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Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

These panko-crusted chicken tenders are a terrific and versatile dish that can be served as a main course or as a finger-food at parties. Their crispy exterior is thanks to the Japanese breadcrumbs, known as panko, which gives them an addictively crunchy texture. Combined with an array of spices, these chicken tenders are flavorful and a guaranteed hit with both kids and adults alike.


Photos of Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

Most of the ingredients for this recipe, like chicken breasts, eggs, and flour, are staple items that can easily be found in any supermarket. However, panko breadcrumbs might require a visit to the international aisle or a specialty store. Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs known for their crispier and airier texture compared to regular breadcrumbs. They create a light, crispy coating for these chicken tenders.

Ingredients for Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Chicken breasts: The main protein source of this recipe which will be tenderized and cut into strips.

Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese breadcrumbs have a flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, creating a unique texture.

Oregano: A common herb often used in Italian cuisine, adds depth to the flavor of the chicken.

Garlic powder: Adds a savory depth to the chicken tenders.

Smoked paprika: Adds a smoky flavor and a bit of heat to the dish.

Cayenne: Adds some heat to the chicken tenders. Adjust to taste if you prefer less spice.

Salt and black pepper: Used to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.

Eggs: Helps the bread crumbs adhere to the chicken.

Flour: Used to coat the chicken before dipping into the egg and breadcrumb mixture.

Barbecue sauce: Used in the honey-barbeque dipping sauce.

Honey: Adds sweetness to the barbecue sauce, creating a delightful contrast to the savory chicken tenders.

One reader, Ginevra Riggins says:

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I recently tried the panko-crusted chicken tenders recipe and it was a hit! The tenders were perfectly crispy and flavorful. The honey-barbecue dipping sauce was a delightful addition. It's now a family favorite and I can't wait to make it again! Highly recommend trying it out.

Ginevra Riggins

Techniques Required for Making Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

How to pound chicken breasts: Place the chicken breast between two layers of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it to an even thickness of approximately ½-inch. This ensures even cooking of the chicken tenders.

How to dredge chicken tenders: Coat the chicken tenders in flour, shaking off any excess, then dip them into the beaten eggs, and finally coat them with the seasoned panko breadcrumb mixture. This creates a crispy and flavorful crust on the chicken tenders.

How to make honey-barbecue dipping sauce: Whisk together the barbecue sauce and honey in a small bowl until well combined. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. This sweet and tangy sauce complements the crispy chicken tenders perfectly.

How To Make Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Crunchy chicken tenders are baked with panko crumbs, then served warm with a sweet and smoky honey-barbecue dipping sauce, for the heartiest meal!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • lbschicken breasts,or breast tenders, boneless, skinless
  • cupspanko breadcrumbs
  • 1tsporegano
  • 2tspgarlic powder
  • 1tspsmoked paprika
  • ½tspcayenne
  • ½tspkosher salt
  • ½tspfreshly ground black pepper
  • 2eggs
  • ½cupflour

For Honey-Barbecue Dipping Sauce:

  • ½cupbarbecue sauce,of choice
  • 3tbsphoney


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil and lightly spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. In a small bowl or shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper, and lightly beat the eggs in another shallow dish.

  3. In a third shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs with oregano, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.

  4. If using chicken breasts, prepare by putting one breast in between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound to an even thickness of approximately ½-inch. Remove the plastic and slice into strips.

  5. Dredge the tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg, then coat the chicken tenders with the breadcrumb mixture.

  6. Arrange the chicken tenders on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips.

  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping once partway through the cooking time.

  8. Whisk together the honey and barbeque sauce in a small bowl until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  9. Serve baked tenders with sauce, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 577.16kcal
  • Fat: 19.02g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.27g
  • Trans Fat: 0.19g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.35g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.92g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.30g
  • Fiber: 2.08g
  • Sugar: 25.79g
  • Protein: 42.67g
  • Cholesterol: 188.84mg
  • Sodium: 660.69mg
  • Calcium: 97.05mg
  • Potassium: 554.86mg
  • Iron: 2.71mg
  • Vitamin A: 98.29µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.49mg

Pro Tip for Achieving the Perfect Crunch in Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

When preparing the chicken tenders, it's crucial to ensure they are all approximately the same thickness. This ensures even cooking and prevents some pieces from being overcooked while others are undercooked. Using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, you can easily achieve this by gently pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness before cutting them into strips. Additionally, when coating the chicken tenders in the breadcrumb mixture, press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to make sure they adhere well. This will result in a crispier, more flavorful crust.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Crispy Chicken Tenders

Prep ahead: Prepare the breading mixture and store it in an airtight container for future use. You can also cut and pound the chicken tenders in advance and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Double batch: Make a larger batch of the panko-crusted chicken tenders and freeze the extras. When you're short on time, simply bake the frozen tenders for a quick and convenient meal.

