Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders
Kids love chicken tenders? Make a healthy version of this restaurant favorite at home! This chicken recipe is oven-baked and deliciously coated with crispy whole grain breading.
Seems like you can find chicken tenders on almost every kids’ menu these days. Tasty? Maybe. But most of the time, restaurant tenders are deep-fried and served with a side of deep-fried French fries. It’s like a bomb of salty, greasy, beige food. Not the kind of meal that makes a body feel good.
THESE tenders are deliciously different, in all the best ways…
What Makes Chicken Tenders Healthy?
Chicken tenders CAN be healthy for your kids, but not by default. Let’s take a closer look at “restaurant-style” tenders. Aside from being deep-fried, most tenders contain white-flour breading and tons of sodium.
These refined starches and oils can fill kids up quick, leaving no room for fruits, veggies, or other nutritious food groups. Deep-fried foods can even contribute to heart disease and diabetes down the road, so you’re smart to avoid them when you can.
Of course, you don’t have to forgo delicious chicken tenders on account of all this. You can coat your tenders in whole grain crumbs and BAKE them. And when you do, you’ll get a tray of the crispiest, tastiest tenders ever. Ready to dip into a dish of ketchup or BBQ sauce.
What’s the Difference between Chicken Breasts and Chicken Tenders?
Chicken tenders are actually part of a chicken breast–an especially tender (hence the name, of course!) strip of meat that makes up the underside of a whole chicken breast.
When you’re making this recipe at home, you’ll want to look for a package of just the chicken tenders at the store–not the whole breast. That way, you’ll know you’re getting the thin, succulent parts of the chicken breast that cook quickly and have a great texture.
Note: chicken tenders tend to be more expensive than whole chicken breasts. But Costco, and even some supermarkets, sell chicken tenders in bulk.
What Should I Serve with These Tenders?
Chicken tenders are high in protein, and the breaded exterior provides some whole grain goodness. So when you’re looking for a side dish to round out your meal, look to fruits and veggies, like this scrumptious Brown Sugar Asparagus.
We like fresh raw veggies and fruits because they’re fast, easy, and colorful next to the tenders. Since you’re already putting out dips for the chicken, your kids might like to dunk their veggies into ranch or BBQ sauce… or heck, even the ketchup. Let ‘em be weird like that. They’re eating veggies!
Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders
- 1 pound Chicken breast tenders, uncooked
- 2 slice bread, whole wheat
- 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoon mustard, dijon
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup flour, whole wheat
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
I love the idea of dipping in yogurt and then breading.
It’s super good. My sister actually uses flavored yogurt. You can’t actually taste any of the flavor. Strange!
Great idea with the yogurt! We like to grind up whole oats and use that instead of bread crumb.
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The way you prepare the dish is really mouthwatering. I’ll try and make some if i had a chance. 😉
it looks delicious. i will definately cook it for my kids
thanks alot for the recipe, this is so practical
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Can I use plain non-fat greek yogurt?
Just made this and it was so tasty and easy. I never cook and i enjoyed having a healthy and easy recipe to make that tasted so good.
Fabulous! These are perfect. They were so good and so crunchy. My husband and I loved them and I will make them over and over again.
Any suggestions for making this gluten free?
Hi Julie, sure– just use your favorite gluten free bread to make the crumbs, and gluten free flour to coat the tenders.
Why did you change this recipe? The yogurt chicken tenders were fantastic and a hit. Now they are completely different ingredient?
Hi Veronica, thanks for reaching out. Sometimes we update old recipes and posts on the site if our readers just aren’t getting much use out of them. This is one of those recipes. I’m sorry that you’re missing the old recipe! The new recipe is quite tasty though, and I hope it helps you.
Hi! Thanks for your awesome site. Two questions.
1) Is there a way to make these chicken tenders ahead of time and freeze them?
2) Is there somewhere I can find the yogurt version of this recipe? I’d like to try them both.
Hi Keri! Yes, you can cook these ahead of time and freeze them in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. (If you do, use them within 3 months for the freshest taste.) To your second question: unfortunately we don’t have that recipe anymore. But I think you could absolutely try substituting the dijon mustard for yogurt in the current recipe, and have good results. If you try it please let us know how it turns out!