You are going to love these low sodium “buttermilk” fried chicken tenders. They are crispy on the outside and pack a ton of flavor, so you won’t even miss the salt. Promise.
My favorite food when I was little was fried chicken. I remember asking my mom for fried chicken and mashed potatoes (and don’t forget her awesome white gravy!) for my birthday dinner. As I have gotten older, my tastes (and diet) have changed, so it is not something that we eat with much frequency. But for the occasional treat? Yes, please!
You have probably tried fried chicken recipes where you marinate or coat the chicken in buttermilk. Because buttermilk is pretty high in sodium, we skip it in this recipe and replace it with a mix of whipping cream and vinegar. Why whipping cream instead of milk? Because it is very thick, and we will want that for the flour coating (you’ll see).
After the chicken has marinated for several hours and you are ready to fry, you mix up the flour coating. Start with flour and spices and stir in some of the reserved marinade. This creates little chunks in the coating that stick to the chicken. When the tenders are fried, those little chunks turn into crispy little pockets of delicious.
Then you just pull the chicken from the marinade one at a time, dredge in the flour mixture and set aside on a baking sheet or a plate. I usually do this in smaller batches as I fry, but that is up to you.
Then you just deep fry them in batches until they are golden brown (5 ish minutes in 350°F oil). Then you serve the chicken with Easy Baked Fries (or maybe some Creamy Low Sodium Mashed Potatoes ☺). I actually made a spicy honey mustard for Joe, which was delicious. One of these days I will write down exactly what I did and get it posted here so that you can try it too.
Low Sodium Fried Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 tsp vinegar
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp black pepper
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 ½ tsp sodium-free baking powder
- 3 Tbsp of the marinade
- 3-4 cups vegetable or peanut oil
To make the marinade, mix the half and half, vinegar, cayenne, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the marinade and refrigerate. You will use this later for the breading.
Place the chicken tenders in a larger ziploc bag with the rest of the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for overnight, or at least 2 hours.
Breading & Cooking:
Heat the oil over medium high heat (about 350°F to 375°F).
Stir together the flour, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and baking powder. Using a fork, stir in the reserved 3 tablespoons of marinade until there are little clumps throughout the flour mixture.
Spread the flour mixture on a large plate. Working with one chicken tender at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and coat with the flour mixture. Place the breaded tenders on a baking sheet. (Tip - you can cover the baking sheet in tin foil for easy cleanup.)
Place the breaded chicken tenders into the hot oil, being careful not to crown the pan. (I use a relatively small pan, so I can fry about 4 pieces at a time.) Cook the chicken tenders until they have browned nicely, about 4-6 minutes.
Remove the tenders from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Fry the remaining tenders in batches. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION – Yield: 6 servings
Sodium: 111.2 mg, Calories: 374.7 , Total Fat: 15.0 g, Saturated Fat: 7.4 g, Cholesterol: 98.9 mg, Carbohydrates: 19.2 g, Fiber: 0.6 g, Sugar: 0.1 g, Protein: 38.2 g.
Nutrition is calculated assuming that the chicken absorbs two ounces oil for the entire recipe, and that we use 3/4 of the marinade and 3/4 of the breading.