Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders will blow your mind and taste buds. We are talking about super crispy chicken tenders with addictive Parmesan coating to it and they are BAKED!
It tastes just like fried chicken but only baked! Now that’s great news isn’t it, your guilt wont kick in and your waist lines are going to be happy.
You guys, you need this in your life! Perfectly golden brown outer crust, succulent on the inside! A healthy alternative to fried chicken. And we are keeping the flavors of these baked Parmesan chicken tenders just right. No questions asked when you go for seconds and thirds, trust you will!
Word of caution – these are super ADDICTIVE! You won’t just get enough of these truly crispy oven baked chicken tenders. The Parmesan Panko bread crumb coating gives that super crispy outer crusts and when it comes to crispy chicken recipe, the outer crispy crust makes it the BEST!
Confession – I can eat all the crust and just the crust. And I’m satisfied. Yes those the best thing in the world, crispy Parmesan crust! And I don’t feel ashamed to stuff my face with this baked chicken appetizer, because this is not going to mess with my waist line.
Serve is just as it is in dip-able finger food with a killer marinara sauce or for your quick and easy weeknight dinner alongside salads, pasta or rice.
My family is crazy about fried food. And when they start discussing about their favorite fast food joint to line up for fried chicken, the mom (read health freak) in me most time want to disapprove their idea, I believe in home cooked meal and you will rarely see fried food on my menu.
Though I let them go ahead and enjoy their favorite fast food, there are many days I tell will make at home. And in mind I secretly plan to bake (no deep frying). Parmesan crusted chicken does not disappoint.
Family is happy with the crunchy chicken and me – happy I did not dunk those chicken strips in oil.
Family doesn’t mind baked crispy as long as it’s perfectly golden brown super crunchy crust, just like they’ve been deep fried. I succeed in getting them to like baked chicken as much as deep fried chicken. They don’t fuss at all.
Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders
So how do you achieve perfectly golden brown super crunchy crust in oven?
Panko bread crumbs with finely grated Parmesan cheese is the solution.
We use chicken breasts cut into long strips, it cooks faster, but beware of overcooked rubbery chicken. Read on the tips below to know how to cook crunchy perfectly cooked chicken in oven.
Pro Tip – I came across this tip from recipetineats spread panko bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast for 3-4 minutes in the oven to get golden brown crumbs. This will give you a perfect golden brown crust on the chicken, that is evenly browned all over the chicken. No more chicken tenders with browned bits her-and-there.
What Is Panko?
It’s a dry, crunchy Japanese bread crumbs that’s perfect for coating for chicken. Panko bread crumbs coating results in perfectly crispy crust. So if you are baking and you are after perfect golden brown crust Panko is what you should use.
We usually bread the chicken pieces as coating before baking or deep frying. This oven baked chicken recipe calls for Parmesan crusted chicken with panko. Because baked Parmesan crusted chicken are the best crispy chicken you can get out of the oven.
A simple reason why use panko -> Panko stays much crispier than normal bread crumbs.
Can I Use Any Other Cheese?
Yes ofcourse you can use other cheese. I encourage you use Parmesan. The dry texture, the taste of Parmesan cheese works best for coating the chicken.
Other cheese that you can use-
Freshly grated extra sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
The texture and taste of other cheese go well for crusting the chicken pieces or breasts!
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
How Long To Bake Chicken Tenders?
To get irresistible crunchy baked chicken that has beautiful brown outer crust and succulent, juicy inside, the right temperature and time is important to know.
Follow these guidelines to a perfectly baked chicken.
- Baking temperature is 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes turning it once half way to ensure golden crunchy crust on both sides on the chicken. This is USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) approved guidelines to how to bake chicken in oven.
- Pro Tip – Because ovens have slight heat differences and chicken pieces may be larger or smaller, it’s important to-
- Keep an eye on your chicken to make sure it’s baked to perfection (no raw pink meat inside, no over cooking chicken to rubbery textures!)
- You see, I hate cutting the meat in between the bake just to check if it’s cooked to perfection. I hate it more to serve under-cooked, raw chicken. When the promise is to serve chicken fingers, I serve chicken fingers and not small cut pieces of chicken.
How To Tell Chicken Tenders Are Baked To Perfection?
No thermometer check – Using a fork press the thickest part of the meat and slightly twist. If clear juice runs and your color of the meat is no more pink chicken fingers are cooked to perfection. Also you should notice the size of the chicken tenders shrink in size after baking. This indicates the inside of the chicken in cooked.
With meat thermometer – use thermometer to check you’ve achieved 165 F by inserting it into the thickest part of the breast/strips. Close to wont work in this case, we want it to be exactly 165 F. In case of close to, make sure to put chicken back into the oven until it reaches the threshold.
Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken Recipe:
Chicken tenderloins (or chicken breast cut into thin strips/fingers)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (for spraying)
For coating –
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper
Cut – You can use chicken tenderloins , but I’m all game for budget friendly food, chicken breasts cut into strips made up for it.
Mix – Mix all the wet and dry coating ingredients in separate bowls or shallow plate.
Dip – Dip chicken strips in batter, left with right hand and place it in bread crumbs, use your left hand while working with dry coating. Sprinkle enough bread crumb coating on both sides and press tightly to ensure chicken is coated well. Lift and place on wired messed lined above a sheet pan.
Bake – Preheat oven to 350 F, bake for 18 to 20 minutes turning it once mid way during the bake time.
Serve – serve as a dip-able finger food along with dipping sauce like marinara sauce, ranch, or honey mustard dip. It’s great to be served along with Caesar’s salad or any salad), pasta or rice for your quick weeknight dinner.
MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE TO TRY –
More Oven Baked Recipes you should try-
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Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders
- 2 large chicken breast cut into thin strips/fingers
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for spraying
For coating –
- 2/3 cup Panko crumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 ½ tablespoon flour
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or fresh minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Toast panko bread crumbs in oven for 4 minutes by spreading it on a lightly greased baking tray. Once the crumbs begin to turn golden brown remove it and let it cool completely.
- Scrape toasted panko into a large bowl or wide bowl. Mix grated Parmesan and little flour to it. Mix well.
- Into another wide bowl break an egg, add mayo, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix into lump free coating.
- Make a butterfly cut on chicken breasts but separating into two pieces. Cut thin strips or fingers out of each piece.
- Dip chicken strips in batter, left with right hand and place it in bread crumbs, use your left hand while working with dry coating. Sprinkle enough bread crumb coating on both sides and press tightly to ensure chicken is coated well. Lift and place on wired messed lined above a sheet pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 F, bake for 18 to 20 minutes turning it once mid way during the bake time.
- Serve as a dip-able finger food along with dipping sauce like marinara sauce, ranch, or honey mustard dip. It’s great to be served along with creaser’s salad or any salad), pasta or rice for your quick weeknight dinner.
- Every oven have slight heat differences and chicken pieces used may be larger or smaller, it’s important to- Keep an eye on your chicken to make sure it’s baked to perfection (no raw pink meat inside, no over cooking chicken to rubbery textures!)
- Regular breadcrumbs will not give you crispier golden outer. Use only panko bread crumbs. Roasting panko breadcrumbs in oven before crusting it over chicken pieces helps with even browning all over the chicken - an useful tip I learnt from recipetineats.
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is best. If you want to substitute Parmesan cheese - use either freshly grated extra sharp yellow Cheddar cheese or Asiago cheese.