Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko

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

4.58 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
Servings: 4



  • 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.


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

52 thoughts on “Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Panko”

  1. I have made these 2 weeks in a row! My son is such a picky eater and these are so easy and delicious. I am so happy I found your website.

  2. Yum yum! These are in my oven as I am typing this. So easy to make and smell delicious. Never thought of putting garlic with the mustard, yum. Timer just went off. Yeh. Thanks again for this recipe.

      1. These were awesome. Everyone loved them flavorful and delicious. I forgot to flip half way through cooking so not as crispy on back as on top. Awesome recipe. Thank you for a flavorful and delicious and quick dinner last night

  3. These are the best, better than any frozen and just as easy to make! I didn’t have fresh garlic so I just added some powdered garlic to the panko mix. I also just threw the chicken pieces in a bowl with the mustard and mixed well – it worked very well! My husband couldn’t stop eating them and can’t wait to share with my daughter.

    1. Liz DellaCroce

      Oh I’m so glad to hear!!!! We haven’t made these in awhile but your comment is a good reminder to add them to the menu soon! So glad you enjoyed them.

  4. Made these for dinner and we all loved them!!! My husband went back for more and ate some cold out of the fridge and said he wouldn’t mind just keeping them in there for snacks! My three year old had fun helping me do the breading as well. All around fun and yummy:) Thanks Liz, can’t wait to try some more of your recipes!

  5. These sound perfect! I’m making them tonight and adding some parmesan cheese to the panko crumbs! Serving them with a cucumber/pepper salad to be extra healthy!=)

  6. I made this dish for my son and myself last week and it was delicious! Best oven baked chicken strip recipe I have tried and there have been many. I never would have thought of adding the olive oil to the panko. It really helped crisp them up. Thank you!

  7. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! I never cooked chicken at such high heat before and I have to say it kept it very moist! Instead of paprika I used Pecorino Romano and it was delish! Will try the paprika some time, too. :) I also have never combined oil into the bread crumb mixture. It was a little difficult to mix, but I stuck with it.

    Thanks again!

  8. Made this for dinner tonight. It was quick, easy and delish! My son said I hit it out of the park with this one! Thanks.

  9. Chicken fingers are my favorite food ever! Sometimes I’m naughty and fry them and then eat about a dozen. Just because, you know… fried food is just bad reheated. ;)

    So I’m happy that baked chicken fingers exist! These look especially nice. :)

    1. haha I could eat anything covered in panko too!!! I’m going to sprinkle them on baked mushrooms tonight. So good! Happy New Year friend – I’m so glad we got the chance to meet as well!! xoxo

      1. Do you freeze after they are coated & cooked?
        The panko breading does not get soggy? Thats great!
        How do you reheat them?


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