To say Baked chicken tenders is one of food enthusiasts’ favorite might be an understatement! Yes, of course! The reason for that isn’t farfetched, and in this piece, we’ll share with you what you should know about Baked chicken tenders and how to prepare chicken tenders. Many experts believe that few things make some chicken tenders better than the rest:
- Perfectly crispy outside – the ideal amount of breading to avoid sogginess
- Perfectly TENDER chicken inside – Tough – gross
- Flavorful breading – avoid bland breaded chicken tenders.
These baked chicken tenders tick all the boxes and are far healthier than the traditional kind since they are prepared in the oven rather than frying them.
“What is a chicken tender?” you ask! Is it a part of the chicken? Does it refer to the deep-fried dish which many kids and adults love? Or is it an actual part of a chicken? Or is it just the creation of bar menus and concession stands? Too many questions!
What are chicken tenders?
To understand what chicken tenders are, you need to know where they come from (as if that’s not obvious enough). Chicken tenders are parts of a chicken. These are little strips of meat tenuously attached to the lower side of each breast (it is also known as “hanging tenders”); safe to say chicken has two tenders. Chicken tenders are similar in location as the pork and beef tenderloins. One fascinating thing is, it’s possible to gently pull the tenders, which is approximately one and a half inches wide and five inches long.
Note: In a different article, we’ll discuss more on chicken tenderloin, chicken breasts, and so much more.
Chicken tenders (also referred to as white meat and besides being smaller in size compared to the breast), it tastes the same as breast meat and moist and tender when appropriately prepared. Chicken tenders can sometimes be sold separately from the breasts, making them ideal for stir-fries and skewers; you need to slice the meat (the chicken meat) anyways.
Chicken tenders’ calories info:
- Calories – 110
- Protein – 25 grams
- Sodium – 35 Milligrams
- Saturated Fat – 0 Grams
How to Bake Chicken Tenders in the Oven
If you wish to know how to make baked chicken tenders in the oven, then you’re at the right place; google didn’t just bring you here for nothing.
When it comes to baking boneless chicken tenders, there’s the right way and the other ways, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be a challenge (not even for your waistline, if you know what I mean). Whether you need the chicken tenders to be a little bit crunchy or as plain as possible, let your oven do the magic (at least most of it) because all you need to do in this case is add a bit of flavor before baking the chicken strips – that shouldn’t be too hard to do.
According to Yankel Polak, the head chef at a reputable restaurant, ButcherBox, chicken tenders are lean, tender, and cook quickly. Adding an overnight marinade helps to bump up the flavor when baking chicken tenderloins. To prepare one, combine an acid like vinegar or citrus juice, coupled with fat such as olive oil, fresh aromatics, and dried spices.
What you’ll need
- Chicken tenders – (the main piece)
- Paper towels
- Sea Salt, Spices, black pepper, herbs
- Baking pan
- Olive oil (which is optional)
- Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven and prep
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheating it to this level will help turn the tenders brown quickly.
- Now, lay the skinless chicken tenders out on paper towels to help absorb some moisture, leaving at least a few inches between each piece.
Add Spices and Lemon
- Slice the lemon into many wedges and then squeeze fresh lemon juice onto each chicken tender. Watch out for seeds and remove any that fall out.
- Sprinkle salt as well as freshly ground black pepper on the skinless chicken tender. Add herbs and spices – chili powder, turmeric, thyme, or sage, all of which are great choices. That’s not all – you can try jerk seasoning, tarragon, or garam masala.
- Lastly, turn the chicken tender over and repeat the seasoning process on the other side.
One other way to season the chicken tenders is to add your preferred spices and herbs with olive oil in a bowl and toss the chicken tenders in the mixture right before placing them on the baking pan.
Prep your baking pan and add water
- Speaking of the baking pan, you want to coat it evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread the already seasoned chicken tenders on the pan. Make sure there are spaces between each tender – it will help them cook evenly.
