Chicken strips are a popular option for picky eaters, but since they are usually deep-fried they aren’t particularly healthy! Even the frozen versions you bake in the oven are often loaded with sodium and may also have a bunch of other ingredients you probably don’t want to be eating on a regular basis.
Luckily, it’s possible to make your own crispy baked chicken strips at home. You can control what goes into them, and since they’re baked rather than fried, they don’t come with a bunch of extra fat in the form of frying oil (though there is some oil here to ensure crispiness!)
How to Ensure Crispiness
There are two things that I feel really help make these chicken strips crispy. The first is coating the bread crumbs in oil. Without it, the bread crumbs just won’t get sufficiently crispy. This is still way less oil than you would use if you were frying the chicken strips.
The second thing is baking the chicken strips on a wire rack. Make sure you use a rack that is oven-safe. If you have a cooling rack made of metal and you’re sure it has no kind of coating on it, or any plastic bits, then it will work. Baking the chicken strips in this way allows the hot air from the oven to circulate around the chicken. Additionally, any juices the chicken might release won’t be stuck underneath, where they would make the coating soggy.
You can still make these on a regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper, but the bottom of the chicken strips will not be as crispy as the top.
Finally, it’s important not to leave these lying around after baking. They won’t stay crispy for as long as fried chicken, so I suggest you eat them immediately!
Additions and Substitutions
You can use about 14 ounces of chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts if you like. I just find it easier to use chicken breasts since I always have a big bag of them in the freezer.
These are intended to be simply flavored so that you can accompany them with any dipping sauce you like (and so that they will be safe for picky eaters!) However, feel free to add additional seasonings to the panko mixture if you like.
How to Serve Crispy Baked Chicken Strips
This recipe will serve about 3 adults with a side, but you could probably serve 4 or 5 children.
Sometimes I serve these with oven fries, but usually I prefer to serve them with salad or vegetables. They would also be great on a sandwich or in a tortilla!
Use whatever dipping sauce you like, or maybe you don’t need any at all! My husband prefers ketchup, but I like sriracha mayonnaise (I just take some regular mayonnaise and mix in a little sriracha).
How to Make Crispy Baked Chicken Strips
Prepare for Baking
Start oven preheating to 425°F (220°C). Set a baking/cooling rack in a baking sheet. Make sure it’s oven safe; cooling racks sometimes have a coating that will melt or create fumes in the oven.
If you don’t have a baking rack, you can just line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The chicken strips will still taste good, but they won’t be as crispy on the bottom.
Prepare for Breading
Set out three shallow bowls. In one bowl, add the panko, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and peanut oil. Stir until the oil coats the breadcrumbs.
In the second bowl, beat the egg and milk together until well combined.
Finally, add the flour to the third bowl.
Chicken breasts these days can be pretty big, so if yours are on the thick side you should cut them in half so that you have two thinner chicken breast pieces. Then cut the chicken breasts (or halves) into strips. I usually get about 3 or 4 strips from each chicken breast, but you can adjust the size according to your preferences.
Season your chicken strips on both sides with salt and pepper.
Working with one piece at a time, coat the chicken in the flour, then the beaten egg, and finally the panko mixture. Breading is always pretty messy, but it’s easier if you use one hand for the flour and panko, and use your other hand for the egg. This minimizes the ‘breaded fingers’ effect you can often get!
Place the chicken pieces on your prepared baking rack after breading.
When your chicken is all breaded, place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy and cooked through. The best way to check if your chicken is done is to use an instant-read thermometer, which should read about 160°F. Or you could just cut the largest chicken piece in half and see what it looks like!
These chicken strips will get soggy if allowed to sit for too long, so serve immediately with your favorite condiments!
Crispy Baked Chicken Strips
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral flavored oil
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 medium chicken breasts about 7 ounces each
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Set a baking/cooling rack (make sure it's oven-safe) in a baking sheet. If you don't have one, you can just line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Take three shallow bowls. In one, combine the panko, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and peanut oil. Stir until the oil coats the breadcrumbs.
- In the second bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Finally, in the third, add the flour.
- If your chicken breasts are really thick, first cut them in half so you have two thinner pieces. Then cut the chicken into long strips (or short strips; this is really up to you. Just try to ensure they are around the same size so they cook evenly).
- Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- One by one, coat the chicken pieces in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko mixture. Set the breaded chicken on the baking rack.
- When all your chicken is breaded, bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.
- Serve immediately with your choice of condiments.
Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!