These delicious chicken tenders are made from chicken tenderloins, coated in panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese, then baked until golden and crispy - a firm favorite in our house.
Chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, chicken sticks, chicken strips, chicken goujons, or whatever you choose to call them, these chicken tenderloins feature on our dinner menu at least once a week.
Table of Contents
- Favorite Family Meal
- Chicken Tenders Are Called Goujons in Ireland and the United Kingdom
- Homemade Tenders Are Best
- Ingredients for Oven Baked Chicken Tenders
- Ingredient Tips and Substitutions
- Directions For Chicken Tenders
- Prepare the Goujons
- Oven Bake the Chicken Tenders
- Shallow Frying Chicken Tenders
- Versatile Uses for Homemade Chicken Tenders or Goujons
- Recipe Card for Homemade Chicken Goujons
Favorite Family Meal
In fact my boys would eat them every night of the week if I let them. They beg me for fast food chicken nuggets, but I'm afraid their Irish mom believes in home cooked meals, free from ingredients I cannot pronounce.
To meet the demands of my fussy eaters I created my own, homemade, baked chicken nuggets that truly taste like restaurant fare.
I tried many different coatings over the years, from crushed corn flakes to toasted whole wheat breadcrumbs, but I find panko mixed with grated parmesan cheese gets two thumbs up from my kids (or should I say eight thumbs up).
Chicken Tenders Are Called Goujons in Ireland and the United Kingdom
Before I share my recipe it's time for a little Irish American Mom "chicken goujon" rant.
For all Americans visiting Ireland, whose kids, like mine, cannot survive without their weekly chicken nugget feast, be warned. Nuggets cannot be found on Irish menus, except in McDonald's. The preferred term is "chicken goujon".
Why Ireland couldn't stick with one of the simple terms like nuggets or tenders or fingers, beats me.
I always crack up when I hear my fellow Irish men ordering their "goujons". Correct French pronunciation does not flow from most Irish tongues, so I'm afraid the term usually sounds more like a "goooooo....jjohn", especially in Dublin.
I think during the Celtic Tiger boom years, we got carried away and tried to get all fancy by serving "goujons" in restaurants.
Homemade Tenders Are Best
What are chicken nuggets made of? I think that's a six million dollar question, and the answer depends upon where you buy them.
I once watched a TV documentary about how commercial chicken nuggets are made, and when I saw discarded pieces of chicken meat being compressed into beautifully uniform patties, I just knew I had to start making my own. As you can see from my ingredient photo there aren't any complicated or unpronounceable ingredients required.
My homemade chicken tenders recipe can be baked in the oven or fried, but I prefer oven cooking for less calories. Baked chicken, even when breaded, has less fat than the fried variety.
If you like crispy chicken tenders or crunchy chicken nuggets I find panko bread crumbs, mixed with finely grated parmesan cheese, are the perfect solution to this tender coating dilemma.
What is panko? I can hear my Irish mother saying - "'Tis far from panko you were reared."
But I've come a long way from Ireland to find these dry, crunchy Japanese bread crumbs, just perfect for my chicken coating needs.
For chicken nuggets simply cut up chicken breasts into small one-inch cubes and follow the directions for this recipe.
Ingredients for Oven Baked Chicken Tenders
Here's a quick list of what you'll need. Take a look at the recipe card at the end of this post for exact quantities. You can switch between US and Metric measurements there and you'll find all the nutritional information there too.
- chicken tenderloins
- all-purpose flour
- slat and pepper (to season the flour)
- panko breadcrumbs (Japanese style breadcrumbs)
- finely grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano in Ireland)
- olive oil or vegetable oil cooking spray
I use pre-cut chicken tenderloins for this recipe. However, you can use skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips of chicken or whatever size pieces you desire.
Ingredient Tips and Substitutions
Plain flour is best for dredging the chicken pieces before dipping them in egg wash.
The ingredients here are for a basic baked chicken strip recipe. You can mix up the dredging ingredients to create different flavour profiles.
Freshly ground black pepper and garlic or onion powder can be added to the dredging flour.
You can make them a little hotter by adding some paprika, or chili powder to the panko breadcrumbs. You can experiment with spices and flavors if you wish to mix this recipe up a bit.
You can use regular breadcrumbs if you prefer but for extra crispiness I highly recommend using panko breadcrumbs.
