Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders with Panko

Crispy baked chicken tenders are a delicious and versatile meal that can be enjoyed by all. Using panko breadcrumbs creates a beautiful golden crust, elevating the flavors of the tender and juicy chicken. This dish not only satisfies the taste buds but also comes with the added benefit of being healthier than its deep-fried counterpart, making it a popular choice for those aiming for a balanced diet without compromising taste.

Preparing these baked chicken tenders couldn’t be easier. With just a few ingredients, you’ll have perfectly crispy tenders that are ready to be paired with your favorite dipping sauces or served as a main course. The use of panko breadcrumbs ensures an unbeatable crunch, while the oven baking method delivers a delicious and tender meal without unnecessary added fats and oils.

To ensure the best possible outcome, it’s essential to take care of a few details. First, make sure your chicken pieces are of uniform thickness, granting even cooking and a perfectly tender result. Next, coating the chicken in a mixture of flour, egg, and panko will provide a solid foundation for the scrumptious crust. Lastly, preheating the oven and leaving the tenders on a wire rack during baking will guarantee a crispy texture. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a mouthwatering homemade version of a perennial favorite.

Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders With Mayo

Ingredients

To make Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders with Panko, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken tenderloins: You’ll need about 1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins.

For the breading:

  • Flour: ½ cup of all-purpose flour will help create a base layer for your breading.
  • Eggs: You’ll need 2 eggs, beaten, to help the panko breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: 1 ½ cups of unseasoned panko breadcrumbs will provide the crispy texture.

For the seasoning:

  • Paprika: Add 1 teaspoon of paprika to your breadcrumb mixture for a subtle smoky flavor.
  • Garlic powder: Include 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Onion powder: Mix 1 teaspoon of onion powder into your breading.
  • Dried oregano or Italian seasoning: Add 1 teaspoon of either for added depth.
  • Kosher salt: Use 1 teaspoon to enhance the taste of your tenders.
  • Freshly ground black pepper: Include ½ teaspoon for a little kick.

For preparing your tenders:

  • Cooking spray or oil spray: You’ll need this to lightly coat the tenders before baking.
  • Parchment paper: Place on your baking sheet for easy clean-up.

Serve your crispy chicken tenders with dipping sauces such as:

  • Honey mustard sauce: Combine mayonnaise, mustard, honey, and a touch of lemon juice.
  • BBQ sauce: A tangy and sweet sauce pairs well with the tenders.
  • Greek yogurt: Mix with fresh herbs like parsley and basil for a light, healthy dip.

Keep in mind the prep time for this recipe is about 15 minutes, while the cook time is around 20-25 minutes, until the tenders are golden brown and cooked through (no longer pink inside).

When it comes to nutritional facts, this baked chicken tenders recipe offers a healthier alternative to deep-fried options. By baking, you’ll decrease the amount of oil and fat content. Panko breadcrumbs create a light and crispy texture without the need for deep frying.

If you decide to store your tenders, keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Keep your dipping sauces separate and enjoy them as a condiment to enhance the flavor.

Feel free to enjoy your Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders with Panko as a main dish with mashed potatoes and broccoli, or as a topping for a hearty salad. They’re also great for make-ahead meals, as you can easily repurpose them in various dishes throughout the week.

Cooking Instructions

Preparation

To start, gather your ingredients and prepare your workstation. You will need:

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooking spray

Wash the chicken tenders, pat them dry with a paper towel, and season them with salt and pepper. Set them aside.

Breading

For the breading process, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare three shallow dishes. In the first dish, place the flour. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs and water. In the third dish, pour the panko breadcrumbs.
  2. Dredge each chicken tender in the flour, making sure it’s fully coated and shaking off any excess.
  3. Dip the flour-coated chicken tender into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off.
  4. Finally, coat the chicken tender in panko breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to ensure they stick.

Place each breaded chicken tender on a plate until all tenders have been coated.

