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Enjoy crispy, juicy Small Batch Baked Chicken Tenders, a single serve dish that’s ready in just 20 minutes. Perfect for when you’re craving something delicious but don’t want to cook too much, these tenders are great for a quick dinner or a weekend snack. Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce for a fast and tasty meal.

Enjoy your small batch of baked chicken tenders with a side of crispy French fries, cheesy scalloped potatoes, rich macaroni and cheese, or a fresh spinach and orzo salad. Each of these side dishes adds a delightful flavor and texture contrast to your meal.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • Effortless Preparation: This small baked chicken tenders recipe is a real time-saver, needing minimal prep. Simply coat the chicken in a simple breading and it’s oven-ready. Ideal for those hectic weeknights when you crave a tasty, home-cooked meal but have limited time for cooking.
  • Healthier Choice: Choosing to bake the chicken tenders instead of frying cuts down on cleaning and offers a more nutritious option. A light brush of melted butter and oven baking crisps the breading beautifully, providing that delightful crunch with fewer calories and less fat than deep-frying.
  • Customizable Flavors: The recipe’s real charm lies in its flexibility. Alter the breading seasonings to fit your flavor preferences, experimenting with spicy, tangy, or savory tastes.
  • Easily Doubled: The standard recipe makes 3-4 chicken strips, but if you’re feeding more, simply double the ingredients. It scales up perfectly for larger servings.

RELATED: Single Serving Comfort Food Recipes

one chicken tender being dipped in a bowl of ketchup.

What Are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders, or chicken tenderloins, are specific cuts of chicken. They are slender strips of meat found on the underside of the chicken breast, known for their tenderness and juiciness. Chicken tenders are a popular choice in various recipes, notably in baked chicken tenders.

You have two options for obtaining chicken tenders: either buy pre-cut tenders from the grocery store or make your own. To make them, simply slice a boneless, skinless chicken breast lengthwise into strips about 1/2 inch thick.

A staple in American cuisine, chicken tenders have a rich history, particularly in Southern cooking. They became widely popular in the 1950s and 1960s. While fried chicken fingers are a classic, baked chicken tenders provide a healthier alternative without compromising on the beloved taste and texture.

Ingredients

chicken tenders ingredients on a wooden cutting board in a kitchen.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this easy chicken tenders recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Bread crumbs: Use either store-bought or homemade bread crumbs. For a low-carb version, skip the breadcrumbs entirely and just coat the chicken with cheese and spices. Alternatively, you can use these substitutes:
    • Rolled oats: Blend the oats into a fine powder. If needed, add an extra ⅛ teaspoon of salt to the seasoning mix recommended in the recipe.
    • Cereal: Crushed corn flakes are a great choice for a crispier coating.
    • Potato chips or pretzels: Be cautious with additional salt, as these are already salted.
    • Crackers: Crushed Saltines or Ritz crackers work well.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is ideal.
  • Spices and seasonings: I typically use Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Italian seasoning includes basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. If you don’t have it, use one or two of these herbs instead.
  • Butter: Dip the chicken pieces in melted butter, either salted or unsalted, before coating them in the breadcrumb mix.
  • Chicken tenders: Buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cutting one into 3 to 4 pieces is often more cost-effective than purchasing pre-sliced chicken tenders. For this recipe, I use one (6 to 8-ounce) chicken breast. However, if you prefer to buy ready-to-cook tenders, look for ‘chicken tenderloins’ in the meat section near the raw chicken at most grocery stores. If you have an extra chicken breast or two, consider using one to make Jerk Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Chili.

Pro Tip: Think about buying frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in bags from your grocery store. When you need one, just take it out, thaw it in the refrigerator, and store the rest in the freezer. This ensures you always have chicken available for your recipes.

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How To Make Chicken Tenders

These step-by-step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make oven baked chicken strips with one chicken breast. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
a bowl of breadcrumbs, shredded cheese,  and seasonings on a wooden cutting board.
  1. In another medium-sized bowl, melt the butter. Then dip a chicken strip into the melted butter.
a chicken strip in a bowl of melted butter.
  1. Next, coat the butter-dipped chicken strip thoroughly in the breadcrumb mixture.
dredging one chicken strip in a bowl of breadcrumbs.
  1. Place the breaded chicken tender on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Do the same with the remaining tenders.
three unbaked chicken tenders on a baking sheet.
  1. Bake the chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked.

Pro Tip: When the chicken is fully cooked, it will have a golden brown color. The most reliable method to check if it’s done is by using a meat or instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken; if it reads 165°F, the chicken is ready.

If you don’t have a thermometer, look for clear juices running from the chicken as a visual sign that it’s cooked. The juices should not be pink.

  1. Once done, remove the chicken strips from the oven and serve them with your choice of dipping sauce.

Baked chicken tenders can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

3 oven baked chicken tenders on a baking sheet.

Expert Tips

  • Slicing the Chicken Breast: To make tenders from a chicken breast, slice the breast lengthwise into even strips. This method avoids the need for pounding, ensures quick and even cooking, and results in the ideal size and shape for tenders.
  • Breading the Chicken: For a crispy, well-adhered coating, press the breading firmly onto the chicken strips. Before placing them on the baking sheet, shake off any extra breading to prevent sogginess and achieve a perfectly crisp crust.
  • Preparing the Baking Sheet: If you’re not using a wire rack, line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to keep the tenders from sticking.
three baked chicken strips on a plate next to fresh basil and a salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make low-carb chicken tenders without breading?

