When it comes to comfort food, few things beat a plate of perfectly crispy, no breading, oven baked chicken tenders. These golden-brown delights are a favorite among kids and adults alike. And this simple dish is perfect for lunch or dinner.
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Also, there’s no need to fry them! Our healthier alternative without breading doesn’t mean compromising on taste either. Sound good? In this article, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to create oven-baked chicken tenders that are crunchy on the outside yet tender.
Let’s get started!
- 1 pound of chicken tenders
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley (chopped to garnish)
No Breading Chicken Tenders Recipe
- Preheat your oven: Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This moderate temperature allows your chicken tenders to cook evenly while retaining their moisture.
- Prepare the marinade: In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well all these ingredients to create a flavorful marinade.
- Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken tenders in a sealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the tenders, ensuring that each piece is well-coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes. Ideally, leave them for a few hours in the refrigerator. Marinating enhances the flavor and keeps the chicken moist.
- Arrange on baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the marinated chicken tenders out of the bag or dish, allow any excess marinade to drip off, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Leave some space between each tender to ensure even cooking.
- Bake until crispy: Bake for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden-brown. Or, if the inside of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C). At this temperature, chicken is safe to eat while retaining it’s flavor.
- Garnish and serve: Sprinkle fresh parsley over the tenders. Serve hot.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
The beauty of this no-breading chicken tender recipe is its versatility. You can easily tailor it to your dietary preferences or add what’s easily available in your kitchen.
Here are some ingredient substitutions to consider:
Olive Oil: If you prefer a different oil, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil, feel free to use that instead of olive oil. You can also replace some of the olive oil with honey and dijon mustard for a sweet and tangy twist.
Spices: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and herbs. Try cumin, smoked paprika, or rosemary to add new flavor profiles.
Fresh Herbs: You can use fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme as a marinade or garnish for added freshness.
Chicken Type: This recipe works equally well with chicken breast or thighs if you prefer those cuts.
Spicy Kick: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the marinade for a spicy twist.
Lemon Zest: Add some lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice to the marinade for a zesty flavor.
Barbecue (BBQ) Flavor: Use your favorite BBQ sauce as a marinade for a smoky and savory flavor.
Thinking about what could go with your chicken tenders? Here are some of the side dishes that’ll perfectly complement them. Whether you’re seeking comfort, freshness, or a burst of flavor, we’ve got you covered.
Fresh Garden Salad
A crisp and refreshing garden salad is an excellent choice to balance the richness of the chicken. Combine mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and any other greens you’d like to include. Top it off with your favorite vinaigrette or a creamy dressing for a burst of freshness.
Roasted vegetables pair beautifully with chicken. You can choose from many options like carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and zucchini. Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and finally, add your favorite herbs. Then roast them on another tray while you cook your chicken tenders.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Creamy mashed potatoes provide welcome contrast to the crispy chicken tenders. Add a good amount of roasted garlic to elevate this classic side dish. You can never have too much garlic, right?
A tangy coleslaw with a creamy dressing offers crunch and tanginess to pair with the no breading chicken tenders. Its zesty flavors and crisp texture make it a popular choice for summer meals.
Corn on the Cob
Grilled or boiled corn on the cob pairs exceptionally well with chicken tenders. Add a pat of butter, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of your favorite seasoning to add to its natural sweetness.
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How to Store Leftover Chicken Tenders
If you’ve leftovers, here’s how to store and enjoy them later:
1. Refrigeration: Place the leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Properly stored, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
2. Freezing: To store them for an extended period, consider freezing. Wrap each chicken tender individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or place them in an airtight container. If using a container, separate the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Label the container or wraps with the date of freezing. Frozen chicken tenders can maintain their quality for 2-3 months.
3. Reheating: To reheat refrigerated or frozen chicken tenders, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are heated through. You can also use an air fryer for a quicker and crispier result.
Yes, chicken tenders with no breading are generally considered healthier. They are lower in calories and carbohydrates because they don’t have flour or breadcrumbs. This makes them a suitable choice for those looking to reduce their carb intake or follow a gluten-free diet.
Common seasonings for no-breading chicken tenders include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and various herbs and spices. You can customize them to suit your taste preferences.
Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of chicken tenders in a no-breading recipe. Chicken thighs will provide a slightly different texture and flavor. They can be just as delicious.
These no-breading oven baked chicken tenders are a delightful twist on a classic. The juicy, flavorful, and wholesome nature of this dish works beautifully with everything from mashed potatoes to fresh salad. With their simplicity and adaptability, you can find a combination of flavour that’ll appeal to your whole household.
Give these oven baked chicken tenders with no breading a try – and enjoy!