We love chicken parm, but filleting and flattening chicken breast and then deep-frying it isn’t something we love doing at home. We make these baked chicken parm tenders instead, and they are so delicious and super easy to make!
Seriously, pounding chicken, breading it, and deep-frying it can be such a hassle. That’s why we made this baked chicken parm tenders recipe to be painless, straightforward and easy to accomplish at home.
In the body below, we share what makes this recipe so easy and so delicious, as well as providing background information to help you master this recipe.
If you just want to get cooking these baked chicken parm tenders, no worries – it’s a simple recipe, just scroll down to the ingredients and get going!
Chicken parm? What’s that?
We’re guessing you know what chicken parm is, but just in case…
Chicken parm, chicken parmesan, or more properly, chicken parmigiana is an Italian-American recipe inspired by classic Italian recipes like parmigiana di melanzane (breaded eggplant with tomato sauce and cheese) and cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded and fried veal cutlets without sauce or cheese).
Generally at a restaurant, you’ll find this dish served as a chicken breast that has been filleted and pounded flat (although sometimes chicken thighs are used instead) that has been breaded and deep fried, then covered with marinara sauce and cheese and served on top of spaghetti.
This dish is delicious, but it’s harder to pull off at home than in a restaurant setting. Many people don’t want to fillet and pound chicken (we get that, sometimes chicken can be gross), and deep-frying at home is just a hassle.
The dish is so delicious, and we don’t want to always have to pay dining-out prices to enjoy it, so that’s why we came up with this variation on the recipe!
What are chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders, also known as chicken tenderloins, are a cut of chicken meat. They are the small, narrow strips of muscle attached to the underside of each chicken breast.
You’ll often purchase chicken breasts that have the tenderloin removed for other uses, but sometimes you’ll find breasts that still have the tenders attached.
These are long and slender which make them the perfect substitute for recipes that would otherwise require filleting and pounding chicken breasts – like this baked chicken parm tenders recipe!
What type of bread crumbs do you use to make these baked chicken parm tenders?
We used pre-seasoned bread crumbs for this recipe – it’s supposed to be a painless recipe, so why complicate things by having to use further steps to season the chicken?
Of course, if you do want to take your baked chicken parm tenders to a more flavorful realm, you can make your own seasoned bread crumbs, or season the flour used in the breading process to your taste.
If you’d like to make your own seasoned bread crumbs, try this recipe from The Cooking Bride.
How do you prepare the chicken for baking?
We followed the standard three-step breading process to prepare our baked chicken parm tenders. The three steps are:
- Dredge the chicken in flour.
- Egg wash the dredged chicken.
- Coat the chicken in breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to adhere the crumbs to the chicken.
You can check out this instructional video for more details if you’re uncertain how to bread chicken!
We could season the flour or the chicken, but so much of the flavor in this recipe comes from the sauce and cheese (plus we used seasoned breadcrumbs), so we skipped that step.
What type of cheese did you use in this recipe?
We used four slices of mozzarella cheese that we ripped in half to place over the chicken tenders. They melted perfectly into place without being overly cheesey. There are other types of cheese you can use however, including:
- Fresh mozzarella torn into pieces
- Shredded mozzarella sprinkled over the chicken
- Sliced or shredded provolone on top of the chicken
- A mixture of shredded mozzarella and provolone sprinkled over the chicken for more flavor
And you can also add shredded parmesan cheese into your cheese mixture as well!
How do you serve your baked chicken parm tenders?
We enjoyed these delicious pieces of crunchy chicken over spaghetti that we tossed in marinara sauce. This was a classic pairing and you can put one tender on a small plate of spaghetti, or you can place two tenders on a larger plate.
Here are a few other serving suggestions:
- Be (slightly) more healthy and put the chicken tenders over a fresh chopped salad!
- Dip the chicken parm tenders into marinara sauce – appetizer salad!
- Don’t worry about side dishes – this dish has meat, vegetables, cheese, and bread in it already, it’s a complete meal!
Do you have more recipes that use chicken tenders?
If these baked chicken parm tenders aren’t enough chicken tender goodness for you, then we have you covered. Click here to see all of our chicken tender recipes!
Alright, let’s get on to the full recipe! If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
We’ll see you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats!
- 8 piece(s) Chicken Breast Tenders (around 2 – 2.25 pounds)
- 2 cup All Purpose Flour (for breading)
- 2 Egg (for eggwash used in breading)
- 2 Tbsp Milk (for eggwash used in breading)
- 3 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs (for breading)
- 1 cup Marinara Sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 4 slice Mozzarella Cheese (cut in half)
- Spaghetti (cooked – for serving)
- Basil (fresh – for serving)
Set out three shallow bowls. Add the flour to one bowl, crack the eggs into a second, add the milk, and beat them together to make eggwash, then place the seasoned breadcrumbs in the third.
One at a time, take a chicken tender and dredge it in the flour, making sure it’s fully coated. Tap off the excess flour. Next, dip the floured chicken tender into the egg wash, ensuring it’s completely covered. Finally, coat the chicken tender with the breadcrumb mixture. Press lightly to ensure the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken.
Place each breaded chicken tender on a wire rack that has been placed over a foil-lined baking sheet.
Place the chicken into an oven that has been preheated to 425ºF and bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 155ºF.
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon a layer of marinara sauce over each piece. Add half a slice of mozzarella cheese on top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
The chicken should be 165ºF when it is done cooking.
Once your chicken has reached 165ºF and your cheese is melted, remove your baked chicken parm tenders from the oven.
Serve over spaghetti tossed in marinara sauce and garnish with freshly chopped basil. Enjoy!