Southern Fried Chicken Strips with Chili Garlic Dipping Sauce

This started out as a post to share a chicken strips and dipping sauce recipe
chicken tenders SL
A recipe, that I’ve adapted from Southern Living and to introduce a fabulous giveaway and yet (as often happens) this went completely away from me.

Am I the only one who starts out with one idea and ends up with something completely different as an end result?

Y’all know that I am all kinds of Southern.

I believe that being addressed as Ma’am and Sir are not signs of disrespect or getting older, but signs of respect and Southern Tradition.

I believe in Sweet Tea and Moon Pies, Manners and Morals, the healing powers of Fried Chicken and Grits and that Y’all is a completely acceptable form of address.


Well, the other day this adorable young lady from Time.Inc contacted me about Southern Living and my interest in working with them.

It took less than two shakes of a beaver’s tail for me to say; “yes, I’d love to and here’s how I would love this partnership to grow”

Well, bless her darlin’ heart, she was right on board and although they’ve featured me as a Mama Blogger of the week, I’m not sure she actually realizes what she is getting them in to.

In the mail today I got a couple of Southern Living Magazines, an All You Magazine and a Southern Living Cookbook {swoon}

Southern Living Cookbook

I spent a good 30 minutes flipping pages, bookmarking and realizing that this cookbook is a simple, instruction book to Southern Cooking for those Southern and Not.

This book will walk you through the Why, How, What, How To, Why You Should, and What to Do of Southern Cooking.

Many of these recipes reminded me of my Granny’s well worn recipe cards, recipes shared in hushed whispers in church kitchens and the tradition of junior league cookbook fundraisers.

The pictures are gorgeous, the instructions are simple and the notations are wonderfully easy to follow for the southern and non-southern alike.

{I’m giving one of these away, stay tuned]

My kids are absolute chicken tender fanatics and my husband and I love anything chili and garlic.

I found the recipe for Chicken Tenders with Come Back Sauce and the fact that I had 85% of the ingredients and it mentioned chili sauce, made the decision for me.

I set out to make them, and since I’m completely and utterly unable to leave any recipe alone and make it as written….. I did it my way, with what I had on hand.

As any good southern girl (and ex-southern-restaurant manager) would do, I soaked the chicken in buttermilk and seasonings

chicken in buttermilk

Please, for the love of all that is lovely and delicious and southern



Southern Fried Chicken Strips

Print Recipe


  • 4 Cups buttermilk
  • 8 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable Oil for Frying


  • Cut Chicken into strips
  • Add to the buttermilk (I season mine with the same amount of seasonings that I use for the flour) and marinate in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours
  • Combine the seasonings and flour and mix well
  • Drain the chicken from the buttermilk and coat with the seasoned flour and set aside (you can repeat the coating after the strips have sat whil the oil is heating)
  • Heat the oil for frying to 350* F in a deep frying pan 3" deep
  • Cook a few tenders at a time for a few minutes on each side, until internal is 165* Remove and set in a draining dish o on paper towels until all are cooked. Serve with Chili Garlic Dipping Sauce
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American

The chicken tenders are fabulous.

Tonight, the dipping sauce way outshone the chicken.

I made asparagus in the skillet to serve next to the chicken tenders.

I dipped the asparagus into the dipping sauce and that, is where my planned evening went awry.



asparagus in dipping sauce

Seriously, y’all.

The side dish and sauce far outshone the main dish on this one.

I could totally see serving this sauce drizzled over grilled asparagus, I drizzled it over what we had left, turned around to get my camera and Nathan had snatched half the plate and gone back to our room with it!

asparagus with chili garlic mayo sauce

as a dressing for salad, a complement to my favorite burger…. the possibilities are endless

Chili Garlic Dipping Sauce aka Come Back Sauce

savory and delicious chili garlic dipping sauce
Print Recipe


  • 1/2 Cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 shakes paprika
  • 2 dashes hot sauce (tabasco/cholula etc..)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  • Combine all ingredients, cover and chill for at least an hour
Servings: 2 Cups

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much I love this recipe, the cookbook and Southern Living in general.

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  1. Favorite Southern Recipe? I don’t even think I have one– which means that I NEED to win this!! You have me drooling before breakfast, thanks a ton!

  2. I looooooove to make chocolate gravy, but you can’t make me eat it. Really. I’ll make it for everybody, but I don’t like it at all. I’M SUCH A NORTHERNER. 😉

  3. Oooh I have an older Southern Living cookbook and it has this recipe for pork chops & baked apples & sweet potatoes that we just LOVE in the fall. It is such a great magazine, a slice of home up here in the Midwest for me.

  4. I have been a good Southern girl all my life, and I have STILL never mastered making biscuits from scratch! The ones I’ve turned out have been almost deadly, so that’s the one Southern recipe I’d like to master! 😉

  5. I have YET to figure out how to know what an individual tweet’s URL is, but I have tweeted about the giveaway at @sharinlilbit !

    1. Shari, click on the time/date stamp in the tweet and it’ll open it in a new window with it’s own individual URL 😉 Facebook is the same way!

  6. I posted on Southern Living’s FB page and told them I came from here. 🙂 They’ve been a page I’ve liked for a long time.

  7. I am 100% Southern, so I love anything fried, but I have to say any dishes involving grits hold a special place in my heart and pallate!!

