Unbelievably crispy and packed with flavor on the outside, and perfectly juicy on the inside; these easy baked chicken tenders are a no-brainer to prepare and so much better than fried chicken!
I am the hugest sucker for restaurant-style breaded chicken. Like, ridiculously obsessed to the point of wanting it all the time.
And I’m almost ashamed to say I crave it at meals other than just dinner…midnight snack anyone??
‘Kay. I lied. That SO did not happen. Pinky promise.
ANYWHO. In an effort to save my wallet from bankruptcy and my jeans from *ahem* shrinking in size, I came up with a HEALTHY version of restaurant-style fried chicken.
One that puts that greasy, fat-filled deep-fried restaurant breaded chicken to shame.
Go home KFC. You have officially been replaced.
We’re going OVEN-fried today, if you will. I ain’t got no use for deep-frying, guys. And to be perfectly honest, deep-frying kinda scares me…both the preparation method AND the calories. Terrifying stuff.
Fried chicken was just begging for a makeover. In the healthy-ish, oven-baked direction.
And wowzers, guys. This chicken is pretty much like the real thing. Super-crunchy and crispy on the outside. Perfectly moist and juicy on the inside. ♥
And kinda filled to the max with 100% addicting properties.
Bang-up job, oven-fried chicken. You almost had my brain fooled.
My tastebuds? Went straight over their heads. Do tastebuds even have heads?? Movin’ on…
The breading for this chicken is pretty basic, but so dang good. We’ve got breadcrumbs making up the most of it with just a little cornmeal and flour for some different texture. A few basic seasonings get dumped in and….
Wham, bam, thank ‘ya ma’am. My chicken has the perfect-o coating of yum.
This chicken’s crispy texture on the outside is all thanks to one little step that you should always do when you’re oven-frying breaded chicken.
My secret to get a perfectly-crispy breading every time? Flip the chicken several times while it’s baking.—In order to get that crunchy golden crust on the outside of these tenders that we all love and adore, it’s essential that you flip this chicken once every 10 minutes. The total bake-time for this chicken is 30 minutes, which means you’ll turn the chicken a total of three times.
I’m so good at math. 😉
Seriously though, don’t skip this turning step guys! It might take a little more hands-on work then your regular breaded-chicken, but the perfectly-crispy-golden chicken tenders that results is SO worth it.
This chicken is simple enough for a quick weeknight dinner with pasta, but it’s also MORE than appropriate to include on your game-day menu. I promise your guests won’t be any the wiser, that they’re actually eating the dreaded OVEN-BAKED stuff.
Slap it in some take-out boxes and nobody will guess. Promise.
Or….you could let everyone in on the secret that you’re secretly a oven-frying chicken tender-whiz. 😀
You’ll definitely gain some new respect.
Give this chicken a try, guys! I promise you’ll never go back to the restaurant junk again! My entire family gives it two greasy-chicken-covered thumbs up.
Oven-Fried Crispy Chicken Tenders
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs or Panko
- 3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 lbs chicken tenders
- 1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375F. Place butter in a large baking sheet. Place baking sheet in preheating oven and let cook until butter is melted. Remove from oven and use a spatula to spread melted butter in an even layer. Set aside.
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine breadcrumbs, flour, cornmeal, and seasonings. One at a time, dip chicken tenders in milk then place in bag, seal and shake to evenly coat chicken. Remove from bag and place in the melted butter-baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.
Bake chicken tenders at 375F 30 minutes, turning once every 10 minutes to ensure that chicken crisps up evenly. Serve chicken tenders warm.
Store chicken in refrigerator up to 3 days. Chicken is best served hot out of the oven while the coating is still crispy.