I have made dozens of variations of chicken nuggets and chicken tenders over the years. Generally, if it’s fried chicken, I’m probably in on it, but these are kind of a different take on fried chicken.

For these chicken fries, the ratio of batter to chicken is intentionally heavy on the batter side so they end up being super-thin and super crispy. They are literally closer to fries than they are to a traditional chicken tender.

What to serve with these? I went with a spicy chili crisp ranch! I decided to not make chili crunch ranch so I didn’t enrage Mr. Chang who apparently owns the term chili crunch!

What cut of chicken works for chicken fries?

Obviously you will need a boneless cut of chicken for these crunchy chicken strips. While you could use chicken breast or chicken thighs, I prefer chicken breasts for these (even though I’m generally more of a thigh guy).

Chicken thighs tend to be much fattier and also have irregular shapes so it makes it harder to get a nice, evenly shaped chicken fry.

Chicken breasts are easier to slice into even strips and are very lean so they fry up evenly.

Take your time slicing the chicken for the fries. While you don’t have to make them 100% the same, the fries will turn out better if they are as uniform as possible.

Sliced Chicken fries.

Breading options for these chicken fries

These are best if you marinate them and then bread them a single time with a slightly thicker breading. If you do a double breading like traditional fried chicken, it will be much too thick.

So, marinate these in a buttermilk mixture with lots of spices. I like salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and chicken seasoning, which is optional but adds some nice savory flavor!

Want a spicy fried chicken? Try these Nashville Chicken strips!

Marinade for the chicken.

Once your chicken has marinated for at least 30 minutes, add it to a bag with the breading of your choice. I like pretzel crumbles but panko breadcrumbs would work just as well.

Try to shake off as much buttermilk as possible and then coat the fries in breading. I like to add them to a bag with the breading and shake it up!

Breading the chicken fries.

Tips for making delicious chicken fries

Here are some easy tips for making these fries absolutely delicious!

When you are frying these, fry them in a shallow skillet for 2-3 minutes per side. This will get them golden brown without overcooking the chicken, which cooks very quickly.

Frying the chicken fries.

When you are frying something like this, that has a lot of surface area, be sure to fry in smaller batches so you don’t crowd the skillet and make sure your oil comes up to temperature (350˚F) in between batches.

That will ensure really crispy, delicious chicken fries!

Chicken Fries.

Making the chili crisp ranch

You could use any dip of your choice with these chicken fries. My kids preferred honey and my wife dipped them in chick-fil-a sauce. For my money, I like this chili crisp ranch which is literally just good ranch dressing with your favorite chili crisp stirred in. SO GOOD!

Making chili crisp ranch.


Want some ideas? I got you!

  • If you don’t like chicken, you could slice up mushrooms into thin strips and fry those. Also firm tofu would work okay but be careful as it’s fragile.
  • Instead of pretzel breading, try crumbled up cereal!
  • Dip this any and all dips for a crispy appetizer or meal!

How to make a meal out of these!

These chicken fries are a classic appetizer, but you can absolutely make a meal out of them by pairing them with a good salad (like this kale salad).


If you happen to have leftovers of these chicken fries, good news! They reheat perfectly in a 350˚F oven! Just heat them for a few minutes since they are so thin.

You can microwave them but they will get really soggy.

Leftover chicken fries will store in the fridge for 3-4 days!

Homemade Chicken Fries

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Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinade Time:: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
These super-crispy chicken fries are delicious and so flavorful. I love the ratio of breading to chicken and perfect dipped in chili crisp ranch!


  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken seasoning, Optional
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups Pretzel or Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 cups neutral oil, for frying

Chili Crisp Ranch:

  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili crisp


  • Slice chicken breasts into thin, long strips. They shoudl be thinner than a standard chicken tender and try to get them an even thickness.
  • Add chicken fries to a bowl with buttermilk, salt, pepper, chicken seasoning, paprika, and garlic powder and stir to combine. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Add oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350˚F.
  • Remove chicken fries from marinade and add to a bag with the breading. Try to shake off as much marinade as possible. Place chicken in bag and shake well to coat.
  • Add chicken fries to skillet with oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes. Finished fries should be golden brown. You can check temperature if you would like but assuming you kept them thin, they should be cooked through.
  • Remove chicken fries and let drain on a few paper towels. Continue to fry chicken fries until you are done. It may take 2-3 batches.
  • Serve chicken fries with the chili crisp ranch dip or a dip of your choice.


Serving: 6fries | Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1004mg | Potassium: 620mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 348IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American

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Here are a few other recipes to try!