Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

By Rachel Tiemeyer
May 18, 2021

Skip the messy dredging and breading process of most chicken tender recipes with this easy shake-and-bake one. These Oven Baked Chicken Tenders produce a crispy, yet healthy version that rivals any deep-fried nugget. A great chicken tender recipe that cooks straight from frozen!

Oven baked chicken tenders in a baking dish

Your family is gonna love these Oven Baked Chicken Tenders! Try them with some homemade Oven Fries and Roasted Broccoli for the kid-friendly meal of the century. The Old Bay seasoning lends a peppery New England hint, but even the pickiest eaters will enjoy this recipe.

What’s in the Recipe?

The ingredients are so simple! Here is what you will need to have on hand:

  • 1Whole wheat flour
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Old Bay seasoning (omit this ingredient if you don’t want a little spicy-ness)
  • Garlic powder
  • Chicken tenders
  • Salt and pepper
  • Avocado oil (or olive oil)

3 oven baked chicken tenders on a plate with strawberries and a sweet potato

How to Freeze Chicken Tenders

One of the best things about this recipe is you can cook them from straight from frozen!

It has been one of my go-to freezer meals for a long time. It’s so easy to scale up and make multiple batches at once. In fact, we love it so much that we included it in one of our 1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions! You can check out how to make 6 meals (including two batches of these chicken tenders) below!

1 Hour Freezer Prep session on a clipboard

HOW TO FREEZE:

Add the dry ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and shake to combine.

In a medium-sized bowl, season all the chicken tenders well with salt and pepper on all sides. Then toss with avocado oil or olive oil until coated.

Add several chicken tenders at a time to the bag of dry ingredients. Close and shake well to coat each piece. Place them side by side in single layers inside the bags. Use parchment paper to divide layers, if needed.

Seal, squeezing out any extra air, and freeze flat.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Cook from Frozen:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a sheet pan in the oven while it preheats, so it gets hot. Spray the hot sheet pan with cooking spray and place the frozen tenders on the pan, making sure they don’t touch. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Cooking Thawed Chicken Tenders:

Place the frozen chicken in the fridge and let thaw for about 24 hours. If you need your chicken defrosted sooner, use one of these safe thawing methods. Follow cooking steps as directed in recipe.

Oven baked chicken tenders in a baking dish


What to Serve with Oven Baked Chicken Tenders:

Here are some side dish ideas that would go well with this recipe!


Ways to Mix It Up:

We love providing different ways to use staple recipes like this. Here are some ways to use your chicken tenders!

  • Turn these into Chicken Parmesan! After baking, top each tender with a spoonful of marinara sauce, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake 5 minutes more.
  • Chop up to use in My Favorite Cobb Salad.
  • Chop up and serve on a bed of Romaine lettuce. Top with cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, croutons, and Honey Dijon Dressing or Balsamic Parmesan Dressing.
Print

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This yummy version of chicken fingers are a sure winner! Your family will love the moist chicken packed with loads of flavor. You will love the healthy twist on classic chicken fingers.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (omit this ingredient if you don’t want a little spicy-ness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/3 lbs chicken tenders
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a metal sheet pan with with foil for easy clean up, if desired. Place the pan in the preheated oven, so it gets hot.
  2. Meanwhile, place the flour, Parmesan cheese, Old Bay, and garlic powder in a large zip ­top plastic bag; shake well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Then toss with the oil until coated.
  4. Add several chicken tenders at a time to the bag of dry ingredients. Close and shake well to coat each piece.
  5. Carefully remove hot sheet pan and generously grease with cooking spray. Arrange seasoned chicken tenders on the pan, leaving room between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until done, turning once halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Bread the chicken tenders according to Steps 2-4. Flash freeze the uncooked, coated chicken tenders by placing on a baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, place tenders in a gallon-sized freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, and place in the back of the freezer until ready to prepare.

Prepare From Frozen: Follow Step 1. Bake the tenders directly from frozen on the hot greased sheet pan at for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 2-3 chicken tenders per person

Want More Easy Freezer Meals Like This?

Freezer meals are our specialty! After 10+ years of freezer cooking experience, writing two freezer meal cookbooks, and creating multiple 1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions, we have mastered the art of prepping meals for the freezer. Be sure to browse through our 70+ Freezer Meal Recipes for meal prep inspiration!

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16 replies
    • Rachel says:

      Hi Bec. Old Bay Seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that is marketed in the United States by McCormick & Company, and produced in Maryland. A lot of times I just substitute something like 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (like Italian Seasoning/basil/parsley/oregano). If you want a little more heat, throw in some cayenne pepper too.

      Reply
    • Rachel says:

      I would say up to three months as long as you have them in a very cold place in your freezer or deep freeze and they are well-packaged (i.e. not exposed to a lot of air).

      Reply
  1. Lydia Coathup from Kingwood,Texas says:

    hello again from Kingwood,Texas..
    After only being a member with Thriving Home for a couple of months, You Rock , Rachel and Polly!!!
    Just yesterday my ever supportive and loving husband and I decided for lunch to make these wonderful tenders and were praying that our beautiful and independent 7 1/2 year old princess who is autistic and epileptic (which neither one stops her) would go after these and guess what? Yep she did,, Mind you she’s not picky like I described when I first subscribed and introduced myself and told about our family.. The only thing we did not put in them was the Parmesan cheese( we both thought we were out,, guess what I found a couple of hours later in the back top shelf in the refrigerator?)..
    These tenders were still really great and Cassie loved them.. We are hoping since she is on a new medication for her neurology issue that this will help with her appetite which has a little decreased but seems to be only at school .. So maybe we need to make some homemade lunches for her which she can have and maybe choose more then just having some delicious lunch for the cafeteria which are pretty healthy too..

    Cannot wait to check maybe some breakfasts for her to take to school too.. Any suggestions?
    We trust you both so very much..

    God Bless

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Sweet Lydia, thank you so much for your encouraging story. We exist to help families like yours. I’m so glad to hear that your daughter liked the Chicken Tenders, even minus the Parmesan cheese. 😉 Some breakfast ideas: Mini Breakfast Muffins, Breakfast Sandwiches, Banana Pumpkin Muffins, or the Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping might be some good starters for grab-and-go breakfasts. Would love to hear what works for you! Have a great day.

      Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Flash freeze ensures they don’t stick, but I cheat most of the time and just lay them in a single layer and separate layers with parchment paper.

      Reply
    • Rachel says:

      It’s actually a dried seasoning used in a lot of seafood and cajun food dishes. You can find it in the seasoning aisle. But, a lot of times I just substitute something like 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (like Italian Seasoning/basil/parsley/oregano). If you want a little more heat, throw in some cayenne pepper too.

      Reply