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Need to feed the family in a hurry, but want to keep things wholesome and nutritious? The ideal easy, healthy chicken dinner recipe is here! Fresh or frozen chicken tenderloins are coated in spices and made quickly in the oven or air fryer, no breading needed! In less than 30 minutes you are ready to serve gluten-free, low carb, keto and paleo-friendly – and delicious! – chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces and sides.
Easy Oven Baked Chicken Tenderloins
Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or strips, are a classic dinner staple that both kids and adults love. Juicy, savory, and flavorful tenderloins are perfect to enjoy as-is or with dipping sauces. Fork optional!
Use chicken tenderloin in the Instant Pot to make Instant Pot chicken tenders (no breading), dip them in Bisquick for chicken strips that everyone will love, or check out these 20+ Chicken Tenderloin Recipes for some dinner inspiration.
Although there are nearly limitless ways to prepare tasty tenders, oven baking is one of my favorite methods.
Simply season the chicken pieces, drizzle with oil, and oven bake for 20 minutes until golden. You can even use frozen chicken! And because this easy recipe does not include any binders or breading (like eggs and flour and/or breadcrumbs), it’s also super healthy.
“Naked” chicken tenderloins are naturally gluten-free and happen to be keto and paleo-friendly. But healthy baked chicken tenders with no breading are more than just a low-carb option… You won’t believe how delicious they are, too!
Pair them with comfort food side dishes for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner.
What Is The Difference Between Chicken Tenderloins and Tenders?
Tenderloins are from a specific section of the chicken breast. This cut is located under the breast and is actually a thin muscle. It doesn’t get much exercise, hence the tenderness of the meat.
Chicken tenders can either be made with tenderloins or are pieces of the actual breast itself cut into strips. These breast meat cuts don’t get quite as juicy or, well, tender, as true tenderloins.
You can use either tenderloins or chicken breast strips to make this recipe!
Ingredients Needed To Make Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
There are only a handful of pantry staples you need to make oven baked chicken tenderloins – no breading needed! These are the gluten-free, paleo, keto, and low carb ingredients in this recipe:
- Melted butter – or oil
- Seasonings – paprika, garlic powder, fine sea salt, ground black pepper
- Chicken tenderloins – fresh or frozen chicken (keep reading for tips!)
How to Oven Bake the Best Chicken Tenderloins
Preheat your oven to 350º F.
Add seasonings to a ziplock bag or plate. Use a separate one for the melted butter or oil.
Shake or dip the chicken strips in the butter or oil to coat. Then do the same with the chicken tenders and seasonings.
Add your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables like green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, or diced potatoes to the baking sheet for an easy sheet pan dinner.
Below, the chicken strips are paired with asparagus spears.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Serve the chicken tenders warm with your favorite dipping sauces like ranch, BBQ, or honey mustard.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Want to turn this healthy baked chicken into an easy sheet pan meal? Add veggies like fresh or frozen green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, diced potatoes or sweet potatoes, asparagus spears, or broccoli. Now you have a complete dinner with one pan!
- Baking chicken tenderloins from frozen? Sure you can! When baking chicken tenderloins from frozen just add a few minutes to the baking time. Check the chicken’s internal temperature to ensure it is 165ºF before removing them from the oven.
- Mix up the spices however you like. Feel free to swap or add spices, like Italian seasonings, chili powder and cumin, or cayenne pepper for some heat.
- Double the recipe as part of your weekly meal prep, and have plenty of chicken tenders for lunches or quick dinners.
- Air fry chicken tenders! After preheating your air fryer to 325ºF, bake or air fry chicken tenderloins for 10-15 minutes or until they reach 165ºF internally. See recipe notes for full details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Preheat your air fryer to 325ºF, then air fry the chicken tenderloins for 10-15 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken strips to ensure they are 165º internally before serving.
Fresh or frozen asparagus spears, green beans, sliced bell pepper and onions, small diced potatoes, and broccoli.
Since chicken tenders are small, thin slices cuts of chicken then baking chicken tenderloins from frozen is easy! Just add 3 minutes of baking time, and check the internal temperature of the chicken to be sure they are 165ºF.
Here is the Full Healthy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe:
Baked Chicken Tenderloins (No Breading)
- casserole dish or baking sheet
- Ziplock bags, plates, or dipping trays
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ pounds chicken tenderloins (fresh or frozen) *for frozen, see notes below*
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare the shallow casserole dish or baking sheet by spraying it with cooking oil.
- Add seasonings to a ziplock bag, dipping tray, or plate. Use a separate bag, tray, or plate for the melted butter or oil.
- Shake or dip the chicken strips in the butter or oil and to coat on all sides. Then do the same with the chicken tenders and seasonings, pressing gently all around to coat.
- Place dipped chicken tenderloins on the prepared casserole pan or a baking sheet. Add fresh or frozen green beans, asparagus, sliced bell pepper, or broccoli, or diced potatoes (see below), if desired.
- Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until the chicken tenders reach an internal temperature of 165ºF in the center. Serve the chicken tenders warm with your favorite dipping sauces like ranch, BBQ, or honey mustard.
Air Fry Instructions
- Preheat your air fryer to 325ºF. Air fry the chicken tenderloins for 10-15 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken strips to ensure they are 165º internally before serving. Serve the chicken tenders warm with your favorite dipping sauces like ranch, BBQ, or honey mustard.