These Are the Greatest Quick-Meals Hen Tenders In 2023

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Hen tenders have garnered a fame as a fallback meal for choosy eaters, however true followers know that they are a lot greater than that. When executed excellent, hen tenders turn out to be a severely tasty meal, full with crispy breading, savory flavors, and tons of dipping sauce potentialities. They’ve practically all the most effective qualities of bone-in fried hen, however include a fraction of the mess.

You’ll find hen tenders on fast-food menus all throughout the USA when you’ll want to remedy your cravings. However any tender aficionado is aware of that not all fast-food tenders are created equal.

So, in an effort to discover the very best of the most effective, I attempted the hen tenders from each main fast-food chain close to me that serves them: KFC, Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, Sonic, and Jollibee. (As a result of I am positioned in New Jersey, I wasn’t shut sufficient to any regional chains like Elevating Cane’s or Church’s Texas Hen to incorporate them on this style check.)

As with every fast-food merchandise, I rated the tenders from every chain on each style and texture. Once I eat a young, I need it to be tremendous well-seasoned and flavorful sufficient that I do not want a sauce in an effort to get pleasure from it. I additionally need the breading itself to be crispy and fully cowl the entire piece of hen, whereas the inside must be moist and straightforward to chunk by way of.

After making an attempt the tenders from every chain, it was clear that one fast-food joint is a step above the remaining in terms of each texture and taste.

Here is what I thought of every possibility, ranked from my least favourite to the outright high tender!


Sonic chicken tenders
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!

Per three-piece order: 350 cal, 18 g fats (2 g saturated fats), 1,010 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 21 g protein

Sonic’s Crispy Tenders are made with 100% all-white meat hen. I bought a three-piece order for $4.59.

The look: Whereas Sonic’s hen tenders did not essentially look dangerous, they did look slightly unhappy compared to the opposite ones I attempted. They have been hands-down the smallest out of all of the tenders, although it kind of balances out when you think about that they have been additionally the most affordable. Whereas I appreciated their deep golden brown coloration, Sonic’s tenders additionally simply seemed slightly extra manufactured than the others.

The style: Sonic’s hen tenders have been like the very best model of the varsity cafeteria hen tenders you might need endured as a child. On the constructive facet, they have been salty, decently crispy, and straightforward sufficient to chunk by way of. On the unfavorable facet, they have been barely dry and the layer of breading was nearly as thick because the precise hen. I do sometimes get pleasure from a thick layer of breading, but it surely fully overwhelmed the style and texture of the particular poultry in Sonic’s case. Subsequent to all the different tenders I attempted, Sonic’s model simply appeared like a step down in high quality.

7 Quick-Meals Chains That Serve Hand-Breaded Hen Tenders—and You Can Style the Distinction!


Jollibee chicken tendersJollibee chicken tenders
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!

Per tender: 180 cal, 11 g fats (1 g saturated fats), 420 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (6 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

Jollibee’s Hen Tenders are hand-breaded and made with all chicken. I bought a three-piece order for $6.99.

The look: I had by no means tried Jollibee’s meals earlier than this style check, and I used to be very pleasantly stunned once I cracked open the field. These have been a few of the largest tenders from the complete style check (second solely to Popeyes). The coating was tremendous even on all of the hen items, plus I may instantly inform that they have been hand-breaded due to the irregular crispy bits of breading.

The style: Jollibee serves a superbly superb hen tender, however I feel there are higher choices on the market for fast-food followers. The breading had some good crispy spots and the hen was very moist, although it wasn’t fairly as straightforward to chunk by way of out as a few of the different tenders. The flavour was principally the place Jollibee missed the mark. I may style a lot of black pepper and the smallest suggestion of warmth, however the tenders sorely wanted extra salt and different seasonings. I simply do not assume these have sufficient taste to get pleasure from them with out dousing them in Jollibee’s well-known gravy or dipping sauces.


KFC chicken tendersKFC chicken tenders
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!

