Skip the freezer aisle and ditch the deep fryer in favor of a family-friendly recipe for Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders that can be cooked in the oven or in an air fryer.
Chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, chicken tenders, popcorn chicken—no matter what you call it, poultry in fork-free form is always a crowd-pleaser. Rather than reach for that bag of frozen tendies (as my boys refer to them), preheat your oven or your air fryer for a lightened up spin that still delivers the essential shatteringly crispy crunch and juicy interior.
How Long Do You Bake Chicken Tenders
If you’re going the oven route with these easy, cheesy tenders, crank up the temp to 475°F. I know it seems hot, but the burst of heat will ensure the breadcrumbs get crispy and the chicken cooks through in a mere 15 minutes.
How to Make Chicken Tenders In an Air Fryer
If you’re Team Air Fryer, get ready for an even faster cook time. We’re talking 12 minutes at 360°F. A quick flip halfway through the air-frying process guarantees crispiness covers every inch of these quick-fix dippers.
Once these easy, cheesy tenders are on your dinner table, the next question to tackle is “What and how many dipping sauces should join the party?”
I’m all for variety when it comes to dipping and dunking, and luckily these cheesy tenders pair well with a whole host of options, from ketchup and Ranch (try my homemade version) to barbecue and marinara (hello, chicken Parmesan tenders!). So preheat that oven or air fryer and get ready to take poultry to a whole new level of perfection.
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- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 lbs uncooked chicken tenders
- Cooking spray
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the flour in a second medium bowl. In a third medium bowl, whisk together the eggs.
- Bread each chicken tender by dredging it in the flour, shaking off any excess, then adding it to the eggs, coating it on all sides and shaking off any excess. Transfer the chicken to the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it onto the chicken on all sides. Place the chicken tender on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the breading process with the remaining tenders, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Spray the top of the chicken tenders lightly with cooking spray. (This is optional, but it leads to a more golden brown color and crunch.)
To bake the tenders in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 475°F.
- Bake the chicken tenders, turning them once halfway through, until they’re cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and serve them with your preferred dipping sauces.
To cook the tenders in an air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer to 360°F. Grease the basket lightly with cooking spray then transfer a portion of the tenders into the basket.
- Air-fry the tenders, flipping them once halfway through, until they are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove them from the air fryer and serve them with your preferred dipping sauces.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.