  8. Oh, heavens… is there a southern recipe I would NOT want to know?
    I really think that I need to learn fried chicken. I’ve attempted it – not so good. Thing is, I don’t usually like chicken, but there’s something about good friend chicken that makes my mouth water.
    Oh – and shrimp & grits – there must be some magic involved there, right?

  9. Those look so good.

    I live in the south and always have so oftentimes i don’t realize i am eating Southern food. Today I would pick banana pudding as my favorite recipe though.

  10. I would love to learn the magic of making shrimp and grits! Love them, but just have not been able to master making them!

  11. Favorite Southern food (er, um, drink): SweetT Tea. I will judge a place (or person) on their sweet tea. Don’t say you have sweet tea if it’s not SWEET tea.

  12. My favorite southern recipe is Red Beans & Rice. My hubby is from Southeast Louisiana and I think I can now, after 21 years make it in my sleep. (BTW, he is very picky but I have his seal of approval)

  13. I’m also a proud Southern woman and believe that cooking Southern is the ONLY way to cook! My favorite recipes are desserts, Red Velvet Cake is my all time best. Thank you for the giveaway.

  14. I LOVE my country/chicken fried steak (which is also wonderful made with venison steak). I also can’t go without my families Liken Good Chocolate Cake. Which everyone I know makes in one variation or another, I’ve seen the recipe on your site at least once.

  15. I’m intriqued by biscuits and gravy (chocolate or otherwise) but haven’t tried it yet – I wonder if it’s in that cookbook? 🙂

  16. My favorite southern recipe is chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and fried okra. Chicken fried chicken is similar to chicken fried steak just with chicken. Now that I am hungry LOL I will go retweet and will definitely have to try that sauce.

  17. My favorite southern recipe is anything USING bacon grease!
    Be it fried chicken or cheddar cheese biscuits… or grave. I really do love gravy.

  18. My favorite southern recipe that I learned from my mom is Sauce Piquante. It’s a dish made with browned stew meat and sausage cooked with green onions and tomato sauce and beef broth. Once that simmers for 30 minutes on the stove, then you serve it over rice. It’s so good.

  19. I would like a recipe for red velvet cake with icing, but not cream cheese icing, the kind that is cooked then whipped. And my favorite southern recipe would probably be fried chicken.

  20. As a southern girl myself my favorite recipe which I learned from my mother who learned from her mother was how to make good oldfashion baking soda/buttermilk biscuits.. It took me many attempts and of course my family had to eat the “ricochet biscuits” until i learned to get the recipe and the touch of the dough just right. Now they ask me to make them as a treat for breakfast. nothing better than biscuits and syrup as my granddaddy used to eat .

  21. I don’t know how strictly southern my fried chicken is, but my husband loves it and craves it pretty much all the time. Last time I made it, homemade mac and cheese was also on the menu. We pretty much gorged and napped because, well, what else can you do after a meal like that? 😉

    Btw that sauce? I would eat just about anything if that sauce was involved with it!

  22. That sauce looks delicious, will definitely have to try it soon. How to pick a favorite Southern food? Impossible. I’m a transplanted Northerner, living in my second southern state in four years. Sweet tea, divine. Shrimp and grits.. yum. Fried chicken, oh boy. Biscuits…mmm… but caramel cake and banana pudding have to tie for the greatest Southern foods ever.

  23. I’m a Southern Living Fan!!! I cooked a holiday dinner for our church ladies last Nov using recipes from Southern Living magazine. They LOVED the cranberry relish recipe and many others. Souther Living recipes are always winners!!

  24. My favorite southern recipe is anything fried – okra, green tomatoes, chicken, corn, potatoes & onions. Also, sweet tea and southern cornbread!

  25. i love their almond chicken recipe and also some of their simpler recipes in their weeknight cooking cookbook – awesome quick ideas when i feel braindead – right around 4pm, of course!

  26. I’m a native Georgian, so cheese grits are a staple in our diet – my mom’s recipe with garlic & sharp cheddar is my all time fave Southern recipe to make! YUM. I can’t wait to try the dipping sauce from Southern Living ~ would love to win the magazine subscription!


  27. OMG I am on my way over for dinner, is it too late? That looks fabulous! I absolutely LOVE fried chicken, I just don’t make it very often. Yum. I love Southern Living, that cookbook looks great!

  28. Oh, how I miss southern food from my time in Nashville. I’m not sure I can narrow it down to my favorite recipe, but I know the squash casserole from McCabe Pub was divine and I’ve never been able to recreate it. I also love making pimento cheese, but no one here in Indiana seems to appreciate it as much as I do!

  29. Just found your blog and I can tell I will spend the rest of naptime today reading the archives! I cook at least 5 times a week from the Southern Living “Busy Mom’s Weeknight Cookbook”. It is my FAVE. In my dreams I will find a coconut cake recipe like my momma’s houskeeper’s- she made that cake part of my DNA. 🙂

  30. i’ve been making a barbeque meatloaf
    from old Southern Living in my mom’s collection for over 20 years

    It has been called my “immunity meatloaf” because
    no matter how mad someone is at me?
    they totally forget about it after one bite of this meatloaf
    it’s THAT good

    not that people get mad at me that often, i just used to live in
    this weird artist colony that would just boot you off the island
    so to speak and artists are testy, i know, i think i qualify as one
    just maybe a recreational one at this particular time

    i’m sorry about that
    i’ll just blame it on the wine

    I would love either prize like it was my own first born baby

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