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Easy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders are the perfect easy dinner recipe. These are baked in the oven so they’re healthier than fried, but they’re crunchy and full of flavor. These are PICKY EATER APPROVED: When I can get my daughter to enjoy chicken, you know it’s a good recipe.
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Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders
If there is one thing I can count on Jordan to eat that’s not pizza or grilled cheese, it’s chicken tenders. I decided I wanted to make an at-home version of our favorite takeout chicken tenders, and I wanted them to be oven baked but crispy, like those fried ones we love.
This easy chicken tender recipe is made in the oven but they come out crunchy because of the breading. Every layer of the coating is seasoned so they’re super flavorful and they’re the perfect oven-baked alternative to fried chicken tenders or chicken strips.
This easy chicken recipe is the perfect weeknight meal, done in under an hour. All the kids will love these too, even the picky eaters!
The secret to making oven baked chicken tenders juicy and crispy is the coating.
- Chicken Breast Tenders – the tenderloin is that little piece that is usually attached to boneless skinless chicken breasts. They’re the perfect size for a chicken tenter recipe!
- Flour + Spices: I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning to my flour. Want some heat? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Panko (or breadcrumbs): I love using Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that’s a bit lighter and fluffier than a traditional breadcrumb. Coating chicken tenders with panko ensures a crispy crunchy coating, but you can use regular breadcrumbs if you prefer.
What kind of chicken is best?
For my chicken tender recipe I use chicken breast tenders. I like to buy them as tenders, but you can certainly just buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them yourself. I find that the chicken tenders I buy taste better and have a better texture than slicing myself (plus I hate handling raw chicken).
I usually remove the tendon from my chicken tenderloins because I don’t like eating it. You can skip that if you want but I use the fork method: place the edge of the tendon between the tines of a fork. Grip the tendon with your fingers using a paper towel and pull. It will slide out, keeping the tender intact under the fork.
How to make Baked Chicken Tenders
Seasoning every layer of your food is the key to success; that is, season as you cook, not just at the end.
- Mix flour with spices in a shallow dish (I use a pie plate).
- Mix egg with spices in a third bowl or dish.
- Mix breadcrumbs with spices in another dish.
- Coat each chicken tender in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs.
- Place chicken tenders on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Spray them with nonstick cooking spray then bake in a hot oven, turning them once during cooking. This will keep them super crunchy!
Tip From Dorothy
- The key to baking chicken tenders and keeping them crispy so they taste fried (but aren’t) is using a rack on your baking sheet. I highly suggest getting a rack for your roasting pan (or a jelly roll pan set that comes with a rack). Baking chicken tenders straight on the cookie sheet will either keep them soggy on one side or ensure that the coating peels off when you flip them. Baking on a rack allows the heat to circulate and create a crunchy coating on all sides.
- My other browning secret for chicken tenders: spray the tenders with nonstick cooking spray when you put them in the oven and then again when you flip them.
- Bake your chicken nuggets at 400°F for about 40 minutes, give or take, depending on thickness. Check doneness with a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer – they should be 165°F when cooked through.
- Store chicken leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- You can also make these in the air fryer! I also love to reheat leftover chicken tenders in the air fryer to keep them crispy.
They sell panko in the aisle where you get normal breadcrumbs – they should be right next to them.
I bake these at a high heat – 400° – so they cook quickly and get a nice crunchy coating.
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe
- 1 – 1 ½ pounds chicken breast tenders
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Dash of hot sauce
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
- To remove the tendon from the chicken, use the fork method: Place the tip/edge of the tendon between the tines of a fork. Grip the piece of the tendon between your fingers (using a paper towel) and pull hard. The tendon should pull out of the chicken, keeping the tender in tact.
- Place flour in a shallow dish. Add ¼ teaspoon EACH salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning to the flour and stir.
- Place egg, water, and dash of hot sauce in a second shallow dish. Whisk to combine.
- Place panko, parmesan, ½ teaspoon EACH salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika in a third shallow dish and stir to combine.
- Dip each chicken tender in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko to completely coat. Place on prepared pan.
- Spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes, then flip the tenders and spray again. Continue baking until they’re cooked through to 165°F (about 15-20 minutes more).
- Serve hot with ranch or bbq sauce or mustard for dipping.
Pair this with…
These are great plain, or served with dipping sauces like BBQ sauce, honey mustard sauce, or even ketchup or ranch dressing.
Last Updated on January 28, 2024