In this article, we will show you the perfect recipe for making delicious and nutritious chicken tenders at home.
The best part?
They are baked, not fried, making them a guilt-free choice for any meal.
Get ready to bite into tender, juicy, and guilt-free goodness. Let's jump right in and discover how to make the perfect batch of healthy chicken tenders.
Choosing the right chicken for healthy tenders
To create healthy chicken tenders it's crucial to begin with the kind of chicken. Look for boneless skinless chicken breasts that're lean and contain fat and calories. If possible opt for free range chicken breasts as they tend to be more nutritious and are raised without hormones or antibiotics.
Before slicing the chicken into strips it's important to remove any fat or connective tissue. This will result in flavorful tenders. Use a knife to trim the chicken breasts making sure each strip has a similar thickness for consistent cooking.
Preparing the chicken: trimming and marinating
Once you've finished trimming the chicken breasts it's time to give them a marinade. Marinating the chicken not only adds flavor but also helps to make it tender. A straightforward marinade can be created using ingredients, like lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and your favorite herbs and spices.
Take the chicken strips. Place them in a container or Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over them. Make sure they are well coated. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes though its even better if you can leave it for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavor infusion.
While marinating remember to turn the chicken strips so that all sides get evenly coated with flavors. This will allow the delicious taste to deeply penetrate into the meat. When you're ready to cook those succulent chicken tenders take them out of the marinade. Gently pat them dry, with a paper towel to remove any moisture.
Baking vs. frying chicken tenders
One of the benefits of preparing chicken tenders at home is that they can be baked instead of fried. Baking the chicken tenders reduces the amount of added fat and calories making them a healthier option. It also eliminates the need, for using a quantity of oil, which is often required when frying chicken tenders.
To bake the chicken tenders begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Place the baking sheet with the chicken strips in the oven. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and has a golden brown color. To ensure browning flip the chicken tenders halfway through cooking time.
The baking duration might vary depending on how thick your chicken strips are therefore it's important to keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. The desired outcome for the chicken tenders is achieving crispiness on the outside while maintaining juiciness on the inside. To determine if they are done use a meat thermometer to confirm that their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).
Variations and flavor options for chicken tenders
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Add grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs for a cheesy twist.
- Add Cajun seasoning or a combination of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper for a spicy kick.
- Add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic to the marinade for an Asian-inspired flavor.
Now that you have the recipe and all the tips you need, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start cooking. Enjoy!