Directions For Chicken Tenders
Here you'll find step-by-step photographic instructions. You can print the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Prepare the Goujons
Before getting started, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. To ensure crispy tenders a very hot oven is required.
Next you need 3 bowls to prepare the dunking ingredients for coating the chicken. A shallow dish works great for the dry ingredients.
In the first bowl, add the flour and season it with salt and pepper.
Break the eggs into a separate bowl, and whisk them together well.
The last bowl is for the panko bread crumbs mixed with the grated parmesan.
And now you're ready to start coating the chicken pieces.
First layer is a coating of flour. Toss each individual chicken tenderloin in the flour, then shake off the excess.
Dip the floured tenderloin in the beaten egg, letting any extra egg drip off.
Next, roll the chicken tenderloin in the breadcrumb mixture. Gently shake off any excess crumbs.
Discard any left over coating ingredients once the chicken pieces are ready for the oven.
Oven Bake the Chicken Tenders
Place a wire baking rack in a baking tray. Spray the rack with oil. Place each chicken tender on the wire rack, allowing a one inch space between each piece.
If the tenders are placed too closely together, they won't get crispy. As each one cooks steam is released, so if they're touching they just go soggy.
Many cooks bake their nuggets directly on the baking pan. I like to use a wire rack. I find hot oven air beneath the nuggets keeps them crispy as they bake.
Prepare and coat each tender individually. I find if I try to throw them all into the coating mixtures together the panko ends up being clumpy and less crispy when baked.
To ensure a perfect texture when cooked, spray the prepared nuggets with a little olive oil.
Place the tray in the pre-heated oven.
After about 12 minutes remove the tray and turn the nuggets. You can spray a little more olive oil on this new upper surface of the nuggets.
How long to bake chicken tenders? Until they're cooked is the cheeky answer.
I usually bake mine for 20 to 25 minutes. The exact time required depends on the thickness of each tenderloin.
When both sides are golden brown and crispy, I usually slice the thickest one, to make sure the chicken meat is no longer pink, and is a succulent white shade.
Shallow Frying Chicken Tenders
Now in case you think our meals are always ultra-healthy, please know I have been known to toss these tenders into my frying pan when I am in a rush to get dinner on the table.
They cook beautifully when shallow fried in about 3 tablespoons of oil with a knob of butter melted into the oil.
It takes about 7 minutes per side to fry them, but once again, how long to fry chicken nuggets depends on the thickness of the chicken tenderloin. My motto is always test to make sure.
Versatile Uses for Homemade Chicken Tenders or Goujons
While my kids are busy dipping their nuggets in honey mustard sauce, my husband and I usually dice them up and toss them over a quick and easy salad.
They're also perfect for serving over spaghetti with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese for a take on chicken parmigiana.
They're also great served with potato wedges, french fries or chips as we say in Ireland.
So there you have it - my panko crusted crispy chicken goujons, or chicken nuggests, or tenders or fingers or strips.
Whatever you call them, I hope you enjoy them as much as my kids do. With honey mustard sauce, they're finger licking good.
If you have fussy eaters you might be interested in exploring a few more of my recipes which your kids might like, such as:
- lemon and sugar pancakes
- drop scones
- beans on toast
- boiled egg and soldiers
- fruit rainbow platter
- chocolate biscuit cake (not so healthy)
- oat flapjacks
Recipe Card for Homemade Chicken Goujons
Here is the printable recipe card for these crispy chicken strips.
Homemade Chicken Tenders
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt to season flour
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper to season flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- olive oil cooking spray to coat tenders before baking
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
- Place the flour in a wide bowl with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the eggs into another bowl and beat together with a whisk.
- Mix the panko breadcrumbs and the finely grated parmesan cheese in a third bowl.
- Toss each individual chicken tenderloin in the flour, then shake off the excess flour. Dip the floured tenderloin in the beaten egg, letting any extra egg drip off. Next, roll the chicken tenderloin in the breadcrumb mixture. Gently shake off any excess crumbs.
- Place a wire baking rack in a baking tray. Spray the rack with oil. Place each chicken tender on the wire rack, allowing a one inch space between each piece. Spray the tenders with oil.
- Bake in the oven for 20 -25 mins, turning them over half way through the baking time and spraying the second side with oil.
- When they are completely cooked the outside should be a golden brown, and the inner chicken completely white. Remove from the oven and serve.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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