Thank goodness I don’t have the same palette that I did as a kid. Every time my parents took us out to eat I would order chicken tenders without fail. They would always encourage me to try something else, but it was chicken tenders or bust! I thought I would throw it back to my stubborn youth and make a more grown up version of chicken tenders. They’re baked instead of fried, giving them a fresh crunchy breading on the outside, drizzled with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce for some kick, and then finished off with a delicious avocado ranch dipping sauce! They turned out so good that we had them the next night… and the next!
Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs olive oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey mustard
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp dried thyme
1-1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips and seasoned with salt and pepper
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
For avocado ranch sauce:
¼ cup ranch
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 tsp hot sauce
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (246 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with olive oil and set aside.
(1.) Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat. Stir in olive oil and panko bread crumbs. (2.) Toast crumbs for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. (3.) On a separate plate, combine flour and garlic salt. (4.) In a shallow dish or bowl whisk together eggs, water, mustard, paprika, and thyme.
(5.) Dip a piece of chicken in the flour, coating all sides. (6.) Dip into the egg mixture (and yes I’m squeamish about raw chicken, so I have gloves on), letting the excess run off, (7.) and finally dip into the toasted panko crumbs. Gently press in the crumbs to fully coat. (8.) Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces.
(9.) When finished, place in the oven to bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove and flip pieces over. Place back in the oven to bake another 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink or translucent in the center. (10.) Drizzle with buffalo sauce (11. & 12.) and let them stand for a few minutes to absorb hot sauce and cool.
To make the dipping sauce, mix together ranch, mashed avocado, and hot sauce. You can make ahead, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Squeeze a lime wedge over the chicken tenders and serve with avocado sauce.