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lemon pepper chicken tenders

These Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders make for a perfect game time finger food. Crunchy chicken tenders bursting with bright buttery lemon-pepper coating and fresh lemon zest served with a lemon aioli.  Brined overnight in buttermilk and spices, then dredged in a flour mixture to create an extra crispy golden and delicious crunchy bite. Serve these up next time your hosting friends and family for game night or as a weeknight dinner to switch things up for the kiddos.

lemon pepper chicken tenders

If you’re a lover of lemon flavoured things- your in the right spot. Not an overly powerful punch of lemon. I’d say its just the right amount with the butter and pepper helping to balance out that tanginess. The overnight bath is almost essential when your shooting for extra crispy fried chicken. From experience, I have found that the overnight soak is by far the best way to get good fried chicken at home. The enzymes in the buttermilk really break down that protein and make it really tender. Another crucial component is to not shake off any of the wetness when you pick up the chicken from the milk and place it in the dry dredge. The added moisture creates little air pockets around the chicken when it goes into the hot oil making it super crispy. That sound you hear when you take your first bite and you hear all that crunch. It comes from that.

fried chicken tenders

lemon pepper chicken tenders


I like to let the oil come to temperature low and slow to start which gives me the time to prepare the chicken. Since the oil will take a bit longer to get to its exact temperature on low heat- I don’t have to worry about rushing and scrambling because my oil is too hot and burning. In any case, the chicken once its coating in the flour needs time to rest so that it can properly bind together with the chicken and relax. Otherwise your coating will just end up falling off. Ever had that happen after frying your chicken it just slides right off? Well sorry to say this but you weren’t patient enough with the process. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the flour coating and dig in to the rewards later.

dredged chicken tenders


To make the lemon pepper sauce, you start off by clarifying the butter. This process separates the milk solids in the butter so that you have this more luscious product with some nuttiness. Toss the butter with the lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and garlic powder then combine a bit at a time with the fried chicken until well coated and to your licking. Save a bit to combine with the mayonnaise to create and aioli dipping sauce to finish it all off.

lemon pepper chicken tenders

We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it on Instagram! We love to see what you come up with. #thecommunalfeast Follow along our social media account on instagram for quick videos on how our recipes come together.

lemon pepper chicken tenders

lemon pepper chicken tenders

buttermilk soaked fried chicken strips dredged through a flour mixture and fried until golden and crispy tossed in a quick lemon pepper rub with lemon aioli on the side.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
1 day
Course: Comfort Food
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, football, fried basil, game day, kids, lemon pepper, tenders


  • boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to season
  • vegetable oil for frying

lemon pepper seasoning

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced + zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise


  • Combine buttermilk with first round of spices listed. Cut the chicken into strips and add to the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, spices and salt and pepper to form a dredge. Add the chicken tenders to the dredge tossing to fully coat both sides. Transfer to a wire rack or tray to rest for 5 minutes before frying.
  • Fry until golden and crispy on both sides and in batches if needed. Roughly 4 minutes a side.
  • Place on wire rack and season with salt immediately after frying.
  • Bring the butter to a slow boil until completely clarified. About 10 minutes without stirring. Should be bright yellow and clear. Let stand a few minutes. If there is any foam or milk residue floating on top, remove with a spoon.
  • Combine clarified butter with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Place the chicken tenders in a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of the lemon pepper butter. Toss to coat and add additional lemon zest, salt or pepper if desired.
  • Combine 2 tbsp of the remaining lemon pepper butter with mayonnaise. Mix well until combined to create a dipping sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders

Football Sunday

October 4, 2022


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