Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders are a fun (and healthy) twist on a traditional American classic. A prep-ahead option and short ingredient list make this the perfect weeknight meal.

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Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Another Sneaky Swap favorite, comin atcha!

There is little that I enjoy more than making “sneaky swaps” to our family dinners, watching everyone devour it, and then gleefully announcing that that the brownies were made of black beans, the burgers were actually bison, the ricotta cheese was made from cashews… you get the idea.

I’ll be the first to admit that this does not always go as planned. If you watch my Insta-stories you know that the chocolate avocado ice cream I posted a few weeks ago may have tricked my 3 year old, but had Cooper more than just a little suspicious ?. Yeah, my kids are no doubt going to grow up and need therapy from my constant deceit, but you guys.. it’s just so much fun (in an “I’m a 34 year old mom who doesn’t really get out much” kinda way).

If you asked me if this one’s gonna pass the picky-kid test, I’d say yes. Yes, emphatically yes.

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

What does this even mean? Tenders that looks fried, taste fried, but are actually baked and oil-free? Say what?

First, let’s state the obvious … I’m normally not a big fan of baked chicken things that are supposed to resemble FRIED chicken things. It’s just.. well, generally speaking not a solid plan. You know you were thinking it too!

But today, we are going to do just that because 1) I’m a risk taker (in a “34 year-old Mom who doesn’t get out much” kinda way), and 2) with the addition of some chunky pecans, we get just the right amount of crispiness to give this chicken all  the texture and taste of fried tenders, but waaaaay less of the stuff that doesn’t make you feel your best.

The seasoned egg wash and pecan bits make a crust that the chicken gets breaded in, and just like that,  you’ve  got yourself  a plate full of faux “fried” chicken and you’re left wondering why in the world you ever made chicken tenders any other way.

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Of course what are chicken tenders if we don’t address the issue of sauce.

You can always go marinara or bbq .. it’s simple, tasty and doesn’t get much easier.

Me, I’m a honey mustard kinda girl. You can whip it up in 2 minutes and 2 ingredients (my favorite kinda recipe). Just combine equal parts honey and yellow mustard and mix. It’s delicious and much better than most store-bought honey mustards in terms of ingredients and funky additives.

Soooooo… life’s getting pretty crazy at the Sissom household.

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders!

Sneaky Swaps!

Who says being a 34 year old Mom is boring ?

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Time Saving Tips and Tricks

Prep: This recipe is definitely prep friendly (you can watch me do it in the Simply Sissom Private FB community). The Chicken Crust and the Egg Coating can both be prepared up to a day in advance. You can also trim and slice the chicken into tenders (or buy them pre-sliced) and store them in a Ziplock bag for up to 2 days. If you are throwing the meal together during nap time (aka.. you will be serving it in a couple hours) you can even pre-bread the chicken tenders. I wouldn’t do this the night before as they can become soggy.

Make Ahead: Full disclosure.. these are crispiest when they are eaten straight from the oven, but my family enjoys eating them as leftovers (or as a salad toper) for a day or two.

Freezer: Yep! You can freeze them. Just follow the recipe as written, allow chicken to cool and then freeze chicken strips on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours. Once chicken is frozen through, place in an airtight bag or container and store in the freezer until ready to use. To reheat, bake chicken at 400 for 25-35 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink.

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Helpful Hints:

  1. Serve with homemade honey mustard.  It’s easy! Just combine equal parts honey and yellow mustard. Honey should be raw and local if possible! I usually pick mine up at the farmer’s market.
  2. Don’t have pecans? No prob. You can sub almonds, walnuts.. whatever you have on hand!
  3. If you do not have a food processor you could also use a blender to create the almond coating.
  4. Make extra Chicken Crust and store it in the pantry while you already have the food processor or blender out. You will thank yourself later.

Let’s Be Friends: 

  • Prep-Ahead recipes are my all time favorite! Join the BRAND NEW Simply Sissom Community Private FB Group and let’s meal prep together! Each week I share an exclusive recipe in the group via FB Live that is REALLY simple and make-ahead friendly. Join us!
  • You can also find Simply Sissom on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Check it out and if you like what you see.. follow!

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