about its low smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Making these pork rind chicken tenders is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Place the pork rinds in a large resealable bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Use a meat pounder or a rolling pin to crush the pork rinds into crumbs, similar to Panko. Place the crumbs in a shallow bowl.
- Pound the chicken tenders with a meat pounder, as shown in the video. Brush them all over with Dijon mustard and sprinkle them with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
- Dredge each chicken piece in the crushed pork rinds, pressing on both sides to help the crumbs adhere.
- Cook the chicken in olive oil until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat.
Note that I don't use salt in this recipe, as the pork rinds are very salty. But you can add a pinch of salt to the spices if you'd like.
Frequently asked questions
Yes and no. They're not as crispy. But unlike breadcrumbs, the pork rinds themselves are very flavorful.
So I find that these tenders, while not as crispy as breadcrumb-coated ones, are even more delicious. My teenage testers loved them too - what more can you ask for?
You can, but they won't be as good. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a greased rack. Spray them with oil and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes in a 450°F oven.
It's been my experience that it's better to crush pork rinds by myself with a rolling pin, as shown in the video.
I tried making the same recipe with store-bought pre-crushed pork rinds ("pork panko") and they were not as crispy, especially on the bottom.
The best way to vary this recipe is to experiment with different spices. Good options include onion powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin.
You can serve these tasty tenders with any side dish, really. They are quite versatile. I often serve them with one of the following:
If you'd like to serve them with a dip, try mixing ½ cup of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative). They're also good with ranch dressing.
You can keep leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave on 50% power or in a 300°F oven.
Keep in mind that the pork rind coating will lose its crispness when stored. It helps to place the tenders on paper towels and replace them daily.
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Pork Rind Chicken Tenders
- 2 oz plain pork rinds
- 1 ½ lb. chicken tenders (about 12 pieces)
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil*
- Place the pork rinds in a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Use a meat pounder or a rolling pin to crush the pork rinds into crumbs, similar to Panko. Place the crumbs in a shallow bowl.
- Pound the chicken tenders with a meat pounder, as shown in the video below. Brush them all over with the mustard (or mayonnaise) and sprinkle them with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
- Dredge each chicken tender in the crushed pork rinds, pressing on both sides to help the crumbs adhere.
- Heat a nonstick double-burner griddle (or two large nonstick skillets) over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the oil.
- Add the coated chicken tenders. Reduce the heat to medium. Fry the chicken pieces until golden brown and cooked through (their internal temperature should reach 165ºF), 3-4 minutes on each side, working in batches if necessary. If working in batches, keep the cooked chicken tenders in a pan fitted with a cooling rack in a 200F oven while you cook more batches.