Baking

Now it’s time to bake the chicken tenders. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly coat it with cooking spray.
  3. Arrange the breaded chicken tenders on the baking sheet, ensuring they don’t touch each other.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken tenders are cooked through and golden brown.
  5. Carefully remove the tenders from the oven, and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy your crispy baked chicken tenders with panko, along with your favorite dipping sauce or side dish.

Serving Suggestions

Dipping Sauces

To enhance the flavor of your crispy baked chicken tenders, consider offering a variety of dipping sauces. Some popular choices include:

  • Honey Mustard: A classic and tangy option that pairs perfectly with the panko crust.
  • Ranch: A creamy, cool choice that brings a refreshing taste to each bite.
  • Barbecue Sauce: A smoky, sweet, and tangy sauce that complements the chicken’s texture.
  • Buffalo Sauce: For those who like it spicy, this hot sauce adds a kick to your chicken tenders.

Remember, it’s great to provide options to suit everyone’s taste preferences.

Side Dishes

Crispy baked chicken tenders pair well with numerous side dishes, here are some suggestions to create a complete meal:

  • Macaroni and Cheese: This classic, creamy dish complements the crunchy texture of the tenders.
  • Green Beans: Oven-roast or steam these veggies to bring color and freshness to the table.
  • Potato Wedges: Baked or air-fried, these are an excellent choice to add filling carbohydrates.
  • Coleslaw: A tangy and creamy option to balance the flavors and add some crunch.
  • Garden Salad: Keep it light and fresh with a combination of mixed greens, veggies, and a light dressing.

Take your pick and serve your crispy baked chicken tenders with sides and dipping sauces that make the meal truly satisfying for everyone at the table.

Storage and Reheating

Freezing

To prolong the freshness of your crispy baked chicken tenders, you can freeze them. Before freezing, allow your chicken tenders to cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for about an hour. This step will ensure your chicken tenders don’t stick together during long-term storage.

After the initial freezing, transfer the chicken tenders to a freezer-safe zip-top bag or an airtight container. Label the container with the date and contents to help track their freshness. Your crispy baked chicken tenders can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen chicken tenders, follow these steps to reheat them while maintaining their crispy texture:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Place the frozen chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a wire rack.
  3. Reheat the tenders for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.

To reheat refrigerated chicken tenders, the process is similar but with a shorter cooking time:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place the refrigerated chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a wire rack.
  3. Reheat for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.

Avoid using a microwave to reheat your chicken tenders, as it can cause them to become soggy and lose their delicious, crispy coating.

Alternate Cooking Methods

Deep-Fried

If you prefer a more traditional approach, deep frying is a great option for cooking chicken tenders. Heat oil in a deep pot or fryer to 375°F (190°C). Make sure to have a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. Once heated, carefully place the panko-coated tenders into the oil using tongs or a slotted spoon. Cook in small batches for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove the tenders and place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

Air Fryer

The air fryer is a popular appliance providing a healthier and less greasy alternative to deep frying. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and lightly spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray. Place the panko-coated tenders in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the basket. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the tenders are golden and cooked through. If necessary, cook the tenders in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding.

Oven-Baked Method

Oven-baking is a classic and foolproof method for crispy chicken tenders. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Place a wire rack on the baking sheet and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the panko-coated tenders on the wire rack, leaving a bit of space between each tender. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tenders are golden brown and cooked through, flipping halfway.

Tips and Tricks

Toast the Breadcrumbs

Toasting panko breadcrumbs before coating the chicken tenders can add an extra layer of crispiness and flavor to your dish. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the panko breadcrumbs evenly on a baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. It’s essential to check them frequently to avoid burning.

Seasoning Variations

Experimenting with different seasoning combinations can elevate the taste of your crispy baked chicken tenders. Some suggestions include:

  • Italian Seasoning: Add 1-2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to your panko breadcrumb mixture for a classic Italian flavor.
  • Ranch Panko: Mix 1-2 tablespoons of ranch seasoning into the panko breadcrumbs to give your chicken tenders a tangy kick.
  • Spicy Panko: Incorporate 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy) to your breadcrumb mixture for an added heat.

