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Spicy Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Molasses Dipping Gravy


  • 2 pounds chicken tenders

  • 3 cups buttermilk

  • 2 cups olive, canola or peanut oil, as needed to shallow fry

  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour, divided

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons grill seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or dried ground thyme

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup molasses

  • Salt and ground black pepper


Place the chicken tenders in the buttermilk and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 250ºF.

Place a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat with the oil (it should come about an inch up the side of the pan). While the oil heats up, combine 2 cups flour and spices in a large dish. Working in batches, coat the chicken tenders in the spiced flour mixture, pressing on them lightly to make the flour stick (for a really good breading, double dip the tenders by running them through the buttermilk and flour a second time). Once the oil has heated up, fry the chicken in batches until deep golden brown and cooked through, 5-6 minutes. (As you finish each batch, transfer them to a sheet pan and keep them warm in the low oven). When the chicken tenders are almost ready, place a medium saucepot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons flour over the butter and cook for about a minute. Whisk the chicken stock, Worcestershire and molasses into the butter-flour mixture and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve warm.

Serve the chicken tenders with the molasses dipping gravy and some Sweet Potato Oven Fries alongside.