Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe

This baked chicken tenders recipe comes together with just a few simple ingredients to create a tasty lunch, light dinner, or anytime snack. The chicken strips are coated in a crispy, seasoned breading and baked to perfection, and are both juicy and crispy!

Easy oven-baked chicken tenders

More Chicken Recipes To Try

Hui Hui Chicken
Cornstarch Crispy Chicken Wings
Korean Crispy Fried Chicken
Baked Barbecue Chicken
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Quick and easy: Ready in no time, perfect for busy schedules.

Crispy and flavorful: Delivers a satisfying crunch and rich taste with the seasoned coating.

Kid-friendly: A favorite among children, making mealtime enjoyable for the whole family.

Make-ahead friendly: Ideal for meal prep; store and bake without compromising taste and texture.

Minimal ingredients: Requires basic pantry staples, keeping it simple and cost-effective.

Texture perfection: Achieves a perfect balance of crispy exterior and juicy interior.

Baked chicken tenders recipe ingredients

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Chicken tenders: Ensure the tenders are fresh and trimmed. Chicken breast cut into strips or pre-cut chicken strips can be used.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps tenderize the chicken and adds flavor. You can make a buttermilk substitute by combining 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

Garlic powder: Adds a savory, garlic flavor to the coating. Fresh minced garlic or garlic salt can be used, adjusting quantities to taste.

Paprika: Provides a smoky, slightly sweet flavor and enhances color. Smoked paprika, regular paprika, or a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.

Salt: Enhances overall flavor. Sea salt, kosher salt, or any preferred salt type can be used.

Black pepper: Adds a mild heat. Freshly ground black pepper or white pepper can be used.

Panko breadcrumbs: Creates a crispy texture. Regular breadcrumbs or crushed crackers can be used.

Parmesan cheese: Adds a savory, umami flavor to the coating. Grated pecorino romano or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor in case of dietary restrictions.

Cooking spray: Helps achieve a golden, crispy exterior. Olive oil or melted butter can be brushed on the tenders before baking.

Oven-fried chicken tenders

How To Make Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders: Step by step

Step 1: Marinate Chicken

Combine buttermilk, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
Marinate chicken tenders in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Preheat Oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.

Step 3: Coating and Baking

Breadcrumb Mixture: Mix panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, paprika, and salt in a shallow dish.

Step 4: Coat Chicken

Remove chicken from the marinade, allowing excess to drip off.
Coat each tender in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

Step 5: Arrange on Baking Sheet

Place the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet.
Ensure they’re spaced out for even baking.

Step 6: Spray and Bake

Lightly spray the tenders with cooking spray.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and cooked through.
Allow the baked chicken tenders to cool slightly before serving.

Quick baked chicken tenderloins

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Marination time: For maximum flavor and tenderness, allow the chicken tenders to marinate in the buttermilk mixture for an extended period, ideally around 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven: Ensure your oven is thoroughly preheated to 400°F to promote even cooking and achieve a crispy exterior.

Coating consistency: Pat the chicken tenders dry before coating to help the breadcrumb mixture adhere better. This ensures a crispier texture.

Even coating: To achieve an even and crunchy coating, press the breadcrumb mixture onto the chicken firmly but gently. Ensure each tender is thoroughly coated.

Baking sheet preparation: Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent the tenders from sticking. This also aids in easy cleanup.

Space out tenders: Give the chicken tenders some space on the baking sheet. Crowding them can lead to uneven cooking and a less crispy result.

Cooking spray: Lightly spray the tenders with cooking spray before baking. This helps enhance the golden brown color and crispiness of the coating.

Flip halfway through: For an even bake, flip the chicken tenders halfway through the cooking time. This ensures both sides get crispy and golden.


Store leftover Baked Chicken Tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

For longer storage, freeze the tenders in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. 

Reheat in the oven for best results, avoiding the microwave to maintain the crispy texture.

Baked Chicken Tenders FAQs

How can I make the coating gluten-free?

Substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers for panko breadcrumbs.

How do I prevent the coating from getting soggy when reheating?

Reheat the tenders in the oven or air fryer to help maintain their crispy texture. Avoid the microwave for reheating.

Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe

This baked chicken tenders recipe makes a tasty lunch, or light dinner. The chicken strips are breaded and baked until crispy and delicious!
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken tenders, easy oven baked chicken tenderloins


For the marinade:

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the coating:

  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray


For the marinade:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken tenders and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

For the coating:

  • In another shallow dish, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, paprika, and salt.
  • Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk mixture and dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to adhere.
  • Place the chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray them with cooking spray.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

With their crispy coating and juicy, tender meat, these baked chicken tenders are just as good as fried chicken tenders, without the greasiness.

Plus, they can be easily customized with your favorite seasonings and dipping sauces on the side. Give this recipe a try and let me know which you prefer!

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