Tortilla chip chicken tenders are a fun recipe that’s fast and easy to make. The crunchy coating is made from crushed tortilla chips and pumpkin seeds.
This recipe is kid-friendly but the whole family will enjoy! Serve with potato wedges and your favorite dipping sauce for delicious finger food!
Homemade Chicken Strips Recipe
Skip the breadcrumbs because you can use crushed tortilla chips instead to make chicken tenders!
- These chicken tenders are totally delicious, crispy, and also gluten-free.
- Prep is so simple, just dip chicken in sauce and crunchy mixture, then bake!
- Crunchy tortilla chips make an excellent replacement for breadcrumbs. They’re a simple and budget-friendly ingredient.
- Ground pumpkin seeds are added for extra nutrition. This is optional and tortilla chips can be used on their own if you prefer.
- Once you learn this easy method you can use it for any type of chicken including thighs, drumsticks, chicken breasts and even wings.
- It’s so easy to make these! And if you choose a good quality tortilla chip, you’ll be taking a healthy step. I like to use a thin and crispy tortilla chip because they’re easier to turn into crumbs.
What Are Chicken Tenders?
Chicken tenders are a smaller cut of chicken that’s attached to the underside of each breast. Technically, every chicken has two chicken tenders. However, you can also make chicken tenders by slicing a chicken breast and slicing it into thin strips. These also taste great cooked in a frying pan with our maple lemon garlic chicken tenders recipe!
- CHICKEN TENDERS: This recipe uses 1 lb of chicken tenders. You can use store-bought chicken tenders, or slice a chicken fillet or chicken breast into thin strips for this recipe.
- CRUSHED TORTILLAS: I used thin and crispy tortilla chips. This style tends to crumble nicely, creating a light and crispy coating.
- ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS: These add extra protein and crispiness to the chicken. You can buy roasted pumpkin seeds or buy raw pumpkin seeds and toast them in a frying pan yourself. Pumpkin seeds are optional for this recipe.
- MAYONNAISE: Personally, I love this mayonnaise made with avocado oil. The ingredients are real food and simple – not a lot of preservatives. You could also use a plant-based mayo if you want to make this recipe dairy-free.
- MILK: You can use any kind of milk you want – regular milk, goat’s milk (this is what I used) or non-dairy milk like oat milk, almond milk etc.
- BARBECUE SAUCE: I prefer to use a sugar-free barbecue sauce in my recipes. But you can use any barbecue sauce you’d like.
TIP: If you prefer, you can make the chicken tenders without pumpkin seeds. Skip them in the recipe and use 3 ¼ cups of crushed tortilla crumbs for the coating mix.
Equipment I used
- Nordicware Baking Tray – This pan drains grease away and lets air circulate so there’s no need to flip during the cooking process.
- Avocado Oil Spray – My favorite cooking spray made with avocado oil. I use it for all of my recipes!
- Food Processor – The easiest way to make crumbs from tortilla chips and pumpkin seeds.
How To Make Tortilla Chip Chicken
- PREP CHICKEN: I purchased chicken fillets already cut into strips. These aren’t always available. You can also purchase chicken fillets or chicken breasts and cut them into 1-inch strips yourself.
- TORTILLA MIX: crush tortilla chips and pumpkin seeds (optional) in a food processor or blender to create crumbs. If you prefer, you can also just use tortilla chips and crush them with a spoon in a large bowl.
- MAKE SAUCE: Mix together mayonnaise, milk and barbecue sauce together in a small bowl according to full recipe instructions below.
- First, dip one piece of chicken in the milk mixture. Shake off excess sauce, then add it to the tortilla chip crumbs. Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.
- Add to prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden crispy, flipping halfway through.
- Grab your favorite dipping sauce: ketchup, honey mustard, mayo, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce will all work. Serve and enjoy!
- Don’t Wash The Chicken. Instead, just pat dry with a towel.
- Use a Baking Rack: This allows moisture to drip away from the chicken while it’s cooking (this is the baking rack I used in the photos).
- Lightly spray the chicken with non-stick cooking spray just before baking.
- If you find that the chicken isn’t crisping enough, you can broil it in the last 2-3 minutes. I find when I use a baking rack I don’t need to do this step.
What Chicken Cut Do You Use For Chicken Tenders?
Chicken fillets are made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This type of chicken cut has been flattened and shaped to resemble a cutlet or chicken tender. I was able to purchase chicken fillets that were already sliced into tenders.
If you can’t find those you can purchase boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into 1-inch strips.
More Chicken Recipes
- Baked Parmesan Chicken Wings have the perfect crunchy coating.
- Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings taste light and fresh using simple ingredients.
- Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Wings taste just like wings from the pub. They’re a big hit with my family.
- Easiest Oven Baked Chicken Legs are a reader favorite! Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside making the perfect weeknight meal.
Tortilla Chip Chicken Tenders
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use baking rack and set aside.
- Crush a handful of tortilla chips into a bowl. Measure out 2 ½ cups worth.
- Add the tortilla chips to a food processor or blender along with pumpkin seeds. (you can also skip this step for a full tortilla chip option – see notes section)
- Blend on high for 10-20 seconds until crumbs form.
- Pour the tortilla pumpkin seed mixture into one bowl. In another bowl, add the mayonnaise, milk, and barbecue sauce.
- Dip one chicken breast fillet into the milk mixture, shake off excess.
- Add the chicken fillet to the tortilla pumpkin seed mixture and coat on all sides.
- Place chicken on a baking rack or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Repeat until all chicken tenders are used. Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray – I used avocado oil spray.
- Bake 18 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and reaches 165°F as an internal temperature when poked with a meat thermometer.Outsides will be crispy golden brown. Add to serving plates and enjoy!
- Add crushed tortilla chips to a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to crush and grind them into crumbs.
- You’ll need about 3 ¼ cups of crushed tortilla crumbs. Use this as the coating mix. Keep the milk mayonnaise mixture the same.
Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.