Baked Chicken Tenders: A Delicious and Crispy Recipe for Everyone

baked chicken tenders
13 min reading time

If you’re a fan of chicken tenders, then you’ll love this easy recipe for delicious and crispy baked chicken tenders. Made with simple ingredients, you can enjoy homemade chicken tenders that taste amazing and are healthier than fried options.

With our step-by-step instructions, you can make crispy chicken tenders that are perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing appetizer, these baked chicken tenders are sure to be a hit.

So, put away the deep fryer and try this delicious and easy chicken tender recipe that will leave you wanting more!

Top Observations:

  • Baked chicken tenders are a healthier alternative to fried options.
  • This easy recipe is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy homemade chicken tenders.
  • The key to achieving crispy tenders is using the right breading techniques.
  • Baked chicken tenders can be customized to suit different dietary needs and preferences.
  • Pair your chicken tenders with delicious sides for a complete meal.

Why Choose Baked Chicken Tenders?

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to fried chicken tenders, baked chicken tenders are the perfect solution. Not only are they tasty and easy to make, but they’re also a guilt-free option that can be customized to suit different dietary needs and preferences.

The Health Benefits of Baked Chicken Tenders

Compared to fried chicken tenders, baked chicken tenders are much healthier. They contain less fat and fewer calories, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, baked chicken tenders can be made gluten-free for individuals with dietary restrictions.

How to Make Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders

Creating healthy baked chicken tenders is easy. Start by choosing high-quality chicken breast and avoid processed meats that are high in preservatives. You can also use alternative flours like almond or coconut flour to make them gluten-free. Instead of deep-frying, coat your chicken tenders in olive oil and bake them in the oven until they’re crispy and golden brown.

Baked Chicken Tenders for Kids

Baked chicken tenders are a great option for kids’ meals. They are easy to prepare and can be paired with healthy sides like roasted vegetables or sweet potato fries. Plus, they’re a fun finger food that kids will love to eat.

The Key to Crispy Chicken Tenders

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to fried chicken tenders, then oven-baked chicken tenders are the way to go. To achieve that crispy texture, here are some key tips you should keep in mind:

Use Panko Bread Crumbs

Panko bread crumbs are lighter and larger than traditional bread crumbs, giving a crunchier texture to your chicken tenders. You can find them at most grocery stores, or you can make your own by grinding up white bread in a food processor.

Preheat Your Oven

It’s important to preheat your oven to a high temperature, around 400-425°F, before baking your chicken tenders. This will ensure they cook evenly and become golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Line Your Baking Sheet

Before baking your chicken tenders, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the sheet and make cleaning up a breeze.

Arrange Chicken Tenders on a Rack

Place your chicken tenders on a wire rack set over the lined baking sheet for even crispiness. This allows air to circulate around the chicken and ensures the bottoms don’t get soggy.

Don’t Crowd the Pan

Leave some space between the chicken tenders on the baking sheet. Crowding them together will make them steam rather than bake, resulting in a less crispy texture.

By following these tips, you’ll have perfectly crispy and delicious oven-baked chicken tenders every time.

Choosing the Right Chicken for Your Homemade Baked Tenders

baked chicken tenders

The secret to making delicious baked chicken tenders is choosing the right type. You want the type of chicken that will cook evenly and remain juicy inside while still being crispy on the outside.

When making homemade chicken tenders, it’s best to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They are easy to work with and provide the perfect texture for baking.

It’s essential to pick chicken breasts of a similar size and thickness. This ensures that they cook evenly and are all ready simultaneously. It’s also essential to remember that the chicken’s thickness will affect the cooking time.

Pro Tip: You can also use chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts to save time on prep work.

How to Prepare the Chicken

Before starting, make sure that the chicken is at room temperature. This will help the tenders cook evenly.

  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat or tendons.
  2. Cut the chicken into strips or nuggets, depending on your preference.
  3. Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper or any other seasoning of your choice.

