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This homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe is crispy, juicy, and super flavorful, leaving fast food chicken tenders in the dust! Best of all, you don’t even need to fry them—just pop them in the oven for an easy weeknight dinner.

a plate of breaded chicken tenders

Why You’ll Love This Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • Best Chicken Tenders Ever. This recipe starts with a sweet and tangy buttermilk honey marinade, along with mustard beaten into the egg for dredging. The marinade locks in the moisture and gives the chicken tenders a lightly sweet, zippy flavor, while the crunchy Panko bakes into a crispy, golden crust. It’s like a down-sized version of my Baked Fried Chicken!
  • Family Friendly Dinner. Kids LOVE this chicken tenders recipe (my 4 nieces can attest, they eat them every week), but it’s wholesome and elevated enough to be enjoyed by adults.
  • Nostalgic. When I was a kid, my default fast food order was chicken tenders with honey for dipping. Now that I’m a respectable adult, I make this chicken tenders recipe at home—and instead of straight-up honey, I whip up a creamy honey mustard dipping sauce. The result is creamy, tangy, and juuuust sweet enough to make things interesting.
  • A Healthier Option. Unlike heavy drive-through fare, homemade chicken tenders are healthy and something you can feel good enjoying on a regular basis (like these Grilled Chicken Tenders and Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!).
  • Freezer-Friendly. Make a big batch in bulk, then pop them into the oven straight from frozen. Who needs the kind in the box?!
oven fried chicken tenders recipe

5 Star Review

“I made these for probably the 10th time last night. Family favorite.”

— Elizabeth —

How to Make Chicken Tenders

The Ingredients

For the Chicken Tenders:

  • Smoked Paprika. Smoked paprika is one of those magical ingredients that belongs in every kitchen pantry. You can use regular sweet paprika, but it doesn’t have that nice, smoky flavor.
  • Onion Powder and Garlic Powder. The classics help season these tenders!
  • Honey. Use a runny honey—an everyday kind of honey, not the fancy spreadable stuff.
  • Low-Fat Buttermilk. For the marinade of our dreams.
  • Chicken Tenderloins or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. If you use chicken breasts, cut them into 3/4-inch strips.
  • Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs. Regular Panko is fine too if you can’t find whole wheat.
  • Egg Whites. Or simply use one large egg.
  • Dijon Mustard. Whisked together with the eggs for the dredging.

For the Creamy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

  • Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt. Gives us that tang!
  • Dijon Mustard and Honey. Making sauce is creamy, tangy, and perfectly sweet.

Substitution Tip

No buttermilk? Whisk 1 cup of dairy milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit 5 minutes to thicken and curdle.

The Directions

dredging chicken for chicken tenders recipe
  1. Marinade. The chicken tenders should sit in the buttermilk marinade for 30 minutes.
breading for oven baked chicken tenders recipe
  1. Make the Breading. Do this in a wide, shallow dish.
dredging easy chicken tenders recipe
  1. Make the Wet “Dip”. This will help the breadcrumbs stick.
how to make chicken tenders recipe
  1. Get Ready for Dredging. This process is easier if everything is in a line.
breading oven baked chicken tenders recipe
  1. Dredge. Dip each chicken tender into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs, then place the chicken tender on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
baked chicken tenders recipe on a baking sheet
  1. Bake. 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken tenders golden brown and the juices run clear.
sauce for crispy chicken tenders recipe
  1. Make the Dipping Sauce. Serve the baked chicken tenders with the sauce and ENJOY!

Dietary Note

Unlike a lot of other tender recipes, there’s no all-purpose flour in these baked chicken tenders, so making it gluten-free is easy! Just swap the Panko breadcrumbs for gluten-free Panko.

Seasoning Ideas

  • Cajun Baked Chicken Tenders. Skip the smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder and use Cajun seasoning instead. You’ll also want to skip the mustard in the egg whites.
  • Herbed Chicken Tenders. Use Italian-style panko breadcrumbs, or add Italian seasoning to the breadcrumb mixture instead of paprika. You can also add Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs if you’d like. (Skip the mustard in the egg whites here, too.)
  • Spicy Chicken Tenders. Instead of mustard, whisk your favorite hot sauce into the egg white mixture, then add cayenne pepper to the breading. Pair your fiery chicken tenders with cool ranch dressing.
  • Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders. Perfect for pairing with sweet-and-sour sauce!
a plate of the best chicken tenders recipe

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate baked chicken tenders in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the air fryer. In a pinch, you can use the microwave, but the exterior won’t be as crispy.
  • To Freeze. Arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze just until solid, then transfer the frozen tenders to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen.

