Chicken tenders are strips of succulent meat found around the underside of the chicken’s breast. They’re among the top finger foods to have. A properly cooked chicken tender leaves you with a juicy experience.
Chicken tenders are easy to prepare and boasts a wide range of recipes you can try out. They take less time to cook than other chicken parts except when frozen. Cooking frozen meat requires more care and time because the chances of it being undercooked are high.
So, it would take more time to properly cook a frozen chicken tender than a fresh or defrosted one. Now, let’s move over to the question.
How long to deep fry frozen chicken tenders?
You should spend 3-5 minutes at 350°F deep frying your frozen chicken tenders. So, if you must skip the process of allowing your chicken tenders to thaw or defrost, then ensure it fries for this time (3-5 minutes) and at this temperature (350°F).
Keep reading for more tips on this topic.
Cooking Frozen Chicken
With the right cooking method, you can get away with cooking your frozen chicken without allowing it to defrost or thaw. To choose the right cooking method, you must consider the part and size of the chicken you want to cook. The method you use for a frozen tender might not be what you need for a whole chicken.
Generally, there are several different paths to get to a particular destination when it comes to cooking. However, to properly cook frozen chicken, you need to follow some set-out guidelines.
To find the best method to cook your frozen chicken, you need to try different cooking methods. The size and shape are the major determining factors in choosing your cooking method. In addition, you must consider what you have at your disposal (time, appliances and utensils).
You can successfully cook frozen chicken if you put all these factors into consideration first.
Is It Bad To Fry Frozen Chicken Tenders?
There is a lot of advice on and off the internet against frying frozen chicken. This advice is not without reason.
Usually, it takes hours for frozen meat to defrost or thaw. During these hours of thawing, the water molecule in the chicken (melting ice) slowly comes out of it. This water is what you find in a bowl after your meat defrosts.
In addition to this, some of the water contained in the frozen chicken evaporates. All these leaves the formerly frozen chicken with less moisture than, allowing it to fry evenly.
Frozen chicken has more moisture than it should, making it impossible for it to fry properly. So, when you fry frozen chicken, all the ice melts almost at once, causing excess moisture and uneven temperature distribution.
With this uneven temperature distribution, the chances of all parts of the chicken cooking properly are low, increasing the chances of bacteria surviving the frying process. This bacterial presence may cause food poisoning.
The downside of frying frozen chicken doesn’t stop at food poisoning. The combination of hot oil and water is a disaster waiting to happen, especially with the ice melting at once. Oil splatter is a severe cause for concern.
Essentially people advise against frying frozen chicken because you might end up with food poisoning, severe burns, or both.
Is There A General Rule For Frying Frozen Chicken?
Yes, there is. Just because people would be people, it is vital to have a backup plan for when we can’t wait for our frozen chicken to defrost or thaw.
So, to fry frozen chicken, there is a general rule of cooking your frozen chicken or any other meat for at least 50% longer than the time it would take to cook it usually. To be safe, you could double the cooking time.
How To Deep Fry Frozen Chicken Tenders
You can choose to fry the traditional way on a stove with your non-stick pan or use a deep fryer.
To deep-fry your chicken tenders, you need to heat your oil to about 350°F and fry for 3-5 minutes.
Usually, it doesn’t take a long time to deep fry chicken tenders. So, it is not surprising that deep-frying frozen chicken tenders take less time than other parts. For clarity, here is how to fry your chicken tenders in three easy steps:
- Heat your oil to 350°F.
- Put your frozen chicken tenders in the hot oil and fry for the stipulated amount of time.
- Remove your chicken and place it on a draining wire rack to remove the excess oil.
There are different recipes for chicken tenders. The most common recipes have flour or buttermilk in them. Irrespective of the recipe that you’re trying to create, always ensure your frozen chicken tender fries for the right amount of time.
Can You Cook Your Frozen Chicken Tenders In an Oven?
Yes, you can. Some people cook their chicken tenders in the oven after deep frying. This process isn’t compulsory, but it makes a huge difference in the texture of your chicken.
It would help if you considered doing it because the oven produces heat from all sides, making your chicken cook evenly. The oven seeps out moisture from your frozen chicken faster than any other method of cooking.
You can choose to cook in an oven before or after deep frying. Rest assured that the oven can evenly cook different parts and sizes of chicken.
When Is Your Frozen Chicken Tenders Well-Cooked?
To avoid food poisoning, you must adequately cook your chicken tender. You should also remember that cooking it frozen increases the chances of it being unsafe for consumption.
So, ensure your chicken tender is fully cooked before consumption. Do this for the sake of your health. There are simple and effective ways to check if your frozen chicken tenders are well-cooked. Here is how to tell:
Check the meat and juice color:
Properly cooked chicken should be white or cream-colored, not jelly-like or pink. If your chicken isn’t white or close to white, then it is probably not fully cooked.
Also, you should check the juice of the tender by slightly piercing it. If the juice isn’t clear, then it is not fully cooked. Pink or unclear juice is a clear indication that your tender still needs more time to cook.
Check the temperature using a meat thermometer:
A fully cooked chicken has an average internal temperature of about 165°F. Using a meat thermometer in cooked frozen chicken is a bit tricky because the temperature might be uneven.
So, check the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken but don’t stop there. Check another part of the chicken to be sure it has cooked evenly and properly.
Stick to the stipulated time and temperature:
Resist the urge to reduce cooking time by increasing temperature. All you would end up doing is overcooking the outside of your chicken. Increasing the temperature won’t cook the inside quicker.
The stipulated cooking temperatures are for you to thoroughly cook the inside of the chicken without overcooking the outside.
What You Should Know About Deep Frying Your Frozen Chicken Tender
If you’re going to deep fry your frozen chicken tender, here are a few things you should take note of:
Lower temperature equals longer cooking time:
Don’t lower the temperature and expect your chicken to cook at the set time. Lower temperature means your chicken tender would take a longer time to cook thoroughly.
You should know that there are chicken tender recipes that may require lower temperatures. Automatically, these recipes would require more time to cook.
Do not fill up your fryer:
Putting frozen chicken in hot oil would automatically lower its temperature. And this lowered temperature is significant enough to increase the cooking time.
So, you must not add too many frozen chicken tenders at once. It might make it difficult for them to cook properly. Put your frozen chicken in batches to make sure you don’t crowd the fryer.
This post answers the question, “how long does it take to deep fry frozen chicken tenders?” Cooking frozen chicken isn’t as simple as cooking fresh chicken because of the complications that may arise. So, you must know how to cook frozen chicken tenders properly.