Rest assured, there are no false promises with these Oven Fried Chicken Tenders! When you take them out of the oven, you’ll be delighted to find them perfectly golden and incredibly crunchy, just like they’ve been deep-fried. The secret lies in the irresistible parmesan flavor infused into the breadcrumb crust.
Even better, you won’t have to deal with messy fingers caked with batter and breadcrumbs while making these delicious chicken tenders. I’ll share my little tricks with you to ensure a hassle-free and mouthwatering cooking experience!
Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders
Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to recreate a perfect golden “oven fried” crumbed chicken based on photos, only to end up with unevenly cooked and not-so-crunchy results? If so, you’re not alone—I’ve been there too!
For years, I fell for those enticing images of flawlessly cooked crumbed chicken, only to be disappointed when my attempts didn’t measure up. I quickly learned that food photographers rely on Photoshop to achieve those flawless looks, leaving the rest of us with less than perfect outcomes.
To add to the frustration, coating anything with breadcrumbs can lead to what I call “Marshmallow Fingers”—an annoying buildup of egg batter and breadcrumbs on each piece of chicken you coat.
Determined to find a solution, I put on my thinking cap (yes, I might be a bit of a weirdo!), driven by my love for crunchy crumbed dishes and my aversion to frying (and the wastefulness of oil), not to mention health concerns.
And here it is, my ingenious solution!
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT OVEN FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS
Achieving that perfect golden crunch starts with a simple trick: Toast the panko breadcrumbs in the oven for just 3 minutes. This quick step not only ensures an even golden brown color all over but also intensifies the crunchiness. To add delightful flavor and seasoning, I mix parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs—no need for additional salt!
- Forget the traditional flour and egg dredging process. Instead, combine the flour with the egg, creating a slightly thicker batter that helps the breadcrumbs adhere better to the chicken. As a bonus, this method avoids the dreaded “Marshmallow Fingers.” For extra taste and thickness, I also include mustard and mayo in the batter, creating a fried-like experience without the frying!
- To keep your fingers clean and tidy, follow this simple technique: Coat the chicken in the batter, pick it up with your left hand, then place it in the breadcrumbs. Use your right hand to sprinkle the panko, gently press it to adhere, and finally transfer the coated chicken to the baking tray. No more messy fingers—hooray!
Now, take a look at this comparison of the chicken before and after baking at a fairly high temperature (200C/390F) for 15 minutes. Thanks to our toasted breadcrumbs, the difference is minimal—maintaining juiciness while achieving that appealing golden exterior!
Get up close and personal with these tender and crispy delights. I’ll let you be the judge—don’t they look just like they’ve come straight out of the deep fryer? And I assure you, they taste just as heavenly as if they were deep-fried!
Dipping Sauce for Chicken Tenders
These Parmesan Oven Fried Chicken Tenders are incredibly flavorful and remain juicy on the inside—no worries about dry overcooked chicken here! I typically enjoy serving them with a choice of simple Ranch dipping sauce or Honey Mustard sauce, both of which I’ve included in the recipe notes.
However, the addition of parmesan makes these tenders so tasty that they can stand on their own, so I often serve them without any sauce. Instead, I pair them with options like plain yogurt or sour cream, which complement the flavors perfectly. Alternatively, a squeeze of fresh lemon adds a delightful zing to these delectable tenders.
To round out the meal, consider serving them with a quick Every Day Cabbage Salad or a garden salad dressed with French, Italian, or Balsamic dressing. These refreshing salads provide a lovely contrast to the savory goodness of the chicken tenders, creating a satisfying and delicious dining experience!