Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders

from 4 votes

Crispy, cheesy, and oh-so-easy to make, these Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders are the ultimate crowd-pleaser! Whether you’re using the oven or an air fryer, you’ll have perfectly golden tenders ready in just 30 minutes. Ideal for busy weeknights or a healthier twist on your favorite comfort food, this recipe is guaranteed to become a family favorite.

Crispy chicken tenders topped with grated parmesan cheese on a serving platter with small bowls of dipping sauces.

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.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese breadcrumbs are coarser and crunchier than regular breadcrumbs, which will make for crispier oven-baked chicken tenders. If you don’t have Panko on hand, regular breadcrumbs will work, but they won’t be as crunchy.
  • Parmesan cheese: Pre-grated Parmesan can be used in a pinch, but freshly grated will melt better and provide a more robust flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: Dipping the chicken tenders in the flour will help the breading stick to it. You could use gluten-free flour instead.
  • Eggs: For this parmesan chicken, you’ll dip the chicken in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. The eggs will ensure the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken!
  • Chicken tenders: Buying pre-sliced chicken means you’ll have to do less work at home. If you’re using chicken breasts, simply cut them into strips about ½ inch thick.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Below you’ll find 5 easy steps showing you how to cook chicken tenders in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Whisk the breadcrumb mixture together. In a medium bowl, whisk the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper together.
  3. Prep the other ingredients. Place the flour in another medium bowl and the eggs in a third, whisking the eggs thoroughly.
  4. Bread the chicken. To make chicken tenderloins in the oven, start by dredging each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip the chicken into the egg and then into the cheesy breadcrumb mixture. To ensure the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken, lightly press them onto the surface.
  5. Bake. Place the chicken onto a baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. It’s important the chicken doesn’t touch so it browns evenly all over! Spray the tops of the tenders with cooking spray (this will also help them brown and crisp). Bake for 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Crispy chicken tenders on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders: 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.

Crispy chicken tenders in the basket of an air fryer.

Dipping Sauces

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. Here are a few of my family’s favorite dips to enjoy with these chicken tenders:

  1. Spicy Ketchup
  2. Marinara Sauce
  3. Barbecue Sauce
  4. Roasted Garlic Aioli
  5. Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

How to Store

Refrigerate: After cooking chicken tenders in the oven, you can let the leftovers cool and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freeze: To freeze, place the cooled tenders on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat: For the crispiest results, I recommend reheating the chicken tenders in an air fryer at 375°F for 5-7 minutes. The next best option is to use your oven. Place the tenders on a baking sheet and reheat at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. If you’re in a hurry, you can also reheat them in the microwave, but the coating won’t be as crispy.

Crispy chicken tenders on a serving platter with small bowls of dipping sauces.

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Main Course

Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders

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.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.75 from 4 votes
A top-down view of Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders on a serving platter next to small bowls containing ranch dressing and ketchup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Kelly’s Notes

  • After cooking chicken tenders in the oven, you can let the leftovers cool and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, place the cooled tenders on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: For the crispiest results, I recommend reheating the chicken tenders in an air fryer at 375°F for 5-7 minutes. The next best option is to use your oven. Place the tenders on a baking sheet and reheat at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. If you’re in a hurry, you can also reheat them in the microwave, but the coating won’t be as crispy.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 372mg, Potassium: 396mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 2mg

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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.


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4.75 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Comments

  1. Hi Kelly!
    I am going to make this tonight. Did you update/ change the recipe? In the comments posted, someone asked a question about the difference between grated Parmesan and shredded. They said that both shredded and grated parm were listed in the recipe. Now I only see one type of parm cheese listed. Did you delete the shredded parm cheese from the recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Tammy! Yes, I re-tested the recipe and the grated works much better than shredded. Hope this helps!

  2. 4 stars
    I made these tonight, tasted great and chicken was very tender. I followed the directions and my chicken wanted to stick to the foil when I turned them over mid way through cooking. Any suggestions why?

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Kelly, yes I lined the foil w/Olive oil. Loved the crunches on the pan but it did stick.

  3. I cannot turn on my oven over 375, or it sets off the fire alarm. As a result I cooked these at 375 for 11 minutes a side. They were perfect. Thanks for the recipe. It’s a keeper. My husband could not wait for seconds.

  4. This was amazing. All three of my kids loved them, my husband said it was the best tenders I have made so win for me. Thank you.

  5. Do you think I could freeze them before cooking so I could make a big batch in advance and just grab and cook when needed?

    1. Hi Rebecca! I’ve never tried freezing them so I’m not sure if the breading would stick well enough to then bake them after them afterword. Let me know if you give it a shot!

      1. 5 stars
        A quick fyi….I froze the leftover tenders s in a glass pyrex container (layer style with bottom layer, covered w/parchment paper, then top layer…No problemo….even added a tbsp or two of spaghetti sauce topped w/mozzerella to a few of the bottom layer tenders as an experiment. DELISH…one can get creative with this marvelous recipe. Next time the intent is to make a lot of these goodies and freeze for future quick meals.

    1. That should work! It might melt a lot faster than the Parmesan though, so just keep an eye on it for timing.

  6. Made these the other day and must say; they where Fantastic.
    With hubby’s high blood pressure I have quit with the frying so couldn’t have asked for a more perfect recipe.
    Thank you

  7. Happy new year Kelly! These chicken tenders look so crispy and delicious, my kid would love these (and I would of course too)! ;D

    1. Hi Grace! I use a mix of dried/canned breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs (for the best texture) but homemade breadcrumbs would work well, too!

  8. What is the difference between grated and shredded parmesan cheese? Both are listed in your recipe.

    1. Hi Michele – They are two different consistencies. The grated is finer in texture and more easily adheres to the chicken and mixes with the breadcrumbs. You want both grated and shredded for the best coating on the tenders. Enjoy!

    2. Question: I can’t locate chicken tenders. Can you just cut up some boneless chicken breast or thighs?

      1. Absolutely, Brenda! Just take a boneless, skinless chicken breast and cut it lengthwise into pieces about 1/2 inch thick.