Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

6 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters (Copycat) are a real deal recipe for tasty chicken tenders soaked in buttermilk, fried golden brown in a seasoned batter!

There’s no doubt that some of Texas Roadhouse’s best dishes are their fried foods! From Rattlesnake Bites to these Chicken Critters, people love dunk-able finger foods. Find other fried appetizer favorites in this Copycat Recipes catalog.

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters on serving plate with Cajun Horseradish sauce

One of the things that really sets Texas Roadhouse apart from a lot of restaurants is that almost every single thing on the menu is made from scratch. That makes it one of the places a lot of people don’t mind taking the kids. You know they are getting fresh food made with simple ingredients, even when it’s chicken fingers. 

Can you relate to having a kid who eats almost exclusively chicken tenders everywhere you go? Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters are a favorite that folks feel is okay with the kids ordering, with no mystery ingredients or frozen bulk chicken. Simple, fresh ingredients also mean you can easily recreate these Chicken Critters at home.

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters collage

Now if you are a long-time fan of Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters, rest assured this is the old recipe of their Chicken Critters. I’ve seen that petition that came out when they switched up the recipe about a year ago. Don’t worry, this is the original crispy, flavorful, battered version!

What sets Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters apart is that they use an airy batter that’s kept light with club soda. Soaking in buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and makes it so much more flavorful. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, there are some substitutes down below.

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters collage

How to Make Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

  • Prep: Use Chicken Tenderloins, or cut a chicken breast into strips. Soak the chicken in buttermilk while you mix the dry ingredients together. Stir club soda into the dry ingredients, then take your chicken out and pat it dry.
  • Fry: Cover each chicken strip in the batter and cook them in the oil. Drain them on paper towels.
  • Serve: Sprinkle on some sea salt and they are ready to serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.

Delicious Dipping Sauces

Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

Why are the Chicken Critters soaked in buttermilk?

Buttermilk has a slight acidity and that really helps make the chicken nice and tender.

What kind of oil should I use when frying Chicken Critters?

Vegetable oil is a great choice when frying chicken tenders. It has a high smoke point, which means it takes a higher temperature for it to start smoking and burning.

Serving Ideas

Serve these Chicken Critters with Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes to copy the tasty sweet potato side option from Texas Roadhouse. To make a loaded version, top with Salted Caramel Sauce and toasted Marshmallows

These crazy popular Chicken Critters would be an excellent choice for a game day platter, or any other gathering for that matter. Cook them up, keep them warm in an oven on a low setting. Make sure to place them on a pan lined with a rack or some other tool to keep them drained of any oil that might pool underneath them.

It’s a great choice to dip these Chicken Critters in homemade sauces like Honey Mustard, Ranch Dressing, or BBQ sauce. A popular favorite store-bought brand of BBQ sauce is Sweet Baby Rays. It is smoky, sweet, and not super expensive!

Chicken Tenderloins vs Chicken Tenders?

Chicken Tenderloins are a more tender cut of the chicken breast, removed from boneless chicken breasts and sold separately at a higher price. You can always substitute chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch wide strips, aka chicken tenders, to save on the pricey cut of chicken tenderloins.

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters on serving plate with Cajun Horseradish sauce

Variations on Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

  • Chicken Critter Basket: For a kid-friendly Chicken Critter Basket, serve with baked Potato Wedges and Green Beans.
  • Chicken Critter Salad: Turn your Chicken Critters into a Texas Roadhouse’s popular salad. Top a bed of mixed green lettuce with shredded jack and cheddar cheese, sliced hard-boiled egg, diced tomatoes, bacon crumbles, and these Chicken Critters.
  • Seasoning: Use your favorite dry seasoning mix, like Taco Seasoning or Cajun seasoning, instead of the spices in this recipe for different flavors.
  • Oven Baked: For a healthier recipe, oven bake Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Use panko or regular breadcrumbs instead of flour and leave out the club soda. Spray your breaded chicken with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters on serving plate dipping in Cajun Horseradish sauce

Five Substitutes for Buttermilk

  • Lemon Juice: Place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into your measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line with whole, 2% milk, or even non-dairy milk. Leave at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
  • Vinegar: Use white vinegar in the same way as lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and fill with milk to 1 cup and allow to sit for 10 minutes. You can use this method with non-dairy milk too. 
  • Yogurt: For every one cup of buttermilk, substitute a mixture of ¾ cup of plain yogurt and ¼ cup whole or 2% milk. Whisk the milk and yogurt until smooth and thick like buttermilk. You can also thin out yogurt with water until the right consistency.
  • Sour Cream: Thin sour cream with water, about ¼ cup water to ¾ cup of sour cream. This method can be used with milk, using more or less milk depending on the thickness of your sour cream.
  • Cream of Tartar: If you have Cream of Tartar on hand from lots of baking, use 1 ¾ teaspoons whisked into a full cup of milk.
Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters on serving plate showing inside of critter

More Tasty Chicken Tenders Recipes

How to Store Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

  • Serve: Chicken Critters are best fresh and they can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Store: Cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days. For best results, place a paper towel at the bottom to soak up any moisture. 
  • Freeze: Freeze Chicken Critters in a single layer on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.
Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters on serving plate showing inside of critter

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Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters

Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters (Copycat) are a real deal recipe for tasty chicken tenders soaked in buttermilk, fried golden brown in a seasoned batter!
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • vegetable oil , for frying

Texas Roadhouse Cajun Horseradish Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup prepared chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Cut chicken into strips.
  • Soak the chicken strips in buttermilk for about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the flour, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and white pepper in a bowl.
  • Stir the club soda into the dry ingredients until well mixed.
  • Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and dry it with paper towels.
  • Heat a pot of oil on medium-high heat.
  • Cover each chicken strip in the batter, then drop into the oil. Cook each strip for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
  • Place the chicken strips on paper towels to drain excess oil after cooked.
  • Sprinkle the sea salt over the strips and serve.

Texas Roadhouse Cajun Horseradish Sauce

  • Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, chili sauce, horseradish sauce, and cayenne pepper together.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.


Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 2073mg | Potassium: 761mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 537IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 2mg
Texas Roadhouse Chicken Critters collage

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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.

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  1. This isn’t one of my favorites. It tastes good but it ended up more like tempura.
    The dry and then 1/2c of club soda turned into a ball of dough and I had to double up on the soda to get it to be batterish…

    1. Oh no, sorry it didn’t turn out for you. Did you happen to stir in the 1/2 cup of club soda into the flour only or to all the dry ingredients?