Chili’s Chicken Crispers (Copycat)

Chili’s Chicken Crispers copycat with the delicious shatteringly crispy crust that Chili’s crispers famously have, but made at home! So easy to make and also a great batter for fish too!

Chili's Chicken Crispers
Chili’s Chicken Crispers

Back to Chili’s today for one of my kids’ favorite chicken tenders of all time. The original Chicken Crispers with that sort of fish and chips texture that’s super different from most chicken tender recipes.

Most chicken tenders have a crispier, more  texture, but these are more of a cross between a tempura texture and a fish and chips texture, smoother, lighter batter and the edges, with the super crispy just batter that fried up is so light in texture you’ll find yourself sneaking pieces of it while cooking.

Does Chili’s use MSG?

Yes, the original recipe does call for MSG, but the copycat recipe swaps out the Accent Seasoning for chicken broth, per Todd Wilbur. In this swap it works well to emulate the same flavors.

Chili's Chicken Crispers on plate

What to serve with Chili’s Chicken Crispers?

Classic chicken tenders are best served with KFC Potato WedgesKFC ColeslawCrispy Sweet Potato Fries or even your favorite potato salads.

Let’s discuss the dipping sauces! There’s two that are our absolute favorites at Chili’s and they’re both so EASY to make.

Chili’s Honey Chipotle Sauce Recipe

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Add the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook, whisking, for two minutes before turning off the heat.
  3. Cool the sauce before serving as a dip or toss the chicken crisper in the warm sauce if serving fully dipped.

Chili’s Honey Mustard Sauce Recipe

  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup honey
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving.

Chicken Tenders from Chili's

Tools Used In This Recipe:
Deep Fryer: Easy for keeping temperature on point and kind of fun to use!
Chicken Base: I almost never buy boxes of broth because I keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon.
Pigtail Flipper: I LOVE this tool for frying. I am able to drop and pick up pieces without removing any breading at all thanks to this awesome tool.

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Chili's Chicken Crispers

Chili's Chicken Crispers with the delicious shatteringly crispy crust that Chili's crispers famously have, but made at home! So easy to make and also a great batter for fish and chips!    
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • canola oil for frying

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a dutch oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg, milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper until well combined.
  • Add in the self rising flour.
  • In a second bowl add 1 cup of flour.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the batter, then into the flour.
  • Add the chicken to the oil in small batches and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Nutrition

Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 418mg | Potassium: 254mg | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Keyword: Chili's Chicken Crispers
Chicken Tenders from Chili's
Chili's Chicken Crispers Tenders Copycat

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. So awesome! I have made a copycat recipe for the chicken crispers before, but it had the flour first then the batter. It made SUCH a mess, but since I am about to throw out my oil I thought I’d make them tonight. To my surprise, your instructions reversed them, which made a huge difference! Thank you! These are wonderful! I look forward to trying them again – now I don’t have to wait until the oil is about to be thrown out!!

  2. Made these last night and they are REALLY good. I feel like they are less greasy than the Chili’s ones, which is a good thing. Will definitely make these again and probably play around with adding some additional spices to the batter.

  3. I found this recipe, and I found the exact same recipe on a different website, except it says to dip in the flour and then batter (like some other commenters questioned). I decided to try both ways.
    The other way (flour then batter) definitely looks more like the Chili’s Crispers.
    However, this way (batter then flour) does taste better! It’s not exactly like the Chili’s ones, but it is close and definitely sates the craving! Keeping this recipe for sure!

  4. So glad to have found this, I live this batter and I really love Chilli’s honey mustard, I hope this recipe is close to that

  5. I just finished making these and they were a huge hit with my family! The only thing I changed was that I used seasoned salt instead of regular salt. We will be making these a lot! Thank you!!

  6. Wow! Just wow. This recipe is amazing! Tastes just like the crispers. I’m a plain Jane so I like mine with no sauces, however, my husband only eats these with the honey chipotle sauce. He made this for his & he’s blown away. His first statement was “we never have to go back to chili’s!” which of course we will (I can’t get enough of their chili or that chicken bacon ranch quesadilla). We love this recipe & I’m sure it will become a frequent of ours. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  7. These were fantastic! It past my toughest critic of homemade chicken tenders, my son! This will be my only go to recipe! Thank you!

  8. Super delicious! My whole family loved it! Both sauces were also great! We even had fun making it together with the kids! Highly recommended! The dish brought back memories of Chili’s, Friday’s and Bennigan’s!

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it yesterday for my family, it was so good finished before I could even try it myself! I am about to make it again in a bit, just thought I’d thank you all the way from Kuwait 😉

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad everyone enjoyed it…make sure you get some next time too, haha!

  10. I was looking for some dinner ideas and ran across this recipe, it was very easy.
    I didn’t have Chicken Tenders, so i sliced up a couple boneless breasts.
    This recipe came out really good. Light and flakey. Had it with a side order of stuffing.

  11. Can’t wait to make these…. Also the KFC potato wedges – found out they just
    discontinued those – My sister’s FAVORITE!! So I’ll have to make those
    for her when I make the Chicken Crispers – she will be so tickled!! Thanks so
    much for your receipes – they all look AMAZING!!!

