Oven “Fried” Chicken Fingers

When Grace turned two she stopped eating chicken if it wasn’t fried (aka chicken nuggets). I don’t mind her enjoying a kids nugget meal every now and then. I know I had my share growing up and truth be told, I still love a good chicken nugget. However, neither our wallets nor our waistlines can handle it all too often. So I’ve been trying to come up with an oven baked chicken tender recipe that I’m happy with for a while now.

I’ve played around with flavor combinations and have had a winner when it comes to taste, but have not been satisfied with the appearance. They just don’t come out golden brown like if you really fried them and therefore they don’t look that appetizing. For a while I accepted that pale crust was the price I had to pay to not have them swimming in oil, but a couple of weeks ago I made a batch and decided that I had to find a way to make these look as good as they taste. Then last week I woke up at 3:34 am to Camille fussing in her crib. She went right back to sleep, of course, but I did not. I had started thinking about this chicken recipe and my mind was racing. Then it hit me. If it’s all about appearance what if I toast the breadcrumbs before putting them on the chicken. I couldn’t wait to try this, so I’ll give you one guess as to what we had for dinner that night. That’s right! Oven fried chicken strips! And not just any oven fried chicken strips. These were tender, full of flavor and best of all they were GOLDEN!!! They were the most beautiful golden brown oven fried chicken strips I’ve ever had.

We’re having these again tonight with a side of roasted potatoes and carrots with garlic-dill butter. The high temp oven needed to finish browning the chicken makes it the perfect time to roast some veggies as well. Keep a look out for that recipe later in the week!

Print Recipe
Oven "Fried" Chicken Fingers
So crunchy and golden brown, you'll never know these weren't actually fried.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • olive oil cooking spray
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • olive oil cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place breadcrumbs on baking sheet and carefully spray with cooking spray.
  2. Bake for 5 minutes, stirring half way through. Pour toasted breadcrumbs into shallow dish.
  3. Place egg, flour, sour cream, salt, garlic, and thyme in shallow dish and stir to combine batter.
  4. Dredge chicken in batter, then place in breadcrumbs.
  5. Cover with breadcrumbs and pat firmly.
  6. Place breaded strip on rack on baking sheet. Continue until all strips are covered.
  7. Spray each strip with cooking spray. (Now that's what I'm talking about. They already look delicious and they're not even baked yet!)
  8. Bake tenders for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
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