May 17, 2024

Crispy Baked BBQ Chicken Tenders (light and healthy!)

Who needs greasy deep-frying when you can enjoy crispy, flavor-packed BBQ chicken tenders baked right in your oven? This recipe uses a light coating of oil and simple ingredients to deliver juicy, tender chicken bursting with barbecue goodness. Perfect for appetizers, main courses, or even kid-friendly meals, these tenders are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Key features:

  • Healthy: Avoids deep-frying for a lighter option.
  • Easy: Simple marinade and breading process.
  • Customizable: Choose your favorite BBQ sauce and adjust spices to your preference.
  • Versatile: Serve as an appetizer, main course, or with dipping sauces.

Ingredients:

  • For the marinade:
    • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons honey
  • For the chicken:
    • 1 ½ pounds chicken tenders (trimmed and halved if large)
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 ¾ cups coarse dry breadcrumbs (whole-wheat or regular)
    • Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray
  • Optional:
    • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Marinate: In a large bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, and honey. Add chicken tenders and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven: Set oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (for easy cleanup).
  3. Bread the chicken: Set up three shallow dishes: one with flour and spices, one with beaten eggs, and one with breadcrumbs. Dip each marinated chicken tender in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture and let any excess drip off. Finally, coat evenly in the breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake: Place breaded tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Generously spray both sides with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165°F/74°C).
  5. Serve: Enjoy your crispy BBQ chicken tenders hot with your favorite dipping sauce (optional garnish with chopped parsley).

Tips:

  • Use your favorite brand of BBQ sauce to customize the flavor.
  • For a thicker coating, dip the chicken tenders in the egg mixture twice before rolling in the breadcrumbs.
  • Make sure the chicken tenders are cooked through before serving.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

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