Leftover Ideas

Give your work lunch salad a protein boost by adding leftover baked chicken tenders! They’re great with Spinach Strawberry Salad and Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad. Or, add them to Cobb Salad or Chicken Caesar Wrap for a fun variation.

crispy chicken tenders recipe

What to Serve With This Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • Tongs. While you can use your hands (or a single hand, as described below) for this chicken tenders recipe, tongs will keep your fingers from getting coated in panko.
  • Stainless Steel Breading Set. This ingenious little set has connected shallow dishes to minimize the mess when you’re breading chicken and veggies.
  • Wire Baking Rack. The grid pattern on this one keeps the chicken tenders from slipping through the slats.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Skip that Wire Rack. For crispy chicken tenders in the oven, a wire rack is key. Like an air fryer basket, it allows the hot air to circulate all around the tenders so the bottoms don’t steam and get soggy.
  • Get the Coating to Stick. First, shake off the excess marinade; let the excess egg drip off too, then press the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture. If your fingers start to get gunky (yes, that’s a technical term), wipe them off—I’ve found that breadcrumbs from the chicken are more likely to come off on my fingers if I already have a layer of breadcrumbs and egg on them. Finally, be sure to thoroughly coat the wire rack with cooking spray to keep the breadcrumbs from sticking to the rack and pulling off when the chicken is done baking.
  • Know When They’re Done. For best results, chicken tenders should be cooked for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the pieces, but a good way to check if the tenders are cooked is to pierce them with a fork or knife—if the juices run clear, then they’re ready. 
  • Avoid Over-Cooking. It’s also important not to overcook your chicken—check for doneness after 15 minutes or check the internal temperature of the chicken and remove it from the oven when it reaches 165 degrees F.
a plate of chicken tenders recipe dipped in sauce

Chicken Tenders Recipe

4.46 from 11 votes
Crispy, juicy and oh-so-flavorful, this homemade baked chicken tenders recipe leaves fast food versions in the dust. A true family favorite!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 55 minutes

Servings: 12 chicken tenders

Ingredients
  

For the Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders:

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

Instructions
 

  • 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 9×13-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 350ºF. 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate baked chicken tenders in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the air fryer. In a pinch, you can use the microwave, but the exterior won’t be as crispy.
  • TO FREEZE: Arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze just until solid, then transfer the frozen tenders to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen.

Nutrition

Serving: 3chicken strips with 3 tablespoons sauceCalories: 412kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 46gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 107mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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4.46 from 11 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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34 Comments

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  1. Hi! I just wanted to thanks for your blog. I read quite a few food blogs, & you consistently have the most recipes that appeal to me. :)

  2. I definitely agree with Jill – your recipes always look so good and are surprisingly simple to make. I love having a picture to go with so that I know I’m on the right track. My computer has no printing capabilities so I just copy longhand whatever sounds like a winner…so far, I’ve made some solid choices! Thanks for all the work you put in to make this a really enjoyable site.

    1. Chris, I am BLUSHING. Thank you so, SO much!!! I am so grateful to you for reading my blog and making my recipes. It’s my absolute favorite part of blogging.

  3. I just made these and very good! Stayed crispy :). Whole family approved too, which is always nice. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Thank YOU for trying the recipe and taking time to come back by and leave this lovely review Elizabeth. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!

    1. Hi Kerry, I’ve never frozen this recipe and I hesitate to recommend it because I worry that the breading might get soggy. But if you do try it out, make sure to reheat them directly from frozen.

  4. I made this exactly as directed and it turned out perfectly! It was quite easy and was enjoyed by adults as well as a 7 and 3 year old.5 stars

  5. Hi Jess! The nutritional information is not always completely accurate and can vary depending on ingredients and brands of ingredients used. When in doubt I would double check with a free source like myfitnesspal.com, which it looks like you did. Thanks!!

  6. The chicken was tender but not much flavor. I think the egg wash took a lot of the flavor out of it. Next time I would use less salt and skip the egg wash, or season the chicken directly after taking out of the marinade.

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Elizabeth. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  7. I haven’t tried this yet -plan to cause it looks delicious – but often when recipes have buttermilk, i sub plain yogurt diluted with a bit of milk (any milk), and find it works just as well. Just found this site and it’s chock full of recipes I want to try, thank you!

  8. I was craving chicken fingers and wanted something less fattening than typical deep fried ones. These were PERFECT. I didn’t cook them on the rack but they turned out just fine on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. They were so easy to make. Thank you Erin!5 stars

  9. Making this for the 2nd time after the first being such a hit with the kids. Serving it with greek lemon potatoes and green beans. Honey mustard dipping sauce is awesome, just added an extra honey and mustard than what it calls for. Delish!5 stars

  10. Well, I have to say I’m very surprised! I have been looking for an oven baked crispy chicken tender for the longest time. Nothing ever worked and nothing ever had any crisp to it. This was perfect! Much easier than making my homemade chicken tenders that are drenched in oil. Glad I found it, thank you!5 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the recipe, Donna. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!