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+ servings

Spicy Cajun Chicken Tenders

Cajun Chicken Tenders that are wonderfully juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside with just the right amount of spice all over.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 chicken tenders



  • 8 chicken tenderloins (about 1.25 pounds)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, chili pwdr, garlic pwdr, onion pwdr
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, oregano, pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Barbecue Peach Sauce (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic pwdr, onion pwdr
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, smoked paprika, chili pwdr
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 peaches, peeled and roughly chopped*


Barbecue Sauce (optional)

  • Combine barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until peaches are tender.
  • When peaches are tender, add barbecue sauce to a blender and pulse to desired consistency (do not cover blender completely or it will explode!). Add barbecue sauce to a bowl and taste and adjust as desired for more spice, more sugar, etc.

Chicken Tenders

  • While barbecue sauce is simmering, prepare chicken. Mix cornmeal, panko breadcrumbs and seasoning in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
  • Add chicken to a freezer bag (or bowl) and toss with 1/3 cup flour until well coated. Remove chicken and tap off any excess flour. Dip chicken in egg/milk bowl and let excess drip off. Place chicken in a new freezer bag and pour cornmeal/panko/seasoning into the bag and toss until well coated, pressing breading into the chicken (through the bag), OR place chicken into a bowl and toss until well coated, pressing breading into the chicken with fingers.
  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet to cover the bottom of your pan over medium high heat. Heat enough oil in a large nonstick skillet to cover the bottom of your pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden, crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Cook in batches if necessary.
  • Dip chicken in peach salsa (with your fingers!) and enjoy!


*To easily peel peaches, cut an "X" in the bottom of each peach down to the core; then blanch them in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 10 seconds; transfer them with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. Remove peaches when cool and peel, beginning with where you made your "X".

baked chicken tenders

If you would like to bake the Cajun Chicken Tenders instead, here's how:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place a baking rack in a baking pan.
  • Line chicken tenders on the baking rack without touching and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Bake chicken at 400 degrees F for 15-18 minutes (18 only if tenders are large) then broil for 5-10 minutes until crispy, without moving the oven rack.    A higher oven temperature crisps up the exterior quickly and keeps the meat juicy.

air fryer CHICKEN tenders 

You can also cook your Cajun Chicken Tenders in the air fryer, simply follow the recipe then air fry instead of bake. 
  • Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray and preheat to 400 degrees F.
  • Working in batches, place the chicken tenders in a single layer in the basket without touching, don’t overcrowd.
  • Air fry for 5-6 minutes per side, turning halfway, until chicken is crispy and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Please note air fryer models can vary so watch the first batch closely and adjust the time accordingly.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.