Crispy Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders make a flavorful weeknight meal that the entire family will enjoy. Chicken strips are breaded with crispy panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and herbs, then baked in the oven. Make-ahead freezer directions are also included!
Chicken tenders are an American classic and a favorite of children and adults alike. Also known as chicken fingers or chicken strips, they make a quick weeknight meal or snack. Plus, this recipe can be made ahead and frozen, saving time later on.
These parmesan crusted chicken tenders are coated in toasted panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian Seasoning, adding a mild Italian flavor with just a handful of ingredients.
The best part about this recipe is that these chicken tenders turn out crispy and crunchy on the outside, without the need for extra oil and frying.
For this recipe, you’ll want to gather all of your ingredients, plus three shallow containers or bowls.
You’ll need all-purpose flour, salt (divided), pepper (divided), garlic powder, eggs, Italian seasoning, panko bread crumbs, and grated parmesan cheese. I used fresh grated cheese because it’s what I had on hand, but you can also use pre-grated cheese.
Toasting your bread crumbs
My secret for extra crispy, oven-baked chicken tenders? Toasting your bread crumbs beforehand! Don’t skip this step – it only takes 2-3 minutes and is absolutely worth it.
Toasting your bread crumbs will make for a crunchier breading. It also gives them a beautiful golden brown color, like you’d get from frying your chicken in oil.
Simply grab a skillet and place it over medium heat. Add your bread crumbs and allow them to toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The smaller pieces will brown first (and quickly), so pay attention and remove them from the heat when they’re mostly golden brown.
Breading your chicken tenders
If you haven’t already, slice your chicken breasts into thin, 1 inch long pieces. Next, pat them dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel. If your chicken starts out wet or slimy, your breading will have a hard time sticking.
Next, prepare your flour mixture, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in three separate containers, like shown. If possible, use containers that are wide and shallow.
I find it easiest to make an assembly line and move one chicken finger from the beginning to the end before starting on the next one. Try to keep one hand dry for the flour and bread crumbs, and one hand for the eggs.
Toss your chicken pieces in the flour mixture, one at a time, until they are fully coated. Lightly shake to remove excess flour, then dip them in the egg mixture.
Last, transfer your egg coated chicken to the bread crumb mixture and toss to coat. I like to gently press each side to adhere the bread crumbs to the chicken. Lightly shake to remove excess breading, then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Make-ahead freezer chicken tenders
After breading your chicken fingers, lay them out (not touching each other) on a lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Then, place them in a tightly sealed freezer-safe container. You can use a freezer-safe plastic bag, or wrap your tenders in wax paper and foil.
When you’re ready to prepare your frozen chicken tenders, bake them as directed below, but add up to 5 minutes to your cooking time. You can find all of the specifics in the recipe card below.
Your chicken tenders should keep for up to 3 months in the freezer, if stored in a tightly sealed container. They may last for longer, but can lose some flavor or succumb to freezer burn.
Crispy Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add your bread crumbs and toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl (see step 4), and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Slice your chicken breasts into thin, 1 inch pieces, trimming off excess fat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
- For the next step, you'll need three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add your flour, half of the salt, half of the pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to combine. In the second bowl, add your eggs and whisk. In the third bowl, add your toasted bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, half of the salt, half of the pepper, and the Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.
- One at a time, toss each chicken piece in the flour mixture, lightly shaking to remove any excess. Next, dip your chicken tender in the egg mixture. Last, toss your chicken tender in the bread crumb mixture, lightly pressing to adhere the mixture to your chicken. Shake to remove any excess, then lay onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After breading your chicken tenders (before baking), place on a lined baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until frozen solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container, tightly seal, and store for up to 3 months.
- To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees, place frozen chicken tenders on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 17-19 minutes, or until cooked through to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Panko bread crumbs can be substituted with regular bread crumbs.
- If omitting the parmesan cheese, replace with more bread crumbs.
- Store bought Italian seasoning, or your own homemade version may be used.
- Baking times will vary based on the thickness of your chicken. I suggest using an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
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- Fajita Stuffed Chicken
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