The secret to really good chicken strips? It’s in the bag (sorry, I’m a sucker for lame puns). That’s right, instead of tossing chicken pieces into buttermilk and then the dry coating in a plastic bag or even by hand in a bowl, use a paper bag. With the paper, the flour coating doesn’t stick to the bag–it sticks to your chicken making for crispy tenders that are still crunchy as leftovers.

I had to pass this recipe along today since next week I’m sticking to veggies. That’s right to kick-off Vegetarian Awareness Month (ironically the same month that celebrates all-things candy coated), I’m going to go through some of my favorite vegetarian dishes.

Just a note or two about this recipe: I’ve tried substituting milk soured with lemon juice but it’s just not the same. And you’ll need to soak the chicken pieces in the buttermilk for at least an hour. What I do to streamline the process is when I’m making dinner one night, say a stir-fry, I chop enough chicken for that recipe and then make extra strips to put in the buttermilk for the next night.


Coating the chicken in the bag


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)

2 cups flour

½ cup cornstarch



1 grocery store paper bag


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the buttermilk and then stir in the spices. Then place the strips into the buttermilk, stir and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator (alternatively, let them soak at least one hour in the buttermilk).
  3. Heat about 2 inches of oil in either a heavy-bottomed pan or a wok (preferred). Allow the oil to come to a high heat (if you put a pinch of flour in it, it should sizzle on contact).
  4. Meanwhile, place the flour and cornstarch in the paper bag.
  5. Drain the buttermilk from the chicken strips.
  6. Working in batches place 1/3 of the strips into the bag, close and shake vigorously. Then put the coated strips into the hot oil.
  7. Fry for about 3 minutes per batch or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack and sprinkle with salt.
  8. Repeat with remaining batches. (Note: there will be extra flour in the bag when you’re done.)
  9. Serve hot with barbecue sauce or ketchup for dipping.

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