Sheet pan: Use a large sheet pan to bake multiple batches of chicken tenders at once, saving time and energy. Ensure the tenders are evenly spaced for even cooking.

Organized setup: Set up an assembly line with the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixtures to streamline the breading process. This will help you work more efficiently and minimize mess.

Convection oven: If available, use a convection oven for faster and more even cooking of the chicken tenders. Adjust the temperature and time as needed for best results.

Prep station: Keep all the ingredients and tools within reach to create an efficient and organized cooking environment. This will help you work quickly and smoothly.

Substitute Ingredients For Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • chicken breasts - Substitute with turkey breasts: Turkey breasts can be used as a lean and flavorful alternative to chicken breasts, providing a similar texture and taste when cooked.

  • panko breadcrumbs - Substitute with crushed cornflakes: Crushed cornflakes can be used as a gluten-free alternative to panko breadcrumbs, providing a crispy coating for the chicken tenders.

  • oregano - Substitute with thyme: Thyme can be used as a substitute for oregano, providing a similar earthy and slightly minty flavor to the dish.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with onion powder: Onion powder can be used as a substitute for garlic powder, adding a savory and aromatic flavor to the chicken tenders.

  • smoked paprika - Substitute with regular paprika: Regular paprika can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika, providing a mild and sweet flavor to the dish.

  • cayenne - Substitute with chili powder: Chili powder can be used as a substitute for cayenne, adding a spicy kick to the chicken tenders.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of salinity to the dish.

  • black pepper - Substitute with white pepper: White pepper can be used as a substitute for black pepper, providing a milder and slightly earthy flavor to the chicken tenders.

  • eggs - Substitute with buttermilk: Buttermilk can be used as a substitute for eggs, providing a tangy and creamy base for the breading of the chicken tenders.

  • flour - Substitute with cornstarch: Cornstarch can be used as a substitute for flour, providing a lighter and crispier coating for the chicken tenders.

  • barbecue sauce - Substitute with honey mustard: Honey mustard can be used as a substitute for barbecue sauce, providing a sweet and tangy dipping sauce for the chicken tenders.

Plating Ideas for Crispy Chicken Tenders

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the panko-crusted chicken tenders in a visually appealing manner on the plate, ensuring each piece is positioned thoughtfully.

  2. Incorporate color contrast: Introduce vibrant elements such as a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or a side of colorful pickled vegetables to enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

  3. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of minimalism by allowing some areas of the plate to remain empty, creating a balanced and sophisticated presentation.

  4. Garnish with microgreens: Add a touch of elegance by delicately placing a few microgreens on top of the chicken tenders, enhancing the overall aesthetic.

  5. Consider the plate shape and size: Choose a plate that complements the dish, ensuring that the panko-crusted chicken tenders are the focal point while the plate enhances their visual impact.

  6. Create a sauce swirl: Use a small squeeze bottle to create an artistic swirl of the honey-barbecue dipping sauce on the plate, adding a touch of finesse to the presentation.

  7. Add edible flowers for a sophisticated touch: Introduce edible flowers to the plate for a touch of refinement, elevating the overall presentation and adding a subtle floral note.

  8. Incorporate height: Stack the chicken tenders in a manner that creates a sense of height on the plate, adding dimension and visual interest to the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • Oven: An essential appliance for baking and roasting dishes.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, metal tray used for baking items in the oven.
  • Foil: Aluminum foil is used to cover and protect food in the oven.
  • Cooking spray: A non-stick spray used to coat pans and baking sheets.
  • Small bowl: Used for mixing and preparing small amounts of ingredients.
  • Shallow dish: A dish used for breading and coating food items.
  • Plastic wrap: Used for covering and protecting food items.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending and mixing ingredients.
  • Bowl: Used for mixing and holding ingredients.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, metal tray used for baking items in the oven.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients.
  • Small bowl: Used for mixing and preparing small amounts of ingredients.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • To store leftover panko-crusted chicken tenders, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • When ready to reheat, place the tenders on a baking sheet and warm in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat them in an air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for 5-7 minutes.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the cooled chicken tenders. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen solid, about 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the tenders to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  • To reheat frozen chicken tenders, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the frozen tenders on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. There's no need to thaw the tenders before reheating.
  • For best results, consume the reheated panko-crusted chicken tenders immediately to ensure they maintain their crispy texture. The honey-barbecue dipping sauce can be stored separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How To Reheat Leftover Chicken Tenders

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the leftover panko-crusted chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Ensure the tenders are evenly spaced and not touching each other to allow for even reheating. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tenders are heated through and the panko breadcrumbs are crispy once again.

