I’d like to see an online quiz that reveals what our preferred dipping sauce for baked chicken tenders says about us. Do you keep it classic with ketchup? Go bold with mustard? Stay simple and enjoy chicken strips unadorned, in their crunchy, juicy glory? Today’s recipe for baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders combines my two favorites, honey and mustard, to create a healthy, easy dinner that’s fit for kids and grown-ups alike.
In grade school, whenever my mom let my sisters and me pick where we stopped for lunch, McDonald’s was the default choice.
I always ordered the chicken McNuggets with honey for dipping, a habit that, in retrospect, I’m surprised my mother endorsed. She would have had no issue with the chicken nuggets—it’s the prospect of an open container of honey on the loose in the back seat that baffles me.
Maybe I was neater than I remember. Or maybe the few minutes of silence the chicken strips and honey bought her were worth risking a sticky seatbelt.
These days, I’ve moved on from honey to mustard as my baked chicken tender dip of choice. (Does that mean I’m less sweet than I used to be? Mom, don’t answer that.)
I’m also much more apt to make my own homemade chicken tenders versus pulling through a drive-through.
Making your own baked chicken tenders from scratch is fairly quick and easy. (Plus, thanks to the air fryer, you can make crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with barely any oil and grease!)
Unlike heavy drive-through fare, homemade chicken tenders are healthy and something you can feel good enjoying on a regular basis (especially these Grilled Chicken Tenders).
About These Homemade Chicken Tenders
Today’s baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders combines my chicken finger favorites of then and now: honey and mustard. I used both to make an easy buttermilk honey mustard chicken marinade, then breaded the chicken in whole wheat Panko bread crumbs.
The marinade locks in the honey mustard chicken’s moisture and gives it a lightly sweet, zippy flavor, and the crunchy Panko bakes into a crispy, golden crust.
To make sure every spec of the honey mustard chicken’s surface area was properly coated with Panko, I first dipped the chicken strips in egg whites. You can separate the eggs yourself, or use liquid egg whites.
Although these baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders would be fantastic dipped in just about anything, I decided to take the honey mustard factor one step further by making a quick Greek yogurt honey mustard dipping sauce. It took about 10 seconds to stir together and was well worth the effort.
The yogurt dip’s cool, creamy contrast with the crispy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders makes for one happy meal!
More Homemade Versions of Childhood Favorites
- Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders
- Mozzarella Sticks
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Tater Tots
- English Muffin Pizza
- Baked Fried Chicken
What Should I Serve with Chicken Tenders?
- Salad. This Anytime Arugula Salad would be a tasty, fresh side dish.
- Vegetables. Roasted Frozen Broccoli is a healthy side for these tenders.
- Fries. For a crowd-pleasing side, serve your tenders with Crispy Baked Fries.
Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders
For the Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders:
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika divided
- 1 teaspoon onion powder divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder divided
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk*
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips (about 12 strips total)
- 2 cups whole wheat Panko bread crumbs if you can't find whole wheat, swap regular Panko*
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten or 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the Creamy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey plus 1 teaspoon, plus additional to taste
- Pinch salt
- For the Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders: In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and honey and whisk until well combined. Add the chicken tenders, toss to coat, then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Do not allow to sit longer, or the chicken will become too salty.)
- In a large, shallow dish (a 9x13-inch pan works well), combine the Panko breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Drizzle the oil over the top, then toss to moisten.
- In a second shallow dish, whisk together the egg whites and mustard.
- 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 cooking spray.
- Arrange the bowls in a line from left to right as follows: egg white dish; 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). Still with your left hand, dip the chicken into egg mixture, turning to coat all sides, then place in breadcrumb mixture. 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. Repeat for remaining tenders.
- Bake the chicken until golden brown and the juices run clear, 15-20 minutes.
- While the chicken bakes, stir the dip ingredients together in a small bowl: Greek yogurt, Dijon, honey, and salt. Taste and add additional honey as desired. Serve chicken hot or at room temperature with the dip.
- No buttermilk? Stir 1 cup regular milk (1% or 2% is preferable) together with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and let sit 5 minutes. Stir once more then use in the recipe as directed.
- You can also use regular, unseasoned breadcrumbs in place of Panko, but the chicken tenders will not be as crispy.
- Nutritional information for this recipe is a rough estimate, because much of the marinade is discarded. Use this information as a guide only. You can also calculate it yourself and tweak ingredient amounts at myfitnesspal.com
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