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Baked Panko Chicken Tenders with Basil Aioli

Baked Panko Chicken Tenders with Basil Aioli

Call it a random desire to make chicken strips, paired with my gut’s disgust of fried foods, and you get an easy baked variation on a childhood favorite. Crunchy. Flavorful. Delicious. So good, in fact, that chicken just might be making a more regular appearance in our kitchen, but only as panko-crusted tenders.

If you can’t find or don’t want to spend the extra $3 a pound on pre-cut chicken tenders, simply take a whole chicken breast, put it between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound it until it is an even thickness (maybe 1/2″ or so). Then, slice into strips. Voila. It’ll save you a few dollars too – go buy yourself some chocolate or something. :)

This recipe is a guesstimate, as I didn’t really ‘measure’ anything as I worked. I grabbed a few random spices out of our spice drawer, tossed them with some panko breadcrumbs, and repeated a few of the same spices in the aioli. Use any spices you choose, really. Unless you go caking these in dill weed, I can’t see them tasting badly. They would also be delicious served with a honey-mustard dipping sauce, or without any sauce at all (they’re that good).

Best of all, no oil is needed to make these, just a light coating of cooking spray to keep them from sticking.

Baked Panko Chicken Tenders with Basil Aioli

Makes 3-4 servings (ish).

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or breast tenders
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
Cooking spray

For aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350?F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil and lightly spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl or shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper, and lightly beat the eggs in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs with basil, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.

If using chicken breasts, prepare by putting one breast in between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound to an even thickness of approximately 1/2". Remove plastic and slice into strips.

Dredge tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and then coat the chicken tenders with the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips.

Bake chicken tenders for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping once part way through the cook time.

To prepare aioli, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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31 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On February 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    i’ve never actually used panko. but it looks like a great ingredient.

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On February 15, 2009 at 2:32 am

    I am definitely going to have to pick up some panko to try these!

    Reply

  3. 3
    reagan
    Posted On February 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Since I already have panko at home and I’m stocked up on chicken tenders I’m going to give these a try this week.

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On February 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Holy, moly, love the sound (and look of this)! Although, this post could have been called “Sawdust and Aioli” and I would be nearly as interested! :)

    Reply

  5. 5
    Sarah
    Posted On February 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I made these last night and they were great!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On February 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Making my grocery list now! Out of curiosity, how many strips does this recipe make? Wondering if I need to double it. Thanks!

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On February 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Megan -

    Depends on the package of chicken you buy. Ours was one of the smaller packages of chicken breasts – maybe a little over a pound? And we had a good 3 servings, 4 if Taylor was a light eater. :)

    It’s pretty flexible – just get enough chicken to feed everyone. You can always increase the breadcrumbs and stuff if needed.

    Enjoy!

    Reply

  8. 8
    janis m
    Posted On March 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Made these last night- I thought the aioli totally made the meal. I used 18 oz of chicken and it was more than enough for my husband, me and our two dds, 10 & 7. A meal everyone will eat! woo hoo! I am going to try a honey mustard sauce for dh next time. thanks for the recipe! :-)

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On May 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    This looks great. I just made homeade garlice aioli for the first time recently. I may have to switch it up with basil and do this! Yum!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Ariana
    Posted On November 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I made these tonight for dinner. Fantastic recipe!! I love the basil in the panko, plus it was quick and easy. I will definitely make these again. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On February 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Looks great, making for the kids tonight. Love that you didn’t fry these as so many recipes call for frying (which I do like on occasion).

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On March 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    So so so good! The dip is heavenly!

    Reply

  13. 13
    Gregory
    Posted On March 19, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Didn’t make the Aioli since I didn’t want to have to buy a big jar of mayo, but the chicken was delicious. Substituted buttermilk for the egg and it worked perfectly. Great recipe!

    Reply

  14. 14
    Stef
    Posted On March 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Just a side note… chicken tenders, short for chicken tenderloins, are not “pre-cut” – they are pulled from the chicken. Every chicken has two tenderloins and they are every bit a “part” of the chicken as the breasts, wings, thighs, and drumsticks.