  12. Can you tell me how a pigtail flipper works? Looked it up on amazon but no instructions. Looks like a tool I could definitely use!
    By the way, I have added many of your recipes to my keepers list after trying and I am a seasoned cook!

    1. You just pierce a little edge of the food and then flip your wrist. It’s so easy to use! We have one in our store on the site if you’re looking to get one. So glad you’re loving the recipes.

  13. I’m hoping to make these tonight! These might be silly questions but I’m hoping to avoid running out to the grocery store so I was wondering about a few substitutions:
    1. Can I use chicken stock instead of broth?
    2. Can I use 2% milk instead of whole milk?
    3. Can I use Olive or Vegetable Oil instead of Canola Oil?

  14. I have made this several times. It is fantastic. I just use boneless skinless chicken breast and then cut them in 3/4 inch wide strips. (I also like to brine my chicken breast in some cold salt water for around a half an hour – it makes it more tender and juicy. Just make sure that you dry off the chicken breasts before you dip them into the batter.) And just cook it until it’s done. Are use a meat thermometer in to make sure I get to 165°-175 in the center of the widest part of the strips. It is seriously excellent. I never have self rising flour but it is easy to make your own. It’s a cup of all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and a half a teaspoon of salt.

  15. I’ve made these twice for my family. With all of the positive feedback I had to give them 5 stars. I followed the recipe exactly. Even made sure there grease was the correct temperature. The crispers come out with a perfect crunch but not hard. The chicken was also juicy. Would definitely recommend.

  16. Greetings! I love chili’s chicken crispers. However, they have one version that the the chicken comes out Not crispy but soft and tender. Can you advise how I can prepare the batter that will make the chicken NOT CRISP BUT TENDER! ??

      1. I know what she’s talking about, I used to work at chili’s, she’s referring to the battered crispers, it’s a fish n chips type batter just on the chicken

    1. Chicken breasts are going to take slightly longer to cook. Most stores have chicken tenderloins (they are usually cheaper), they are just a different part of the chicken.

    2. It is backwards. Dip into the flour then into the batter if you want them to come out like the picture. 4 and 5 should be reversed if you want a crunch.

  17. Hi Sabrina,
    I’ve been using “Better than bullion” for quite some time now. Love it. According to the jar instructions it appears you would use a little less than a teaspoon for 3/4 cup of broth. Does that sound correct?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  18. These are delicious and my kids constantly ask for me to make them again and again!
    Just one question, ive recently started counting calories. It says 17 servings and 149 calories per serving but not how many chicken pieces in each serving. Is it 1 piece of chicken that’s 149?

    1. I’m glad your kids love them, mine are big fans too! Using standard size tenderloins, the serving size is 2 pcs of chicken and the recipe should make 12 servings.

  19. YES! I’ve been looking for a recipe that’s just like Chili’s for my son’s chicken finger obsession. This one is great!

    1. The print button on the recipe card is working for me, not sure if it was a glitch when you tried. You can also go the the top left of your screen and under file is a print option. I just checked and both are working. Hope this helps!

  20. Hello Sabrina,
    I can’t wait to make this recipe tomorrow night for dinner ?. This looks and sounds sooo good ?. I will make sure to hashtag my photos on my Instagram account ??. Thank you for sharing ?

  21. So if I own MSG does that replace the chicken broth all together or how would that work? Looks amazing, thanks!

    1. I’ve never cooked with MSG so I haven’t been able to test it but I would err on the side of caution and start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust from there. Hope this helps!

  22. Can I make this in an air fryer instead of deep frying? Would you modify the recipe or simply put in the air fryer instead of deep fryer?

  23. Thanks for posting this recipe, it was a big hit last night, even for our picky teen-ager. We will be making this again!

    1. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of AP flour as a substitute for self rising flour.

  24. We really enjoyed our chicken strips, they were delicious. We will be using this recipe over and over again!

    1. It will change the flavor a bit with buttermilk having some acidity to it but will still work in a pinch.

  25. Hi Sabrina ….I am a bit confused …..in direction number 5 u have written dip chicken in flour and then the batter ….however in one of the comments u have agreeed that chicken to be dipped in flour and then batter 

    1. Sorry, didn’t mean to confuse you. You’ll want to dip the chicken into the batter first then into the flour before placing into the oil to fry.

  26. Hey you have mentioned self raising flour in the batter and the other being just flour to coat….which is this plain flour( whole wheat or Cornflour)?

  27. Looks delicious.  One question.  In direction number five, do you mean to dip the chicken into the flour first and then the batter?

    1. I know it sounds backwards but dipping in this order creates that wonderful crispy batter. I hope you enjoy it!

  28. OMG!  I used to love Chili’s chicken tenders, but sadly seven years ago we moved far away from any locations and I haven’t had them since ?. I’m definitely going to try your recipe out and see if it satisfies the odd craving I get whenever I see a commercial for Chili’s.  Thank you!

        1. It’s going to be tough but I suggest if you want to try, place the chicken in a ventilated box that’s lined with paper towels or on a rack to help keep them as crispy as possible. Good luck!

  29. I love ordering these! I love the light and airy batter! Excited to make them at home!

    1. Thank you so much for catching that! Sometimes when the recipe card gets pulled it, it’s glitchy. I just corrected it.

      1. You’ll just want to make sure you have something with high enough sides that you can fry them without in splattering everywhere.