This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
These Baked Chicken Tenders are extra crispy, made with strips of juicy chicken coated in a savory seasoned breading. Making gluten-free chicken tenderloins in the oven is so easy, and perfect for dipping!
If you love this recipe for crispy chicken tenders without deep frying, check out my recipe for Gluten Free Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!
Crispy Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders
There’s something about perfectly crispy, juicy chicken tenders that’s practically irresistible. Take this recipe for oven baked chicken tenderloins. Savory, crunchy, and definitely an all-around crowd pleaser – the “crowd”, in this case, being Hubby and kids. Chicken tenders are truly the thread tying generations together.
These crispy chicken tenders are made with regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs, lightly seasoned and then baked to satisfyingly crunchy perfection in the oven. They get so incredibly crisp, no deep frying (or any frying) necessary. As an easy after school snack or effortless weeknight dinner, these baked chicken tenders are ready in under an hour and perfect for dipping!
What You’ll Need
Simple ingredients and mild flavors make these baked chicken tenders especially kid-friendly. You can mix it up any way you’d like (see further on for flavor variations), but I’ve included the gist of what you’ll need here. Please refer to the recipe card for the actual ingredient amounts:
- Chicken Tenders: You’ll need boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins for this recipe, or you can use chicken breasts and cut them into thin strips.
- Egg: Egg coating helps the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken tenders. You’ll also need salt and pepper to season the egg to taste.
- Breadcrumbs: I use plain bread breadcrumbs and season them myself. Be sure to buy gluten-free breadcrumbs as needed. However, I wouldn’t recommend using gluten free Panko for this recipe. The crumbs are too large, and tend to fall off the chicken as it cooks.
- Seasoning: A popping blend of spices and herbs is key to flavorful chicken tenders! I season my bread crumbs with a combination of Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Alternatively, you can also use seasoned breadcrumbs instead.
How to Make Chicken Tenders in the Oven
I recommend placing a wire rack over top of your baking sheet when baking chicken tenders. This leaves space for the hot air to circulate around the chicken, to really get the bread coating nice and crispy.
So, while your oven is preheating, get out your cookie sheet and wire cooling rack, and give them a light spritz with oil or cooking spray. Next, let’s prepare the chicken tenders:
Prepare the Coating: First, lightly beat the egg together with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs and seasoning.
Coat the Chicken: Toss the chicken in the egg wash to coat. Next, dredge the chicken tenders through the breadcrumbs one at a time. Place the coated chicken onto the prepared wire rack.
Bake: Once all the chicken pieces are breaded, give them a spray with cooking oil. Place the chicken into the oven, rack, cookie sheet, and all. Bake the tenders at 450ºF for about 20-24 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Tips for Success
This recipe is always a hit! Here are my tips to really knock it out of the park:
- Trim Your Tenders: If you’re using chicken tenderloins, I recommend removing any white tendons before coating and baking. It won’t hurt to leave these in, but they can become tough and chewy when cooked. Many stores offer tenders that come trimmed, or you can trim them yourself at home. Simply use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut off the tough white bit that runs down the middle of the chicken tender.
- Make Use of the Wire Rack: The wire rack trick really does make a difference when it comes to perfectly crisp chicken tenders baked in the oven. Don’t skip it!
- Check for Doneness: The easiest way to check if your chicken is cooked is to use an instant read or kitchen thermometer. The thickest part of the chicken should read in at 165ºF. Try not to overcook your chicken, as it will become dry.
This chicken tenders recipe is wonderfully simple, leaving the doors wide open for customizing! Try these easy variations:
- Spicy: Add a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper into the seasoning blend for the breading, for a spicy kick. Or, try mixing in Cajun-inspired Homemade Blackened Seasoning.
- Parmesan: Mix freshly grated parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs for even more flavor.
- Lemon and Herb: Stir lemon zest into the breadcrumbs for a fresh burst of citrus alongside the Italian seasoning.
- Coconut: For a tropical twist, mix shredded unsweetened coconut into the breading for crispy coconut chicken strips. Great for dipping in sweet chili sauce!
Dipping Sauce Ideas
We love a good homemade dipping sauce in this family. Here are some of our favorite sauces to slather these crispy tenders with:
- Buffalo Ketchup (or try my 4 Variations of Homemade Ketchup!)
- Easy Gluten Free Cheese Sauce
- Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Bang Bang Sauce
- Healthy Big Mac Sauce
- Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce
- Honey BBQ Sauce
- Easy Thai Peanut Sauce
Make It a Meal
Making these chicken tenders into a family meal is a breeze! For a no-fuss weeknight dinner, I like to serve these baked tenders with one or more dipping sauces (see above) and a side of kid-friendly Air Fryer French Fries or Baked Sweet Potato Fries, and Lemon Parmesan Roasted Broccoli.
Here are more effortless ways to enjoy your gluten-free chicken tenders:
- With a side of Instant Pot Potato Salad and Air Fryer Corn on the Cob.
- I love to use these crispy chicken tenderloins whenever I make my Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan. Highly recommend!
- If you want an alternative to tomato sauce, use them to make Skillet Lemon Chicken.
- Use baked chicken tenders in place of grilled chicken in my Healthy Chicken Caesar Salad recipe.
- Served between Gluten Free Hamburger Buns with Creamy Mustard Coleslaw for easy crispy chicken sandwiches. Or roll them up in gluten-free tortillas to make chicken wraps.
- Make chicken and waffles! Enjoy crispy chicken pieces over top Cheesy Polenta Waffles, drizzled with syrup.
Storing and Reheating Baked Chicken Tenders
Store leftover chicken tenders airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. These are super easy to reheat in the oven – just place them on a baking sheet and pop them back in at 400ºF for a few minutes, until warmed through. The oven is my preferred method of reheating, as it gets the breading nice and crispy again!
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! Homemade chicken tenders are great to freeze before or after they’re baked. You’ll never crave the store bought freezer chicken tenders again.
I recommend pre-freezing your unbaked, breaded chicken tenders on a baking sheet, then transferring them to a zip top freezer bag for easy storage. These can bake straight from frozen, with an extra 2-3 minutes added to the baking time.
If you’re freezing your chicken tenders after baking, simply wait until they’re completely cool and pre-freeze them on a baking sheet, too. Then just pop them into a freezer bag to keep frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat them in the oven right from the freezer, on a wire rack over a baking tray, until warmed through.
More Foolproof Chicken Recipes
- Gluten Free Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- Honey Mustard Chicken Bites
- Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken
- Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes
- Gluten-Free Chicken Rice Casserole
Baked Chicken Tenders
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet, and spray with oil or cooking spray.
- Crack egg into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and lightly beat with a fork.
- Add chicken to egg, and toss to coat completely.
- Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and, one at a time, coat the chicken tenderloins and place on the rack.
- Once all of the chicken is coated, spray with oil or cooking spray.
- Bake chicken on the rack on top of the cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes, depending on size, then flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
- Do not use gluten free Panko. The crumbs are too big, and won’t coat the chicken evenly or stay adhered through cooking.