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Recipe

Best Homemade Baked Chicken Tenders

The best homemade baked chicken tenders — crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Freezer-friendly and made with just six ingredients and minimal mess! 

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    30 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~18 tenders
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    30 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~18 tenders
  • Ingredients

    • 2 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
    • Oil spray
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • ¼ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins or chicken breast pounded to ⅔-inch thick and sliced lengthwise

    Simple Honey Mustard Sauce

    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Toast the Panko. Preheat your oven to 390F. Spread Panko onto a rimmed baking sheet and lightly spray with oil (optional, but keeps them from drying out). Bake bread crumbs for 5 minutes, or they are golden brown in color. Transfer Panko to a bowl and set aside. Leave the oven on if you plan to bake some immediately. 
    2. Batter the chicken. In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg mayonnaise, dijon mustard, flour, salt, and pepper and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the chicken to the batter and toss to coat.
    3. Prepare your pans & preheat the oven. If you will be baking the chicken right away, lightly spray a large baking sheet with oil. If you will be freezing some or all of the chicken tenders, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.   
    4. Crumb the chicken. Using tongs, transfer one piece of chicken to the Panko bowl, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and gently press down to help the breadcrumbs stick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all chicken tenders are breaded. Lightly spray the tenders you will be cooking right away with cooking oil.
    5. Bake and/or freeze.
      To freeze: Place uncooked chicken tenders onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and put the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours. Once firm, transfer tenders to an airtight freezer bag or container.
      To bake: For best results, place chicken tenders on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. If you don’t have a cooling rack, lightly spray your baking sheet with a little oil. Lightly spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking oil and bake at 390F for 15-20 minutes depending on their size (20-25 minutes if frozen), or until internal temperature reaches 165F. 
    6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Remove chicken tenders from the oven and serve immediately.

    For the sauce:

    Combine mayonnaise, honey, and mustard in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Season with pepper to taste.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • To make gluten-free chicken tenders: Substitute your favorite gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour in the batter, and use gluten-free panko instead of traditional wheat-based panko for the breading.

    Ingredient Prep

    • Toast the Panko and store in an airtight container until ready to use 
    • Make the batter up to 1 day in advance
    • Make your dipping sauces up to 1 week in advance

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Measure and spread the panko onto a baking sheet; whisk the batter together; help spoon bread crumbs onto the chicken; help make dipping sauces
    • Little Kids: All of the above plus they can make the batter and sauces; help with crumbing the chicken and transferring tenders to baking sheets for baking and/or freezing
    • Big Kids: Give them the recipe and let them ask for help when needed! 

    Leftovers

    Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight food storage bag or container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, place on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet in a 250F oven/toaster oven for 5-7 minutes, or until warmed through. Chicken tenders can also be microwaved for 30-45 seconds but, be warned, they won’t be crispy.

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information based on a 4-ounce serving and does not include dipping sauce.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 4 ounces (approx. 2 tenders)
    • Calories: 188
    • Sugar: 0 g
    • Sodium: 446 mg
    • Fat: 5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 10 g
    • Fiber: 0 g
    • Protein: 23 g
    • Cholesterol: 83 mg

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