Crispy baked chicken tenders seasoned to perfection and coated with a mixture of panko and cornmeal that adds a delicious crunch to every bite. This meal is a happy meal.
If you search for baked chicken tenders, you'll most likely find recipes claiming “crispy” or “better than fried” and then found those claims were false. Well, these are crispy, hold their shape, make a nice crisp sound when you take a bite, and they're delicious.
Some recipes use cereal, some use a combo of cereal and flour, etc. The cereal came out gummy, and if you used flour without some fat added, you would get blah. You need oil to make these taste remotely like you would expect them to taste. If you bake these with 3 tablespoons of oil, you will get baked chicken tenders worth eating. In my experience, a recipe using an oil spray does not give optimal results.
If you have a nonstick baking sheet, then use it. If not, I recommend lining a baking sheet with parchment so the coating doesn’t stick to the pan, but they may not crisp as much as if you used a nonstick pan. Before baking, place your oven rack to the lowest position of your oven. That’s a trick I regularly use to get my shake and bake pork chops golden brown and delicious. The other secret is not to overbake them. The tenders should take no more 15 minutes to bake.
I sometimes like to serve these with my homemade applesauce mixed with a little Dijon mustard. I know it sound weird, but it’s pretty tasty. You can use some of the sauce suggestions listed in the recipe or simply eat as is.
Try some of my other chicken dishes:
- Simple chicken cordon bleu
- Broiled mustard garlic chicken breasts
- Chipotle chicken with grilled peaches
- Grilled garlic and herb spatchcock chicken
- Roasted chicken leg quarters
- Simple roast chicken
- Sticky teriyaki chicken wings
- Slow roasted chicken
- Adobo crack wings
Life is too short for mediocre food.
Crispy Baked Chicken TendersPRINT PIN
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil divided
- 1.5 pounds chicken tenders about 12 - 14
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon (or more) hot sauce recommended: Frank’s
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup fine cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- BBQ sauce
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard mixed with 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup applesauce plain or mixed with 1 - 2 teaspoons Dion mustard
- ¼ cup mayonnaise mixed with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce and juice of ½ lime
- ¼ cup apricot preserves mixed with 2 -3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise and hot sauce. Add chicken tenders and toss to combine. Let it marinate while you prepare remaining ingredients and the oven preheats.
- Set oven rack on the lowest bottom portion of your oven. This will give you a nice brown crust.
- Preheat oven 425 degrees.
- Combine the dry coating ingredients in a shallow dish or into a plastic bag.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil onto the baking sheet. I use a dark nonstick baking sheet which gives me a beautiful golden color. You can also use a parchment lined baking sheet, but you still need the oil to get crispy tenders. The color may not be as golden as it would be using a nonstick baking sheet.
- Turn each tender onto the coating, pressing gently on each one to make sure it covers the tender completely. Or, use the bag to shake the coating onto the tender, then lightly press to make sure a good amount adheres.
- Place the chicken evenly spaced onto baking sheet.
- Bake on the lowest rack in oven that you positioned in oven for 8 minutes.
- Flip tenders over and drizzle with remaining oil. Bake on lowest rack for another 7 minutes.
- Serve as is, or with any of the suggested sauces above. Enjoy.
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