Pickle-Brined Chicken Tenders

Originally published by Southern Living on May 26,2024

Written By Josh Miller and Anna Theoktisto

Spicy dill pickle juice brings flavor and tenderness to crowd-favorite chicken tenders.



You know that place with the amazing fried chicken nuggets that you can’t get on Sundays? Now you can.

We soaked chicken tenders in a tangy mixture of buttermilk and pickle juice to give them that craveable, always-busy drive-thru flavor, then fried them up with a little something extra—pickles—to make them even better.

If you really want to gild the lily, as they say, try drizzling these salty, crispy chicken tenders with a little spicy hot honey—you won’t regret it.


  • 1/2 cup spicy dill pickle juice (from 1 [24-oz.] jar of Wickles Dirty Dill Chips)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk, divided
  • 2 lb. chicken breast tenders
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup spicy dill pickle chips (such as Wickles Dirty Dill Chips), plus more for serving
  • Honey


  1. Whisk together pickle juice, egg, and 1 cup of the buttermilk in a medium bowl until smooth. Add chicken tenders to the buttermilk mixture; cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

  2. Remove chicken tenders from marinade (do not discard marinade). Add oil to a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, filling to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches 350°F, about 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (if desired), and 3 tablespoons of the marinade in a shallow bowl until well combined. Working with 2 or 3 chicken tenders at a time, dredge in flour mixture, patting to coat. Shake off excess flour mixture, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders and flour mixture.

  4. Working in batches, fry breaded chicken tenders, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant- read thermometer inserted into thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. (Allow oil to return to 350°F between batches.)

  5. Combine pickle chips and remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk in a small bowl. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pickle chips to remaining flour mixture; toss to coat. Add pickles to hot oil; fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. (Discard any remaining oil.)

  6. Transfer fried chicken tenders and fried pickle chips to a platter. Sprinkle with black pepper, and drizzle with honey. Serve with additional pickle chips, if desired.