These baked chicken tenders are the best chicken tenders recipe! They’re perfectly golden and crispy, and the chicken is deliciously juicy. Serve it with your favorite dipping sauce, like honey mustard or ranch, for the perfect snack or toddler-approved dinner.
Chicken Tenders Recipe
If you’re on the hunt for the best chicken tenders recipe, look no further! These baked chicken tenders are golden brown, crispy, and oh-so-juicy. They’re really the ultimate breaded chicken tenders recipe.
These are a family favorite for good reason. They have a crispy, golden exterior, thanks to the blend of Italian breadcrumbs and toasted panko, and a juicy, tender interior, courtesy of the flavorful batter with its secret ingredient—mayonnaise.
The simplified process of combining all batter ingredients in one step saves time and reduces mess. This recipe produces chicken tenders that even rival those found in restaurants, according to my little one. Trust me, your family will LOVE these delicious tenders!
I love dicing up the leftovers and using them in a quesadilla with my copycat Taco Bell quesadilla sauce for a quick and easy treat.
Chicken Tenderloins: Chicken tenderloins are the star of this recipe. They’re tender, juicy, and cook up quickly in the oven, making them perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
Egg: The egg helps the batter stick to the chicken and adds moisture to the coating.
Mayonnaise: This secret ingredient adds an extra layer of moisture and flavor, ensuring that your chicken stays juicy and tender.
Flour: Flour is used to create a thick and even coating on the chicken, ensuring maximum crispiness.
Spices and Herbs: Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper add a delightful flavor to the breading, making these chicken tenders extra tasty.
Add some heat to your chicken tenders by incorporating cayenne pepper or hot sauce into the batter. You can also experiment with different herbs and spices in the batter to create unique flavor profiles, such as rosemary, thyme, or even curry powder.
Italian Breadcrumbs and Panko: A combination of Italian breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs creates a crispy, golden brown coating that’s flavorful and crunchy. Try using crushed cornflakes or potato chips instead of breadcrumbs for a different crunchy coating.
Cooking Spray: A light coating of cooking spray helps the breadcrumbs brown and crisp up in the oven.
How To Make Chicken Tenders
Prepare: Preheat the oven and pat the chicken tenderloins dry with a paper towel. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Make the batter: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, and spices. Add the flour.
Coat the chicken in batter: Whisk the batter until it’s well combined. Add the chicken tenderloins to the bowl. Toss the tenderloins in the batter.
Prepare the panko: Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, then add the panko crumbs to the baking sheet.
Toast the panko: Spread the panko crumbs out on the baking sheet, spray from overhead with cooking oil, and toast in the preheated oven until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Make the breadcrumb mixture: Combine the panko bread crumbs with Italian breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
Coat the chicken: Press the battered chicken into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides.
Arrange on a baking sheet: Place the breaded chicken tenders on a greased baking sheet with enough space between each piece.
Bake until golden brown: Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the chicken tenders until they are cooked through and have a beautiful golden-brown color. Flip the tenders halfway through the cooking process. They’re done when they reach an internal temperature of 165F on a meat thermometer. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
- Pat the chicken tenders dry with a paper towel before breading to help the coating stick better.
- Use one hand for dipping the chicken in the wet ingredients and the other for the dry ingredients to avoid getting both hands messy.
- To ensure even cooking, arrange the chicken tenders on the baking sheet with space between each piece.
Why Is It Called A Chicken Tender?
Chicken tenders are named after the tenderloin, a small, tender muscle located along the innermost part of the chicken breast. The tenderloin is naturally more tender than the rest of the breast, making it perfect for a quick and delicious meal like this one.
Are Chicken Tenders Just Cut Up Chicken Breasts?
While chicken tenders can be made by cutting up chicken breasts, the true chicken tender is the tenderloin. This recipe specifically calls for chicken tenderloins to ensure the juiciest, most tender result possible. If you can’t find chicken tenderloins at your local grocery store, you can cut up chicken breasts into strips as a substitute.
What Is The Difference Between Chicken Tenders And Chicken Strips?
Chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin, while chicken strips can be made from the chicken breast. Chicken strips may be slightly larger and less tender than chicken tenders, but they can still be used in this recipe if you prefer.
How Do You Make Crispy Chicken Tenders?
The key to making crispy chicken tenders in the oven is the combination of breadcrumbs and a light coating of cooking spray. The Italian breadcrumbs and panko create a textured, crispy coating, while the cooking spray helps the tenders become golden brown and crunchy.
Air Fryer Instructions
I recommend using our air fryer chicken tenders recipe. You can also adapt this recipe for the air fryer though.
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F and cook the tenders for about 10 minutes (more or less depending on the size of the tenders), flipping halfway through. They’re done when they reach an internal temperature of 165F on a meat thermometer. You’ll need to cook them in rounds to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket.
Can I Make These In Advance?
Yes, you can prepare the breaded chicken tenders up to a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Can I Freeze Them?
Yes, you can freeze breaded chicken tenders before baking. Lay them flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and store for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
Leftovers And Storage
Cooked chicken tenders should stay good for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat them, I like to use the air fryer. Five minutes on the reheat setting is perfect for keeping them juicy and crispy.
What To Serve With Chicken Tenders
I love serving this with simple and tasty side dishes. I normally like to pick a starch and a vegetable. Some of my favorites are this easy seasoned rice, the best microwave baked potato, quick buttered frozen peas, and glazed baby carrots.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our dinner recipes! Some reader favorites are:
- Air Fried Chicken Tenderloin
- Garlic Butter Chicken Tenderloins (Pan Fried)
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Bisquick Chicken Fingers
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups panko
- 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Dry the chicken using a paper towel, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper together. Add in the flour, and mix again until fully blended. Add the chicken tenders to the batter and toss to fully coat them in the batter. Set the bowl aside while you prepare the crispy coating.
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, then evenly spread the panko crumbs on the baking sheet, then again spray the top of the panko crumbs evenly from overhead (don’t spray from the side to avoid blowing the panko off the sheet). This step will give the crumbs a nice toasted look and a super tasty crunch. Bake the panko in the preheated oven until golden brown (about 5 minutes), then remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes (until they’re cool enough to handle to transfer to a shallow dish).
- Add the cooled panko crumbs and the Italian breadcrumbs to a shallow dish and mix together.
- Spray the same baking sheet again with cooking spray. Place the battered chicken tenders in the bread crumbs, then use a spoon to sprinkle the crumbs on top, then use the back of the spoon to press down so the crumbs adhere to both sides. Transfer the coated tenders to the baking sheet, and repeat until all the tenders are coated.
- Evenly spray the tops of the breaded chicken tenders on the baking sheet with the cooking oil. Place the tenders into the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the chicken reads 165F internally on an instant-read meat thermometer (the time will be determined by the thickness of the chicken tenders).
- Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and serve with desired dipping sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 7.6gCarbohydrates: 12.7gFiber: 0.7gSugar: 1gProtein: 29.2g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
As a busy mom, I know how important it is to find quick, easy, and delicious recipes to feed your family. That’s why I am so excited to share my ultimate breaded chicken tenders recipe with you!