Baked Bacon Cheddar Chicken Tenders

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.

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

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!!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fully cooked bacon, diced into pieces
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup; set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. To the bag add the panko, cheese, salt, pepper; set bag aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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