Whataburger Chicken Strips

Experience the crispy indulgence of Whataburger Chicken Strips! Marinated in rich buttermilk, chicken tenderloins are covered in buttermilk batter that crisps up beautifully when deep-fried. Golden and crunchy on the outside, tender and juicy within, every bite is deliciously satisfying. Paired with your favorite dip or enjoyed on their own, these fried chicken tenders are a delightful treat.

Copycat Whataburger chicken strips, fries, toast, and dipping sauce in a basket.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Makes the Whatachick’n Strips So Good? 

Those unacquainted with the Texas-based chain might be wondering why they should bother making chicken strips from a burger restaurant. But just one bite is all it takes to know that these are not your typical fast-food chicken tenders.

The juicy meat and thick, well-seasoned batter, not breadcrumbs, will change how you think about fried chicken forever. 

Why You Should Unlock the Secrets to These Chicken Strips With This Recipe

Like the best traditional Southern fried chicken, these strips need to marinate in buttermilk for a few hours. A long buttermilk bath helps tenderize the meat by breaking down some of the proteins without turning it into a mealy mush.

The buttermilk’s acidity also adds a subtle tang to the Chicken Strips that is the mark of all great Southern fried chicken recipes. 

Chicken Strip Ingredients 

For breading the Whataburger chicken tenders, you’ll need:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Buttermilk
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Oil for frying

If you cannot find chicken tenderloins, you can cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into strips.

Copycat Whataburger chicken strips ingredients on a tray.

Equipment Needed

These chicken strips are deep-fried. You can make these in a deep fryer like my favorite T-fal FR8000 Oil Filtration Ultimate EZ Clean Easy to clean 3.5-Liter Fry Basket Stainless Steel Immersion Deep Fryer or you can fry these in an iron skillet.

How to Make Chicken Tenders Like Whataburger

To prep the chicken for frying:

  1. Trim off any leftover skin and fat from the chicken tenderloins and place them in a bowl. 
  2. Cover the chicken with buttermilk. Spread plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and chill for about two hours. 
  3. Before taking the chicken from the fridge, mix the batter in a large bowl by whisking together the flour, salt, ground black pepper, garlic salt, and a half cup of buttermilk. You can use either the buttermilk from the marinade or fresh buttermilk. 
  4. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking tray next to the bowl of batter. 
  5. Dredge the marinaded chicken tenders directly into the flour mixture. Make sure to coat all sides and shake off the excess flour. Place the battered chicken on the wire rack
  6. Batter the remaining chicken. 
Collage of preparing chicken tenderloins for frying to make fried chicken strips.

To fry the breaded chicken strips:

  1. While waiting for the batter to set, heat the oil for frying.
  2. A countertop deep fryer makes frying easier, but a heavy pot with a clip-on deep-fry thermometer will also work. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame if you use a pot. 
  3. Place a paper towel-lined wire rack on the counter close to where you plan to cook the chicken. 
  4. Add a few pieces of chicken once the oil is at 350°F. Don’t overcrowd the oil. Monitor the thermometer and adjust the heat to maintain the proper temperature. 
  5. Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use a skimmer to flip the tenders over halfway through the cooking time. 
  6. Remove the cooked chicken strips with the skimmer and drain them on the paper towel-lined wire rack.
  7. Finish frying the rest of the chicken strips. You can keep the cooked crispy chicken tenders on a baking tray in the oven set to WARM. 
Copycat Whataburger chicken strips, fries, honey mustard sauce, and toast in a basket.

What to Dunk Your Chicken Strips Into

Don’t just eat your chicken tenders plain! Dress them up with some dipping sauces. Here are a few options:

  • Polynesian Sauce. This Chick-fil-A-inspired sauce combines Catalina dressing, honey, and apple cider vinegar for a tangy and sweet taste you will love. 
  • Sawmill Gravy. Everyone loves Chicken Fried Chicken, so why not recreate the flavor by dipping your tenders in Sawmill Gravy? Don’t want to make it from scratch, Pioneer Peppered Gravy Mix makes it easy to whip some up.
  • Mustard-Cream Sauce. This recipe will take a bit more work than the other dipping sauces on this list, but you’ll never find this decadent Mustard Cream Sauce on any fast food menu!
  • BBQ Sauce. Either homemade or your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce.
  • Buffalo Sauce. A classic sauce for wings and chicken tenders.

