Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders

5 from 191 votes

Pickle Brined Baked Chicken Tenders are a juicy and flavorful chicken dish - similar to Chick-fil-A chicken recipe; includes air fryer and oven instructions

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Meet your new favorite chicken recipe – pickle brined chicken tenders made in the air fryer! There’s a secret to the salty addicting taste of the Chick-fil-A chicken and that secret is pickle juice. Brining the chicken in pickle juice helps to tenderize the chicken and give it a salty flavor. But don’t worry, the pickle juice flavor is pretty subtle. Plate of pickle brined chicken tenders with ketchup and pickles on the side

This Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders recipe is from the Skinnytaste Air Fryer cookbook by Gina Homolka. Gina is my favorite blogger of all time and she is a #1 NYT Best Selling Author with four cookbooks! This one is full of 75 recipes to make in your air fryer, with alternative ways to cook them in your oven. If you have an air fryer, you need this book in your life.

Health benefits of pickle juice

Pickle juice is a salty trend that started in 2018, which was touted to be a natural way to restore the electrolyte imbalance in the body. They say this is why pregnant women crave pickles! Because pickle juice contains a lot of sodium and potassium, it’s the perfect match for a post-workout drink. It’s a great alternative to a sports drink to get hydrated and even to ease runners cramping!

Not only do I use pickle juice in this pickle chicken recipe, but I also use it to make Macaroni Salad and Cauliflower Potato Salad. It gives a rich salty taste to vinaigrettes, which is perfect for summer salads!

How to make pickle chicken

If you’re not here for the benefits of drinking pickle juice, here’s how to make these pickle brined chicken tenders.

Place the chicken tenders in a shallow bowl and fill it with pickle juice so its completely covering all the chicken tenders. You want to leave this to brine for 4-8 hours. Giving it the full 8 hours helps to maximize the taste. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the marinade, discard the marinade and pat the chicken dry.

Chicken tenders brining in pickle juice
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Now you’re ready to dredge the chicken to make the breading for the pickle brined chicken tenders. First dredge in the egg mixture, then the bread crumbs mixture, until all the chicken is breaded.

Chicken tenders breaded with egg and breadcrumbs on a baking dish

Now the chicken is ready for the air fryer or the oven. It definitely helps to spray the pickle chicken tenders with cooking oil though over the breading whether you’re air frying or baking. It helps to give that golden color and makes them more crisp on the outside.

Air fried chicken tenders brined in pickle juice on a plate

So next time, you have an empty jar of pickles, don’t toss out the pickle juice. Save it to make these pickle brined chicken tenders. This is what I think they mean when they say finger-lickin-chicken, I swear! It’s my kids’ favorite chicken tenders recipe ever, and I love re-using something like pickle juice that I used to once toss!

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This Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders recipe was originally published on October 13, 2016. I’m re-sharing it today with more step-by-step photos and a video! It was originally a recipe from SkinnyTaste! Here’s the original photo 🙂

chicken tender being dipped in ketchup

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Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders

Pickle Brined Baked Chicken Tenders are a juicy and flavorful chicken dish – similar to Chick-fil-A chicken recipe; includes air fryer and oven instructions
5 from 191 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 310.6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
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  • Place chicken in a shallow bowl and cover with the pickle juice. Cover and marinade for 8 hours in the fridge.
  • Drain chicken and pat completely dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the whole egg, egg white, salt and pepper to taste. In a shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs.
  • Working with one piece at a time, dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then into the bread crumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Shake off any excess and place on a work surface. Generously spray both sides of the chicken with oil.

Oven Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the chicken onto the prepared baking sheet and spray the top generously. Bake in oven until the bottom is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and bake 6 minutes, until golden.

Air Fryer Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Working in batches, arrange a single layer of chicken in the air fryer basket. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until cooked through, crispy and golden. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave, in a skillet with a little olive oil, or in an air fryer before serving.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the chicken tenders before or after cooking them.
  • To freeze them prior to cooking, lay them on a flat baking dish in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When frozen, place them in an airtight bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight and cook per instructions.
  • To freeze them after cooking, simply store them in an airtight bag after they’ve cooled. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.
Equipment: I have been using the NuWave Air Fryer all this year, but I just received the SkinnyTaste by Vremi Air Fryer and it has excellent reviews, so I’m excited to try it!
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of eggs, you can use a flax eggs. For each regular egg, use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water. You can also use lowfat buttermilk
  • If you prefer not to use breadcrumbs, you can use a gluten-free flour like almond flour or oat flour, or you can also use only panko breadcrumbs.
Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders Excerpted from The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook: The 75 Best Healthy Recipes for Your Air Fryer by Gina Homolka. Copyright © 2019. 


Calories: 310.6kcal, Carbohydrates: 21.11g, Protein: 37.73g, Fat: 7.19g, Saturated Fat: 1.84g, Cholesterol: 177.99mg, Sodium: 1860.23mg, Potassium: 634.71mg, Fiber: 1.07g, Sugar: 1.41g, Vitamin A: 192.75IU, Vitamin C: 2.21mg, Calcium: 60.85mg, Iron: 2.04mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Main Course

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Recipe Rating


  1. Lisa M Chestnut says:

    I pierced the chicken tenders with a fork, then put them in the fridge in a ziplock bag to brine them. However, I forgot about them for a few days, so they were well and truly…pickled. For this reason, when breading them I left off the salt.

    They were GREAT!

    1. Yumna says:

      A happy accident I suppose! Glad you liked the recipe!

  2. Eti Motola says:


    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much!

  3. Hopeygrl says:

    Holy Fritz blitz!
    Its my new way of frying chicken tenders! Holy monkey tis’ is da’ bomb! Happy butt wiggle! Its even better with pork chopps!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I love that! Aww!!

  4. NORA L KROESE says:

    I was very interested in trying the pickle juice recipe but unfortunately you did not specify whether it was sweet pickles or dill. Dill sounded much better to me but since I do not have any pickle juice I would need a recipe to make some. What would you recommend. Appreciate your time and the recipes. Thank you, Nora

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I used 1 ¼ cup dill pickle juice plus more for serving! Hope you enjoy!!

  5. David Martin says:

    Great simple fry Yumna. I made a couple changes: I added ¼c fresh lime juice to the pickle juice and lightly dusted the tenders with cornstarch before the egg dip. The cornstarch helps ‘glue’ the egg dip to the chicken and makes the tenders extra crunchy, then coat with the bread crumbs. The lime juice adds a zing that pairs perfectly with my brined (fermented) pickle juice!
    You can substitute rice flour or regular flower for the cornstarch.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you, David! I love the sound of that!

  6. John says:

    Delicious. Chicken was so moist. Made my own seasoned breadcrumbs with 2 tsps each of paprika, onion powder and garlic powder plus 11/2 tsps dried thyme and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper per cup of sourdough breadcrumbs. Will be adding this recipe to the rotation!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay! Those homemade breadcrumbs sound amazing.

  7. Andrea says:

    Good idea to marinade with pickle juice. Love it

    1. Tracy says:

      I really like the idea of brining to make the white meat more tasty and juicy! I’m a fan of dill pickles! I like to make sauces with pickle relish too.

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        Yup, they come out so tasty!

  8. Brittany says:

    It’s so true that pickles give food that delicious, slightly salty flavor! I love what you did with this recipe. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and my grandma would soak her chicken cutlets in pickle juice! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Awww that’s so cool that your grandma used to this is as well! It’s such a yummy recipe and I hope you try it and enjoy it!!