These Easy Baked Chicken Tenders are packed with all of the familiar flavors you love, but made lighter! They have a perfectly crisp breading that coats tender white meat chicken for a classic comfort food you can feel good about.
Classic Chicken Tenders with a Healthy Twist!
To say I love chicken tenders might be an understatement! And as a self proclaimed chicken tender connoisseur, there are a few things that make some chicken tenders better than the rest:
- Perfectly TENDER chicken inside – Tough = gross.
- Perfectly crispy outside– The right amount of breading so nothing is soggy.
- Flavorful breading– NO bland breaded chicken tenders
These baked chicken tenders check all the boxes and are far more healthy than the traditional kind since they are made in the oven instead of fried.
What to Serve with Chicken Tenders
Since chicken tenders are a classic American staple, they go well with all of your comfort food favorites! Choose one, or bulk up the meal with a few of these options.
Classic Side dishes
Healthy Side Dishes
- Honey Mustard
- Barbecue Sauce
Tips and Insider Secrets for PERFECT Baked Chicken Tenders
Baked chicken tenders are really simple to make. I am going to walk you through a few of my best tips and tricks for getting them absolutely perfect and avoiding some common pitfalls.
How to Keep the Chicken Tender
Believe it or not, there is a science to keeping your chicken tenders tender! There are several ways to tenderize chicken, but since we are making this recipe EXTRA easy, only a couple work especially well.
- Cook your chicken close to room temperature. Never cook directly from frozen. If you have frozen chicken, allow it to thaw before using. When you take chicken from the fridge, it will usually be the perfect temperature by the time you do the breading and prep it to go into the oven. Those few minutes the chicken is at room temp allows it to cook more evenly in the oven.
Note: Do not leave chicken out at room temperature too long. Make sure to use food safety guidelines for thawing your chicken.
- Don’t overcook your chicken. This is a biggie! Chicken tenderloins are smaller and more thin than most cuts of chicken, so they will cook quickly. See my section below on how long to bake chicken tenders for more details on cooking.
Make Sure the Breading Sticks!
A common problem people encounter with baked chicken is that the breading doesn’t really stick to the chicken and will fall off while transferring or eating the chicken tenders.
This recipe calls for a 3 step process in breading the chicken.
- Dredge in flour
- Wet with eggs
- Cover with bread crumbs
The process of first coating in flour then eggs, and finally bread crumbs, helps to create a breading that binds to the chicken better. Make sure not to skip the first step with the flour.
It’s all about the FLAVOR!
The most important part of this recipe is that it tastes AMAZING! These chicken tenders are created to have a more classic flavor. The combination of spices in the bread crumb mixture takes the breading from bland to flavorful.
You can play with the spices and change them up to make other flavor combinations if you like. Try using Italian spices, mexican spices, or even, Indian flavors to change it up!
How Long to Bake Chicken Tenders in the Oven
Chicken tenders are a fairly small and thin cut of meat, which means that they generally cook more quickly than other cuts of chicken.
The bottom line is chicken is considered cooked and safe to eat at 165˚F. The longer it cooks over the point where it reaches that temperature, the more tough the meat will become.
My recipe gives you the guideline of 10-12 minutes of cooking time, but that can vary based on altitude, and climate, as well as, the size, power source, and cooking elements of your oven.
The best thing to do is to use a cooking thermometer, but if you don’t have one, make sure and check the chicken often so that the result isn’t over-cooked.
Can I meal prep or freeze this recipe?
Almost all of my recipes save or freeze well, but unfortunately this one does not. I recommend only making as much as you plan to eat that day.
If you want to prep to make this dinner faster, you can premix the crumb mixture so that the assembly is super quick!
More Easy Dinners to Try
If you enjoy these Easy Baked Chicken Tenders, you may want to bookmark these for another day!
Hungry for more family-friendly recipes? Sign up for my free recipe club to get new family-friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing daily meal-time inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
- 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
- 1/4 cup flour all purpose
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs (scrambled, raw)
- Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and pepper together in a shallow dish and set aside. Place the flour and eggs each in their own shallow dish.
- Dredge each chicken tenderloin in flour to coat, then place it in the egg mixture to wet the flour, and finally, coat it in the bread crumb mixture on all sides. Place each chicken tender on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Once all tenders are coated, discard any extra flour, eggs, or breadcrumbs.
- Bake at 400 on the lower oven rack for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp.)
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately or place chicken tenders on a wire cooling rack until you are ready to serve.
- This recipe will make about 12 chicken tenders.
- If you don’t have chicken tenderloins you can cut chicken breast into thin strips to get a similar result.
- This meal doesn’t save well as leftovers, so I recommend only making enough for what you plan to eat immediately.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)