I’ve been on the hunt for awhile now for a way to make truly crispy buffalo chicken tenders in the oven. After the success of these crispy baked buffalo chicken wings, I thought, “How hard can it be to make crispy tenders?” It was harder than I thought.
A little perseverance and a genius tip from a fellow blogger led to these truly crispy, juicy tenders with that addictive spicy buffalo kick. But before I tell you how to make these beauties, I want to tell you (and show you) what NOT to do.
As you can see I thought I had a winner in hand – to the point of photographing it. But then I took a bite. Hello soggy breading. Problem #1: the breading wasn’t crunchy enough to start with. That’s where the genius tip from my friend Nagi of Recipe Tin Eats came in. Genius Tip: toast the panko crumbs BEFORE you use them to bread the tenders.
Problem #2: I’d coated the tenders in buffalo sauce after baking, a mistake. This time I made the butter and hot sauce mixture part of the egg dip and voilà! – all of the flavor without making the breading soggy. And baking the tenders in the upper third of the oven on an oven safe cooling rack ensures that all sides get crispy.
These make perfect party or football watching fare, with blue cheese dip of course!
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank's Red Hot or Cholula
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound chicken tenders
- 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbled
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- milk for thinning
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread panko breadcrumbs in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to shallow plate immediately to keep them from continuing to cook. Stir in kosher salt.
Place an oven-proof cooling rack inside the rimmed baking sheet and spray or brush with oil to keep tenders from sticking. (If you don't have an oven-proof cooling rack, just line the baking sheet with parchment paper)
Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan and transfer to a bowl. Whisk hot sauce into butter to cool it down.
Whisk egg and garlic together in a shallow bowl. Add butter and hot sauce mixture and whisk to combine.
Spread flour on a shallow plate for dredging.
Pat tenders dry with paper towels. Dredge one tender in flour and shake to remove excess. Dip in egg mixture and lift to let excess drip away. Then dredge the tender in toasted panko crumbs, patting crumbs down to be sure they adhere. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tenders.
Bake tenders at 425°F for 15 to 18 minutes until breading is crisp and chicken is cooked through but still juicy.
Serve with Simple Blue Cheese Dip (recipe below)
Add blue cheese, garlic and sour cream to a medium bowl. Using the back of a fork, smash blue cheese crumbles into sour cream until flavors have melded. Stir. Add milk, a teaspoon at a time to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.