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Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

20 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 24


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!

Chicken Tenders
nomnomwow.com Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

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


  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

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Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

maimoona
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.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
servings
2
total time
30 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • BREADCRUMB

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (Note 1)

  • Olive oil spray

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese , store bought (Note 2)

  • BATTER

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise* (I use whole egg mayonnaise)

  • 1½ tbsp dijon mustard* (or any other mustard of choice)

  • 1 garlic clove , minced*

  • 2 tbsp plain flour

  • Salt & pepper

  • CHICKEN

  • 500 g /1 lb chicken tenderloins (or chicken breast cut into ⅔" / 1.5cm thick slices, lengthwise)

  • Oil spray

Instructions

1
Start by preheating the oven to 200C/390F.
2
Spread panko breadcrumbs on a baking tray and lightly spray them with oil. Bake for about 3 to 5 minutes until they turn light golden in color.
3
Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a bowl, add the parmesan, and mix them together.
4
In a separate bowl, mix the batter ingredients and then add the chicken, coating each piece evenly.
5
Optionally, you can place a rack on the baking tray for better heat circulation.
6
Using your left hand, place each piece of battered chicken in the breadcrumb mixture. Use your right hand to sprinkle more breadcrumbs on top, pressing lightly to make sure they stick. Then, use your right hand again to transfer the coated chicken to the baking tray. Continue this process with the remaining chicken pieces and give them a light spray of oil.
7
Bake for around 15 minutes if the tenders are small, or 18 minutes for larger ones. Avoid baking longer than 20 minutes to maintain the juiciness of the chicken.
8
Serve immediately, and if desired, pair with Ranch or Honey Mustard Dip for an added flavor punch.

Notes

For a much crunchier outcome, I highly recommend using panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs when making these chicken tenders. If you can get your hands on real grated parmesan cheese from the refrigerator section (not the one in the pasta aisle), it will enhance the flavor significantly. However, if you don't have parmesan cheese, you can still enjoy tasty tenders by using an extra 1/2 cup of panko and adding a bit more salt to the batter. For a more evenly golden result, consider baking the tenders on a rack. However, if you prefer to place them directly on the baking tray, keep in mind that the underside may have some darker golden patches. Optional: You can serve these delicious tenders with a Ranch Dipping Sauce. To make it, mix 1/4 cup each of mayonnaise (preferably whole egg) and sour cream, 2 tbsp milk, 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar (or any light-colored vinegar), 1/4 tsp each of dried parsley or dill, dried chives, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt, and black pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. Alternatively, you can try a Honey Mustard Sauce by mixing 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp honey, 1 - 2 tsp lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Note: These sauce ingredients are optional and can be adjusted to your preference. The nutrition information provided is based on 4 servings and does not include the Ranch Dipping Sauce.
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