Oh the beloved chicken tender. My kids love them. I am assuming most kids do because chicken tenders (or better know as chicken fingers or nuggets) are on every single kids menu of every single restaurant I have ever dined in. The problem with this so called kid friendly meal is that most of time the chicken is so processed and fried it barely resembles chicken at all. In fact, I like to refer to them as mystery meat because essentially that is what they are.
Now, just because I could go the rest of my life without ever looking at a mystery meat nugget or finger again does not my kids will. Nope wanting to consume chicken nuggets is a battle they are willing to fight till the end. Yes I know I am the mom and I know I am the one that tells them what to eat. But….you never met my youngest. She has superhuman debating stamina. It is unreal. Anyway, a couple years ago I created my own version of a chicken nugget. It is actually really good and kids loved them. Win for mom. The only issue is they take a little extra effort to prepare and sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy. So, I decided to put together a very simple homemade version together of a chicken tender.
This chicken tender recipe uses 4 ingredients – chicken breast, egg, asiago cheese, and seasoned breadcrumbs. A far cry from the laundry list of ingredients you find on packages of chicken tenders in the freezer aisle. Of course, you can make these even healthier by using homemade breadcrumbs and organic chicken breast. The beauty of homemade anything is you control the ingredients.
I pounded the chicken breast out slightly then slice into 3-4 strips depending how big the breast is. I was able to get 18 nice strips out of 2 pounds of chicken breast. Don’t pound them out to thin because they will fall apart when you try to slice them. Then I took each strip, dipped in an egg wash, then in the breadcrumbs, and last laid on a baking sheet liberally coated with cooking spray. You can also use an olive oil spray or whatever oil you want. You need to use some type of oil or spray or the chicken will stick to the pan.
The best thing about these chicken tenders is you can cook up a huge batch of them, let cool, and freeze for future lunches and dinners. They can go right in the oven frozen (just like the mystery meat ones from the freezer aisle) and be ready to eat within ½ hour or so.
These chicken tenders are very versatile. You can serve alone with some blue cheese or dipping sauce of choice. They are also great in a wrap or salad. Whichever way you would like to eat these healthy homemade chicken tenders is up to you. Oh and my kids loved them! They gobbled them right up thinking the whole time they were winning by eating chicken tenders. Win for me 🙂
- 2 pounds chicken breasts pounded out slightly and cut into 3 - 4 strips per breast.
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded asiago
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl whisk together egg and water. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together breadcrumbs and cheese.
- Take each chicken strip and dip in egg wash then into the bread crumbs.
- Lay out on a baking sheet liberally coated with cooking spray.
- Cook for 40 minutes. Turn over after 20 minutes.
Chicken tenders can be made completely ahead of time and frozen for future dinners. Cook as directed then flash freeze for 2 hours. Then take chicken tenders and put into freezer bag to freeze. These can be cooked right from the freezer. Heat over to 400 degrees and cook for 20 -30 minutes or until heated through.
We baked these at 400* for a total of 24 minutes, turning after 12 minutes. They were delish! Grandkids-4 and 7-loved them! Made another batch today for their freezer!
Question if i freeze these then cook them up per instruction do u think i could have them cold next day for work???
Jen Slater says
Since these are already cooked, is there a way to warm them in the microwave instead of the oven for a quick meal?
Tammy Kresge says
Yes but I would try to take them out the night before so they don’t dry out.
This looks delicious! I will try it soon. I also make chicken strips but differently. I cut the strips from breasts I buy. Throw them in a zipped bag and add some Italian or Greek salad dressing of your choice to marinate anywhere from an hour to all day long. It gives a great taste to the meat when cooked! When I prepare it with bread crumbs, I bake it. When I make it without bread crumbs I broil it 20+ minutes till done. Or change it up a bit and use garlic flavored bread crumbs too. Perfect to do in a toaster oven as well. Any leftovers get thrown on a salad the next day for lunch.
Nicole Smith says
Big hit with the entire family! And that is saying something … they tend to think they are food critics. Thanks for a great recipe!
Melissa Williams says
Is the Protein count correct for these?
Do know if they re-heat well in the microwave? I can cook them ahead, but our vacation cabin doesn’t have an oven. Looks like a great recipe!
Sometime I cut them into chunks and use Panko instead of breadcrumbs to make them crunchy. Then you can skip the pounding (of course you can buy the chicken already cut into strips but it’s expensive). You can sub Parmesan for the cheese too. Then we make homemade honey mustard to dip them in. Very tasty and much more healthy than store bought nuggets.
LaGonda Veal says
I’m thinking Italian seasoned bread crumbs and marinara sauce for dipping. 🙂
What is asiago cheese? Is it similar to something else I could use?
Asiago is an italian cheese. It is similar to parmesan. I don’t have enough asiago for this recipe, so I’ll be doing a mixture of both. Hope this helps!
Absolutely love following your posts! Re-joined WW mid March down 17 lbs and definitely apprciate all your helpful tips to stay on track!! 🙂
Pat S says
Love these and I’m no kid. 😀
I made a double batch of these today. They’re are yummy! My husband & 2 year old loved them too. I put the extra in the freezer for round two of yet another amazing recipe. Thank you so much for making everything quick & easy!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
These look beautiful! I know they are much healthier, and probably taste much better than the frozen or fast food variety. They are kid, adult, and freezer friendly – a winning combination in my book! Thanks for the recipe. Definitely pinning this one, and adding chicken tenders to my list. (Costco sells a big bag to make the prep even easier).
I made these tonight , they were amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe.
This recipe looks awesome! I’m going to have to try it. However, when making them ahead, what exactly is flash freezing? Different from just placing in the freezer?
I think flash freezing would be placing the chicken fingers in a single layer on a pan in the freezer, just ling enough for the outside of the chicken to freeze. Then you can place them in a freezer bag without the fingers sticking together. Hope this helps!