Hot Honey Chicken Tenders

Hot honey chicken tenders will take you back to childhood, but with a significant upgrade. A super crunchy coating, baked (not fried!), and then drizzled with sophisticated hot honey. A childhood favorite for adult tastes.

5 panko breaded chicken tenders drizzled with deep red hot sauce and chile slices, with a bowl of more spicy honey and a honey dipper.

Adapted from Elizabeth Van Lierde | Everyday Entertaining | Weldon Owen, 2021

This Nashville-inspired fried comfort food just got a healthier, oven-baked makeover. One of my favorite things to do is take a really decadent recipe and give it a healthier spin for everyday meals.–Elizabeth Van Lierde


They both come from (nearly) the same place so what’s the difference? First off, as seen in this superb recipe, you can definitely use chicken breasts to make chicken “fingers”. However, there’s a specific part of the chicken that is just perfect when it comes to this kind of preparation.

Called the tender, there’s a small strip of meat that attaches the breast to the bone. It’s still breast meat, technically, but it’s also more tender and, some say, more flavorful. You can buy them from your butcher or save them every time you’re cutting up a chicken. Freeze’ em until you have enough to make a meal. Just take care with timing as they’re likely going to cook faster than strips of breast meat.

Hot Honey Chicken Tenders

5 panko breaded chicken tenders drizzled with deep red hot sauce and chile slices, with a bowl of more spicy honey and a honey dipper.

These chicken fingers are great to make when you’re looking for something classic and easy. They’re crunchy on the outside, succulent on the inside, and drizzled off with a hot honey glaze.

Elizabeth Van Lierde

Prep 45 mins

Cook 30 mins

Total 1 hr 15 mins

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk honey and Fresno chile slices together. Heat gently for 30 to 40 minutes to infuse the flavors.

    To save time, proceed with preparing the chicken while the honey simmers. It will be ready around the same time as the chicken finishes baking.

  • After the flavors have infused, whisk in the smoked paprika and keep honey warm while preparing chicken.
  • Cut chicken breasts into long, tender-size pieces, about 1 1/2 inches (36 mm) thick.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, place an oven-safe rack on it, and spray the rack with non-stick spray.

    Be sure the rack is well oiled so the crust doesn’t stick and come off when you turn the chicken.

  • In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs together. In another shallow bowl, combine panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and olive oil. Mix together until crumbs are coated evenly with olive oil; this will help the chicken become crisp and golden.
  • Working with one chicken tender at a time, dip it into eggs, and then dredge in the crumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into each piece. Transfer dredged chicken pieces onto the rack, making sure there are 2 inches (5 cm) in between each chicken piece. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.

  • Sprinkle any remaining crumb mixture onto the chicken pieces.

  • Bake chicken for 15 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and continue to cook until chicken is crispy and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more.

  • Drizzle warm hot honey over chicken tenders before serving.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 462kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 36g (12%)Protein: 39g (78%)Fat: 18g (28%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 255mg (85%)Sodium: 1226mg (53%)Potassium: 567mg (16%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 541IU (11%)Vitamin C: 16mg (19%)Calcium: 77mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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Originally published August 26, 2021

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