What to Serve Them With 

Whataburger chicken tenders are so good that they deserve to be more than just a snack. Turn them into the main attraction by pairing them with some fantastic sides, such as:

  • Mac and Cheese. Just insist on something much better than the blue box, like this Macaroni and Cheese Skillet recipe. 
  • Sweet and Sour Coleslaw. This is not your standard creamy coleslaw recipe. Sweet and Sour Coleslaw has the ideal balance of sweetness and acidity to excite your taste buds.
  • Costco Quinoa Salad. This three-grain salad has a bold and refreshing dressing and plenty of herbs and veggies to interest even non-quinoa people.

Whataburger Chicken Strips meal comes with French fries, a slice of Texas toast, dipping sauce, and a beverage.

Other Ways You Can Use Chicken Strips 

Whatachick’n® Strips are versatile, and you can use them in almost any dish that calls for cooked chicken.

  • Recreate your favorite Whataburger Chicken Strip Sandwich at home with 2 slices Texas toast, lettuce, and tomatoes. 
  • Chop some chicken strips up and put the pieces in tacos, quesadillas, or burritos.
  • Cover a few tenders with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese and put them in a hot oven for a few minutes; instant chicken parmesan sandwiches or a side for pasta.
  • You can even dice cold chicken strips and make one of the tastiest chicken salads you’ve ever tried.   

How to Store Them 

Keep extra Whataburger Chicken Strips in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freeze room-temperature tenders on a baking tray before transferring them to a freezer bag. Frozen chicken strips will stay good for a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. 

What Is the Best Way to Reheat Chicken Strips

Air fryers are getting more common these days, so if you have one, use it to warm up the chicken tenders, but if you don’t have one, use your standard oven:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F or the oven to 375°F. 
  2. Warm the chicken tenders in the preheated air fryer for about five minutes, turning after three minutes. Increase the cooking time to about 10 minutes if you use the oven. 
Copycat Whataburger chicken strips with fries, dipping sauce, and toast in a basket.

Love Chicken Strips? Try these recipes!

Favorite Fast Food Copycat Recipes

Check out more of my easy chicken tender recipes and the best fast food recipes here on CopyKat!

Copycat Whataburger chicken strips, fries, toast, and dipping sauce in a basket.

Whataburger Chicken Strips

Don't live near a Whataburger? No Problem. Make their fried chicken tenders at home.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Whataburger Chicken Strips, Whataburger Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 640kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • honey mustard sauce or other dippings sauce to serve


  • Soak the chicken strips in the buttermilk for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.
  • Place the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt in a shallow bowl and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of the buttermilk that was used to soak the chicken and stir. The batter should have a shaggy texture. Discard the remaining buttermilk.
  • Coat the chicken with the batter, place it on a rack, and allow it to dry for a few minutes to help the batter adhere to the chicken during frying.
  • Heat the oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or large heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Gently place 3 or 4 breaded chicken strips into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on a clean wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Serve with honey mustard or other dipping sauce.



Calories: 640kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 1518mg | Potassium: 908mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 3.6mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions


  1. Elaine Van Hook

    Never been to that restaurant but wanted to try – I think in the recipe if you call the flour/buttermilk mixture a coating rather than a batter it would be quite helpful. I would have understood that to be a dry, crumb mixture. I added more buttermilk to get a “batter” since that’s what it called for and it was a bit of a mess. They tasted good, but it would have been better with a dry crust on the outside. And I realize you show that in your video but I never watch videos of recipes. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Katie B

    Just found this! Now all I need to do is make some buttermilk biscuits and order honey butter from HEB and I can have my favorite meal from there… and it’ll do until I travel back that to the promised land (aka whataburger territory).

  3. Lou Ann Dunn

    5 stars
    Thank you Stephanie! This is my all time favorite fast food meal. I’ve always wanted to try it! Thank you so much!

    • Jackie

      that may be a typo in the instructions. Recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. 1/2 cup buttermilk doesn’t seem like enough to make a batter of that much flour. I would add in the buttermilk till you get a nice batter then stop adding it.

      • Stephanie

        You are trying to make a shaggy batter. The recipe is intentional. You may want to review the video, as I may have failed to convey the reasoning behind the method in the written recipe.

5 from 7 votes (4 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2024


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.