Baked Chicken Tenders

October 5, 2021

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders! Made with strips of chicken tenders, parmesan and an herb and spice seasoned panko bread crumb finish. No deep frying yet they’re still absolutely delicious!

Baked Chicken Tenders

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

With this recipe you just follow a standard breading process. Dip chicken tenders in flour, egg, and then panko bread crumbs. Then instead of frying in a pan in oil, they are baked in a hot oven over a wire rack until golden brown and cooked through.

So we skip the vegetable oil and just use a little olive oil to add some flavor and encourage browning. Then the real game changer is the parmesan. It gives them a delicious boost of flavor.

People of all ages will love these simple baked chicken tenders! They’re easy to make and perfect for dipping.

Sauces to Serve with Chicken Tenders

There’s endless options here. This is a list of ideas to get you started:

  • Honey mustard or creamy honey mustard
  • BBQ sauce
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Aioli
  • Ranch
  • Pesto
  • Chimichurri
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Or just spritz with lemon juice right before serving.

Chicken tender being dipped into honey mustard sauce.

Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup (1.7 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken tenders (about 12)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

See below for recipe with print option.

Photo of ingredients used to make baked parmesan chicken tenders with panko.

How to Make Baked Chicken Tenders

  1. Preheat oven: Move oven rack up one level from center and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray an large oven safe cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray and set over a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.
  2. Prepare dredging ingredients: Pour flour into a small shallow dish. Crack and whisk eggs in a second shallow dish.
  3. In a third dish (such as a pie plate) toss together panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika and garlic powder. Drizzle with olive oil then toss well to evenly coat.
  4. Season chicken tenders: Season both sides of chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
  5. Coat in flour, then egg: Working with two at a time, dip chicken tenders in flour (gently shake excess off), then transfer to eggs and coat both sides.
  6. Cover with panko mixturer: Lift from egg mixture and let excess egg run off then transfer to panko mixture. Coat both sides in panko mixture while pressing, so mixture adheres well.
  7. Transfer to wire rack on baking sheet: Transfer chicken tenders to prepared wire rack on baking sheet, leaving some space between each piece. Repeat process to coat all chicken tenders.
  8. Bake to cook through: Bake in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through (165 in center of largest pieces), about 15 to 20 minutes. If you find they are browning too much then tent with foil near the end.
  9. Garnish: If desired, garnish with parsley and serve warm (plain or with dipping sauce of choice).

Collage of eight photos showing step by step photos of making baked chicken tenders. Shows dredging chicken in flour, egg and seasoned panko. Then shown baking on a wire rack over a baking sheet.

Possible Variations

  • If preferred, you could fry the chicken tenders (instead of baking) in a skillet with 1/2 cup of olive oil until cooked through on both sides. Cook in batches to not overcrowd and cook over medium heat.
  • Use 1/2 tsp each basil and oregano if you don’t have Italian seasoning.
  • For more intense garlic flour use 1 Tbsp minced garlic (add to the panko) rather than using garlic powder.
  • Make them spicy by adding 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Add a citrus flavor by seasoning (panko) with the zest of two lemons.

Are Tenderloins and Tenders the Same?

Chicken tenders and chicken tenderloins are the same thing coming from the same portion of the bird. They just have a slightly different name, you’ll see them labeled either way and can use either one.

Chicken Tenders Substitute

  • Chicken tenders and chicken breasts are actually different portions of a chicken. The tenders come from the underside of the breast, but chicken breasts make a great comparable substitute for tenders. The can just be slightly less tender.
  • To substitute just slice chicken breasts into small strips rather than using chicken tenders. It’s a good cheaper alternative.
  • Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, you may want to slice across if they are larger, if the chicken breasts are smaller you can slice on a bias or from top to bottom.

 

Baked chicken tenders served with marinara sauce.

Helpful Tips for the Best Chicken Tenders

  • For the crispiest chicken tenders, stick with panko bread crumbs rather than standard fine bread crumbs.
  • I recommend cutting off the tough white tendon that’s attached at the top of the chicken tenders for a better chewing experience. I just use kitchen shears and cut off the upper portion, but you can remove the whole thing as done here.
  • Don’t skip the wire rack. It ensures the chicken doesn’t end up with a soggy bottom side and allows heat to more evenly circulate.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness in center of chicken. It should be 165 degrees, don’t cook over or they’ll start to dry.
  • If some are smaller you may want to check those first and remove early.
  • For better flavor don’t use the shelf stable powdered parmesan in this recipe, grate it fresh from a wedge.
  • If you want a little more richness, spray with olive oil cooking spray near the end of baking.

Baked chicken tenders shown on a white oval serving platter over a blue cloth on a marble surface with dipping sauces.

More Tasty Crispy Chicken Recipes to Make

Baked Chicken Tenders

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders! Made with strips of chicken tenders that are coated in a parmesan, herb and spice seasoned panko bread crumb finish. No deep frying yet they're still absolutely delicious!
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup (1.7 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken tenders (about 12 larger tenders, more is smaller)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • Move oven rack up one level from center and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray an large oven safe cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray and set over a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.
  • Pour flour into a small shallow dish.
  • Crack and whisk eggs in a second shallow dish.
  • In a third dish (such as a pie plate) toss together panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika and garlic powder. Drizzle with olive oil then toss well to evenly coat.
  • Season both sides of chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
  • Working with two at a time dip chicken tenders in flour on each side, gently shake excess off. Then transfer to eggs and coat both sides, let excess egg run off.
  • Transfer to panko mixture. Coat both sides in panko mixture while pressing so mixture adheres well (you can scoop mixture up over the chicken and press, you want lots of it to stick).
  • Transfer chicken tenders to prepared wire rack on baking sheet leaving some space between each piece. Repeat process to coat all chicken tenders.
  • Bake in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through (165 in center of largest pieces), about 15 to 20 minutes. If you find they are browning too much just tent with foil near the end.
  • Garnish with parsley if using and serve warm with desired dipping sauce (creamy honey mustard, marinara, ranch, pesto, bbq sauce, etc.).

Notes

  • To make these healthier try using whole wheat flour and whole wheat panko bread crumbs.
  • Nutrition estimate based on 1 1/2 Tbsp flour sticking to the chicken.
Nutrition Facts
Baked Chicken Tenders
Amount Per Serving
Calories 323 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 139mg46%
Sodium 418mg18%
Potassium 640mg18%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 539IU11%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 143mg14%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.