Feel free to get creative with your seasoning blends catering to your taste preferences and dietary needs!

Zip-Top Bag Breading

Using a zip-top bag for breading your chicken tenders can simplify the process and minimize cleanup. First, place the seasoned panko breadcrumbs into the bag. Then, after dipping the chicken tenders in the egg mixture, transfer them to the bag with breadcrumbs. Close the bag and gently shake it until the chicken is well-coated with the breadcrumb mixture. This method reduces direct contact with the ingredients and prevents your hands from getting sticky, making the process more efficient.

Remember to follow these tips and tricks for an effortless, delicious, and crispy baked chicken tender meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal oven temperature for baking panko chicken tenders?

The ideal oven temperature for baking panko chicken tenders is 425°F (220°C). Preheating the oven to this temperature ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and the panko coating becomes perfectly crisp.

How long should I bake chicken tenders with panko coating?

You should bake panko-coated chicken tenders for approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tenders. Keep an eye on them during the baking process, as ovens may vary. Look for the chicken to be cooked through and the panko breading to be golden brown and crispy.

What is the best way to ensure even breading on the chicken tenders?

To ensure even breading on your chicken tenders, follow these steps:

  1. Pat the chicken tenders dry with a paper towel.
  2. First, dip the tenders in flour and shake off any excess.
  3. Next, dip them in a beaten egg mixture.
  4. Finally, press the chicken tenders into the panko breadcrumbs, making sure to coat them completely.

Using one hand for the dry ingredients and the other for the wet will help prevent a mess and ensure an even coating.

How can I make my panko chicken tenders healthier?

To make your panko chicken tenders healthier, you can:

  1. Opt for whole-grain panko breadcrumbs, which provide more fiber than traditional breadcrumbs.
  2. Use cooking spray instead of oil to help cut down on the overall fat content.
  3. Include nutritious side dishes, such as steamed vegetables or a fresh salad.

What dipping sauces pair well with crispy baked chicken tenders?

A variety of dipping sauces pair well with crispy baked chicken tenders, including:

  1. Honey mustard sauce – combines sweet and tangy flavors.
  2. Ranch dressing – a classic, creamy choice.
  3. Barbecue sauce – adds a smoky, rich taste.
  4. Marinara sauce – provides an Italian-inspired option.

Feel free to experiment and create your own unique dipping sauces to complement the chicken tenders.

Can I make panko chicken tenders in an air fryer instead of an oven?

Yes, you can make panko chicken tenders in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and cook the tenders for approximately 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Check for doneness and ensure the panko coating is crispy and golden brown before serving.

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Panko

A healthier version of a fast-food classic!
4.80 from 87 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 356 kcal

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts Alternatively use frozen chicken strips
  • cups Panko Bread crumbs
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise can use flavored mayo if you prefer
  • 1 tbsp. Onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to 375°F to preheat.
  • If you’re using fresh chicken breasts, cut them into strips. They should be about an inch wide.
  • Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In one bowl, prepare your breadcrumb mix. You’ll need to add the panko crumbs, the onion, and the garlic powder. Give it a good mix and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, pour your mayo ready for coating. If you want to add a bit of spice to your tenders, add a few drops of sriracha, tabasco, or chipotle sauce. Make sure to mix well.
  • Dunk your chicken strips into the mayonnaise making sure to coat them completely.
  • Transfer the strip to the breadcrumb bowl and coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Place your strips onto the baking sheet. Make sure to leave a gap between each tender.
  • Cook your tenders for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, turn your tenders and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Your tenders should look golden brown after 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
  • Try your tenders with ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce, or honey mustard dip!

Nutrition

Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 12gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 333mgPotassium: 223mgVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Chicken Tenders with Mayo, chicken tenders with panko, Oven Baked Chicken Tenders, oven baken tenders with panko
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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