A skinny version of a classic breaded chicken tender, baked not fried! Flavorfully seasoned with rich buttermilk, panko breadcrumbs, and savory ranch topping.
There are some foods that are just pure nostalgic for me. Foods that remind me of my childhood, foods that remind me of the warm times I would have around the dinner table with my family…chicken tenders are just one of those foods!
When I was little there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a good crispy chicken tender dunked in a tub of ranch (super healthy, I know). There were 6 kids in my family so growing up I didn’t get much time all to myself with my mom but on special occasions she would take me out for a mommy/daughter day and we would go get our nails done and do a little shopping. The best part was that she always let me pick where we would go for lunch. And I almost always wanted Nordstrom’s Cafe! They had the best chicken tenders! They were golden and crispy and always came with the biggest sides of ranch!
Nowadays I still get cravings for a good ol’ chicken tender and when I do I just bake up a batch of these little babies! The panko crust is light and still gives the chicken a perfect golden crust. I marinate the chicken over night in a reduced fat buttermilk, garlic salt, and a few dashes of hot sauce (cause I am just that kind of girl). When I am ready to bake the chicken I just give it a quick dunk in a beaten egg wash and then right into a big bowl of crunchy panko bread crumbs, salty parmesan cheese, and some savory ranch seasoning. Then you just pop the panko crusted chicken on top of a pan and bake. 45 minutes later you will have perfectly crunchy, salty, and golden…totally dunk-able chicken tenders. It’s pure yumminess. I dip mine in, you guessed it; RANCH. But my hubby likes them with a smokey bbq sauce. Either way these panko ranch chicken tenders are amazing. And the best part is that they are missing all of the fat in a traditional fried chicken….which means you can go ahead and have another.
- 1 Cup Reduced Fat Buttermilk
- 1 lb. Chicken Tenders or 2 Chicken Breasts (cut into strips)
- ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- 2-3 Dashes of Hot Sauce
- 1 Egg
- 1½ Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
- ⅓ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Ranch Seasoning Packet (I used Hidden Valley)
- ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- In a gallon size bag marinate buttermilk, chicken, cayenne pepper, garlic salt. pepper, and hot sauce. Marinate over night or up to 24 hours.
- In medium bowl beat egg.
- In a separate bowl combine panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, ranch seasoning packet, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Dip each marinated chicken tender in the beaten egg and then into the panko bread crumb mixture. Coat each strip well, shaking off any excess. Place the breaded chicken strips on a cooling rack atop a foil lined baking pan. Bake on 400 for 45-50 minutes. Serve with favorite dipping sauce!