Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

Dive into the world of flavors with these tortilla-crusted chicken tenders. Crispy on the outside with a juicy tender chicken inside, this recipe combines simple ingredients to create a crowd-pleasing dish. The tortilla chips provide a unique crust, bringing a twist to typical breaded chicken. A hint of cumin and garlic adds a touch of savoriness, while the fresh cilantro and lime offer a refreshing zest. Served with salsa, this is a chicken tender recipe that will leave everyone reaching for more.

Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe
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All ingredients listed for this recipe are commonly found in most supermarkets. However, make sure to choose tortilla chips that are not too seasoned as they form the crust for the chicken. The salsa used for dipping can also be of any variety, though a chunky salsa tends to add a nice texture.

Ingredients for Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Chicken breast tenders: These are the main ingredient of our recipe. Ensure they are fresh for the best taste.

Kosher salt: Used for seasoning the chicken, it enhances the flavor.

All-purpose flour: Needed for the dredging process, it helps the egg and tortilla chip mixture stick to the chicken.

Egg: It works as a glue, helping the tortillas adhere to the chicken.

Tortilla chips: Crushed into fine pieces, they create the crispy and flavorful crust.

Garlic powder: Adds a subtle depth of flavor to the chicken.

Cumin: Gives a warm, earthy flavor to the crust.

Olive oil spray: Used to lightly coat the chicken before baking, it helps achieve a golden brown color.

Lime: Squeezed on the chicken before serving, it gives a fresh and tangy flavor.

Cilantro: It's used as a garnish and adds a refreshing taste.

Salsa: Served as a dipping sauce, it complements the flavor of the chicken tenders.

One reader, Alisa Munguia says:

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This tortilla-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a game-changer! The crispy tortilla coating adds a delightful crunch to the tender chicken. The seasoning is spot on, and the salsa dip complements it perfectly. It's a hit with my family and a go-to for gatherings. Highly recommend trying it out!

Alisa Munguia

Techniques Required for Making Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

How to preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to season the chicken tenders: Season the chicken tenders with ¾ teaspoon of salt and pepper.

How to dredge the chicken tenders: Dredge each tender lightly in flour, then egg (shaking off excess), then in the chip mixture.

How to bake the chicken tenders: Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

How to serve the chicken tenders: To serve, place 2 tenders on each plate, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with 1 lime wedge and salsa for dipping.

How To Make Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders

These delicious chicken tenders are baked to golden perfection, made amazingly crispy with seasoned tortilla chips, then served with salsa.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes



  • lbchicken breast tenders,(8 tenders) boneless, skinless
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper,to taste
  • 2tbspall-purpose flour,or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1large egg,lightly beaten
  • oztortilla chips,crushed
  • 1tspgarlic powder
  • 1tspcumin
  • olive oil spray
  • ½lime,cut into 4 wedges
  • fresh cilantro,chopped, for garnish
  • ½cupjarred salsa,for dipping


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Season the chicken tenders with ¾ teaspoon of salt and pepper.

  3. Place the flour on a shallow plate and the egg in a medium bowl. Place the tortilla chips, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper on another shallow plate.

  4. Dredge each tender lightly in flour, then egg (shaking off excess), then in the chip mixture.

  5. Lightly spray the sheet pan with olive oil, place the tenders on the pan, and spray the top with olive oil.

  6. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

  7. To serve, place 2 tenders on each plate, and sprinkle with cilantro.

  8. Serve with 1 lime wedge and salsa for dipping.


  • Calories: 1409.91kcal
  • Fat: 82.98g
  • Saturated Fat: 16.54g
  • Trans Fat: 0.02g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 35.38g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 18.23g
  • Carbohydrates: 92.97g
  • Fiber: 7.77g
  • Sugar: 3.55g
  • Protein: 71.50g
  • Cholesterol: 232.47mg
  • Sodium: 2373.98mg
  • Calcium: 148.47mg
  • Potassium: 1212.97mg
  • Iron: 6.61mg
  • Vitamin A: 49.02µg
  • Vitamin C: 8.20mg

Expert Tip for Perfecting Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

When preparing the chicken tenders, it's crucial to shake off the excess egg after dredging. This ensures that the tortilla chips coating adheres properly and doesn't become too thick or clumpy. This results in a crispier and more evenly cooked chicken tender. Additionally, spraying the tenders with olive oil before baking helps to achieve a golden and crunchy exterior.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Prep ahead: Marinate the chicken tenders the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a food processor: Crush the tortilla chips and mix in the spices in a food processor for a quick and even coating.

Double batch: Make extra and freeze the uncooked chicken tenders for a quick and easy meal in the future.

Sheet pan: Use a sheet pan to bake the chicken tenders all at once for a time-saving and easy cleanup.

Air fryer option: Consider using an air fryer for a quicker cooking time and a crispy texture.

