Shake and Bake chicken is a comfort food dinner that many of us remember from our childhood. By using my recipe for homemade Shake n Bake mix, you can easily make a batch of baked panko chicken tenders for dinner tonight. This meal is healthier and more delicious than using the store bought mix!
To save even more time, you can make crispy Shake and Bake chicken in an air fryer instead of the oven!
Keep reading – We’ll show you how to make perfectly crispy, beautifully seasoned chicken for dinner tonight. This meal can be ready to eat in 25 minutes or less!
Why We Love Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken
- Homemade seasonings and spice blends make for the best meals.
Because you can control the quality of ingredients that go into them, they are usually healthier and tastier than store-bought ones.
- A healthier option.
Making Shake ‘n Bake chicken tenders from scratch ensures that there are no preservatives like MSG or other unhealthy additives. Making your own chicken seasoning mix is very easy, and only takes a few minutes.
- Easy to make with fresh or frozen chicken pieces!
The protein does need to be fresh to coat with crispy panko coating, but if you forget to pull it from the freezer, it’s okay! That happens to us more often that we want to admit. When it does, we thaw the frozen chicken thighs in air fryer!
Mixing up this recipe is just as easy as using the store-bought mix. Simply mix the spices and panko, then cook up crispy chicken tenders in the oven or air fryer. Then you have a delicious, juicy meal the whole family will love!
Video Tutorial – Shake n Bake Chicken Recipe
To see the process of breading and baking the boneless chicken pieces from start to finish, scroll down to the recipe card and watch the video!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Boneless chicken– For the best results, use fresh chicken tenderloins.
I do not recommend using frozen chicken for this baked panko chicken tenders recipe because moisture from the thawing chicken causes the breading to fall off.
If you have frozen chicken tenders, you could use them for no-breading chicken recipes like Instant Pot chicken tenders, Blackened chicken tenders, or baked chicken tenderloins.
- Melted butter– If you need a butter substitute, any type of liquid fat such as olive oil can be used. Brushing it over the raw chicken tenderloins allows the Shake and Bake mixture to adhere.
- Panko crumbs – Use panko for the crispiest Shake n Bake chicken. Regular bread crumbs can be used, but your baked chicken tenderloins won’t be as crispy.
- Seasonings – For the best flavor chicken, we use a simple but flavorful blend of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper.
Just be sure to use an instant-read cooking thermometer to be sure that the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. before removing it from the oven.
Tips for Making Shake and Bake Chicken Tenders
- Trim any excess fat, and apply oil to prevent sticking.
Use a sharp knife to remove any visible fat from the chicken tenderloins. Then, use a pastry brush to apply a little bit of oil or melted butter over each one.
- Use a dipping tray or Ziploc bag, for easier cleanup.
Add the panko breadcrumbs and seasonings to a zip-top food storage bag, a dipping tray, or a plate. Then stir or shake to combine them.
- Avoid coating too many pieces at one time.
If you’re going to shake and bake (versus using a plate), only place 4 chicken strips in the bag at a time. This ensures that every tender gets covered with breading.
- Close and seal the bag, then shake to coat the tenders with the Shake and Bake chicken seasonings. Then, repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces.
If using a breading tray or plate, spread the Shake ‘n Bake chicken seasoning mix into an even layer. Then, simply lay the chicken tenderloins into the mixture and gently press to help the mixture adhere.
Baking Crispy Chicken Tenders in Oven
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. While the oven is heating, spray a shallow casserole dish or baking sheet with cooking spray or oil spray.
- Place the panko breaded chicken tenderloins on the prepared casserole pan or a baking sheet. Be sure to leave some space between each piece so air can circulate around them.
That hot air is important to achieve the crispiest Shake and Bake chicken!
If desired, add fresh or frozen green beans, asparagus, sliced bell pepper, or broccoli. Use softer veggies (not potatoes) otherwise they will not cook through.
Bake chicken tenders at 375ºF for 15 to 17 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF in the center.
Making Shake and Bake Chicken in Air Fryer
- To make Shake n Bake chicken in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 350° F. To help prevent the tenderloins from sticking, spray the fryer basket, or use a paper liner.
Add the chicken to the air fryer basket. Then air fry the tenders at 350°F. for 10-12 minutes.
Check that the internal temperature of the tenders reaches 165ºF with a meat thermometer before serving.
Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken FAQ
You should bake the chicken tenderloins at 375ºF for 15 minutes to 17 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165ºF in the center before it is removed from the oven.
We do not recommend baking chicken from frozen for a breaded chicken recipe. As the chicken thaws in the oven, the moisture will cause the panko breading to fall off.
Using panko breadcrumbs creates a crispier coating. This is because panko breadcrumbs are larger and flakier than the breadcrumbs used in a traditional Shake n Bake mix.
Serving and Storing
Serve your homemade baked chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces and side dishes. We love having Garlic mashed potatoes, griddle roasted veggies, or cowboy salad.
Popular dipping sauces for crispy chicken tenders are ranch, BBQ, mango sweet chili sauce, zesty marinara sauce or honey mustard.
Cooked chicken strips can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, seal them in an airtight bag or storage container and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Perfect Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken
- casserole dish or baking sheet - (if oven baking)
- basting brush
- Ziplock bag, plates, or dipping trays
- air fryer - (if air frying)
- 1½ pounds chicken tenderloins (fresh or frozen) *for frozen, see notes below*
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
- ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Prepare the chicken tenderloins
- Place the chicken tenderloins on a plate or a sheet of wax paper. Brush the melted butter or oil on to the chicken strips. Coat them all over.
- Add panko or breadcrumbs and seasonings to a ziplock bag, dipping tray, or plate and stir or shake to mix. Place about 4 chicken strips to the bag (don't crowd them) and shake them to coat the chicken with the Shake and Bake seasonings and panko. Or dip the chicken tenders into the seasoning mix on a plate or dipping tray. Press gently if needed for coating to stick.
- Or dip the chicken tenders into the seasoning mix on a plate or dipping tray. Press gently if needed for coating to stick.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare the shallow casserole dish or baking sheet by spraying it with cooking oil.
- Place coated chicken tenderloins on the prepared casserole pan or a baking sheet. Add fresh or frozen green beans, asparagus, sliced bell pepper, or broccoli, if desired.
- Bake at 375ºF for 15- 17 minutes, until golden and crisp. Check the chicken tenders internal temperature to see if they are at least 165ºF in the center. Remove from the oven.
- Serve the chicken tenders warm with your favorite dipping sauces.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat your air fryer to 350ºF, if needed.
- Add the breaded chicken tenders to the air fryer basket. Air fry them for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crisp. 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.