Those fried chicken tenders offered at chain and fast-food restaurants may be tasty, but you can make them healthier and better tasting at home. Tenders, short for tenderloin, come from the thin, elongated piece of meat attached to the chicken breast. Most grocery stores sell them separately from the breast. Instead of the usual breaded and fried tenders, you can bake them in the oven, cutting down on the fat and allowing you to season the tenders to your liking.
Things You'll Need
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- Skinless chicken breast tenderloins
- Cutting board
- Italian or panko breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Food-safe thermometer
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil. Grease the foil lightly with vegetable oil. Lining the baking sheet with foil makes cleaning it easier after cooking.
Pour flour into a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can add additional seasonings if you prefer, such as garlic and chili powder, rosemary and oregano. If you are using seasoned breadcrumbs, you don't need to season the flour. You should only need 1 cup of flour for 1 pound of chicken tenders.
Scramble one to two eggs in a separate bowl with a little water to create an egg wash, and pour 1 cup of breadcrumbs into another bowl. You can use plain or seasoned Italian breadcrumbs, or Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs. Although not traditional, panko breadcrumbs don't soak up as much grease as traditional breadcrumbs do, resulting in a lighter, crispier coating.
Dredge each chicken tenderloin first in the flour, then in the egg wash and finally into the breadcrumbs. Pat the crumbs firmly into the tenderloins to help them adhere, and place them on the lined baking sheet.
Bake the breaded chicken tenderloins in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. Turn them halfway through for even cooking. The coating should be golden brown on both sides when they are done. For safety, use a food thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of each tenderloin has reached at least 165 F, which is the safe minimum temperature for consuming chicken.
Tips & Warnings
- Serve the chicken tenders with an assortment of dipping sauces such as barbecue, honey-barbecue or ranch.
- Add Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs to add more flavor.
- Fine Cooking: Chicken Breast Tenderloins
- The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook; Dara Demoelt
- Betty Crocker; Oven Fried Tenders
- Fork Knife Swoon: Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders With Rosemary and Parmesan
- Foodsafety.gov: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images