These Are the Finest Quick-Meals Hen Tenders In 2023

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Hen tenders have garnered a popularity as a fallback meal for choosy eaters, however true followers know that they are a lot greater than that. When executed excellent, rooster tenders change into a critically tasty meal, full with crispy breading, savory flavors, and tons of dipping sauce prospects. They’ve almost all one of the best qualities of bone-in fried rooster, however include a fraction of the mess.

You could find rooster tenders on fast-food menus all throughout america when you want to treatment your cravings. However any tender aficionado is aware of that not all fast-food tenders are created equal.

So, with a view to discover the very best of one of the best, I attempted the rooster 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 situated 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 take a look at.)

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 with a view to get pleasure from it. I additionally need the breading itself to be crispy and fully cowl the entire piece of rooster, whereas the inside needs to be moist and simple to chunk by way of.

After attempting the tenders from every chain, it was clear that one fast-food joint is a step above the remainder in relation to each texture and taste.

This is what I thought of every choice, ranked from my least favourite to the outright prime 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 rooster. I bought a three-piece order for $4.59.

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

The style: Sonic’s rooster tenders have been like the very best model of the college cafeteria rooster tenders you may need endured as a child. On the optimistic aspect, they have been salty, decently crispy, and simple sufficient to chunk by way of. On the adverse aspect, they have been barely dry and the layer of breading was virtually as thick because the precise rooster. 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 the entire 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 take a look at, and I used to be very pleasantly shocked after I cracked open the field. These have been a number of the greatest tenders from all the style take a look at (second solely to Popeyes). The coating was tremendous even on all of the rooster 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 wonderfully nice rooster tender, however I believe there are higher choices on the market for fast-food followers. The breading had some good crispy spots and the rooster was very moist, although it wasn’t fairly as straightforward to chunk by way of out as a number 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 suppose 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 aspect, 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: Possibly it was simply the luck of the draw, however I used to be shocked to see that KFC had a number 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 rooster. The surface additionally seemed like it might be fairly crispy, because of the entire craggly bits of breading.

The style: KFC serves a very strong rooster tender, which is not any shock contemplating that fried rooster is Colonel Sanders’ forte. The breading was impressively crispyalthough not crispy all the best way round—and the rooster wasn’t dry within the slightest. The principle 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 take a look at, but it surely undoubtedly 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 function boneless rooster tenders which might be seasoned, breaded, and strain 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 massive as those from Popeyes or Jollibee, they do win factors for being one of many most cost-effective. My solely criticism concerning the look was that there have been a couple of small spots the place the breading was a little bit 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 rooster. 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 rooster on the within. These very almost claimed the highest spot on this style take a look at, however the true winner blew me away just a bit extra by way of style, dimension, and texture.

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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 aspect, 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 most costly out of all of the chains, I did really feel like I used to be getting numerous bang for my buck. These have been the most important tenders out of all of the choices I attempted, plus Popeyes gave me a fourth tender after I solely ordered three. The entire items have been tremendous well-breaded and golden brown, with tons of craggly bits of crispy breading.

The style: Popeyes has been getting numerous consideration for its wildly in style rooster sandwich over the previous couple of years, however do not let that distract you from its rooster tenders. These tenders fully blew me away on each facet of my standards. The breading was tremendous crispy and stayed that approach even an hour after I picked them up from the shop. The rooster items have been massive, 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 greater. Not solely have been they completely salty, however they have been additionally peppery, herby, and a little bit garlicky. Coupled with their stellar texture and dimension, I can confidently say that these have been the very best fast-food rooster tenders.

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