These furikake chicken tenders are juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and flavorful throughout!
Furikake is a Japanese seasoning mix that’s traditionally made with roasted seaweed and sesame seeds. It’s perfect for sprinkling on everything from plain steamed rice to hurricane popcorn to chex mix to egg and spam musubi.
For this recipe, I highly recommend picking a plain one that only has seaweed, sesame seeds and salt (a little sugar is okay). The flavored ones (think pickled plum, egg, salmon, bonito) don’t go super well with the chicken in my opinion.
Panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs that only use crustless white bread, seemed like a natural ingredient to use for the breading, especially since the furikake is Japanese too.
Panko ends up super light and crunchy (more so than traditional American breadcrumbs), which I love!
I like to use pre-cut chicken tenders (touching raw meat is not my favorite thing to do, as evidenced by the lack of recipes on this site that have raw meat in them) for ease, but you can instead cut up chicken breast on your own. Definitely cheaper that way!
How to Make
This recipe consists mostly of dredging the chicken and cooking it, so there isn’t much prep required outside of that.
In one bowl, beat the eggs with a drizzle of oil until homogeneous and you can no longer pick up bits of unmixed egg white. Add a bit of salt to season.
On a shallow plate, combine the flour with a bit of salt. On another plate, mix together the furikake and panko.
Sprinkle a little more salt on the chicken, then dip the chicken into the flour, tapping off any excess flour.
Then, dip the chicken into the egg, letting any extra egg drip off the chicken, before transferring the chicken to the panko. Press the panko into the chicken firmly, then repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Pick out a skillet with high-ish sides (so the oil has less chance to splash on you or your stove). Ideally, it should be wide enough for you to cook all of the chicken in two to three batches without crowding the pan.
This is because some furikake inevitably will fall off into the oil, and if it stays in the oil too long, it can add a bit of a burnt flavor to the later batches of chicken. The furikake is also pretty small, so unless you have a small heatproof sieve, it’s not the easiest to fish out.
In your skillet of choice, add a thin layer of oil (should be enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Place over medium heat on the stove.
When you dip the tip of a chopstick into the oil, it should bubble. You’re aiming for the oil to be hot enough to cook the chicken and crisp up the panko, but not so hot that the panko burns before the chicken is done.
Add a few pieces of chicken (not too many – you want to make sure there’s enough space for the chicken to cook without steaming or bringing the temperature of the oil down too much), and let cook for four to five minutes on the first side, or until the panko is deeply golden.
Flip the chicken, and cook for another four to five minutes, or until the panko is golden brown and delicious on that side as well.
Move the chicken to a paper towel lined plate to let any excess oil drain off, then cook the rest of the chicken.
I’m a big fan of eating these furikake chicken tenders with a side of rice, little bits of Korean-style (read: with sesame oil) roasted seaweed, pickled radish and marinated bean sprouts. This is closest to my usual trifecta meal of protein, grains and vegetables, and I like the balance of everything together!
Or, you could lean into the chicken tender and fries direction. Furikake fries for double the dose of furikake, anyone?
Ketchup is always a must for me with fries and tendies, but I can imagine how good spicy mayo (with sriracha and/or shichimi togarashi) would be as a quick second dip. Mixing some minced pickled radish into mayo with other seasonings for a variation on tartar sauce could also be fun!
Clean-up is one of my least favorite tasks in the kitchen, so keeping clean-up as simple as possible is a must.
I’ve tried to accommodate for that by calling for a little more flour, panko and furikake than is necessary for coating the chicken. This ensures that there’s enough for the chicken to stick to without getting the plate underneath wet (and therefore causing flour/panko to stick to it).
I also recommend trying to have a dry hand (for the flour/panko stages) and a wet hand (for the egg part) so that you don’t end up breading your hand. Wearing food safe gloves can also make this step more painless.
Crispy Breading That Sticks
A few tips to make sure that you maximize the chances of your breading sticking to your chicken:
- If your chicken is kind of wet, try to pat it dry with paper towels before you coat it in flour.
- The flour, egg and panko stages might seem like more work than necessary. The only thing you taste is panko anyways, so what’s the point of the flour and egg? Well, the panko doesn’t stick super well to the chicken, nor the egg to the chicken, so the flour and egg work in tandem to make sure the panko and chicken are as best friends as possible.
- Another key is to press the panko into the chicken firmly.
Pan-frying leftovers is my favorite way to re-heat them. No need for a ton of oil, just a little (or even none if you’re using a non-stick pan) is fine!
Baking them (in the toaster oven, conventional oven or air fryer) also works, though the breading doesn’t crisp up quite as much as when you try to pan fry the chicken.
Substitutions and Variations
I know some people are dark meat or the highway kinds of chicken connoisseurs, so you can sub in chicken thighs (cut into tender-like shapes) instead of chicken tenders if you’d like.
I’d suggest cooking the chicken at a lower heat (and for longer) so that the chicken has time to cook through before the breading starts to burn, since chicken thighs take longer to cook than chicken tenders.
I tested baking these in the oven, the air fryer, and on the stove (shallow fried), and I hands down liked the shallow fried version the best (as my dad would say – frying anything makes it better).
For anyone who doesn’t want to shallow fry the chicken (which I promise isn’t that annoying. Since you’re shallow frying the chicken, it doesn’t splatter everywhere, and there’s not a ton of oil for you to clean/reuse/deal with after you’re done), you can try baking the chicken.
My main gripe about using the oven is that the chicken gets soggy on the side that’s in contact with the baking sheet, while the top gets crispy. When you flip it, the crispy side sogs up. Sigh.
You can try to minimize this by using parchment paper, which allows for a lot more evaporation and air flow than something like silicone baking mats.
You can mimic the shallow frying by using more oil that you might think you should on the chicken before it goes in the oven. Flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time to make sure that both sides can get as crispy as possible.
Another alternative is using an air fryer. Because you put the chicken on a rack, there’s air circulation all the way around the chicken, yielding crispy, crunchy breading.
The chicken will for sure taste more lean than if you fried it, since you can only spray on so much oil onto the chicken it drips off, so keep that in mind.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon canola oil plus more for cooking
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cups panko
- ½ cup furikake
- 1 ½ pounds chicken tenders
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg, 1 tablespoon oil, and ⅓ teaspoon salt until the egg is fully homogeneous.
In a shallow plate, combine the flour and ⅓ teaspoon salt.
In another shallow plate, combine the panko and furikake.
Sprinkle the remaining salt evenly over the chicken tenders.
Working with one chicken tender at a time, coat the chicken completely in the flour, and tap off any excess.
Dip the chicken into the egg (try to keep a wet hand and a dry hand, and/or use the fork you used to beat the eggs with to coat the chicken in the egg), and let any excess drip off before transferring the chicken to the panko.
Sprinkle the panko all over the chicken and press into the chicken firmly to help it adhere. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
In a wide skillet with high-ish sides, add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Place on the stove over medium heat; the oil is ready when you stick a chopstick into the oil and bubbles form around the tip.
Add as much chicken as you can without crowding the pan (each tender should have plenty of room around it without touching any other piece of chicken), and cook for 4-5 minutes on the first side, or until the panko is deeply golden. Then, flip and cook on the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
When the chicken is done, transfer to a paper towel lined plate for the chicken to drain off and cook the rest of the chicken (you may need to add a little more oil to the pan) before devouring!
Try to use a plain furikake with only sesame seeds and seaweed (salt and sugar are okay).
You can try to bake these instead on a parchment lined baking sheet; make sure to add a generous amount of oil so the chicken “fries” in the oil while it’s baking. Flip halfway through.