- Now, add a couple of ounces of water to the pan.
Step 4: Bake Chicken Tenderloins in Oven
Bake the tenders for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes until you cook each tender properly. Insert thermometers into the tenders’ thickest part till it reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s usually an ideal and healthy choice when you don’t have much time and needs something like a weeknight stir fry – in case you are wondering how long to bake chicken tenders.
Still, on time it takes to bake chicken tenders, this prepared in about forty minutes, give or take. However, it depends on the tenders’ thickness. Remember to flip them halfway through baking, then serve with sauce.
Best way to cook chicken tenderloins
When cooking chicken tenders, you need to unravel some secrets if you wish to cook chicken tenderloins the right way. When grilling, you should try out the Brining method. Brine the chicken before cooking it. The technique consists of soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, usually with extra flavors such as herbs and spices.
Just like a marinade, this gives the chicken more flavor and harnesses the power of science to help keep the chicken moist during cooking. When it comes to chicken tender calories, you can always calculate that using a nutrition calculator.
When it comes to picking the best-frozen chicken tenders, there are certain qualities to look out for, and that’s what we’ve done here. Here are some chicken tenderloins we’ve tried:
- Tyson Batter Dipped Chicken Breast Tenders
- Applegate Naturals Homestyle Chicken Breast Tenders
- Perdue Chicken Breast Tenders
- Great Value Crispy Chicken Strips
- Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts
- Market Pantry Crispy Chicken Strips
When it comes to tenderloins chicken, I think of strips of chicken breaded and fried to perfection. No fillers, it’s real meat, and it’s minimally processed as one might expect. Most food enthusiasts and taste testers believe the same thing. Not all tenders are created equal. But a few of the brands that we’ve highlighted label their products as chicken tender, but what we got instead were tender-shaped chicken nuggets. It’s not the same. That’s why a handful of brands fell short and didn’t make it to the top of our ranking. Chicken tender and chicken nuggets are two different foods.
- Great Value Crispy Chicken Strips
Taking our top sport is Walmart’s chicken tender. In truth, this chicken tender is the real deal. The inner part of the chicken contains white meat chicken, which is a must for a chicken tenderloin. You can coat the tenders in the perfect breading. The golden-brown will appeal to anyone. Great value crispy chicken strips have the right ratio of chicken to breading, creating a chicken strip that is totally on point.
- Market Pantry Crispy Chicken Strips
Coming second on our list is Target’s store brand, Market Pantry. These tenders have a tremendous crunchy feel (talking about the exterior). And if you love crispy breading, these tenders are perfect for you. You’ll like the coating, an ideal mixture of pepper, and a little bit of bite.
- Applegate Naturals.
The Applegate Natural Chicken Tenderloins deserves mention on our list and is a top 3 best-frozen chicken tenders; it definitely will rank up there.
How to grill chicken tenders
Do you need a 101 on how to grill chicken tenders? We’ll share with you all you need to know about it right now. To grill chicken tenders, the first thing you need to do is soak them (the chicken) in a marinade such as herbs, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Then grill them till they turn brown. Trust me; this is the main course for summertime.
Just as we’ve stated earlier, chicken tenders are cheap, quick to prepare, and are also easy to grill. Add in an extra marinade to mix things up a bit, and what you’ll have is a tender and flavorful chicken that’s excellent as-is or served in a pasta dish or on a salad.
- Start the process with a pound or two of boneless chicken tenders. You can also trim the fat if you wish, as it’s optional.
- Add the Korean bbq sauce to tenders and coat them adequately. Place the chicken tenders back in a refrigerator to marinate thoroughly. It can take anywhere from four to thirty minutes, depending on how much time you’ve got.
- Next, heat the grill to medium-high or just hot enough to make the chicken sizzle. Don’t forget to sprinkle the chicken tender with some rotisserie seasoning. After about five minutes, or when the mark forms on the chicken tenders, flip and season them. Don’t forget to grill for four to five minutes, or until the tenders are fully cooked. One thing you need to avoid is overcooking, or else it will all be dry (which is not something you’d want with your tenders).
