Baked Panko Chicken Tenders

Baked Panko Chicken Tenders: Crispy, Crunchy, and Irresistibly Delicious

Say goodbye to the deep fryer and hello to a healthier, equally delicious alternative – our Baked Panko Chicken Tenders. These tenders boast a golden, crispy exterior thanks to the magic of panko breadcrumbs, while staying tender and juicy on the inside. Perfect for a family-friendly meal or a game-day snack, these baked tenders are a crowd-pleaser that combines the satisfaction of comfort food with the guilt-free goodness of baked, not fried, perfection.


For the Chicken Tenders:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken tenders
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

For the Coating Station:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare Coating Station: Set up a coating station with three shallow dishes. Place flour in the first dish, beaten eggs in the second, and a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in the third.
  3. Coat the Chicken: Dredge each chicken tender first in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip it into the beaten eggs, ensuring it’s well-coated. Finally, press the tender into the panko mixture, ensuring an even coating.
  4. Place on Baking Sheet: Arrange the coated tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Ensure they are spaced apart for even crisping.
  5. Bake to Perfection: Lightly coat the tenders with cooking spray for extra crispiness. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tenders are golden brown and cooked through, flipping halfway.
  6. Serve Hot: Remove from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve these crunchy delights hot with your favorite dipping sauces.

Cook Notes:

  • For extra flavor, consider adding dried herbs like thyme or oregano to the panko mixture.
  • If you prefer a spicier kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the seasoning mix.


  • Zesty Lemon Twist: Add lemon zest to the panko mixture for a burst of citrusy freshness.
  • Herb Garden Delight: Mix fresh chopped herbs like parsley, dill, or cilantro into the panko coating for an herbaceous upgrade.

Keto-Friendly Tweaks:

For the Chicken Tenders:

  • Almond Flour Coating: Replace all-purpose flour with almond flour for a keto-friendly coating.
  • Pork Rind Magic: Crushed pork rinds can be a low-carb substitute for panko breadcrumbs.

For the Coating Station:

  • Keto-Friendly Binders: Instead of traditional eggs, use a keto-friendly binder like mayonnaise or heavy cream for dipping.

Low Carb Version:

For the Chicken Tenders:

  • Cheesy Cauliflower Crust: Replace panko breadcrumbs with a mixture of grated Parmesan and crushed pork rinds for a low-carb, cheesy crust.

For the Coating Station:

  • Almond Milk Bath: Dip the tenders in unsweetened almond milk instead of eggs for a low-carb alternative.

Baked Panko Chicken Tenders are proof that you can achieve crispy perfection without the need for deep-frying. These tenders offer a delightful contrast of textures – the crunch of the panko coating giving way to juicy, succulent chicken. Whether you’re serving them as a main course, party snack, or lunchbox treat, these tenders are a versatile and beloved option. Embrace the freedom to customize with various herbs and spices, explore keto and low-carb variations, and let these tenders become a staple in your kitchen. From the satisfying crunch to the flavorful seasoning, enjoy every bite guilt-free and savor the joy of homemade crispy goodness

Tips for Perfectly Crispy Tenders:

  • Rack and Bake Method: Elevate your tenders on a baking rack placed on the baking sheet. This promotes even air circulation, ensuring all sides of the tenders become wonderfully crispy.
  • Preheat the Pantry: Allow the coated tenders to rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before baking. This helps the coating adhere better and promotes a crunchier texture.
  • Experiment with Dipping Sauces: Pair these tenders with an array of dipping sauces like honey mustard, garlic aioli, or a zesty buffalo sauce for a personalized flavor experience.
  • Double Coating: For an extra thick and crunchy crust, double-dip the chicken tenders in the egg and panko mixture before baking.

Keto-Friendly Tweaks:

  • Cheese Fusion: Boost the cheesy goodness by adding extra Parmesan or mixing in shredded cheddar with the panko coating.
  • Avocado Aioli: Create a keto-friendly dipping sauce by blending avocado, garlic, lemon juice, and mayo for a creamy and flavorful accompaniment.
  • Nutty Crunch: Enhance the nutty flavor by incorporating crushed almonds or pecans into the coating for a keto-friendly crunch.

Low Carb Adventures:

  • Crispy Coconut Coating: Swap out panko for unsweetened shredded coconut for a tropical twist and a low-carb alternative.
  • Mustard Marinade: Marinate the chicken tenders in a mixture of Dijon mustard and olive oil before coating for a tangy, low-carb upgrade.
  • Crispy Cheese Perimeter: Grate extra cheese around the perimeter of each tender on the baking sheet for a crispy cheese crust.

Baked Panko Chicken Tenders are not just a recipe; they are a canvas for culinary creativity. Whether you’re following a keto lifestyle, exploring low-carb options, or simply seeking a crunchy and satisfying meal, these tenders offer endless possibilities. From the oven-baked perfection to the seasoned crunch, relish in the joy of making a comfort food classic that fits various dietary preferences. Share them with loved ones, serve them at gatherings, or enjoy them as a delightful snack. Let the Baked Panko Chicken Tenders be a reminder that healthier alternatives can be just as delicious, and may every crispy bite bring you a sense of homemade culinary triumph!

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