    Reply

  15. 15
    Susan De Luca
    Posted On March 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Really tasty although mine took close to 40 minutes to cook (tenderized and all…but I used a roasting pan). Anyway, I’m in love with Panko now because it’s so darn crunchy! I also used 1/2 fat mayo and it tasted great!
    Looking forward to making more of your recipes.

    Reply

  16. 16
    Maria
    Posted On March 31, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I had a craving for chicken tenders yesterday. I searched the web for a recipe and found yours. They were great! My husband loved your basil aioli.

    Reply

  17. 17
    Brandi
    Posted On April 29, 2010 at 2:11 am

    what is the ailoli supposed to taste like? because i made it and wasnt sure if it was supposed to tast so mayonnaise-y?

    Reply

  18. 18
    Ash
    Posted On June 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Going to make these for dinner tonight, might not do the sauce since my husband & I aren’t fans of mayonnaise.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On August 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Looks great. I have bookmarked this recipe and will try it out. Thanks.

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On August 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for the great recipe! My husband and I really enjoyed this. We used fresh basil and garlic, and the flavor was excellent. Serving aioli with the chicken tenders is a great idea. Next time, I would leave the vinegar out of the aioli though, but that’s just my personal flavor preference. I will definitely make this again. Thanks!

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On September 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    We (my fiance) and I made this tonight, and it was SO good! We only had rice flour, and we didn’t have cayenne, so we used some crushed red pepper flake. OH, and we only have regular paprika, not smokey. Still…WOW! This was awesome!

    Reply

  22. 22
    Stephanie
    Posted On September 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Made these today, not as great as I had hoped. Perhaps I should have salted the flour more or the panko mixture a little more, but they tasted sort of bland although I generously seasoned.

    Also, cooking took much longer than 15 minutes.

    When I try this method again, I think I’ll add some soy sauce to the egg mixture, mix up the seasonings with mustard, ginger, garlic and basil and do a peanut sauce on the side.

    Thanks for the recommendation, it gave me something to work with!

    Reply

  23. 23
    Posted On September 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I love crunchy food and I’ve been on a panko kick lately, though I usually pan fry rather than bake. I’ll give your recipe a try.

    Reply

  24. 24
    Chelsea
    Posted On October 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Okay, so the bf bought a box of panko last night.
    me- “What are we going to do with that!!!?”
    bf-”I don’t know, but i really liked the commercial they look cool!”
    Insert eye roll.
    I am so glad I found this recipe!!!
    Thanks!

    Reply

  25. 25
    Sarah
    Posted On November 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Very yummy! Great recipe! I also added a half cup Parmesan cheese to the panko mixture for a little extra flavor and cooked the chicken for 40 min as well! Thank you!

    Reply

  26. 26
    cyndi
    Posted On July 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    We made this tonight and it was delicious! I loved it thanks!

    Reply

  27. 27
    Samantha
    Posted On July 27, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Wow. These were soooo good! I originally planned on just making the tenders but saw so many comments about how good the aioli was so I did make it and boy am I glad I did! The tenders were moist, juicy and flavorful. The aioli was tangy, creamy, and just plain delicious. And together… they were sinful! These are now my go-to recipe for tenders. I would pick these over fried any day!

    Reply

  28. 28
    Judi
    Posted On September 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    The recipe needs to be adjusted. The oven temperature needs to be increased even though there was a (?) by the stated temp. I really don’t know how anyone got the panko to crisp up with the low temp and length of time in the oven. I ended up putting under the broiler for a while. Will not make again.

    Reply

  29. 29
    Francine
    Posted On November 22, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Any tips for baking these ahead of time and reheating?

    Reply

  30. 30
    Ingrid
    Posted On July 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Just wanted to let you know… I pinned this about 6 months ago and it remains my kids favorite way to eat “breaded” chicken. Thanks so much, i’ts become a staple in our house, we love it! :)

    Reply

  31. 31
    Marilena
    Posted On January 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    The oven temp is way too low to cook the chicken tenders properly in 15 minutes.
    The baking time needs to be adjusted too. They also need much more salt!

    Reply

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