Homemade Chicken Fingers – yes, you can!
Making homemade chicken fingers is much easier than you’d think! Why would you want to do this you ask? Well, for one thing, you can be sure of what’s inside them. Also, what’s on the outside.
Kids and adults enjoy homemade chicken fingers a lot!
I used to make chicken fingers when my sons were kids, made them quite often really. Then one day my husband said, how come you only make them for the kids? Good question! We all like them, so they got added to the regular family menu.
I use boneless skinless chicken breasts to make these. I first pull of the ‘tender’ bit and then cut the rest of the chicken into strips approximately the same size. As you can see in the picture here, I use a dedicated cutting board for cutting chicken. Nothing fancy, but one I have noted on using a sharpie.
Breading makes the difference
For the breading, there are lots of options. I often use Panko© breadcrumbs as they give a very light and crispy breading finish, they’re very crunch, but a little bland. You can also use commercially prepared seasoned breadcrumbs. That will give a little bit of a different crunch and taste.
When I made this batch, I used a combination of homemade breadcrumbs – which I seasoned – for about two thirds of the mix and one third was Panko©. I wanted the taste of the homemade ones, with the added crunch.
Why homemade breadcrumbs?
I bake a lot of bread! Sometimes I’ve made more than we can actually eat. Hard to believe, but true. So, if I have not put a loaf in the freezer and I know it won’t be enjoyed while it is still fresh. Breadcrumbs are the answer. Okay, sometimes croutons are the answer, but not today. I written up my little process to make the breadcrumbs right here. Please don’t feel you have to do this, but I just don’t like to waste anything and once they’re made, they get put into a swing top jar and last for quite a bit.
I have a breading tray set, which was a gift from the kids – guess they wanted more chicken fingers! You don’t need to have one of these, but they hook together and keeps the mess down. I just used three separate dishes before I had this. I have to admit, it’s a really nice thing to have.
When you are breading, the order is 1. flour 2. egg wash and 3. breadcrumbs. If you are just using your hands, try to keep one hand dry – for the flour and the breadcrumbs – and one wet for the egg wash. Otherwise you end up with lots of breading stuck to your fingers. I have now decided it’s worth using two sets of tongs to do this – meaning of course, more dishes – but it’s a more pleasant and neat way to get it done.
When you season your breading mix, you can add as little or as much as you like. I tend to season the breadcrumb portion. When I first started making these, I added salt and pepper to the flour, but I’ve found it better to season the breadcrumbs. I add salt, pepper and dried parsley. You can add whatever you like, thyme, oregano etc.
After the chicken strips are breaded, place them on a baking sheet on wax or parchment paper and pop them into the fridge. You can do this a couple of hours ahead of time. When it comes time to cook, shallow pan frying is the way to go. I suppose you could bake them, but where’s the fun in that.
Disclaimer: I am Scottish, I have never met a fried food I did not love!
I fry most things using canola oil, it has no real taste, and cooks fairly cleanly. I add the oil to the hot pan and then add the chicken strips. Hot pan, cold oil = food will not stick. I was using a non-stick pan here, but that rule applies in stainless steel as well. Pan fry until they are golden brown on both sides. Actual cooking time will vary depending on how thick your strips are, but should only take 5-7 minutes each side at the very most.
Keep the cooked strips hot in the oven until they are all cooked. I like to have plum sauce to eat my chicken fingers with, but they are great tasting plain.
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