Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders with Parmesan and Garlic

These truly crispy baked chicken tenders are…wait for it…tender and super-flavorful, too.

The key to the crispy coating is browning the panko (mixed with a little melted butter and parmesan) on its own before using it to coat the chicken. Panko is hilarious, because on its own in burns to a crisp in like seven minutes, but slapped on a piece of chicken it stays pale to the death. There’s a sweet spot in between, and that’s where this recipe lives. 


Browning the panko on its own before using it to bread the chicken is the magic method that results in truly crispy baked chicken tenders.

Truly crispy baked chicken tenders

I’m obsessing over these flavorful, crispy baked chicken tenders, and so are our kids. They’re easy to make, reasonably good for ya, and equally at home as a party appetizer or weeknight dinner.

I’m like 98% sure I came up with this idea in my very own head, but in doing some research I saw that the wonderful and generous Nagi of the Australian food blog RecipeTin Eats uses a very similar method. So whether I saw her recipe at some point in the past and it snuck in without tripping the alarm, or whether I’m just introducing you to a terrific food blog you may not already be reading, well, win-win, and thank you Nagi.

In other news, my memory is TERRIBLE.

The best baked chicken tenders, if not the best memory

What were we talking about?

Okay, I’m off to pack for our quick trip to San Diego. We have a real knack for booking flights to coincide with the biggest snowstorm of the year. So there’s that.

Talk to you soon.

Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

The key to the crispy coating is browning the panko (mixed with a little melted butter and parmesan) on its own before using it to coat the chicken. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet and a wire rack that fits inside.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves Serves 4


  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A few good grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 12)
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the center.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together mayo, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, some pepper and two tablespoons of the parmesan. Dry chicken well with paper towels. Add chicken and stir to coat well. Set aside.
  3. On a rimmed baking sheet, mix together the panko, remaining two tablespoons parmesan and the butter with your hands. Spread out in a single layer and bake for about 4 minutes, watching very carefully to prevent burning, until just about browned to your liking. (They won’t brown much more once on the chicken.) Pour onto a large plate or into a wide, shallow bowl. Place wire rack onto baking sheet.
  4. Use tongs to remove each chicken tender from the bowl and dredge in panko until well coated, then lay on wire rack with a little bit of space between tenders.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until chicken is just cooked through. Serve right away with ketchup or dipping sauce of your choice (if you like — the chicken is nice and flavorful on its own).

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 458 Total Fat:: 26.3g Carbohydrates:: 10.8g Fiber:: 0.7g Protein:: 42g