Easy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

4.8 from 10 votes
JUMP TO RECIPE

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.

I pinky swear: these are PICKY EATER APPROVED. When I can get my daughter to enjoy chicken, you know it’s a good recipe.

Pin it now to save for later

Pin Recipe
Oven 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. We call them “chickens” in my house, as in: Jordan do you want chickens or a sandwich for lunch? Most Friday nights I don’t feel like cooking so Mel runs to our neighborhood specialty grocery where they sell prepared foods. One of our favorites are the chicken tenders (AKA “chickens”) but they’re fried so not super healthy. I decided I wanted to make an at-home version of our favorite 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.

Easy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders are the perfect weeknight meal, done in under an hour. All the kids will love these too, even the picky eaters!

chicken tender dipped in bbq sauce

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).

If you want, you can remove the tendon, but I rarely do unless it’s really obvious.

These are truly crispy, like a fried chicken tender, but they’re oven-baked so they’re much healthier than the alternative. And you won’t miss that oily coating, I promise!

The secret to keeping these juicy and crispy:

The secret to making oven baked chicken tenders juicy and crispy is the coating.

This recipe has a three-step process for coating your chicken breast tenders:

  1. Flour
  2. Eggwash
  3. 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.

Seasoning for every layer

The secret to flavorful chicken – no matter how you make it – is making sure to season every layer.

Back in the day I used to watch Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals show. She taught me that seasoning every layer of your food is the key to success; that is, season as you cook, not just at the end.

I season my Panko with garlic and onion, salt and pepper and other spices, but I also stir those same spices and flavors into the flour. That way your chicken will have seasoning in every bite.

chicken tenders on pan

How to keep the tenders crispy during baking

Keeping chicken tenders crispy during baking is done by using a rack.

That’s right: 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.

How long to bake chicken tenders

Oven baked chicken tenders are done in about 40 minutes, give or take depending on the thickness. Flip them halfway through baking, then serve with your BBQ sauce or ranch for dipping. The kids love these and everyone will love how much better they are than those fried chicken tenders we are used to heating and serving.

Easy oven baked chicken tenders recipe

Tips and FAQ

Where can you find Panko?

The sell Panko near the breadcrumbs. If you can’t find it you can substitute breadcrumbs.

What temperature should chicken tenders be cooked at?

I bake these at a high heat – 400° – so they cook quickly and get a nice crunchy coating.

How do you avoid dry tasteless chicken?

Make sure not to overcook and make sure to season all the layers.

How can you tell when your chicken is done?

I use an instant read thermometer to ensure juicy cooked (not dry or pink) chicken. Cook the chicken to 165°F.

My chicken isn’t brown or my chicken is soggy.

Make sure to spray it with nonstick spray before going in the oven to help it get golden. And cook it on a rack to keep the bottom from getting soggy.

Can I make chicken tenders in an air fryer?

Yes you can! Same recipe, same method, cook at 400°F but they will take about 10-20 minutes, depending on size and thickness.

Other favorite chicken recipes:

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe

Chicken Tenders are so good baked in the oven; they’re still crunchy and they’re the perfect easy meal.
4.8 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • 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.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 1.9mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken

**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**

hand dipping chicken tender in barbecue sauce with words on photo

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders are crispy and healthy, better than fried. These breaded tenders are picky eater approved and can be baked in the oven or cooked in the air fryer.

Join for FREE to start saving your favorite recipes
Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.
sample postsample postsample post

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating




13 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. Taste is good, nice and crisp! but they were way overdone, 40 minutes @400. Dry and hard. They were the usual size that chicken tenders are when you get them out somewhere. I’ll make them again and take out of oven at 30 minutes.
    I did check them with 2 different thermometers but neither went up anywhere near 165 (not sure why?)so I left them in for the 40 minutes. We enjoyed them anyway! Thank you!😋