Every parent knows that no meal is as popular at the dinner table as chicken tenders. This recipe for barbecue crunchy baked chicken tenders is a fun new twist on a classic. A crunchy barbecue chip not only adds crunch but elevates the chicken tender making it packed full of flavor.
Baked Chicken Tenders
Chicken is one of the most versatile proteins you can add to your menu for good reason. It is easy to adapt with a variety of flavors, typically affordable, and loved by most. For this recipe, you will coat a basic tender in a tasty crunchy coating that gives you the texture of deep-frying without all of that oil and saturated fats.
If you like the idea of barbecue flavor, you might appreciate this easy barbecue chicken recipe that is saucy and easy. Of course, if you like spice, you should check out these blackened chicken breasts. Super delicious and also easy to make.
What are Chicken Tenders?
The chicken tender is a specific part of the chicken that is located next to the breastbone and is the most tender part of the chicken. While it is technically chicken breast, it is located on the other side of the breastbone than the larger pieces you normally consider chicken breasts.
Can I Use Sliced Chicken Breasts Instead?
If you do not have chicken tenderloins available, you can definitely use chicken breasts. This method works great with whole breasts or with sliced chicken breasts.
If using whole breasts, you can slice them into smaller strips and follow the directions below. When using the whole breast as a single piece, you will want to increase the cooking time. I would recommend starting with 16 minutes, checking the temperature, and if not between 160°F to 165°F, continue baking for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
Can I Make This with Chicken Thighs?
Sure thing! If you prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts, you can definitely swap them in this recipe. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are typically fairly thin so should cook in about the same amount of time as a chicken tenderloin. Of course, it is also best to use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has reached the appropriate internal temperature.
What to Serve with Baked Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are definitely one of the more versatile items on your menu. They are a blank slate for flavors meaning you can easily serve them with just about anything you want. Below are a few of my favorite things to serve with this recipe.
- Southern Style Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Homemade Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- Baked Homemade Accordion Style Potatoes
- The Best All American Potato Salad Recipe
- Creamy Corn Salad Recipe with Cucumber and Peppers
How to Know When Baked Chicken Tenders are Cooked
The best way to know they are done cooking is to use the meat thermometer. You can remove them from the oven when they are at least 160°F internally. They should be at least 165°F before serving but usually reach the temperature within 5 minutes of removing from the oven from the residual heat in the meat.
The other way to know they are done cooking is to see that the juices run clear when cut or pierced with a knife. This is probably the easier method, but depending upon the size of the breasts or tenders, you will want to double-check before serving.
How to Freeze Homemade Chicken Tenders
If you want to make these in larger batches for easy meals down the road, you can do that with just a few steps. There are two methods that work well, and it depends upon whether you want them pre-cooked to just reheat or raw to bake once ready to serve.
(1) Prepare up to the point of baking, and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely then freeze for 2 hours until mostly solid. Place the tenders into a freezer storage bag or container, then date and label. Freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer, and bake at 400°F for 18 to 20 minutes until 165°F internally.
(2) Prepare and bake as directed. Allow the chicken tenders to cool completely, then place them into freezer storage bags or containers. Date and label and freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or microwave until heated through.
How to Bread Chicken Tenders
One of the most important things to remember when breading any food is that you should keep one wet hand and one dry hand. Adding the eggs, flour, and breading into three separate shallow bowls is a must. Then use one hand for dipping into the egg mixture, and the second hand for dipping them into the flour and then the crunchy chips coating.
- Chicken tenderloins
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Barbecue chips
Handy Kitchen Tools
How to Make Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper then set aside.
In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs then set aside.
In a second shallow bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until well incorporated then set aside.
Crush the barbecue chips into small crumbles and pour them into a third shallow bowl.
Season the chicken tenders on both sides with salt and pepper.
Using one hand, dip the chicken into the flour mixture coating it on all sides.
Next, using the clean hand, dip the dredged chicken into the whisked eggs.
Finally, dip the chicken into the crumbled chips.
Lay the chicken in a single layer on the lined baking sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the chicken pieces over and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces and sides.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
Add even more great recipes to your menu with one or more of these delicious options. Turn chicken into a menu staple that can be packed with flavor and easy to prepare. Pin, print, or bookmark the recipes below to add to your menu soon!
- Creamy Chicken Marsala 30-Minute Meal
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplins Recipe
- Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken Thighs Recipe
- One-Pot Garlic Parmesan Chicken with Pasta
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (907 g)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 g)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 7.5 oz bag barbecue chips, crushed (220 g)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper then set aside.
- In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs then set aside.
- In a second shallow bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until well incorporated then set aside.
- Crush the barbecue chips into small crumbles and pour them into a third shallow bowl.
- Season the chicken tenders on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Using one hand, dip the chicken into the flour mixture coating it on all sides.
- Next, using the clean hand, dip the dredged chicken into the whisked eggs.
- Finally, dip the chicken into the crumbled chips.
- Lay the chicken in a single layer on the lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the chicken pieces over and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces and sides.
This can be made with any flavor potato chips for a crispy coating.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 621Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 755mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 55g