April 06, 2021



These chicken tenders are coated with cracker crumbs and fried until crispy. No doughy coating here, just light and crunchy goodness! The sweet pepper relish dip couldn’t easier to make. You will want to slather it on everything!

Try with Roasted Black Pepper Caesar Salad with Pancetta for a tasty lunch or dinner.

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Sweet Pepper Relish Dip
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They say the third time is a charm, and I hope it’s true. Why? It’s because I’m publishing this post for the THIRD time! The previous update was made when I did some photo editing to improve the image quality. However, I was still have not been satisfied with the composition. This is my final tweak, then I’ll call it quits. I promise! 

I’m only updating again because the tenders are so good, and I need to do them justice with better photos. I’m much happier with these new ones! To make it worth while for you to revisit this recipe, I have added some step-by-step photos as well.

Usually, I dream about eating fried chicken but don’t actually partake. Gotta tell you though, an occasional frying really soothes the soul!! For a healthier alternative, baking is perfectly delicious. Just spray the cracker coating with a cooking spray, and it will crisp up beautifully oven baked. 

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Sweet Pepper Relish Dip

Recipe highlights:
  • Smash or crush crackers into coarse crumbs. Place in a shallow bowl.
  • Whisk egg and milk in a shallow bowl.
  • Blend flour and seasoning in a third shallow bowl. 

  • For each chicken tender, coat as follows: dip in flour, dip in egg wash, dip in cracker crumbs.    

  • Working in batches, fry in oil 6-8 minutes total. Transfer to a cooling rack.
chicken tenders frying in oil

  • Combine dip ingredients until creamy. Serve.
  • See recipe card for detailed instructions.

The crackers produce a crumb coating that is irresistibly light and crunchy. You’re not going to find any heavy clumps of dough in these tenders. I love battered and fried food, but I always end up picking the doughy pieces off. What I want are ALL the crispy bits!! These tenders are covered with them.

Paired with these tenders is a sweet pepper relish dip, which takes all but a minute to make. With mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, and sweet pepper relish, it’s a tasty, fantastic condiment. It’s creamy and sweet and tangy, with tender chunks of tender sweet red pepper. 

You’re going to want to make extra of this dip, because it’s a great all-purpose dip.  It’s delish on crackers, chips, and bagels. It would also be so good as a spread on sandwiches!

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Sweet Pepper Relish Dip

Helpful tips:
  • Avoid smashing all the crackers into fine crumbs. You want a good amount of coarse crumbs for texture and crunch.
  • To retain the crispiness, it is best to place the tenders on a cooling rack to drain once removed from the oil. This allows circulation and prevents a soggy underside.
  • Chicken tenders vary in size. The cooking time given is for standard size. Adjust cooking time as needed for larger or smaller pieces.
  • To keep chicken tenders warm while you work, place cooked tenders in a 170° F on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack. 

More chicken recipes you would like:


Note: This recipe has been updated since the original post. 


For the Chicken:
2 pounds chicken tenderloins (about 12 to 14 pieces depending on the size)
50 butter flavored crackers (I use Ritz)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying

For the Sweet Pepper Relish Dip:
3/4 cup sweet pepper relish 
1/8 cup sour cream
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup ketchup

  1. Place crackers in a large plastic bag. Lightly smash into coarse crumbs using a coffee cup or your hands. You want to leave a good amount of coarse crumbs (yields about  1 1/2 cups crumbs). Place in a plate or a wide shallow bowl.
  2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika in a wide shallow bowl. Blend well with a fork. 
  3. In a third bowl, whisk add eggs and milk. 
  4. To bread chicken: Dip into flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Next, dip into cracker crumbs, patting crumbs onto chicken. Place on a tray. Continue breading the remaining chicken. 
  5. Place one inch of oil in a medium frying pan or heavy bottom saucepan. Preheat to 360° F. 
  6. Place some tenders into hot oil (cook in batches to void overcrowding). Cook between 6 to 8 minutes total, depending on the size, turning over once hallway. Done when the outside is golden brown or when there is no pink in the center when sliced through. 
  7. Place on a metal drying rack to drain. Continue cooking the remaining chicken. 
  8. To make sauce, combine red pepper relish, sour cream, mayonnaise, and ketchup in a small bowl. Serve alongside chicken tenders. 
Makes 12 to 14 pieces depending on size.

Recipe notes:
  1. To retain maximum crispiness, cool completely before placing chicken tenders in a container to store. 
  2. Baking option: Place tenders on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Spray chicken tenders with a coating of cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 400° F for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the tenders. Or cook until the internal temperature is 165° F.
  3. To reheat: preheat oven to 400° F. Place tenders on a baking sheet equipped with wire rack. Insert an empty rack above the chicken. Place a sheet of foil on this rack, positioned directly over the baking sheet below (this protects the chicken from over browning). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or just long enough to heat through. 

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  1. My youngest (my "picky" daughter) would be all over this! Both the tenders and the pepper dip!

  2. So glad she would like both! I’m especially glad that she wouldn’t mind the sweet pepper relish, because it’s not really a picky eater friendly ingredient.

  3. I was all excited about the condiment, but I don’t like sweet pickle relish! Darn! Love those tenders, though. Have you ever used paprika cream? Univer makes it. I have to order it from Amazon. It a paste/cream of pureed Hungarian bell peppers. Tastes just like paprika. You can get sweet or spicy!

    1. Oh no! How about hot pepper relish? I think that would work if you’re not into the sweet version. If that doesn’t interest you, serve the tenders with your condiment of choice :)
      I have not heard of paprika cream, but I’m intrigued. I’ll going to check it out. Thanks for letting me know about it, Mimi!