Per tender: 140 cal, 7 g fats (1 g saturated fats), 320 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 10 g protein

KFC prepares its seasoned Hen Tenders with its “Further Crispy” recipe. I bought a three-piece meal (which additionally features a facet, dipping sauce, biscuit, and medium drink) for $8.69. KFC didn’t give me the choice to order the tenders with out turning it right into a meal.

The look: Perhaps it was simply the luck of the draw, however I used to be stunned to see that KFC had a few of the smallest tenders out of all of the chains. That being mentioned, they nonetheless seemed tremendous engaging and appetizing. The breading was deeply browned and lined each inch of the hen. The skin additionally seemed like it might be fairly crispy, because of all the craggly bits of breading.

The style: KFC serves a very stable hen tender, which isn’t any shock contemplating that fried hen is Colonel Sanders’ forte. The breading was impressively crispyalthough not crispy all the way in which round—and the hen wasn’t dry within the slightest. The primary issue that pushed KFC forward of Jollibee was the style. It did not pack fairly as a lot taste as the highest two performers on this style check, but it surely positively had extra of an oomph, because of KFC’s well-known 11 herbs and spices. They have been peppery, salty, and had the slightest spicy zing.


Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!

Per three-piece order: 310 cal, 14 g fats (2.5 g saturated fats), 870 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 29 g protein

Chick-fil-A’s Chick-n-Strips characteristic boneless hen tenders which might be seasoned, breaded, and stress cooked in 100% refined peanut oil. I bought a three-piece order for $5.75.

The look: Whereas Chick-fil-A’s tenders weren’t fairly as large as those from Popeyes or Jollibee, they do win factors for being one of many least expensive. My solely criticism concerning the look was that there have been a number of small spots the place the breading was slightly sparse or uneven. In any other case, the tenders seemed tremendous golden brown, crispy, and alluring.

The style: It is actually no shock that Chick-fil-A has been America’s favourite fast-food chain for 9 consecutive years. The model by no means ceases to impress me with the stellar high quality and style of its hen. These tenders have been so extremely flavorful and well-salted that I did not want a dipping sauce to wholeheartedly get pleasure from them (although I do know from expertise that they pair nice with the well-known Chick-fil-A sauce). The textures have been additionally just about good, with crispy breading on the skin and tender, juicy hen on the within. These very practically claimed the highest spot on this style check, however the actual winner blew me away just a bit extra when it comes to style, measurement, and texture.

I Tried 5 Frozen Hen Strip Manufacturers & There’s Solely One I would Purchase Once more


Popeyes chicken tendersPopeyes chicken tenders
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!

Per three-piece order: 460 cal, 20 g fats (8 g saturated fats, 1 g trans fats), 1,820 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 38 g protein

Popeyes’ Tenders are marinated in Louisiana herbs and seasonings, hand battered and breaded in a crunchy southern coating, and fried till golden brown. I bought a three-piece combo meal (which additionally features a facet, biscuit, and small drink) for $13.99. Like KFC, Popeyes additionally did not give the choice to order tenders with out turning it right into a meal.

The look: Whereas Popeyes was the costliest out of all of the chains, I did really feel like I used to be getting a number of bang for my buck. These have been the largest tenders out of all of the choices I attempted, plus Popeyes gave me a fourth tender once I solely ordered three. All the items have been tremendous well-breaded and golden brown, with tons of craggly bits of crispy breading.

The style: Popeyes has been getting a number of consideration for its wildly fashionable hen sandwich over the previous couple of years, however do not let that distract you from its hen tenders. These tenders fully blew me away on each side of my standards. The breading was tremendous crispy and stayed that means even an hour after I picked them up from the shop. The hen items have been large, juicy, and really straightforward to chunk by way of. And the style was so multi-faceted and satisfying, particularly in comparison with the opposite tenders I attempted.

Chick-fil-A’s tenders, for instance, have been completely salted. However the taste of Popeyes’s tenders simply felt larger. Not solely have been they completely salty, however they have been additionally peppery, herby, and slightly garlicky. Coupled with their stellar texture and measurement, I can confidently say that these have been the very best fast-food hen tenders.

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