- The final step is relatively easy, as all you have to do now is remove the chicken from the grill and let it sit for five minutes. Letting is set will ensure that the tenders are juicy and indeed tender.
A pile of properly grilled chicken tenders topped with lovely herbs and garnished with lemon wedges.
Why the recipe works
- Chicken tenderloins are well marinated – do this briefly in a Korean bbq sauce to enhance the flavor.
- Extra flavor – add a little bit of rotisserie.
- Grilled: the final part. It is ideal for the best chicken strips (if you need to get the best taste out of it).
Pro Tips & FAQs
Don’t go on without taking advantage of these pro tips:
- Always use chicken tenderloins for fast cooking time. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, will take much longer to cook.
- Marinate the chicken tenderloins properly, 24 hours ahead. In case you don’t have enough time to do proper marinating, add the marinade before grilling.
- Grill the chicken strips to use during the week. It makes a wrap filling or excellent salad topper.
Meals to make with chicken tenderloins
There are tons of ways to eat chicken tenderloins, and we’ll show you some of it.
- Black Pepper Chicken Fingers and Creamy Greek Yogurt Ranch
- Asian lemon chicken tenders, honey, and soy sauce glaze
- Buttermilk Chicken Strips (Oven Baked)
- Texas Chicken Nachos
- Baked Firecracker Chicken Tenders
- Cracker Crusted Chicken Tenders (oven-baked)
- Copycat Applebees Oriental Chicken Salad
- Sweet & Sticky Strips
- Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Bacon, Chili Powder, and Brown Sugar.
- Creamy Salsa Chicken Tenders plus Sour Cream and Cilantro
- Paleo Chicken Strips with Honey Dijon Sauce
- Crispy Chicken Strips plus Homemade Chimichurri
- Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders
How to keep chicken tenders crispy
Knowing how to keep tenders juicy and crispy is essential, and the secret to this is the coating. There are three-step phases for coating your tenders.
- Eggwash. And;
- Breadcrumbs (or Panko).
Keeping tenders crispy during baking
You can keep tenders crispy by using a rack. Yep, you heard that correctly! The key to maintaining tenders crispy to taste better is by using a frame on a baking sheet. We also suggest buying a rack for your baking pan. Baking tenders on the cookie sheet will keep the chicken tender soggy, or the entire coating starts to peel off as soon as you start flipping them.
- Can you marinate chicken tenders overnight?
Yes! It’s possible. You can marinate chicken tenders overnight using a refrigerator. But it has to be kept in either a heavy-duty bag or a sealed container. If the chicken tender marinade contains acid, you’ll want to be careful not to marinate it excessively, as the acid present in the marinade can alter the meat’s texture if you leave it to soak for too long.
How long to grill chicken tenders?
It takes 3 – 4 minutes over medium-high heat.
Where can I get a panko?
You can get panko and breadcrumbs at the same store. And if you can’t find panko, you can always use breadcrumbs instead.
What’s the ideal temperature for cooking chicken tenders?
You can bake chicken tenders at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so they cook fast and form a nice crunchy coating layer.
How long does it take to prepare chicken tenders?
Cooking chicken tenders shouldn’t take more than 8 – 10 minutes’ total. Make sure the meat is flipped halfway through the grilling process to even the cooking.
How do I avoid dry, tasteless chicken tenders?
To avoid dry chicken tenders, don’t overcook the tenders and ensure that the chicken layers are well seasoned.
Can I bake my chicken using an air fryer?
Yes, you can do so. The same method, cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit though they’ll take about ten to twenty minutes (though it all depends on the size and thickness of the chicken tenders)
As you go through this piece, it is essential to note that there are tens of recipes of chicken tenderloins out there, all of which you can try out. But, make sure you go through this piece thoroughly. Chicken tenders recipe is perfect dinner meals. Leave thoughts in the comment box below.