The Perfect Seasoning

Seasonings are the key to making delicious chicken tenders. Whether you prefer a classic flavor or something a bit more unique, there are plenty of seasoning options to choose from:

  • Salt and pepper: The classic combination that never gets old.
  • Paprika and garlic: A smoky and savory blend that adds depth to your tenders.
  • Buffalo spice: For those who like a bit of heat, this zesty seasoning provides a fiery kick.
  • Ranch seasoning: Perfect for dipping, ranch seasoning adds a tangy and herbaceous flavor to your baked chicken tenders.

When seasoning your chicken tenders, be sure to evenly coat each piece. You can do this by placing the seasoning mix and chicken tenders in a plastic bag and shaking them gently until the chicken is fully coated.

Marinating for extra flavor

If you have a bit more time on your hands, marinating your chicken tenders can take the flavor up a notch. Simply mix your preferred seasoning blend with olive oil and lemon juice, coat the chicken tenders, and let them sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking.

“The right seasoning can make all the difference in creating delicious chicken tenders.”

Breading Techniques for Crispy Chicken Tenders

Properly coating the chicken tenders is the key to achieving that irresistible crispy texture. Here are some breading techniques you can use:

  1. Flour-dip method: Coat the chicken tenders in flour, dip them in beaten eggs, and then coat them in seasoned bread crumbs. This method creates a thicker breading that results in a crunchy texture.
  2. Batter-dip method: Dip the chicken tenders in a seasoned batter made from flour, eggs, and milk. This method creates a lighter breading that is perfect for those who prefer a softer texture.
  3. Buttermilk soak: Soak the chicken tenders in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes before coating them in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs. The acidity in the buttermilk helps tenderize the chicken and results in a crispy exterior.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to evenly coat the chicken tenders and gently shake off any excess breading before baking them. This will help ensure the breading sticks to the chicken and cooks evenly.

Pro Tip: For extra crispy chicken tenders, place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and bake the tenders on the rack. This allows hot air to circulate around the chicken, resulting in a crispy texture on all sides.

Baking vs. Frying: Is Oven-Baked the Best Way to Get Crispy Chicken Tenders?

When it comes to preparing chicken tenders, the cooking method plays a significant role in achieving that desired crispy texture. While frying is a popular method, it can add unwanted calories and fat to your meal. This is where baking comes in as a healthier alternative that can still result in mouth-watering and crispy chicken tenders.

One of the benefits of oven-baked chicken tenders is that they require little to no oil, unlike frying. The hot air in the oven does most of the work, leaving your chicken tenders crispy and golden brown.

Another advantage of baking your chicken tenders is that it allows you to multitask. You can prepare the chicken tenders, pop them in the oven, and work on side dishes or other tasks while they bake to perfection.

When it comes to flavor, oven-baked chicken tenders have a cleaner taste compared to fried. They allow the natural flavors of the chicken to shine through without the added grease that comes with frying.

Baking Tips for Crispy Chicken Tenders:

To ensure your oven-baked chicken tenders come out crispy, here are some essential tips:

  1. First, preheat your oven to the recommended temperature. This prepares the oven, ensuring your chicken tenders cook evenly and retain moisture.
  2. When breading the chicken, make sure to press the breading firmly onto the chicken to prevent it from falling off during baking.
  3. Using a wire rack on top of a baking sheet will allow the heat to circulate underneath the chicken, resulting in a more evenly cooked and crispy exterior.
  4. Lastly, avoid overcrowding the baking sheet as this can prevent the chicken tenders from crisping up. Leave some space between each tender to allow for proper air circulation.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly crispy oven-baked chicken tenders every time.

“Baking is a healthier alternative that can still result in mouth-watering and crispy chicken tenders”

Serving Suggestions

Baked chicken tenders are a versatile dish that can be served on their own as a snack, or as part of a meal. Here are some serving suggestions to make the most of your delicious, kid-friendly baked chicken tenders:

Baked Chicken Tender Platter:

Create an appetizing platter by arranging your baked chicken tenders alongside dipping sauces, such as ketchup, ranch, or honey mustard. Add some fresh veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and celery sticks to balance out the flavors and textures.

Chicken Tender Wraps:

Make a tasty and healthy wrap by placing your baked chicken tenders on a bed of lettuce, adding some shredded cheese, tomatoes, and your favorite dressing. Roll it all up in a tortilla and enjoy!

