Baked Chicken Tenders

  • YIELD4 servings
  • TIME45 minutes
  • Chicken tenders may be known for being a kid favorite, but it’s hard to find an adult who doesn’t enjoy them just as much. And there’s a lot to love when a crisp, golden brown coating meets juicy, tender chicken strips. This weeknight version strays slightly from the traditional deep-fried recipe: It can be pan-fried (see tip below), but shines when baked in the oven. It’s also not too spicy, but feel free to add cayenne, crushed red-pepper flakes or fennel seed, or ground cumin to the flour mixture for a little punch. Proper chicken tenders, or the smaller muscle underneath the breast, can be hard to find, but boneless, skinless breasts — from chicken, or even turkey — sliced into thin strips are an excellent stand-in. This version is paired with an herbed yogurt dip, dotted with chives, parsley and dill, but it can also be served with ketchup.

    INGREDIENTS

    FOR THE DIP:

    • 1 ½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt, labneh or sour cream
    • ¼ cup finely chopped chives
    • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated or chopped
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    FOR THE CHICKEN:

    • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
    • 2 cups bread crumbs (preferably panko or other coarse bread crumbs)
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil

    PREPARATION

    1. Make the dip: Mix yogurt, chives, parsley, dill, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl; season with salt and plenty of pepper. Set aside.
    2. Prepare the chicken: Cut chicken breasts lengthwise into about 1 1/4-inch-wide strips. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
    3. Mix together flour and paprika in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a large bowl and whisk with 1 teaspoon water. Season with salt and pepper. Put bread crumbs in a large bowl or shallow baking dish, and season with salt and pepper.
    4. Working with few pieces at a time, toss the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure it’s evenly coated. Shake off excess flour, and dip into egg wash. Shake off any excess.
    5. Dip chicken into bread crumb mixture a few pieces at a time, pressing to adhere as many bread crumbs as possible. Shake off any excess, and set chicken aside on a large plate.
    6. Heat oven to 450 degrees, and place breaded chicken strips on a foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake until one side is beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs or a spatula, flip chicken and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown and crisp, another 6 to 8 minutes. Serve with herbed yogurt dip.

    Tip

    • If pan-frying, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium–high heat. Once oil is shimmering and hot (and registers about 375 degrees on a thermometer), working in batches, add chicken strips, taking care not to crowd the skillet. Fry until one side is golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip chicken using tongs or a spatula, and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown and crisp, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve with herbed yogurt dip.

     

     

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