Crushed cornflakes, panko breadcrumbs and dried seasonings make up the crunchy breading on these healthy, oven baked chicken tenders.
Crushed cornflakes, panko breadcrumbs and dried seasonings make up the crunchy breading on these healthy, oven baked chicken tenders. They are freezable.
Growing up, my kid’s menu item of choice was a plate of chicken tenders with a side of French fries. It’s an order that celebrates all things golden and fried. Wow!
My son is a big fan chicken fingers too. I don’t think twice when he gets them at a restaurant, but at home it’s another story. I would never dream of attempting to fry something in a vat of oil no matter how shallow or deep. An air-fryer is not a gadget that I have in my kitchen, and in the spirit of less is more, I don’t have any plans to add one (yet).
Actually, you can turn out a pretty amazing batch of chicken tenders from your oven with a couple basic kitchen tools that you probably already have in your cabinets. Make these for your little ones, and I have a feeling you will get their seal of approval.
And no matter your age or the age of everyone in your house, chicken tenders are great—no kids required. I love them for game day appetizers (hello, Super Bowl) and for those moments when I want a healthier version of bar food in the comfort of my own home.
Tools for the Recipe
It is key to have a wire rack that fits inside a sheet pan. By baking the tenders on a wire rack, the hot air can get underneath them, and there’s no risk of any soggy bottoms. You want the chicken fingers to be crunchy on all sides as if they were batter-fried.
It helps if the rack is non-stick, but I also still grease it with cooking spray. You can often buy a rack as a set with a baking sheet like this one.
These racks are great for cooling cookies and cakes too, so they are definitely multi-functional.
The Cornflake Panko Breading
Now that we have the tools out of the way, it’s time to talk about the recipe, more specifically the coating for the tenders. It has to be crispy and crunchy and well seasoned.
The base for the mixture is a combination of crushed cornflake cereal and panko breadcrumbs. These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are super crisp. Sometimes you can find them as whole wheat, if you are looking for a way to incorporate whole grains.
Too often, breading can be tasteless, so I go beyond salt and pepper and also add dried oregano and thyme and garlic and onion powder.
This is what you need for these baked chicken strips:
Chicken: I cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1/2-inch wide pieces. It’s okay if they vary in length.
Cornflakes: The brand doesn’t matter. Just make sure they don’t have any sugary coating. This isn’t the time for frosted flakes. Plain, standard cornflakes are best.
Panko breadcrumbs: As mentioned, you can use white or whole-wheat panko. Avoid those that are pre-seasoned since you are going to do the seasoning in this recipe yourself.
Spices: The cornflake-panko breading is seasoned with dried oregano and thyme, garlic powder and onion powder.
Salt & pepper: I think we all can agree that chicken is pretty bland on its own. It’s important to season both the chicken and the breading with kosher salt and black pepper.
Barbecue sauce and honey mustard are great options fordips for serving.
Parsley: Sprinkle on a little chopped parsley for something fresh and green to finish.
How To Make Baked Chicken Tenders
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a wire rack in a sheet pan and grease the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place the cornflakes in a large bowl and crush them. You can use the back of a spoon or a ladle to press and crush them.
Stir the panko breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper into the cornflakes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
Pour the flour onto a plate or into a small bowl.
To assemble the tenders, dredge each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg-milk mixture and finally into the cornflakes and panko breadcrumbs. The liquid acts like the glue for the breading to stick to the chicken.
Place each tender on the wire rack.
Baked the chicken tenders until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
Serve with barbecue sauce and/or honey mustard for dipping. You can also sprinkle the tenders with chopped parsley.
You can freeze cooked chicken tenders up to 1 month. Put them on a plate or a sheet pan on wax paper in the freezer and then transfer them to a bag or another container. This will prevent them from freezing and sticking together.
Just bake the frozen tenders at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a wire rack inside a sheet pan and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Place the cornflakes in a large bowl and crush them using a spoon or ladle. Stir in the panko, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
Pour the flour on a plate or into a small bowl.
Dredge each chicken tender in flour shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg-milk mixture and coat with the cornflake-panko breading. Place the chicken tenders on the wire rack.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is golden brown. Serve with barbecue sauce or honey mustard and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using.
You can freeze cooked chicken tenders up to 1 month. Put them on a plate or a sheet pan on wax paper in the freezer and then transfer them to a bag or another container. This will prevent them from freezing and sticking together. Bake the frozen tenders at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.