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In the South, we know our way around frying foods. I fried all kinds of things alongside my parents growing up – shrimp, chicken, steak (though admittedly not one of my favorites), and catfish just to name a few.
My all-time favorite guilty pleasure, even as an adult, is chicken tenders. I know, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I love this “kid” food. Up until now, I thought a basket of golden fried chicken tenders would always be a cheat meal. Not anymore!
I pulled a few tricks out of my hat for this one – first, I did a double dredge to ensure the coating sticks to the chicken. [There’s nothing worse than a beautifully crispy coating falling off the chicken after you take the first bite.] Second, I did a modified buttermilk to enhance the flavor and help keep the chicken moist.
Let’s talk breading. The main source of crunch in this recipe is from parmesan cheese crisps. I grind them in a food processor until they’re the texture of panko breadcrumbs. Because of these, you don’t need a ton of extra salt, so be light-handed with it.
Another secret is that I always fry chicken (or anything else, for that matter) in my cast iron skillet. The major reason behind this is because cast iron keeps a pretty steady temperature without needing to jack the heat way up.
Let’s get down to the method!
Begin by heating the oil in your cast iron skillet over medium heat.
On a large plate, place the coconut flour and toss it with a few pinches of salt and pepper. In a medium-sized bowl (I actually used a pie plate) whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce. On another large plate, combine the crushed Whisps, garlic powder, parsley, paprika, scant pinch of salt (the chips are salty, be careful), and some pepper.
Set up your breading station as follows: coconut flour, eggs, then Whisp mixture – like this:
Begin by dredging the chicken into the coconut flour, shaking off the excess, then into the egg/buttermilk, and finishing in the Whisp mixture. Press the Whisp crumbs firmly into the chicken, and again gently shake off the excess before gently placing it in your pan (laying it away from you). Depending on how big your pan/chicken pieces are, fry about 2-3 pieces at a time. You don’t want to crowd the pan, because that brings down the temperature of your pan and your chicken won’t brown.
TIP* I like to have one hand do my breading bidding while the other stays clean to flip the chicken without me having to wash my hands 50 times in between.
Cook the chicken for a good 3 minutes on the first side to achieve a nice, golden brown, then flip to the other side for about another 3 minutes to finish.
Remove the chicken to a wire rack over a large baking sheet.
Trust me when I say THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT. This helps the chicken stay crispy, and it helps drain some of the oil off the breading.
You don’t want to lay the freshly fried chicken onto a plate or surface where it can lay totally flat with no air circulation. The first time I tested this recipe I made that mistake. NEVER AGAIN. No air = soggy chicken.
Lay the chicken onto a rack, and you can keep the prepared pieces in a warm, 200 degree, oven until everything else is finished.
NOTE* Don’t be afraid if your oil looks kind of “foamy” while frying. Mine has done this both times I’ve made this recipe, and I’m convinced it’s the coconut flour. It’s totally OK though! If your oil picks up some of the coating in between fries and it starts to burn, just skim it out with a spider or something similar.
Oh. My. GRAVY.
This was 100% the best chicken I’ve ever put in my mouth. It was crispy, juicy, and flavorful. My kids raved about it too! [And with toddlers, I think we all can agree on how rare such an occurrence is.] Try it with some homemade THM barbecue sauce, Low carb Buttermilk Ranch, or Creamy Jalapeño Ranch. Delish!
Best Buttermilk Fried Chicken (THM S)
Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food
- 1 3/4 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 c coconut flour
- about 2 c parmesan cheese crisps
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 c plain unsweetened almond milk
- scant 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 8-10 dashes hot sauce
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 palmful (about 1/2 Tbsp) smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- coconut oil for frying
- Add the vinegar and almond milk into a small bowl and stir to combine, then let stand for 3-5 minutes. This will act as your buttermilk.
- Place the Whisps into a food processor and pulse for about 1 minute. You want the crumbs to be about the size and texture of panko breadcrumbs.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet (I love cast iron for this, but a regular skillet will do. Just watch the temperature closely.) over medium heat with about 1 cup of coconut oil.
- Begin by dredging the chicken into the coconut flour, shaking off the excess, then into the egg/buttermilk, and finishing in the Whisp mixture. Press the Whisp crumbs firmly into the chicken, and again gently shake off the excess before gently placing it in your pan (laying it away from you). Depending on how big your pan/chicken pieces are, fry about 2-3 pieces at a time. Cook the chicken for a good 3 minutes on the first side to achieve a nice, golden brown, then flip to the other side for about another 3 minutes to finish.
- Remove the chicken to a wire rack over a large baking sheet.
- Lay the chicken onto a rack, and you can keep the prepared pieces in a warm, 200 degree, oven until everything else is finished.