Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko

4.57 stars average

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These light and airy oven-fried chicken tenders provide a crunchy texture that isn’t fried and pairs perfectly with spicy mustard and sweet BBQ sauce for dipping.

Dipping oven-fried chicken tenders in ketchup.

When my husband and I lived in Boston, we loved getting together with friends and family for dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s, a local restaurant chain. My Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko is my healthier version of their famous Mustard Crusted Chicken. Light, fluffy, and airy – panko is my go-to ingredient whenever I need a crispy, crunchy crust without gallons of oil. Dijon mustard adds flavor, spice, and tang with minimal added calories. Bake at a high temperature on an elevated cooling rack and you are well on your way to a diet-friendly chicken dinner the whole family can enjoy!


  • Chicken: Chicken tenderloin work best, but you can also use chicken breasts or thighs and cut them into strips of your liking.
  • Dijon mustard: Tangy, sharp, and a little spice to coat the chicken and help the panko breading to stick.
  • Garlic: Adds some aromatic, nutty undertones to the chicken strips.
  • Panko: A kind of Japanese bread crumb that is fine, light, and fluffy and helps to make food crispier.
  • Olive oil: Helps to bind the panko mixture together and stick to the chicken tenders.
  • Paprika: Adds a bit of depth to the flavor profile of the chicken with the sweet and peppery notes.
  • S&P: Salt and pepper seasons and enhances the flavors of the dish.

How to Make Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko

Adding panko to dish

Start your oven-fried chicken tenders by making your panko mixture. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a large dish.

Seasoning panko

Season with some kosher salt and black pepper.

Adding paprika to

Then add the paprika.

Drizzling olive oil in panko

And a drizzle of olive oil.

Mixing panko

Mix it all together with a fork or whisk until fully combined.

Brushing chicken tenders with dijon

Then put your dijon mustard in a small bowl, and coat your chicken tenders well on both sides.

Dipping chicken tenders in panko

Once coated in Dijon mustard, place in the panko mixture and coat generously.

dipping all the chicken tenders

Continue this process until all tenders are coated.

Baking chicken tenders on tray

Then lay your chicken tenders onto an elevated wire rack on a prepared baking sheet and toss them in an oven at 475 until crispy and golden-brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Oven baked chicken tenders

Remove from the oven and let cool, then serve alongside your favorite dipping sauces and enjoy your Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko!

Easy Substitutions

  • Make it gluten-free. Panko can be bought gluten-free, or you can use matzo meal.
  • Spice things up. Do you like spicy chicken? Add some cayenne seasoning to the panko mix!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my chicken tenders not crispy?

Don’t go easy on the coating! Make sure they’re generously dipped and coated to be crispy.

Do chicken fingers freeze well?

Yes they do! Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 3 months!

Can I make these in an air fryer?

Yes you can! Just set your air fryer to 425 and cook for around 12 minutes.

Oven-fried chicken tenders

More Kid-FRiendly Meals

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Liz eating oven-fried chicken tenders with panko.

An easy and family-friendly meal in 20 minutes or less, my Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko are the perfect dinner for any weeknight.

No fork required.

Oven baked chicken tenders

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko

4.57 stars average
These light and airy chicken fingers provide a crunchy texture that isn't fried and pairs perfectly with spicy mustard and sweet BBQ sauce for dipping.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 25 minutes



  • Pre-heat oven to 475 and lay a metal cooling rack flat on top of a baking sheet. Spray cooling rack with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine mustard and garlic. Using a small brush, gently "paint" the chicken strips with the garlic mustard.
  • In a shallow bowl, use fork to combine panko, salt, pepper, olive oil and paprika. Working in batches, add mustard coated chicken to the panko mixture and press to evenly coat all sides. Place panko covered chicken strips on metal rack lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until browned, turning once halfway through.
  • Serve with BBQ or dipping sauce of choice.

Last Step:

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Look for panko next to the traditional bread crumbs are your local grocery store. By baking the chicken on the cooling rack, hot air is able to circulate around the chicken helping to create a nice, crunchy crust.


Calories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 25.5gProtein: 37.8gFat: 6.4gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5.9gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1087mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 2.2g
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52 responses to “Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko”

  1. CM Avatar

    So good! I was a little nervous when the recipe said to add the olive oil to the Panko. However, this turned out great I will make again. I personally ended up with a lot of leftover panko mixture ( I had 8 chicken tenders) so will start with less next time! Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. Michele Avatar

    These are my son’s favorite. I found your recipe years ago. He’s 17 now and is always happy to see these on our dinner menu! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh my goodness that makes me so happy Michele!

  3. AllieBeau Avatar

    Oh hi. Just stumbled upon your site as a homesick Bostonian on the west coast! My dude used to work at Joe’s and I just so happen to have all of these ingredients on hand. Thanks for the hit of nostalgia. Also, gorgeous blog!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      No way!! Small world!! Glad you found me!

  4. Betty Twiss Avatar
    Betty Twiss

    These were the most delicious chicken tenders ever, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Usually I overcook chicken, but these were perfect. I’ll bet you can use the same method for fish.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed them Betty!! Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Debbie Avatar

    I just had these tonight and they were delicious! I know my grandkids will love them. Can’t wait to share them. Thanks for the recipe. This is definitely a keeper!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh I’m so glad to hear it!

  6. krisy Avatar

    Made these chicken tenders tonight. Followed the recipe and turned out perfect. I will definitely be making these again.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m so glad to hear it!!! Let me know if you try any other recipes on my website!