Prep station: Set up a dredging station with the flour, egg, and tortilla chip mixture to streamline the coating process.

Pre-cut tenders: Purchase pre-cut chicken tenders to skip the step of cutting and save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • chicken breast tenders - Substitute with turkey breast tenders: Turkey breast tenders can be used as a lean and flavorful alternative to chicken, providing a similar texture and taste to the dish.

  • 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.

  • all-purpose flour - Substitute with gluten-free flour: Gluten-free flour can be used for those with dietary restrictions or preferences, providing a suitable alternative for coating the chicken tenders.

  • tortilla chips - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs can be used to create a crispy coating for the chicken tenders, offering a different texture while still providing a delicious crunch.

  • jarred salsa - Substitute with homemade salsa: Homemade salsa can be used as a fresher alternative to jarred salsa, allowing for customization of flavors and spice levels to suit personal preferences.

Plating Ideas for Crispy Chicken Tenders

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the tortilla-crusted chicken tenders on the plate with precision and attention to detail, ensuring each piece is positioned thoughtfully.

  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Introduce pops of color to the plate with the addition of fresh cilantro and a side of vibrant salsa, creating a visually appealing presentation.

  3. Emphasize texture: Highlight the crispy tortilla crust by ensuring it remains intact and visually appealing, adding a textural element to the dish.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate, allowing the chicken tenders to stand out and become the focal point of the presentation.

  5. Balance the components: Ensure that each element on the plate is balanced in proportion, creating a harmonious and visually appealing composition.

  6. Incorporate a lime wedge: Introduce a lime wedge as a garnish, adding a touch of freshness and acidity to the overall presentation.

  7. Consider the plate shape and size: Select a plate that complements the dish, allowing the tortilla-crusted chicken tenders to be showcased elegantly.

  8. Precision in sauce placement: When serving the salsa for dipping, ensure it is presented with precision and attention to detail, enhancing the overall visual appeal of the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for various tasks such as chopping, pureeing, and blending ingredients.

  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is an essential tool for combining ingredients and mixing them thoroughly. It comes in various sizes and materials to suit different cooking needs.

  • Sheet pan: A sheet pan, also known as a baking sheet, is a flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and roasting foods in the oven.

  • Olive oil spray: Olive oil spray is a convenient tool for lightly coating pans and food with a fine mist of olive oil, adding flavor and preventing sticking.

  • Lime squeezer: A lime squeezer is a handheld tool designed to extract juice from limes efficiently, making it easier to add fresh citrus flavor to dishes.

  • Knife: A sharp knife is essential for cutting and preparing ingredients, ensuring precision and efficiency in the kitchen.

  • Baking sheet: A baking sheet, also known as a sheet pan, is a flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and roasting foods in the oven.

  • Measuring spoons: Measuring spoons are used to accurately measure small amounts of ingredients, ensuring precision in recipes.

  • Measuring cup: A measuring cup is a kitchen tool used to measure liquid or dry ingredients accurately for cooking and baking.

  • Shallow plate: A shallow plate is used for dredging and coating ingredients, providing a flat surface for the flour, egg, or breading mixture.

  • Medium bowl: A medium bowl is used for mixing and whisking ingredients, providing a versatile vessel for various cooking and baking tasks.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • To store leftover tortilla-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 them in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 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 them 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 tortilla-crusted 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 chicken tenders immediately to ensure they maintain their crispy texture. Serve with fresh lime wedges, salsa, or your favorite dipping sauce.

How To Reheat Leftover Chicken Tenders

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the leftover tortilla-crusted chicken tenders on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tenders are heated through and the coating is crispy again. This method helps to maintain the crunchiness of the tortilla chip crust while ensuring the chicken stays moist and tender.

  • For a quicker option, use an air fryer to reheat the tortilla-crusted chicken tenders. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the tenders in the basket, ensuring they are not overlapping. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. The air fryer's rapid circulation of hot air will help to restore the crispiness of the tortilla chip coating without drying out the chicken.

  • If you prefer a stovetop method, heat a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the leftover tortilla-crusted chicken tenders and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until heated through and the coating is crispy. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, as this may cause the tenders to steam rather than crisp up.

  • For a microwave option, place the leftover tortilla-crusted chicken 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 dry. The paper towels will help to absorb any excess moisture, preventing the tortilla chip coating from becoming soggy.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to let the tortilla-crusted chicken tenders rest for a minute or two before serving. This will allow the heat to distribute evenly throughout the chicken and ensure that the coating remains crispy. Serve the reheated tenders with fresh lime wedges, salsa, or your favorite dipping sauce for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Interesting Trivia About Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

The tortilla-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional breaded chicken tenders. The tortilla chip crust adds a crunchy texture and a flavorful twist to the dish. This recipe is also gluten-free, making it suitable for those with dietary restrictions. Additionally, using tortilla chips as a coating is a creative way to add a Mexican-inspired flair to a classic dish. It's a fun and tasty way to enjoy chicken tenders with a unique twist.

