Homemade Chicken Tenders are an easy recipe for homemade baked chicken tenders with a crunch panko breading. This easy chicken tender recipe bakes up crispy and delights the entire family in less than 30 minutes!
Homemade Chicken Tenders
My mom made homemade chicken tenders quite frequently for my family while we were growing up. And they were a family favorite–one of the few meals that pleased all four of her picky kids.
Fast forward 30 some years, and I am making Chicken Tenders for my own two picky kids–and they, like their mom, love this simple meal.
However, I do have a secret that makes my chicken tenders so much better than my mom’s version: Panko bread crumbs.
Panko bread crumbs are a variety of bread crumbs that are typically used in Japanese cooking and they are known to be super light and crisp up beautifully when baked or fried.
Panko gives chicken strips a crunchy coating that is reminiscent of a deep-fried restaurant chicken tender, just these happen to be oven-baked (so much healthier and in my book tastier without all that grease!)
How To Make Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders
Not only is using panko for my breading for these homemade chicken tenders a very important tip to creating crispy baked chicken strips, but I have a few other tips that are sure to make THE BEST HOMEMADE CHICKEN TENDERS ever!
Steps One: Prepare Your Breading Station
I use a 3 step breading process and this is another key to crispy oven baked chicken tenders.
Shallow pie pans work best for the breading station and I fill the 3 pans with the following:
- Flour Seasoned with Homemade Seasoned Salt
- Eggs Seasoned with Homemade Seasoned Salt
- Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
The flour helps the egg wash stick to the chicken strips and the egg wash helps the panko stick to the chicken, so each of these 3 steps is crucial for Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders.
It is also important to season both the flour and the egg wash as this will help you have very flavorful chicken strips.
Step Two: Prepare your Chicken Strips
You have two choices when it comes to selecting chicken for breaded chicken strips.
- Purchase Chicken Tenders
- Cut Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts into 1 inch thick strips lengthwise–which typically will save your money in the long run.
Regardless of which chicken you decide to use, be sure to cut off any fat or tendons–that is not pleasant to bite into!
Step Three: Bread your Chicken Strips
For breaded chicken strips, follow the following steps:
- Place the chicken strips in flour mixture and coat. Shake off any excess flour.
- Place the floured chicken strip into the egg wash and coat both sides. Shake off excess egg wash.
- Place chicken into panko bread crumbs and coat evenly, using your hands to help breadcrumbs to adhere to chicken strip.
Step Four: Bake Your Chicken Strips
Once your chicken is breaded place on prepared baking sheet and bake until browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
How to Bake Chicken Strips so they are Crunchy
If you want your oven-baked chicken strips to be incredibly crunchy, on all sides, it all comes down to HOW you bake your chicken tenders.
- Place a rimmed baking sheet lined with an oven-safe cooling rack.
- Lightly grease the cooling rack.
- Place breaded chicken strips on a cooling rack.
- Bake at high temperature.
By placing the breaded chicken tenders on a cooling rack to bake, air circulates evenly around the chicken, allowing the breading to get crispy on all sides without flipping.
What is the best way to serve these Chicken Tenders?
My kids prefer homemade chicken tenders with ketchup. I prefer mine with Sweet Chili Sauce. My husband prefers his chicken strips with Homemade Ranch or BBQ.
Whether you want to serve these chicken tenders with a dip, cut up on a salad, or even on a bun for a crispy chicken sandwich, I guarantee your family is going to love Homemade Chicken Tenders!
How to Freeze Homemade Chicken Tenders
If you happen to have leftover chicken strips, you can freeze them in a freezer bag for future use.
To freeze chicken strips
- Place cooled chicken strips on an oven sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
- Place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- Transfer to a freezer-safe bag.
To reheat chicken strips
- Remove chicken strips from freezer.
- Place on a baking rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until warmed through.
More Kid-Friendly Meals
- Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper
- 6 Pita Bread Pizza Recipes
- Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
- Baked Ravioli Lasagna
Homemade Chicken Tenders
- 1 pound chicken tenders
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt divided
- 2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place an oven safe cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- Place flour and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt in one shallow dish and mix well.
- Whisk eggs and water together with the remaining teaspoon of salt in a second shallow dish.
- Place panko bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.
- Dip chicken into flour, tossing to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into the egg wash, and then finally into panko breadcrumbs, using your hands to help panko coat chicken strips.
- Place breaded chicken tenders on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- It is much cheaper to purchase boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of and cut into 1 inch strips then to purchase chicken tenders.
- Be sure to clean off all fat and tendons from chicken strips.
- I use whole wheat panko for the breading on these chicken tenders, but you can certainly use regular panko.
- I don't recommend regular bread crumbs for the breading on chicken tenders, as they will not yield a crispy oven baked chicken strip.
- I find love to use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour for the breading station, but any type of wheat flour will do.
- If you happen to have an Egg Allergy, dip your chicken strips into flour first, then something moist, like mustard, and finally panko.
This post was originally published in August 2017 but has since been updated in January 2020 with a video and new tips. The recipe remains the same.