How To Make Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders with Creamy Dip Trio

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There’s something so satisfying about making chicken fingers at home. You get to choose your ingredients for the crispy coating, add your own spices, and whip up some dipping sauces with ingredients from your pantry. And there’s no need to fry them, either — these oven-baked chicken tenders have a secret ingredient that gets them super crispy without a three-step breading process or even hot oil.

These are arguably the easiest oven-baked chicken tenders, giving you plenty of time to create a creamy dip trio to pair alongside them.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Mayo Is the Magic Ingredient for These Chicken Tenders

Ready for this? Instead of going through the usual three-step breading process for these chicken tenders, coat them in a mayo-egg mixture that helps “oven-fry” the breadcrumbs, giving them a crispiness other oven-baked chicken tenders lack.

Five Steps for Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders

  1. Toast the panko breadcrumbs before baking for better color and flavor. You can use the sheet pan you’re baking the chicken tenders on later and the warm oven to do this.
  2. Smoosh together the mayo, a little flour, and an egg in a large zip-top bag. This is a really good job for little kitchen helpers.
  3. Add the chicken to the bag and massage to coat. Season the chicken first, but then let the bag do most of the work in coating the chicken.
  4. Shake and bake the panko coating. Transfer the mayo-coated chicken tenders into another zip-top bag with the panko breadcrumbs and toss them around, shake-and-bake-style.
  5. Bake until crisp, tender perfection and make some dips while you wait. Each dip is built from pantry staples and will appease everyone in your family.
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

In my family, everyone wants a little bit of a different dip. When the chicken tenders are this easy to make, I don’t mind accommodating their requests. I won’t, however, make extra grocery trips for dip ingredients. These three dips — Mayo-Ketchup, Creamy Honey Mustard, and Yogurt Ranch — all rely on kitchen staples. That way, everyone gets the dip they want, and I don’t have to leave the house.

117 Ratings

Chicken Tenders

Serves4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 3/4 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1

    large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 2 pounds

    chicken tenders, or 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut crosswise into 1-inch strips

  • Cooking spray

For the mayo-ketchup:

  • 1/4 cup

    ketchup

  • 3 tablespoons

    mayonnaise

For the creamy honey mustard:

  • 1/4 cup

    mayonnaise or greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon

    honey

For the yogurt ranch:

  • 1/4 cup

    full-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon

    ranch dressing powder, storebought or homemade

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Gallon sized zip-top bag

  • Tongs

  • Rimmed baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Spread the panko into a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown, about 4 minutes. You can do this while the oven preheats, but they may need more time to toast. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet while you prepare the chicken.

  2. Place the mayonnaise, flour, and egg in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Seal the bag and massage until the ingredients become a mostly homogenous mixture.

  3. Season the chicken with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer the chicken to the bag with the mayonnaise mixture, seal the bag, and massage to coat each strip with the mixture.

  4. Transfer the panko to another gallon-sized zip-top bag. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the panko bag. Seal the bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.  

  5. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a baking sheet (you can use the same one you toasted the breadcrumbs on). Spray the chicken strips with cooking spray and sprinkle with more salt.

  6. Bake the chicken strips until golden-brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. While the chicken bakes, mix up the dips. Serve the warm chicken strips with the dips and an additional sprinkling of salt, as desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Toast the panko a few days in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature. The chicken can be refrigerated in the egg-mayo mixture for up to 2 days before breading.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Nutritional info: The nutritional information calculated for this recipe is for the chicken tenders only and does not include the dips.

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