Chicken fingers were a big part of my childhood. They remind me of lazy summer days, playing around in the pool, the smell of chlorine, baskets of bottomless fries and packets of ranch dressing – for dipping of course.
Whether baked or fried, breaded or battered, there’s nothing quite like a really good chicken tender. This recipe recaptures the glory of my favorite fried childhood snack, but with a healthy twist.
To achieve these perfectly crisp tenders, make sure to follow these three simple steps:
1. Soak in buttermilk. After cutting into strips, let the chicken sit in the buttermilk for at least one hour (and up to 24 hours). The buttermilk is the best way to ensure the meat stays tender.
2. Bake, do not fry! You can achieve the same crispiness without frying the tenders, not to mention baking is a whole lot healthier and way less messy.
3. Create your own dipping sauce. Chicken tenders and a great dip go hand in hand. You can easily skip this step and use a bottled sauce from your fridge, but I highly recommend creating your own. I love mixing spicy and sweet, which is why this Sriracha Honey Mustard is everything. Forget about the tenders, you may just want to eat this sauce all on it’s own.
Next time you’re in the mood for a simple and healthy lunch or dinner alternative, try out these crispy, baked tenders – they aren’t just for kids anymore. Enjoy!
- Chicken Tenders Ingredients:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups panko
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- Cooking spray
- Sriracha Honey Mustard Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons Sriracha
- Chicken Tenders Recipe:
- Place the chicken tenders into a shallow baking dish and cover with the buttermilk.
- Cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24.
- Once your tenders have marinated, remove them from the fridge and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cover the baking sheet you will be using with parchment paper or foil and then spray with cooking spray.
- Pour the breadcrumbs, panko, salt, paprika, chili powder and garlic salt into a shallow dish and mix to combine.
- Remove the tenders from the buttermilk one at a time, shaking lightly to remove any excess liquid. Place each tender in the panko mixture. You want each tender to be as thoroughly coated as possible.
- Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, then gently flip using kitchen tongs and spray the other side. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, then remove from oven and serve with your sauce of choice.
- Sriracha Honey Mustard Instructions:
- Place all the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Serve alongside the chicken tenders.