Hot Honey Chicken Tenders


From entertaining friends and family to whipping up a meal for game night or just a family supper, these chicken tenders will do the trick.

The Origins of Honey Hot Chicken Tenders

A Brief History of Hot Chicken

Hot chicken, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, has been a beloved dish for decades. This fiery creation typically features chicken marinated in a spicy paste, fried to perfection, and often served with pickles and bread. The story goes that hot chicken was invented as an act of revenge, but it quickly became a staple in Southern cuisine.

The Sweet Twist: Honey Integration

This idea has literally raised the hot chicken a notch higher, in order to cater for those who have a liking for a sweet spicy wing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

The Chicken

You can also use chicken breasts cut into strips if tenders are not a) To summarize, if you do not have chicken tenders you can use boneless skinless chicken breasts that are cut into strips.

The Marinade

The Coating

To make the surface crispy, gather flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt as the dry mixture. This combination will lead to the preparation of the dish that will coat the chicken tenders in a delicious crust. Adding cornstarch to the batter makes it lighter after frying and spices give the chips that extra flavor boost.

The Honey Hot Sauce

For the honey hot sauce, you will use honey, hot sauce, butter, and a slightly pinched vinegar that should be apple cider. This sauce will be the center of attention and provide the chicken tenders with that tasty, delicious feel. Butter provides the zesty flavor while vinegar provides the needed tartness to balance the sweet flavor from honey.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Chicken

The first step is always to remove any unnecessary adipose tissue from the tenders and then discard the excess, in this case, the drippings, paper. This will help the marinade stick better to the chicken and enhance the flavor depth in the long-run. The even parts in which the chicken is cut will cook evenly due to the same thickness.

Creating the Marinade

To starting, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt in a large bowl. It is also important to ensure that the marinade it well mix. The buttermilk should be properly combined with spices and should be thick and having rich flavours of the spices.

Marinating the Chicken

Coat the chicken tenders with marinade for maximum immersion onto the chicken pieces. Finally, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or better still over-night for tender and full flavored meat. Ideally, the chicken should remain marinated, up to the point where it fully absorbs the marinade, making it tastier and softer.

Coating the Chicken Tenders

Take the chicken and lay it carefully under this layer and ensure that you press them well so that the chicken is fully coated and reduces the skin part when cooking.

Frying to Perfection

This is essential to prevent the oil from becoming too hot, which might make the chicken brilliant and not crispy.

Making the Honey Hot Sauce

The sauce should be as smooth and slightly thickened, with the general symphony of sweet-hot-tart notes.

Tossing the Tenders in Sauce

When you are ready to cook, fold the tenders gently to allow the sauce to coat all of them evenly.

Serving Suggestions

Perfect Sides

Honey Hot Chicken Tenders pair wonderfully with a variety of sides. Consider serving them with coleslaw, mac and cheese, or sweet potato fries for a complete meal. For a lighter option, a fresh garden salad or roasted vegetables can be a great choice. The contrast of the spicy-sweet chicken with creamy or tangy sides enhances the overall dining experience.

Beverage Pairings

To complement the sweet and spicy flavors of the chicken tenders, try pairing them with a refreshing drink. Iced tea, lemonade, or a light beer are excellent choices. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, a fruity cocktail like a mango margarita or a pineapple mojito can elevate the dining experience. The cool, refreshing drinks help to balance the heat of the dish.

Tips for the Best Honey Hot Chicken Tenders

  • Always marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours to ensure maximum flavor. Longer marination times result in more tender and flavorful chicken.
  • Don’t overcrowd the fryer; fry the chicken tenders in batches to maintain the oil temperature. Overcrowding can lower the oil temperature, resulting in greasy and soggy tenders.
  • Adjust the amount of hot sauce in the marinade and sauce to control the spiciness to your preference. You can customize the heat level to suit your taste.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature; keeping it steady at 350°F ensures even cooking and a crispy exterior. Consistent temperature control is key to perfect frying.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Skipping the marinating step can result in bland chicken tenders. Marinating not only adds flavor but also tenderizes the chicken.
  • Using too much flour in the coating can make the tenders too doughy. Shake off excess flour to ensure a light, crispy coating.
  • Overcooking the chicken will make it dry; keep an eye on the frying time. Chicken tenders cook quickly, so monitor them closely.
  • Not letting the excess marinade drip off can lead to soggy coating. Shake off the extra before coating with flour to achieve a crisp texture.

Health Considerations

While Honey Hot Chicken Tenders are a delicious treat, they are best enjoyed in moderation due to their high calorie and fat content. Consider baking instead of frying for a healthier alternative. Additionally, using skinless chicken breasts and opting for a lighter honey hot sauce can reduce the overall calorie count.

Variations and Customizations

Gluten-Free Option

Use gluten-free flour and cornstarch for the coating to make the dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. Ensure that all other ingredients, including the hot sauce, are also gluten-free. Gluten-free panko breadcrumbs can also be used to add extra crunch.

Spicier Version

Add more cayenne pepper or a dash of habanero sauce to the marinade and sauce for an extra kick. You can also include finely chopped fresh jalapeños in the marinade for added heat. For those who love extreme heat, consider incorporating ghost pepper or Carolina Reaper powder into the coating.

Vegetarian Alternative

You can also use cauliflower florets instead of chicken for the vegetarians in your family or friends if anyone is interested in this dish. Generally the process of preparation does not change and product will still have crispy layer and spicy – sweet taste. Coupled with the effectiveness of another diet favorite, cauliflower, which complements well and has a neat crispness.

Additional Serving Ideas

Exploring Global Flavors

Cooking Techniques

Nutritional Information

Cognitive assessment of Honey Hot Chicken Tenders can be ascertained and one can calculate how frequently they can consume the dish.

Creating a Balanced Meal

Cultural Significance and Popularity

Hosting a Honey Hot Chicken Tender Party

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

The tips and recommendations that should be followed while preparing Honey Hot Chicken Tenders includes using sustainable and ethical food sources.

Exploring Honey Varieties

If your preference is for a deeper, richer taste then go for wild flower honey or the buckwheat honey.


Its a perfect appetizer or snack, Sweet and spicy Honey hot chicken tends definitely blast your taste buds.


What is the best way to store leftovers?

Store any leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should be consumed within 3-4 days for the best quality. To reheat, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes to regain their crispy texture. Avoid using the microwave, as it can make the tenders soggy.

Can I bake the chicken tenders instead of frying them?

Yes, you can bake the chicken tenders for a healthier option. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake the coated tenders on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. For extra crispiness, lightly spray the tenders with cooking spray before baking. This method reduces the overall fat content while still achieving a crispy exterior.

How can I make the dish less spicy?

To make the dish less spicy, reduce the amount of hot sauce in the marinade and sauce, or choose a milder hot sauce. You can also adjust the amount of cayenne pepper in the coating mix. For an even milder version, omit the cayenne pepper and use sweet paprika instead.

What other sauces can I use with these tenders?

Besides the honey hot sauce, you can try serving the tenders with ranch dressing, blue cheese dip, or even a tangy barbecue sauce for a different flavor profile. A garlic aioli or a spicy mayo can also complement the tenders well, providing a creamy contrast to the crispy chicken.

Are honey hot chicken tenders kid-friendly?

Yes, honey hot chicken tenders can be made kid-friendly by adjusting the level of spiciness. Reduce the hot sauce and cayenne pepper to make a milder version that children can enjoy. You can also serve the tenders with a side of honey mustard or ketchup for dipping, making them more appealing to younger palates.


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