Super easy Baked Firecracker Chicken Tenders with the most amazing sweet and spicy Asian sauce – plus they’re so much healthier than the fried version!
Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy friends. How’s the weekend treatin’ ya?
Gone too fast? I know what you mean.
All week long I fill little colored sticky notes with lists of things I really need/want to get done on over the weekend and then all of a sudden it has come and gone and I find myself scratching my head thinking… what on earth just happened??
A few good things did happen this weekend however.
1) spend an afternoon wandering (lost) around Ikea – our favorite store on earth
2) make a batch of life-changing cookies (coming soooooon!)
3) first trip to buffalo wild wings – oh yeah. that happened.
Overall, I’d call that a weekend well-wasted.
Okay now about these chicken tenders. First thing you’ve gotta know is how crispy-tender-juicy they are and they are NOT FRIED. I just love saying that. They’re baked, not fried and as a true connoisseur of chicken tenders, I do not miss the usual fried ones.
And I’m serious about that connoisseur title – at 7 years old I never wanted pancakes from iHop, just chicken tenders and fries please!
True story. Sixteen years later…
Still a true story.
Annnnnywhoo. The sauce. Let’s talk about ooey gooey sticky sweet and spicy sauces that make you want to cry they are so wonderful.
Actually that pretty much covers it. No talking needed!
And I swear that sauce-splash was candid ^^^ – I did not strategically create it to draw attention to the firecracker-ness of these chicken tenders.
What people are saying about these Baked Firecracker Chicken Tenders
“Tried this tonight and it was a big hit. We didn’t do the breading thing but the sauce was great. We grilled the tenders in my grill pan. Then added the sauce until it was thick and bubbly. Pigs must be flying because all my family devoted it. This hasn’t happened since I started making my own homemade spaghetti sauce. Huge hit. Thank you so much!” – Crystal
“I made these tonight and it was the BEST CHICKEN TENDERS EVER! If you are thinking about making these stop thinking, and make them. The chicken was amazing and the sauce took it to a whole new level. Also, if the sauce is too spicy for some in your family don’t dip all of the chicken and serve the plain tenders. I have made several things from your site and EVERY time it turns out amazing. Thank you for such great recipes and ideas. I love that you try to keep things a little healthier without going crazy! Keep up the great work!” – Lisa
“Just made these tonight and they were absolutely delicious. And so easy to make too! I had some leftover sauce. Saving it to top burgers tomorrow. Can’t wait to make this again!” – Dawn
“These were very easy to make and very tasty. The sauce had just the right amount of heat. The sauce tasted strongly of the hot sauce, which was a little much for me personally, but overall a very good and easy dish without a lot of mess to clean up afterwards. An easy weeknight meal!” – Lynn
Baked Firecracker Chicken Tenders
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - pounded to ½ inch thickness
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons water
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup Frank’s hot sauce - (this brand really makes the sauce!)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 425 and grease a large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Slice chicken breasts into 1-inch wide strips. Add flour and chicken strips to a large zip-lock bag, seal, and shake to coat chicken.
- Place panko in a bowl. In a second bowl whisk together eggs and water. Dip flour-coated chicken pieces into the egg mixture to coat, then toss in the panko crumbs (make sure to coat well) and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Bake chicken for 15-25 minutes until golden-brown and cooked through. While chicken tenders are baking, prepare the sauce. In a medium sauce pan combine all sauce ingredients. Stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then reduce to low and allow to simmer until ready to use.
- When chicken is finished cooking, use tongs to toss chicken tenders in the sauce. Serve warm with ranch dressing if desired.
These need to be flipped halfway through baking, otherwise the bottom of the chicken ends up super soggy.