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

The cost-effectiveness of this tortilla-crusted chicken tenders recipe is quite favorable. The main ingredients, such as chicken breast tenders and tortilla chips, are relatively affordable and readily available. The addition of fresh cilantro and jarred salsa enhances the flavor without significantly increasing the cost. Overall, this recipe offers a balance of taste and affordability, making it a practical choice for a household. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly option.

Are Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders Healthy or Unhealthy?

This tortilla-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders. By baking the chicken instead of frying it, the recipe reduces the amount of unhealthy fats and calories. The use of tortilla chips as a coating provides a crispy texture without the need for deep frying. Additionally, the recipe incorporates spices like garlic powder and cumin, 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 flour instead of all-purpose flour to increase the fiber content
  • Opt for low-sodium tortilla chips to reduce the overall salt content
  • Include a side of vegetables, such as a salad or roasted veggies, to balance out the meal and add more nutrients
  • Use a homemade salsa or a low-sugar variety to avoid added sugars and preservatives

To further enhance the nutritional value of the dish, consider the following suggestions:

  • Marinate the chicken in a mixture of yogurt, lime juice, and spices before coating it with the tortilla chips to add moisture and tenderness without the need for extra oil
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices, such as paprika, oregano, or chili powder, to create a variety of flavors and boost the antioxidant content
  • Serve the chicken tenders with a side of guacamole or a Greek yogurt-based dipping sauce for a healthier alternative to traditional condiments

Editor's Opinion on This Delightful Chicken Tender Recipe

This tortilla-crusted chicken tenders recipe is a delightful twist on a classic favorite. The combination of tender chicken, crunchy tortilla chip coating, and flavorful spices creates a mouthwatering dish. The use of lime and cilantro adds a refreshing and zesty touch, while the salsa provides a perfect accompaniment for dipping. The cooking method ensures a crispy exterior while keeping the chicken juicy and tender. This recipe is a surefire way to elevate a simple chicken tender dish into a gourmet experience that will impress and satisfy.

Enhance Your Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for complementing the crispy tortilla-crusted chicken tenders.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and finished with a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest, a refreshing and vibrant side dish for the tortilla-crusted chicken tenders.
Caramelized Onion and Bell Pepper Quinoa: Nutty quinoa mixed with sweet caramelized onions and colorful bell peppers, a wholesome and flavorful accompaniment to the crunchy chicken tenders.

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

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs before grilling for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Slow cook the beef short ribs in a flavorful broth until tender and serve with mashed potatoes for a comforting and hearty meal.
Mango Coconut Popsicles: Blend fresh mango with coconut milk and a touch of honey, then freeze in popsicle molds for a refreshing and tropical dessert.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Simmer tomatoes, onions, and garlic in broth, then blend with fresh basil and cream for a creamy and comforting soup perfect for any time of year.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts to Pair with Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a mouthwatering appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a delicious start to any meal.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Grate fresh zucchini and mix with herbs and spices to form small fritters. Pan-fry until golden brown and serve with a side of creamy dipping sauce for a delightful and crunchy appetizer.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with gooey, molten chocolate when you cut into it. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of warm and cold, and top it off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a touch of sweetness.
Tiramisu: Create a classic tiramisu with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone cheese, dusted with cocoa powder for a hint of bitterness. Serve it chilled for a refreshing and satisfying end to your meal.

Why trust this Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a flavorful and crispy tortilla-crusted coating, ensuring a delightful crunch with every bite. The use of tortilla chips adds a unique twist to the classic chicken tenders, while the combination of garlic powder and cumin infuses the dish with aromatic and savory flavors. The inclusion of jarred salsa provides a zesty and tangy dip, complementing the tenders perfectly. With the addition of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, this recipe promises a vibrant and satisfying meal that will surely impress your taste buds.

Want to share your own twist on this Tortilla Encrusted Chicken Tenders Recipe or discuss tips and techniques with fellow home cooks? Head over to the Recipe Sharing forum and join the conversation!
Can I use a different type of tortilla chip for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of tortilla chip. Feel free to experiment with different flavors and textures to find the one that suits your taste preferences.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast tenders?
Absolutely! You can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast tenders. Just adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure they are fully cooked through.
Can I prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time and bake them later?
Yes, you can prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake. Just make sure to cover them to prevent them from drying out.
Can I substitute the salsa with a different dipping sauce?
Of course! You can substitute the salsa with any dipping sauce of your choice. Whether it's a creamy avocado dip or a spicy chipotle sauce, feel free to get creative with your dipping options.
Can I freeze the leftover chicken tenders?
Yes, you can freeze the leftover chicken tenders. Once they have cooled, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag, and they should keep well for up to 2-3 months. Just reheat them in the oven when you're ready to enjoy them again.

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