  • For a quicker option, use an air fryer to reheat your leftover chicken tenders. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and place the tenders in the basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the tenders are heated through and the panko crust is crispy.

  • If you prefer a stovetop method, heat a small amount of olive oil or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the leftover panko-crusted chicken tenders and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are heated through and the crust is crispy. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet, as this may cause the tenders to steam rather than crisp up.

  • For a microwave option, place the leftover tenders on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, checking the tenders after each interval to ensure they don't overcook and become rubbery. The paper towels will help absorb any excess moisture, preventing the panko crust from becoming soggy.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken tenders using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure the tenders are safe to consume.

Interesting Trivia About Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Panko breadcrumbs are made from bread without crusts, which gives them a lighter, flakier texture compared to regular breadcrumbs.

Is Making Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this panko-crusted chicken tenders recipe is quite favorable. The main ingredients, such as chicken breasts and panko breadcrumbs, are reasonably priced and readily available. The addition of spices and eggs does not significantly increase the overall cost. The honey-barbecue dipping sauce can be made with basic pantry staples, further enhancing the affordability. Considering the simplicity and accessibility of the ingredients, this recipe is a solid 9/10 in terms of cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of four people is around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly option for a satisfying meal.

Are Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Healthy or Unhealthy?

This panko-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a healthier alternative to deep-fried chicken tenders. By baking the chicken instead of frying, the recipe reduces the amount of oil and fat consumed. The use of panko breadcrumbs provides a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil. The recipe also incorporates spices like oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne, which add flavor without relying on excessive salt or unhealthy additives.

However, there are a few aspects of the recipe that could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Use whole wheat panko breadcrumbs instead of regular panko to increase the fiber content
  • Reduce the amount of honey in the dipping sauce to lower the sugar content, or opt for a sugar-free barbecue sauce
  • Serve the chicken tenders with a side of fresh vegetables or a salad to balance out the meal and add more nutrients
  • Use low-fat mayonnaise or Greek yogurt as a base for the dipping sauce to reduce the fat content further
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to add more flavor without increasing the sodium or fat content, such as rosemary, thyme, or cumin

Editor's Opinion on This Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

The panko-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a delightful combination of crispy texture and flavorful seasoning. The use of panko breadcrumbs and a blend of oregano, garlic, and smoked paprika adds a delightful crunch and depth of flavor to the chicken tenders. The honey-barbecue dipping sauce complements the tenders perfectly, adding a touch of sweetness and tanginess. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser and is perfect for a family meal or entertaining guests. The tenders are easy to prepare and bake to golden perfection in the oven. Overall, it's a fantastic recipe that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Enhance Your Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful medley of roasted vegetables, including carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini, seasoned with herbs and olive oil.
Fruit Salad: Fresh fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits, such as strawberries, pineapple, and grapes, drizzled with a light citrus dressing.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs before threading them onto skewers and grilling until tender and slightly charred.
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Sear the beef short ribs before braising them in a flavorful liquid until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: Combine chia seeds, coconut milk, and diced mango in a jar and refrigerate overnight for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or dessert option.
Butternut Squash Soup: Roast butternut squash, onions, and garlic until caramelized, then blend with vegetable broth and warm spices for a comforting and creamy soup.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a delicious start to any meal.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with these elegant skewers featuring fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor in every bite.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and creamy texture will melt in your mouth, leaving you craving for more.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Savor the luscious and creamy strawberry cheesecake, with a buttery graham cracker crust and a sweet strawberry topping. Each bite is a delightful combination of tangy and sweet flavors that will leave you wanting another slice.

Why trust this Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe:

This recipe guarantees succulent chicken breasts coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and a harmonious blend of oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a hint of cayenne. The meticulous seasoning and baking method ensure a perfect golden crust while preserving the tender chicken inside. The honey-barbecue dipping sauce adds a delightful touch, marrying the smoky barbecue sauce with the sweetness of honey. Trust the expertise behind this recipe for a delightful dining experience.

Excited to try out this Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders Recipe? Share your experience and any tweaks you made in the Recipe Sharing forum!
What can I use as a substitute for panko breadcrumbs?
You can use regular breadcrumbs, crushed cornflakes, crushed crackers, or even crushed nuts as a substitute for panko breadcrumbs.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?
Yes, you can absolutely use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly as thighs may require a bit longer to cook through.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and a gluten-free flour blend for dredging the chicken.
Can I fry the chicken tenders instead of baking them?
Yes, you can definitely fry the chicken tenders instead of baking them. Simply heat oil in a skillet and fry the breaded chicken tenders until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Can I prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time and freeze them?
Yes, you can prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time, bread them, and then freeze them. When ready to cook, simply bake or fry them as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time if cooking from frozen.

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