Home » Best Baked Chicken Tenders

Best Baked Chicken Tenders

If you enjoy chicken, you most certainly love a good old-fashioned chicken tender. Crispy, crunchy, and juicy inside. Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce for the perfect finish. This recipe is most certainly a fan favorite and will be in your home, too!


I am so looking forward to back-to-back long weekends. My kids have become professional sleepers 1 week into winter break and I’m going to embrace it while it’s here. While I’ve been working during this time, they’ve toggled between a sitter and Mark and they’ve had ample downtime and time for fun stuff, too: building snowmen, sledding down their playset slide in the yard, searching the beach for beach glass, going to swim team, and playing with all of the gifts from Santa and family. This downshift each year is always such an odd feeling – what day is it? Did I shower? When did my kids last leave the house? I kind of love it. Work was bare bones yesterday and the same today – the enneagram 3 in me is checking all the to-do’s off the list and is very fulfilled by that! 😉

We decided to host a big’ol group for New Years Day. Note: not NYE as we never make it til midnight, and with Monday being the recognized new years holiday, this seemed to work. Needless to say, much of the weekend will be spent preparing for that – an Italian feast – but I’m looking forward to it! Come week after next, it’ll be back to the grind.


  • Unless you’ve a vegetarian or vegan, I can all but promise you’ll love these chicken tenders. Cause…who DOESN’T love a chicken tender? Crispy, crunchy, and hot and juicy, lean white meat chicken inside. SOLD.
  • Leftover fans, listen up. Double the recipe. Personally, any time I’m dredging and dunking and breading, I consider it a bit of an effort in terms of meal-making. And yet, this chicken repurposes so, so well. It reheats like a dream in an air fryer, toaster oven, or oven and certainly the microwave in a pinch! More on what to do with leftovers below.
  • Parents – there’s a 99.9% chance your kids love chicken tenders and this will quickly become a family favorite. You’re welcome!


  • Spiced cornstarch: seasoning salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne are added to cornstarch for a quick dredge. This step is key to locking in the moisture and flavor of the buttermilk soak.


  • Chicken tenderloins are the most tender meat on the bird – that may come as a surprise! The tenderloin isthe long, innermost muscle of the breast lying along the breastbone and is incredibly lean.
  • Tenders without frying is the big nutritional edge with this recipe. A faux fry is achieved without deep frying and the addition of saturated and trans fat.


  • Change up the spice mixture, as you wish – extra cayenne, perhaps!?
  • Feel free to add some buffalo wing sauce into the egg mixture for a little extra zing!
  • Use Italian-style breadcrumbs for a change, if you wish!
  • The easiest and arguable the most fun way to add variety is all in changing up the dipping sauces! I’m a honey mustard girl, but my crew loves ketchup (oh my), BBQ, and also parmesan garlic and buffalo wing sauce when we’re wanting a change from our go-to’s!


  • Store leftovers after they are fully cooled in an air-tight container. Keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat on baking sheet for 8-10 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. In an air fryer, heat to 350 degrees F and air fry for 10 minutes, flipping once.


  • Try to use one hand for each step of the process to ensure not too much of the cornstarch and breadcrumb end up clumped up on your fingers!
  • For an added crunch, place a wire baking rack over the prepared baking sheet for more of a convection cook, ensuring heat surrounds the entire tender. This also eliminates the need to flip the tender halfway through. That said, I often skip both of these steps because I’m #lazy and all turns out well!

Best Baked Chicken Tenders

Best Baked Chicken Tenders

Yield: 6 servings (2 tenders each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

If you enjoy chicken, you most certainly love a good old-fashioned chicken tender. Crispy, crunchy, and juicy inside. Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce for the perfect finish. This recipe is most certainly a fan favorite and will be in your home, too!


  • 2 lbs chicken tenders (about 12)
  • 1 qt low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp seasoning salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • Large pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 egg whites, beaten until foamy
  • 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
  • nonstick olive oil cooking spray


  1. Combine chicken and buttermilk in a large bowl, gently rotate to coat the tenders. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Drain tenders for several minutes or blot with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess buttermilk.
  4. Combine the cornstarch, paprika, seasoning salt, pepper, and cayenne in a shallow dish, whisking until well-combined. In a second shallow dish, whisk egg whites until foamy. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.
  5. Dredge chicken tenders in seasoned starch. Next, coat dredged tenders thoroughly with beaten egg whites. Last, dip tenders into breadcrumbs, gently pressing the coating to stick.
  6. Place chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tenders. Mist with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden. If desired, carefully flip tenders halfway through cooking for a perfected "fried" texture.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 tenders
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 1.8gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 44.7gFiber: 2.0gSugar: 2.8gProtein: 37.8g

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