I spotted a recipe on Pinterest that used bbq sauce as a marinade. Why didn’t I think of that?! So of course I had to give it a try….but with a twist. I marinated my chicken in a mixture of bbq sauce and sriracha. After I let the chicken marinate for a few hours, I coated it with toasted panko and baked until crispy. I’m basically obsessed with coating stuff in toasted panko (see here, here, and here). It’s so easy and the crunch is amazing. Tastes like deep fried without the fried ;).
I froze the fully cooked, leftover chicken tenders and reheated them a few at a time for lunches, quick dinners, etc. They were just as good reheated! I love this make-ahead option. I’m going to start making a double batch and freezing the leftovers every time now! Be sure and use a bbq sauce that you really like, because the flavor definitely comes through. Feel free to adjust the spice level (i.e. amount of sriracha) to your tastes (or even leave it out for the kiddos). Enjoy!
Spicy BBQ Baked Chicken Tenders
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup bbq sauce (I used Sonny’s)
2 tbsp sriracha
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, toasted
1. Place chicken, bbq sauce, and sriracha in bowl or ziploc bag and mix until chicken is evenly coated. Place in fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours (or up to 8).
2. After chicken is marinated, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Set up your dredging station by getting 3 small bowls. Place flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in one bowl. In second bowl, place eggs. Beat lightly. In third bowl, place toasted panko.
4. Working with 1 chicken tender at a time, coat in flour, then egg, then panko. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, flipping half-way through, or until chicken is lightly browned and fully cooked (bake time will vary slightly depending on the thickness and size of your chicken tenders).
Make-ahead Option: After step 4, cool chicken completely on wire racks. Place in ziploc bag and freeze. Reheat on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through.