For a low-carb version, skip the breadcrumbs. Instead, mix spices and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Dredge the butter-coated chicken strips in this mixture and bake as the recipe suggests.

Can I bake chicken tenders without a rack?

It’s not necessary to bake chicken tenderloins on a rack. They still turn out crispy on the bottom without one.

Can I freeze chicken tenders?

Yes, you can freeze these chicken strips. This recipe is for a small batch, usually enough for one meal, but you can double or triple the recipe and freeze the extras.
To freeze, cool the baked tenders completely, freeze them on a baking sheet until firm, then store in a sealed freezer bag for up to 2 months.
To thaw, place the tenders on a plate in the refrigerator overnight.
To reheat, bake at 400°F until heated through, about 10 minutes, flipping them halfway for the best results.

How can I prevent tough chicken tenders?

Toughness is often due to overcooking. Following the recipe closely will help you achieve tender and juicy chicken strips.

How can I keep chicken tenders moist?

Bake the chicken at the recommended temperature and until the internal temperature reaches 165º F, as checked with an instant-read meat thermometer. After baking, transfer the tenders to a plate, cover them, and let them rest for 5-8 minutes. Resting the chicken allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in more tender and flavorful tenders.

Explore These Small Batch Chicken Tender Recipes

This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal, but the possibilities don’t stop here! If you’re looking for more flavor inspiration, try these delicious variations on our classic baked chicken tenders:

  • Buffalo Chicken Tenders: For a spicy twist, coat your baked chicken tenders in your favorite buffalo sauce after baking. You can even add a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles for an authentic Buffalo flavor experience.
  • Chicken Parmesan Tenders: Craving some Italian comfort food? After baking, smother your tenders in marinara sauce and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve over a bed of pasta for a complete meal.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. With this basic baked chicken tender recipe as your foundation, you can experiment with different spices, sauces, and cheeses to create your own signature flavor combinations.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you would like additional information about the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page. For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this single serve baked chicken tenders recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

If you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!

RELATED: The Best Cookie Recipes For One


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Baked Chicken Tenders For One

4.93 from 27 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Quick & easy 20-minute small batch baked chicken tenders! Perfectly crispy, juicy, and ready in no time. Satisfy your craving with this single serving gem!

Ingredients 
 

  • ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter -melted
  • 1 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast -sliced into 3 to 4 strips or use packaged chicken tenders
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Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • In another medium-sized bowl, melt the butter. Then dip a chicken strip into the melted butter.
  • Next, coat the butter-dipped chicken strip thoroughly in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Place the breaded chicken tender on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Do the same with the remaining tenders.
  • Bake the chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked.
    Pro Tip: When the chicken is fully cooked, it will have a golden brown color. The most reliable method to check if it's done is by using a meat or instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken; if it reads 165°F, the chicken is ready.
    If you don't have a thermometer, look for clear juices running from the chicken as a visual sign that it's cooked. The juices should not be pink.
  • Once done, remove the chicken strips from the oven and serve them with your choice of dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Slicing the Chicken Breast: To make tenders from a chicken breast, slice the breast lengthwise into even strips. This method avoids the need for pounding, ensures quick and even cooking, and results in the ideal size and shape for tenders.
  • Breading the Chicken: For a crispy, well-adhered coating, press the breading firmly onto the chicken strips. Before placing them on the baking sheet, shake off any extra breading to prevent sogginess and achieve a perfectly crisp crust.
  • Preparing the Baking Sheet: If you’re not using a wire rack, line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to keep the tenders from sticking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 749kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 51g, Saturated Fat: 29g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 851mg, Potassium: 87mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1458IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 68mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

4.93 from 27 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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42 Comments

  1. Phyllis Chittum says:

    I prepared this yesterday evening. Absolutely excellent. I used the dipping sauce from your Chicken Nuggets (also excellent). Your website is now – my go to – for everything I am about to prepare. Have your cookbook (love it also). Wish you would publish additional cookbooks. Perhaps one for air fryer & Instant Pot.

  2. Linda says:

    I made these tenders but decided to make it a sandwich: 1 tender, sliced, 1 100% whole wheat English muffin, toasted. Put mayo on the English muffin, added chicken, swiss cheese & pickles if your choice ( I used bread & butter). YUM!!!!!

  3. Anna says:

    Your photos and detailed instructions give me confidence in my cooking! My husband and I will be retiring in the Spring, so I’m trying to make adjustments for budgeting, including portions.

  4. Robin says:

    Easy and most flavorful and moist. Uses everyday ingredients you can find in the pantry. So happy with my purchase of your cookbook it is working perfectly for me as we are empty nesters and newly retired! Hip hip horray.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you so much, Robin. I’m so happy you are enjoying our recipes!

  5. Maestra says:

    Just tried these last week and I am making them again today. I bought your cookbook for my Grandson college student, but I find the recipes are perfect size for Grandma too. These are delicious and so moist.

  6. J.M. Hardin says:

    Have you tried making these with Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs? That’s what I use for my go-to tenders recipe rather than using plain crumbs and adding the seasoning, and they always taste delicious.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, I often use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs but I add the additional spices too.

      1. J. Hegyi says:

        The tenders, cut in half (about 1-inch squares), make TERRIFIC chicken nuggets.

    2. Jane says:

      Should I turn over the chicken half way through cooking?