Baked Bacon Cheddar Chicken Tenders – Fast, EASY, perfectly CRISPY on the outside, and juicy on the inside!! Don’t bother frying chicken when you can bake it! The BACON and CHEDDAR coating is irresistible!!
These oven-baked chicken tenders have so much crispiness on the outside and are tender and juicy on the inside.
Why bother frying chicken when you can get so much flavor from baked chicken and it’s obviously healthier.
Easy, ready in 25 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights. I’ve never known a picky kid (or spouse) to turn down chicken fingers, especially when they’re coated with bacon and cheese.
How Does The Chicken Get Crispy Without Frying
The chicken gets its crispiness from a few things: Shredded cheddar cheese which crisps up in the oven; cooked bacon that turns even crispier while it bakes, and panko breadcrumbs.
Note that panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs and are not the same as regular breadcrumbs so don’t substitute those. These are bigger, crunchier crumbs and yield chicken tenders that have a lovely crispiness on the outside that you wouldn’t get from regular breadcrumbs.
Favorite Easy Chicken Recipes:
- 15 Chicken Dinners Ready in 15 Minutes – Easy dinners that are ready in a flash and perfect for busy weeknights! Delish, healthy, and guaranteed to please your toughest dinner critics!
- 15 Skinny Chicken Dinners Ready in 15 Minutes – FAST, easy, gluten-free recipes on the SKINNIER side!! You won’t miss the fat and calories because there’s so much FLAVOR! Perfect for busy weeknights and there’s more than than just salads!
- Easy Spicy-And-Sweet Glazed Chicken – Perfectly spicy with just the right amount of sweetness in this EASY, super flavorful recipe that leave you wanting more!! Crispy skin on the outside, juicy and tender inside, and so GOOD!
- Kicked Up Cornflake Chicken – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, so CRISPY on the outside and tender and juicy inside!! The sauce has the perfect amount of KICK to keep you going back for more!
- Grilled Tandoori Chicken – Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home!! If you’re looking for a new spin on grilled chicken, this is THE recipe to try! Super juicy, flavorful, and you’ll LOVE IT!
How To Make The Bacon Cheddar Chicken Tenders
First cook the bacon. To make this recipe even faster and easier, I recommend using fully cooked bacon that you can heat up in the microwave in 1 minute.
No matter what kind of bacon or the preparation method you choose, don’t overcook it in the microwave or in a skillet until the super crispy state because it coats the chicken and later gets baked for 15 minutes and will crisp up plenty.
Then beat an egg, dip the chicken into it, and add the chicken to a large ziptop plastic bag along with panko breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Seal up the bag and shake. This is the modern DIY version of shake-and-bake chicken.
Bake for 15 minutes and dinner is ready. My daughter gave these a 10 out of 10 and I think most kids (of all ages) would be thrilled to see these show up on their dinner plate.
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Baked Bacon Cheddar Chicken Tenders
- ⅓ cup fully cooked bacon, diced into pieces
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese blend
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1 to 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders
- green onions, for garnishing
- ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, etc. for serving if desired
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup; set aside.
- Cook the bacon according to the package directions. Tip - Save time and use fully precooked bacon that you can heat in the microwave in 1 minute. Dice bacon into small pieces and place into a large ziptop plastic bag.
- To the bag add the panko, cheese, salt, pepper; set bag aside.
- To a medium bowl, add the egg, lightly beat it with a fork, add the chicken, and toss and flip chicken with the fork so all pieces are coated evenly.
- Remove chicken from the bowl using the fork (discard excess egg), drop it into the plastic bag, seal bag, and toss and shake bag to evenly coat the chicken.
- Place chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. If there is excess bacon or panko in the bag, use your fingers to push it onto the chicken in sparsely coated areas.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, flip midway through to ensure even cooking. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately with your favorite sauce if desired. Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, noting that reheated chicken will not retain it's crispiness.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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15 Chicken Dinners Ready in 15 Minutes – Easy dinners that are ready in a flash and perfect for busy weeknights! Delish, healthy, and guaranteed to please your toughest dinner critics!
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