Best Chicken Fingers In America: Top 5 Tenders Most Recommended By Experts

People across the United States love to debate fast food. From their regional favorites to the big brands, everyone has a favorite. Out of all of the fast-food items available, the debate of which company makes and serves the best chicken fingers rages on. Salty, crunchy, savory – and ultimately dipped into some sort of sauce, your mouth is probably watering at the thought of them. 

The birthplace of the chicken finger is up for debate. As Kate’s Kitchen puts it, “The origin of chicken tenders is somewhat disputed, but it is generally believed that they were first popularized in the United States in the late 20th century. Some sources claim that chicken tenders were created by a chef at a New Orleans restaurant in the 1960s, while others attribute the invention to a chef at a restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina in the 1970s.”

Chicken is also a great source of protein. A recent study reveals that eating red meat is not healthy for you. It can increase your chance of stroke and cardiovascular disease. That being said, getting your daily dose of protein from chicken is a safer option than ordering a burger or steak.

With the demand for chicken nuggets diminishing, there could be a new king of chicken in the form of a chicken finger. Time will tell, but for now, let’s get this all-too-important list going. 

Have a craving for crispy, crunchy, fried goodness? Look no further! StudyFinds set out to do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites to put together this list of the best chicken fingers. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Plate with chicken fingers or tenders
(Photo by Karyna Panchenko on Pexels)

The List: Best Chicken Fingers According To Experts

1. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

This southern chain prepares the best chicken finger according to experts and if you’re going to live on one for the rest of your life, you can’t go wrong here. The Tender Crown goes to Cane’s. 

The Halftime App sings their praises, “Anyone who has eaten Cane’s knows how amazing their chicken tenders are. They’re borderline drugs. It’s by far the juiciest and most flavorful tender in fast food. Every single bite takes you into another stratosphere of food enjoyment. If not for my health, I would munch on these bad boys every day.”

“Despite the best efforts of KFC and Popeye’s, Raising Cane’s chicken tenders are quite possibly the very best that you will find across all of the fast food restaurants,” says Whimsy And Spice, “These are tenders that have been crafted expertly in every aspect, from the seasoning to the quality of the white meat and the breading used for the batter coating.” 

UpRoxx agrees with the above statements, “Ecstasy of the mouth. The other tenders on this list don’t even come close. Raising Cane’s uses fresh chicken that is marinated for 24 hours, hand-battered, and fried to perfection. Each bite of chicken is bursting with tenderness like a goddamn Otis Redding song (it helps that Raising Cane’s uses actual chicken tenders) with the perfect texture that melts in your mouth. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while eating Cane’s.”

2. Popeyes Chicken Tenders

The Louisiana-based chain takes the number two spot on the list with its seasoned chicken that makes people want to line up long before lunchtime starts. “High-quality chicken, with an amazing flavor! Hand-breaded and made in-house which is a huge freshness booster,” The Top Tens writes. “I love this chicken, it is so light and crispy, not greasy, Popeye’s is the best.”

“Their tenders are one of the most popular menu items, rivaling even their chicken sandwiches. It’s not hyperbole to say that you might just fall in love with the flavor. After all, chicken tenders are what southern fast-food restaurants do best,” says Restaurant Clicks.

Mashed says, “First, their mild tenders are anything but dull. The breading alone is so good that you’ll be happy with your purchase before your teeth even reach the chicken. Then, when you do reach the meat, you’re met with juiciness so unrelenting that you may want to wear a bib.”

3. Chick-Fil-A Chick-N-Strips

The company that employs cows to tell you to eat more chicken holds down the fort with the 3rd spot. The difference is found in the oil they use to fry their chicken. 

UpRoxx says, “Chick-fil-A’s Chick-n-Strips are pretty damn good. The chain marinates its chicken in pickle brine, giving each bite of chicken a real depth of flavor and a tender juicy mouthfeel that sets it apart from a lot of the other chicken chains.”

You’re going to go back for seconds. “These masterful tenders by Chick-fil-A are relatively soft but mind-blowingly delicious. Like other chicken items on their menu, Chick-n-Strips are pressure cooked inside of a vat of peanut oil. When that magical process is done, the resulting chicken tenders are so good that there’s no way you could eat just one. Doing so would be torture,” says Mashed

Thrillist talks about what it reminds them of, “The chicken has actual flavor — that sort of peppery goodness that reminds you of Southern-style fried chicken. A bite of Chick-fil-A practically demands a side of biscuits and gravy.”

4. KFC Chicken Tenders

The Colonel’s chicken takes the 4th spot with its massive chicken chain. They are made with the real thing. Eat This says: “As uniform in shape as McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are, KFC’s Chicken Tenders are not; you’ll get bigger tenders, smaller ones, and pieces in irregular shapes, and that’s a good thing because it lets you know these tenders are made from whole cut pieces of chicken meat that’s then battered, spiced, and deep fried.”

“…they did have bits of fried breading clinging to the outside that I knew would make for a nice texture. The chicken tenders were flavorful and contained a fair amount of white meat chicken,” says Insider

Restaurant Clicks says, “They do not skimp on the portion size, and all of their tenders are substantial and packed with high-quality chicken. They also coat every bite in KFC’s trademark combination of herbs and spices.”

5. Church’s Chicken

This Texan brand of chicken is a fan favorite around the world. Known for their simplicity, their crunch, and their taste. This company started serving chicken in 1952 and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. 

“This is thanks to how they are prepared, with the tenders being marinated in buttermilk before they are fried. They are also beautifully seasoned tenders, with a bit of spice thrown in for an extra kick. Pair them with some tasty barbecue sauce to combine the spice with some smokiness to make for a delicious chicken treat,” says Whimsy And Spice

“Super tender, and the white gravy is the best hands down. If you like gravy with your chicken, Church’s is the best. Also, all for some spicy sprinkle, you won’t be disappointed,” says The Top Tens.

This is a brand that’s all over the country, “Church’s Chicken is a beloved fried chicken fast food chain with nearly 900 locations in 26 states,” says Shop Food

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.



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