Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders
These Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders prompted a life goal I didn’t even realize I had.
Never, under any circumstances, shall I consider myself too old or too serious for chicken fingers (even if I use the word “shall” like it’s totally normal).
Chicken tenders and I are old pals. As a kid, they were both my drive-through meal of choice and an item I rejoiced to see my mom pull out of our freezer at dinnertime. I still feel a ping of nostalgic any time I pass them in the grocery store.
As an adult, I’ve admittedly lost my taste for the freezer variety and don’t often stop for fast food, but that does not, under any circumstances, mean I want to cut chicken tenders out of my life. Juicy meat, surrounded by panko crust, cooked until golden and crispy? I loved you then and I still love you now. The difference is that instead of buying my chicken fingers, I make my own. They’re quick, healthy, and provide me everything I enjoy (juicy, tender interior; crispy exterior; general deliciousness), minus the ones I don’t (additives, high sodium, a deep-fried-fast-food hangover).
Today’s Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders are a new twist on my more classic Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders. I swapped the honey-mustard combo for an Asian-inspired soy, ginger, and garlic marinade. I also added a healthy amount of sriracha to give the chicken tenders a kick. I enjoyed the extra pop of spice it added, but if you or your family members are sensitive to spicy food, I’d suggest scaling it back by a teaspoon or two.
These Asian Chicken Tenders work well as a meal on their own with some steamed or stir-fried veggies, but I might love them even more in this copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad. You can even make a double batch of chicken tenders, enjoy half tonight for dinner, and then use second half for tomorrow’s salad. Meal prep win!
Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins — or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips (about 16 strips total)
- 1/4 cup milk — or buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic — minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha — chili paste (sambal oelek), or hot sauce of choice
- 2 cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs — if you can’t find whole wheat, swap regular panko
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Chopped green onions — optional for serving
Place a large ziptop bag inside of a baking dish so that it is upright with the opening at the top. Add the chicken strips. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the milk, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and hot sauce until combined. Carefully pour the liquid into the bag, then seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Turn the bag so that the chicken is well coated, then let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or place in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then place an ovenproof wire rack on top of it. Coat the rack with nonstick spray.
Place the panko in a large, shallow dish (a 9×13-inch pan works well). Drizzle the oil over the top, then toss to moisten.
Arrange the ingredients in a line from left to right as follows: marinated chicken, panko breadcrumbs, baking sheet. Working with a few pieces of chicken at a time, with your left hand, remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess (this is the “wet” hand). Place the chicken in the dish with the panko. With your right hand (the “dry” hand), pat the chicken on all sides with the breadcrumbs, pressing them on lightly so that the chicken is well coated. Still with your dry hand, place the chicken on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between each tender. Repeat for remaining tenders.
Bake the chicken until golden brown and the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F. The time may be longer if your chicken pieces are larger and shorter if they are thinner.
- This recipe is best enjoyed the day it is made, though you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rewarm in a skillet lightly coated with oil or enjoy at room temperature over a salad.
- Nutritional information has been calculated without the marinade, as most of this is shaken off prior to baking. If you prefer to calculate it WITH the marinade, you can do so for free at myfitnesspal.com.
- TIP: Make a double batch and use the leftovers to make this copycat Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4)) — Calories: 405, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 173mg, Carbohydrates: 36g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 44g
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