Easy Chicken Tenders

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easy chicken tenders
What's your Take?

These chicken tenders turn out textured and crispy on the outside, with only as much spice as you (and your kids) like. And because they're baked instead of fried, they're a healthy alternative to the fast-food kind.

What you'll need

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (raw)
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup mashed potato flakes (we used Idaho Spuds)
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning mix (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • (regular milk can also be used)
  • 1 large egg
  • Wooden skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
  • Canola cooking spray

How to make it

  1. Heat the oven to 450ยบ. Evenly coat a baking sheet with the tablespoon of canola oil. Rinse the chicken tenders, then pat them dry with paper towels; set them aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, mashed potato flakes, seasoning mix (if desired), salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder and stir to blend well. Add the buttermilk and egg in another medium bowl and beat with a fork or mixer until smooth.

  3. Thread the chicken onto a soaked wooden skewer and dip each tender first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, then back in the flour mixture. Wipe any stray coating off the skewer and place the tender on the prepared sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken and let the coated pieces sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Before baking, spray the tops generously with canola cooking spray. Your local supermarket is likely to carry a number of types of cooking spray, including varieties with canola oil or olive oil. All work by dispersing small droplets of oil over the cooking surface or food. The result is that you use far less oil than you would if you were simply coating a pan. But if these sprays are primarily oil, how can all this spraying really be calorie- and fat-free? The short answer: it isn't. A 1-second spray can add up to 7 calories and .7 gram of fat -- but that's still better than a tablespoon of oil, which adds 122 calories and 13.6 grams of fat.

  5. Bake the chicken until the thickest part is cooked through and the coating is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes. Garnish with shaved carrot and a cherry tomato, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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