Ranch Chicken Tenders Recipe

Background and History

Ranch Chicken Tenders are a modern twist on the classic chicken tender, combining the beloved flavors of ranch dressing with the crispy, juicy goodness of fried or baked chicken tenders. This dish has become a favorite in American households, particularly popular among children and as a quick, satisfying meal for busy families. Ranch dressing, created by Steve Henson in the 1950s, has grown to be a staple condiment in American cuisine, and its incorporation into chicken tenders is a natural and delicious evolution.


For the Marinade

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 packet (1 oz) ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 lb chicken tenders

For the Breading

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (panko for extra crunch)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Frying/Baking

  • Vegetable oil (if frying)
  • Cooking spray (if baking)

For Serving

  • Additional ranch dressing for dipping

Useful and Interesting Facts

  • Versatility: Ranch Chicken Tenders can be fried or baked, making them adaptable to different dietary preferences and health goals.
  • Kid-Friendly: This dish is a hit among kids, thanks to the familiar and appealing flavor of ranch dressing.
  • Easy Meal: These tenders can be prepared in advance and frozen for a quick meal option on busy nights.



4 people


  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Marination Time: 30 minutes (optional but recommended for best flavor)
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time

20 minutes


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 packet (1 oz) ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (panko for extra crunch)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (if frying)
  • Cooking spray (if baking)
  • Additional ranch dressing for dipping


Marinate the Chicken

  • In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and ranch seasoning mix.
  • Add the chicken tenders to the bowl, ensuring they are well-coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours for maximum flavor.

Prepare the Breading

  • In a shallow dish, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.

Bread the Chicken

  • Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off.
  • Dredge each tender in the breading mixture, pressing gently to ensure an even coating.

Cook the Chicken

  • Frying: Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken tenders in batches for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  • Baking: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the breaded chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through.


  • Serve the Ranch Chicken Tenders hot, with additional ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 320
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 2g


  • For a healthier option, use whole wheat breadcrumbs and bake the chicken tenders.
  • These tenders can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven to maintain crispiness.

Allergy Warning

  • This recipe contains dairy (buttermilk, Parmesan cheese) and gluten (flour, breadcrumbs). Ensure to use dairy-free and gluten-free alternatives if you have dietary restrictions or allergies.
  • Check all packaged ingredients for potential allergens before use.

What is ranch chicken made of?

Ranch chicken is made of chicken breasts or tenders marinated in ranch seasoning or dressing and then cooked. It often includes additional ingredients like breadcrumbs or flour for breading and is either fried or baked.

What is the secret to tender chicken?

The secret to tender chicken is proper marination and cooking technique. Marinating the chicken in an acidic base like buttermilk or yogurt breaks down proteins, making the meat tender. Cooking the chicken at the right temperature and not overcooking it helps retain moisture and tenderness.

What is the difference between chicken strips and chicken tenders?

Chicken tenders are specific cuts of meat from the chicken breast, known as the tenderloin, while chicken strips are often slices of the chicken breast or other parts of the chicken. Tenders are naturally more tender and flavorful.

What is the breading on chicken tenders made of?

The breading on chicken tenders typically consists of a combination of flour, breadcrumbs (such as panko), grated cheese, and various seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Does KFC use breading?

Yes, KFC uses a seasoned breading mixture to coat their chicken. This breading includes a blend of flour and the company’s proprietary mix of 11 herbs and spices, which gives KFC chicken its distinctive flavor and crispy texture.

What are KFC tenders made of?

KFC tenders are made of boneless, skinless chicken breast meat. The tenders are coated in KFC’s signature seasoned breading and then fried to achieve a crispy exterior and juicy interior.

How to make flour stick to chicken tenders?

To make flour stick to chicken tenders, first, dredge the chicken in flour, then dip it in an egg wash (beaten eggs mixed with a bit of water or milk), and finally coat it again with flour or breadcrumbs. The egg wash acts as a binding agent, ensuring the flour adheres properly.

What can I use instead of bread crumbs for chicken tenders?

Instead of bread crumbs, you can use alternatives like crushed cornflakes, crushed crackers, panko, finely ground nuts, or even oatmeal. These substitutes provide different textures and flavors while still giving the chicken a crispy coating.

What is ranch flavor?

Ranch flavor is a creamy, tangy, and savory blend that typically includes ingredients like buttermilk, garlic, onion, herbs (such as dill and parsley), and spices. It is known for its distinct taste that combines creamy and zesty notes.

Why is ranch so tasty?

Ranch is so tasty because it balances creamy, tangy, and savory flavors with a hint of garlic and herbs. The combination of buttermilk, mayonnaise, and seasonings creates a rich and satisfying taste that enhances a wide variety of dishes.

Why is it called ranch dressing?

Ranch dressing is called so because it was created by Steve Henson on a ranch in California during the 1950s. He developed the dressing to serve to guests at his Hidden Valley Ranch, and it quickly became popular, eventually leading to the commercial production of ranch dressing.

Is ranch sweet or salty?

Ranch dressing is primarily savory with tangy and herby notes. While it has a slight natural sweetness from ingredients like buttermilk, it is not considered a sweet dressing. The overall flavor profile is more savory and tangy than salty.

Lysander Rothwell
Latest posts by Lysander Rothwell (see all)
Lysander Rothwell, a passionate Food Enthusiast, shares his culinary adventures and expertise on his website. With a flair for exploring diverse cuisines and flavors, Lysander offers insights, recipes, and tips to inspire fellow food lovers. Through his engaging content, he aims to celebrate the joy of cooking and eating, inviting readers to embark on delightful culinary journeys with him.