Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders are marinated chicken tenderloins that are breaded, deep-fried, and coated in a rich garlic butter sauce. They are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and full of garlic and parmesan flavor in each bite! And, you can cook them up in the air fryer, too. They are based on my Crispy Chicken Tenders, which you will also want to try!

Pan of Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders on a wooden table with some ranch dressing from overhead.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Chicken: If you don’t have chicken tenderloins, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips. Or, cut the chicken into smaller pieces to make garlic parmesan chicken nuggets!
  • Buttermilk: It’s all about the buttermilk marinade for this recipe. Look for full-fat buttermilk, or make your own. The buttermilk helps break down the protein in the chicken, making it nice and tender.
  • Panko: After dredging the chicken in a flour, cornstarch, and garlic powder mixture, it will be coated in a panko and parmesan mixture. Panko, a Japanese-style breadcrumb that is lighter and will stay crispier longer, can be found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store. If you use regular breadcrumbs, the chicken will not be as crispy, but will still be delicious!
  • Parmesan: We can’t forget about the parmesan when these are called garlic parmesan chicken tenders! A cup of parmesan cheese will be mixed with the panko.
  • Oil: For frying, vegetable or canola oil is the best choice because of its neutral flavor. Ensure the oil is 350° before each batch of chicken. When done frying, check out how to clean used cooking oil.
  • Garlic Butter: The chicken tenders are tasty on their own, but the garlic butter adds even more flavor!
Hand dipping a Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tender into a bowl of ranch dressing on a wooden table.

Tips & Tricks for Heating the Oil

The oil should be heated to 350°F on a candy thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer. This usually takes about 12-15 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, here are some ways to check that the oil is hot enough for frying:

  1. Put the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. The oil will start to bubble steadily when it’s good to go. If you are seeing the oil bubbling like crazy, it’s too hot and needs to cool down a bit. If there are only a few to no bubbles, it’s not hot enough.
  2. Use a 1-inch square of bread. Carefully put the bread into the oil and if it browns in 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
  3. My favorite method is the popcorn test! Put a kernel of popcorn into the pan of oil as soon as you begin heating up the oil. As soon as that kernel pops, the oil is ready!

Can I Make Chicken Tenders Without The Garlic Butter?

Absolutely! I loved them both with and without the garlic butter. If serving without the butter, offer some dipping options. Here are a few of my favorites:

Hand holding a bit into Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tender showing the tender chicken but crispy breading.

How To Store Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

To store chicken tenders, first, let them cool to room temperature. Then, store the chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If possible, store the garlic butter in a separate container. The chicken will last up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer. Heating them in the microwave may make them soggy.

Can I Freeze Chicken Tenders?

Yes, for longer storage, freeze the fried chicken tenders. Once cooled, place the cooled tenders on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze them for about 1-2 hours. This step prevents them from sticking together. Once frozen, transfer the tenders to a freezer-safe airtight container or a resealable freezer bag. Label the container or bag with the date. Reheat them in the oven, right from frozen (no need to thaw first).

Pan of Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders on a wooden table with some ranch dressing from overhead.
No ratings yet

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Marinating Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Savor the flavor of Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and bursting with garlic and parmesan!



  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup (245 g) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups (216 g) plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup (100 g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Garlic Butter

  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped



  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, salt, and pepper, making sure the chicken is completely covered. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to marinate for 3 hours, up to overnight.


  • When ready, transfer the chicken to the counter to come to room temperature while you prepare the breading. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • On a shallow plate, add the flour, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • On a separate shallow plate, add eggs and water. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • On a third shallow plate, add the panko and parmesan. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • One at a time, remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Dredge it first in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko mixture, carefully pressing the panko mixture onto each tender. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • To a large pot over medium-low heat, add 2 inches of oil. Heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F.*
  • Working in batches, add 3-4 pieces of chicken to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. The chicken should be crispy and golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken tenders from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken, making sure the oil is hot enough for each batch. (The oil temperature may go down after cooking each batch of chicken.)

Garlic Butter

  • To a small saucepan over low heat, add butter, garlic, and salt. Once the butter has melted, remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in the parsley.
  • Transfer the chicken tenders to a serving platter and drizzle the garlic butter over the cooked chicken tenders. Serve warm.


Air Fryer Instructions:
  1. Follow the instructions up to the point of adding the chicken to the oil.
  2. Instead of adding to the oil, place the coated chicken tenders into the basket of your air fryer. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.)
  3. Cook for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time. Cooking times may vary, depending on the size of the tenders.
  4. Drizzle garlic butter over the cooked chicken tenders.

Did you make this recipe?

You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.

What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:


The garlic parmesan chicken tenders were perfectly crispy and full of flavor. The garlic butter added a nice touch that made them irresistible.


The buttermilk made these chicken tenders super tender. I'm not usually a fan of frying, but these were worth it for the flavor. I plan on trying them in the air fryer next time.


These chicken tenders were a hit! Crispy, cheesy, and garlicky, they were everything you could want in a chicken tender.


I loved the crunch on these chicken tenders! The parmesan in the breading really stood out, and they were so juicy inside. The garlic butter added a lot of flavor, too.


The garlic butter on these tenders was amazing. They had the perfect balance of garlic and parmesan, making each bite delicious.

Share with your friends!

Categorized in: , , ,

Related Recipes

Meet Amanda Rettke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating