Canola oil,for frying if using that cooking method.
Breading the Chicken Tenders
Gather three bowls or pans to make a breading station:Put rice flour in one, eggs & milk in another, and breadcrumbs in the third. (You can eyeball the measurements of flour and breadcrumbs and add more later if you run out while breading.) Whisk the eggs and milk together. Season the flour and breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, and/or dried seasonings, if desired.
Dip one chicken tender at a time into each of the three mixtures: Start by coating with rice flour. Then dip in the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Lastly, press into breadcrumbs until the tender is evenly coated.
Set the tender aside on a sheet tray and coat the remaining chicken tenders.
Allow the tenders to rest on the sheet tray in a single layer for at least 30 minutes before cooking. (If you are going to freeze some, place them in a single layer and freeze until solid before putting them into ziptop bags for storage.)
Cooking the Chicken Tenders
Pan fry (preferred method): Add enough canola oil in a large pan to cover the bottom with about ½-inch of oil. Heat over medium heat until hot. Test the heat by dropping a small breadcrumb into the oil. If it immediately sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Flip the tenders when the first side is golden brown and cook until the internal temperature of the tenders is 165°F, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a little coarse salt, if desired.
Air fry: Spritz the tenders with oil. Place in the air fryer and cook at 400°F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through to 165°F.
Bake: Place the tenders on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spritz with oil. Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through to 165°F. Use the convection setting if available to get them extra crunchy.
Don't skip the resting phase. It really helps the breading adhere to the tender!
No need to thaw frozen tenders before cooking. You will need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.