With just a few simple ingredients and a super quick baking time (about 20 minutes), these Baked Chicken Tenders are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re a total hit with kids and adults and you only need 4 simple ingredients to make them.

crispy baked chicken tenders on polka dot plate

Baked Chicken Tenders

I must admit, it took me a few years into motherhood to even think to make crispy baked chicken tenders at home because I was so sure that the kids wouldn’t think they were as good as the ones at school.

But now that I’ve found an easy method that totally delivers, I can say with certainty that this is my family’s favorite chicken recipe.

The exterior is perfectly crisp (even the underside due to baking them on a rack inside a baking sheet), it only takes about 15 minutes to bake, and the leftovers are delish too.

TIP: The interior is super moist for those younger toddlers and 1-year-olds, too.

Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders

Since these chicken tenders are baked, there’s no need for oil or excess fat. I use a little nonstick spray to coat the baking rack, but otherwise, it’s a healthy chicken recipe. I do give you the option to use crushed tortilla chips or panko breadcrumbs and of the two, we LOVE the tortilla chips. So do try that route if you have them on hand.

They’re perfectly seasoned and just the right level of salt—without the need for any additional seasoning in the breading.

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients so you know what to look for at the store (or in the kitchen):

ingredients-in-baked-chicken-tenders.
  • Chicken tenders: You can use purchased chicken tenders or cut boneless chicken breast into thin strips if that’s a more affordable option.
  • Eggs
  • Flour: You can use all-purpose or a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Crushed tortilla chips or breadcrumbs: You can use panko-style breadcrumbs or regular, plain or Italian flavored.

TIP: Both the crushed chips and the panko create very crispy baked chicken tenders, so use the one you prefer.

Can I make these chicken fingers without eggs?

Yup! Just omit the eggs and use ⅓ cup milk instead.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this chicken tenders recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.

how-to-make-baked-chicken-tenders-step-by-step
  1. Preheat the oven and grind the tortilla chips into crumbs.
  2. Working with one tender at a time, dredge the chicken completely in the flour.
  3. Coat the chicken in the egg.
  4. Coat the chicken in the tortilla crumbs. Bake!

TIP: You’ll want to coat a wire rack with nonstick spray and place it onto a baking sheet. This will ensure that the chicken will get crispy all over.

baked chicken tenders on wire rack.

Kid-Friendly Chicken Strips

The beauty of these chicken tenders is that the meat is perfectly moist so it’s soft and easy for toddlers to eat. But the crunchy coating adds flavor and a nice texture for an overall pleasing balance. These are good dipped into ketchup, Ranch, marinara sauce, or applesauce.

What go well with these chicken tenders?

We like them with roasted potatoes, in tacos, with cheesy rice, or as part of a big deconstructed salad. They’d also be great with a little melted mozzarella and marinara sauce as Chicken Parm!

Are these chicken tenders gluten-free?

If you use the gluten-free flour blend and gluten-free corn tortilla chips or panko, then yes, they are gluten-free.

Can I make them in an air-fryer?

Yes, they’re quick and delish that way. Coat the rack well and then cook for 8 minutes at 400 degrees. I flip them over halfway through, but you could probably skip that if you wanted to.

crispy chicken kids meal

How to Store

Store any leftover chicken in the fridge in an airtight container. Serve cold or warm briefly in a 350 degree F oven or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.

Best Tips for Success

  • Do bake them on a wire rack as instructed. This allows air to circulate underneath so the tops and the bottoms are perfectly crispy.
  • Coat the chicken well through the flour, egg, and crumbs to ensure the best results.
  • If using the tortilla chip option, be sure to totally crush them to create an even crumb.
  • If using panko, add ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Serve as strips or cut into pieces according to what will work best for your child.
  • Reheat in the oven to return the chicken to crispy, or pack in a lunch and enjoy chilled.
  • Air Fryer: Coat the rack with nonstick spray. Prepare the chicken as directed in the recipe, then air-fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes, turning halfway through.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe so please leave a comment below!

crispy baked chicken tenders on white and blue plate

Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

These crispy Chicken Tenders are fast and versatile. To make these with panko breadcrumbs, use 1 cup and stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the flour before you dredge the chicken.
4.80 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 414kcal
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups white or yellow corn tortilla chips (or 1 cup panko breadcrumbs and ¼ salt)
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or cup-for-cup gluten-free flour)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Coat the rack well with nonstick spray.
  • Add the tortilla chips to a food processor or blender and process into fine crumbs. You should have about 1 cup. Pour into a shallow dish or pie plate.
  • Break the eggs into another shallow dish and beat lightly.
  • Add the flour to a third shallow dish and sprinkle with salt.
  • Working with one tender at a time, dredge the chicken completely in the flour, egg, and then tortilla crumbs and place on the prepared rack. Continue to finish the rest of the chicken.
  • Bake for 14-15 minutes or until completely cooked through.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with ketchup, Ranch, marinara sauce, or applesauce.

Notes

  • Store any leftover chicken in the fridge in an airtight container. Serve cold or warm briefly in a 350 degree F oven or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
  • Do bake them on a wire rack as instructed. This allows air to circulate underneath so the tops and the bottoms are perfectly crispy.
  • Coat the chicken well through the flour, egg, and crumbs to ensure the best results.
  • If using the tortilla chip option, be sure to totally crush them to create an even crumb.
  • If using panko, add ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Serve as strips or cut into pieces according to what will work best for your child.
  • Reheat in the oven to return the chicken to crispy, or pack in a lunch and enjoy chilled.
  • Air Fryer: Coat the rack with nonstick spray. Prepare the chicken as directed in the recipe, then air-fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes, turning halfway through.

Nutrition

Calories: 414kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 351mg, Potassium: 431mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 104IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 113mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published February 2020.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have been making chicken tenders like this for a while and they are very popular with my 3-year-old, although he usually prefers me to cut them up for him. I coat with plain yogurt instead of egg and it works really well.

  2. If there is an egg allergy, could I coat without the egg or is there a substitute that would help keep it all together?

  3. Could I bread the tenders and freeze them without baking them first? If so, how many minutes should i add to the baking time?

      1. Thanks! I added some garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to the flour and it was a hit with my 17 month old who is not really into meat!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made these on parchment paper with no rack or spray, and they still turned out great. I flipped them over after about 7 minutes.

    1. I’m so glad! You can freeze them in a zip top freezer bag and then warm for 6-8 minutes in a 375 oven or briefly in the microwave.

  5. 5 stars
    I didn’t have tenders so I used tenderized breast. I opted for the panko and because they were breasts cooked 450 16-18 min. Other than that followed the recipe. They were delicious and my VERY picky eater gobbled up every bite! I’m sure tenders are even better and will make again using them.