Recipe Makeover: Chicken Fingers

Leaving the deep fryer in the ditch, we create a crunchy new version of a fast-food staple that adults (and kids) will love.

Chicken Fingers Recipes
Photo: Photography John Autry and Randy Mayor, Styling: Cindy Barr, Food Styling: Charlotte Autry and Kellie Gerber Kelley

View Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken Fingers with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Battered and deep-fried strips of poultry populate most family-restaurant and drive-through menus in America because their crunchy, salty blandness is a nice foil for a dipping sauce, and finger foods please the kids. But check out the nutrition panel below: a full gram of salt, 703 calories per serving! You shouldn't cross the road for those chicken fingers.

Can this marriage of batter and tenders be saved? Certainly: Our Test Kitchen found the perfect coating in a nutty, fiber-filled whole-grain cereal. No need to deep-fry these fingers for crunch now—there's plenty of that in the coating already. For sauce, we keep it simple but zingy, using lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha to boost the mayo base, creating the perfect complement to a new version of America's family favorite.

703 calories per serving
1,000 milligrams sodium
10.7 grams saturated fat
Deep-fried in lard
Drowning in sauce
Greasy, heavy coating

414 calories per serving
495 milligrams sodium
1.5 grams saturated fat
Pan-seared in canola oil
Just enough spicy mayo sauce
Light, crispy, crunchy

View Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken Fingers with Spicy Dipping Sauce


  • Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4

    Sure, too much saucing can lead to a world of sugar, salt, and calories, but don't walk away from the saucy verities: tang, savor, sweet heat, and body. This delivers all those.

  • Easy Healthy Sauce Recipes: Tang


    From the heady juice of fragrant limes.

  • Easy Healthy Sauce Recipes: Savor


    Salty richness from lower-sodium soy sauce.

  • Easy Healthy Sauce Recipes: Sweet Heat

    Sweet Heat

    Via the chile kick of our go-to Thai sauce, Sriracha.

  • Easy Healthy Sauce Recipes: Body


    Mayo base clings, while canola delivers heart-healthy fats.

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