These crunchy baked chicken tenders are life changing! The secret to truly golden, truly crunchy baked breaded chicken is to toast the breadcrumbs in the oven first. Bonus: No dirty fingers with my quick crumbing technique!
There is no feel-good story behind these crunchy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders. Quite simply, I am yet to meet anything deep fried that I didn’t love, but a) my waistline can’t afford the real thing every time I feel like it; and b) I reserve deep frying for “special occasions”. Because… well, you know.
Mess, oil wastage, gluey fingers.
Waistline. Bottom expansion.
It also irritated me no end that the breadcrumbs always came out splotchy, no matter how much oil I used.
So this is how I make baked crumbed chicken.
BAKED BREADED CHICKEN – MY WAY
- Toast the breadcrumbs in the oven for just a few minutes. This is the path to truly golden, truly crunchy baked breaded chicken even with a short bake time (max 20 minutes for chicken tenders). PS Much MUCH easier than pan frying!
- One dredge batter – the usual process for crumbing is flour then egg then breadcrumbs. For this quick ‘n easy recipe, I combine the egg with flour plus mustard and mayo for flavour + oil (attempt to replicate deep fried) to make a thick batter in which the chicken is dredged. This stuff is great glue for the breadcrumbs!
- Clean fingers! Use tongs to transfer the batter slathered chicken into the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs to cover, press down to adhere. Transfer to tray. Marvel at clean fingers!
Give it a light spray of oil, bake for 15 minutes and voila! This is what you get:
LOOK HOW GOLDEN THEY ARE!! Just imagine that crunch when you bite into the juicy chicken inside!
It’s pictured below with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. Just like Maccers. Only homemade. 🙂 – Nagi x
More Baked Breaded Chicken recipes
For fellow fried-food-lovers who can’t afford the calories:
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Recipe video above. Beautifully golden, truly crunchy baked chicken tenders! The trick is to toast the breadcrumbs before coating the chicken. See recipe notes for pictured Honey Mustard Dipping sauce.
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Note 1)
- Oil spray
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard (or other mustard)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 500 g/1 lb chicken tenderloins (or breast cut into 2/3" / 1.5cm thick slices, lengthwise)
- Oil spray
Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
Spread panko on a baking tray, spray with oil (spray vertically to avoid blowing the panko off the tray), then bake for 3 to 5 minutes until light golden. Transfer to bowl.
Place a rack on a baking tray (not critical but bakes more evenly).
Place the Batter ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork until combined.
Add the chicken into the Batter and toss to coat.
Pick up chicken with tongs and place it into the panko bowl.
Sprinkle surface with breadcrumbs, then press down to adhere. Transfer onto baking tray. Marvel at clean fingers, repeat with remaining chicken.
Spray lightly with oil, sprinkle with a touch of salt (optional). Bake 15 minutes (medium) or up to 20 minutes if gigantic. Any longer = dried out chicken.
Remove from oven and serve immediately, with Sauce of choice (Honey Mustard pictured, see Note 2) and sprinkled with fresh parsley, if desired.
1. Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs which are larger than standard breadcrumbs. Nowadays they are available in all major supermarkets, usually in the Asian section, and cost just a fraction more than ordinary breadcrumbs.
It is well worth using because the breadcrumb pieces are bigger so they create a far better "crunch" than standard breadcrumbs.
2. HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE (pictured): Mix together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp honey, 1 - 2 tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.
RANCH SAUCE: Mix together 1/4 cup each mayonnaise (preferably whole egg) and sour cream, 2 tbsp milk, 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar, 1/4 tsp each dried parsley or dill, dried dill, dried fresh chives (Note a), garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt & black pepper
a) All the herbs can be substituted with fresh herbs, finely chopped. Double the quantity - i.e. use 1/2 tsp.
Don't worry if you don't have all the herbs. If you have at least 1, it will still taste similar to what it should taste like, just use more of the herbs you have (3/4 tsp dried herbs in total).
3. MAKE AHEAD: Best way is to toast breadcrumbs, then put chicken in batter, leave up to 2 days. Then crumb the chicken just before baking. It is ok crumbed up to 24 hours beforehand, store in the fridge. Freezing raw doesn't work.
Reheating: Best way is to blast in the oven for literally 3 - 5 minutes at 200C/390F until it is just warmed through inside.
4. Nutrition per serving, assuming this serves 3. Dip not included.
Originally published April 2015, updated with new photos, video, words in post. No change to recipe, though some minor writing tidying up has been done.
LIFE OF DOZER
That hopeful sparkle in his eyes…. (it was false hope) (Oh wait, I lied. I gave him a bite!)