Chicken Tender Salad:

Turn your baked chicken tenders into a delicious salad by chopping them up and adding them to a bed of mixed greens. Top it off with some croutons, cheese, and your favorite dressing, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy meal.

Side of Fries:

For a classic combo, serve your baked chicken tenders with a side of crispy French fries. Alternatively, try sweet potato fries or onion rings for a fun twist.

With these serving suggestions, your baked chicken tenders will be a hit at any meal or gathering. The best part? They’re easy to make and sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Meal Prep and Storage Tips

Homemade chicken tenders are perfect for meal prep and can be stored easily for quick and convenient meals throughout the week. Here are some helpful tips for storing and reheating your baked chicken tenders:

Storage MethodDuration
Refrigerator3-4 days
Freezer2-3 months

To store your homemade chicken tenders, allow them to cool to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Be sure to label your container or bag with the date they were made so you can keep track of how long they have been stored.

If you are storing your chicken tenders in the freezer, make sure they are completely cooled before wrapping them in plastic wrap and then placing them in a freezer bag. For best results, use a vacuum sealer to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Variations and Modifications

Baked chicken tenders are a versatile dish that can be modified to fit different dietary needs and preferences. Here are some options for making healthier and gluten-free chicken tenders:

Healthy Chicken Tenders

To make your baked chicken tenders healthier, try using whole-wheat breadcrumbs instead of white breadcrumbs. You can also bake them with a light coating of cooking spray instead of oil for a lower-fat option.

If you’re looking to add more protein to your meal, consider using almond flour or coconut flour as a breading alternative. These flours are naturally high in protein and will give your chicken tenders a nutty flavor.

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

For those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, there are a variety of gluten-free options for making baked chicken tenders. One option is to use gluten-free breadcrumbs made from rice or corn. You can also use gluten-free flour, such as almond flour or tapioca flour, for the breading.

Another option is to use crushed gluten-free rice cereal, such as Rice Chex, as a breading alternative. This gives the chicken tenders a crispy texture and is a flavorful gluten-free option.

Plant-Based Chicken Tenders

If you’re following a plant-based diet, you can still enjoy delicious “chicken” tenders by using plant-based alternatives. Try using tofu or tempeh as a protein source, and bread them with a mixture of nutritional yeast and seasoned breadcrumbs.

You can also use seitan, a wheat-based protein, to create a meat-like texture. Coat it in a batter made with non-dairy milk and seasoned flour, and bake in the oven for a tasty plant-based option.

Overall, baked chicken tenders are a delicious and customizable dish that anyone can enjoy. With these variations and modifications, you can create a healthier and gluten-free version of this classic comfort food.


Baked chicken tenders are a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed by anyone. By choosing to bake instead of fry, you can enjoy a healthier version without sacrificing flavor or texture. The key to achieving the perfect level of crispiness is in the breading techniques and the right seasoning.

When making your own baked chicken tenders, it is important to choose the right type of chicken and to follow the recipe carefully. You can also customize your tenders by exploring different seasoning options and breading techniques.

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy meal or an impressive appetizer to serve at a party, baked chicken tenders are a great option. Not only are they delicious and satisfying, but they can also be made in advance for convenient meal prep.


How can I season my chicken tenders to make them delicious?

Seasoning is crucial in bringing out the flavors of the chicken tenders. We will explore different seasoning options to make them tasty and aromatic.

What are the best breading techniques for crispy chicken tenders?

Properly coating the chicken tenders is vital for achieving that desirable crispy texture. We will share various breading techniques to help you create irresistibly crispy baked chicken tenders.

What are the advantages of baking chicken tenders instead of frying?

Baking your chicken tenders is a healthier alternative to frying. We will discuss the benefits of baking and how it can result in crispy, tasty chicken tenders without the extra oil.

Can you suggest any serving ideas for chicken tenders?

Baked chicken tenders can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a meal. We will provide serving suggestions and ideas for pairing your chicken tenders with delicious sides that everyone, including kids, will love.How can I store and reheat my baked chicken tenders?

Can I make variations or modifications to the recipe?

Absolutely! Baked chicken tenders can be customized to suit different dietary needs and preferences. We will explore options for making healthy and gluten-free chicken tenders.

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