Baked Chicken Tenderloins


5 from 196 votes
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These baked chicken tenderloins are fabulous for easy weeknight dinners! They are perfectly seasoned, easy to make, healthy, and always a hit!

baked chicken tenders.

As someone who eats chicken on an almost daily basis, chicken tenderloins are definitely one of my favorite cuts. They are quick to cook and work as a blank canvas for pretty much any marinade or seasoning!

This baked chicken tenderloin recipe is made with a seasoning blend featuring smoked paprika, a touch of brown sugar, and Italian seasonings, and is perfect for any meal!

Bonus? No frying or deep frying is needed.

Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients Needed
  3. How to bake chicken tenderloins
  4. How long to bake chicken tenderloins
  5. Recipe tips and tricks
  6. Flavor and recipe variations
  7. What to serve with oven baked chicken tenderloins?
  8. Storage instructions
  9. More baked chicken recipes to try
  10. Frequently asked questions
  11. Baked Chicken Tenderloins (Recipe Card)

Why this recipe works

  • No breading. Most chicken tender recipes call for some form of breading, but not this one. Like we did with our pan-fried chicken tenderloins and air fryer chicken tenderloins, a simple spice mix is all you need for extra juicy, crisp, and tender chicken.
  • It’s healthy. Chicken tenderloins have a similar nutritional profile to a standard chicken breast, meaning they are packed with protein, low in calories, and naturally low in fat! Oh, and we also oven bake them instead of frying them, which cuts out all the excess oil.
  • Versatile. Make this dish the protein option in any lunch or dinner, or add it to your meal prep rotation! I love making a double or triple batch and adding the leftovers over salads or grain bowls for a well-balanced meal.
  • Ready in under 30 minutes. This is the kind of recipe you can make on busy weeknights and have dinner on the table in no time!
baked chicken tenderloins.

Ingredients Needed

Baking chicken tenderloins requires a handful of regular kitchen staples and chicken. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast tenderloins. Buy boneless and skinless chicken tenderloins. You can often find these in the poultry section of any grocery store.
  • Butter. I prefer using butter instead of oil when baking leaner cuts of chicken as it crisps up better and has a much better flavor. As we already add salt, opt for unsalted butter.
  • Paprika. Paprika has a lovely, sweet heat that complements the Italian seasoning.
  • Italian seasoning mix. This dried herb mix is just what the recipe needs.
  • Brown sugar. With just a dash of brown sugar, you’ll get a beautiful caramelization and subtle smoky sweetness. Liquid sweeteners work too, so feel free to use agave, maple syrup, or honey instead.
  • Salt and pepper. To taste.
  • Garlic and onion powder. It helps build an aromatic profile and sticks perfectly to the chicken tenderloins.
  • Red pepper flakes. For a bit of heat. If serving to kids, you can skip this ingredient.

How to bake chicken tenderloins

Make the spice mix. Melt the butter, add spices, and whisk to combine.

chicken tenderloin spice mix.

Season the chicken. Dredge the chicken tenderloins in the butter and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.

chicken in marinade.

Bake the chicken. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes at 180C/350F. 

how to bake chicken tenderloins.

Serve. Remove the chicken from the oven and serve warm over some salad.

How long to bake chicken tenderloins

The ideal baking time for chicken tenderloins is 25-30 minutes. However, not all chicken tenderloins are created equal, and depending on the size and weight, they may need to be cooked longer.

To check if the chicken is properly cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. If it is at 165F, you are all set!

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Choose uniformly sized chicken tenderloins. Evenly cut chicken strips will have similar cooking times, resulting in a consistent result.
  • Always dry your chicken. Get rid of any moisture on the chicken’s surface by drying it with clean paper towels. Doing this will help you get perfectly crispy chicken tenders!   
  • Start with room-temperature chicken. I highly recommend you take the chicken out of the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before cooking. This ensures uniform internal and external cooking. 

Flavor and recipe variations

Bread your chicken. If you love the texture of the crispy bread coating like oven-fried chicken, feel free to coat it with a mix of flour and cornstarch for maximum crunch.

Customize the spice mix. Switch gears and make an Asian spice coating with ginger, garlic, soy, and gochujang. Or make an Indian-style spice mix with garlic, curry, coriander, and red chili powder.

Marinate with buttermilk. Instead of butter, use buttermilk to marinate the chicken tenderloins for a few hours. The acid from buttermilk will tenderize the chicken and make it extra juicy! 

Make tenderloin chicken parm. After cooking the chicken, slather them with marinara sauce and add pieces of fresh mozzarella. Broil until the cheese bubbles, and serve fresh!

Grill the tenderloins. Check out our grilled chicken tenders recipe.

What to serve with oven baked chicken tenderloins?

While the most apparent food pairing for chicken tenderloins is a cracking sauce, you could try some of my serving suggestions below.

  • Sauces. You can never go wrong with a good dipping sauce. Keep things classic with ketchup or ranch, or something a little more fun like a big mac sauce.
  • Salads and wraps. Whenever we have baked chicken leftovers, I love to add it to a salad or stuff it into a wrap or pita. Bonus? You don’t need to heat it up!
  • Pasta. Add a punch of protein to your favorite pasta! Some ideas include a simple tomato-based pasta, Gigi Hadid pasta, or Boursin cheese pasta.
  • Veggies. The world is your oyster when it comes to veggie pairings! Simple sauteed greens, steamed vegetables, or anything made in the air fryer!

Storage instructions

To store. Refrigerate cooled chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.  

To freeze. If frozen in ziplock bags, consume it anytime within 2-3 months.

To reheat. I toss the thawed or refrigerated chicken on a baking tray and heat it for a few minutes in a preheated oven. You could also heat in a skillet, air-fryer, or microwave (although the microwave could dry out the chicken!). 

oven baked chicken tenderloins.

More baked chicken recipes to try

Frequently asked questions

Are chicken breast tenderloins the same as chicken tenders?

No. Chicken breast tenderloins are located under the chicken breast. They are incredibly lean, thin strips of meat. Chicken tenders, on the other hand, are strips cut from the breast meat.

Can I make this recipe with frozen tenderloins?

Sure! Ensure you thaw and dry the chicken entirely before using it.

Can I make this recipe without butter?

You can substitute the butter with olive oil for a healthier alternative.

baked chicken tenderloins recipe.

Baked Chicken Tenderloins

5 from 196 votes
These oven baked chicken tenderloins are perfectly seasoned without needing any breading! They cook in less than 30 minutes and make a healthy and delicious protein option.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave until it is liquid. Combine spices and butter in a small bowl.
  • Dredge the chicken tenderloins in the melted butter mixture.
  • Lay the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
  • Serve warm.


TO STORE. Refrigerate cooled chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.  
TO FREEZE. If frozen in ziplock bags, consume it anytime within 2-3 months.
TO REHEAT. I toss the thawed or refrigerated chicken on a baking tray and heat it for a few minutes in a preheated oven. You could also heat in a skillet, air-fryer, or microwave (although the microwave could dry out the chicken!). 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 25gFat: 15gSodium: 809mgPotassium: 501mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1310IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 5g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I needed a new recipe for tenderloins and this was a huge win with my family. My son is so picky about sweet flavors in foods and I took a risk with this one due to the brown sugar. The chicken had the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. He loved it so much he ate 5 tenderloins! I did change out the red pepper flakes with cayenne pepper and I didn’t use black pepper at all. Everything else I followed to a T. Thanks for a great recipe that is quick and easy, super fast and easy clean up, that we will enjoy many more times in the future!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was delicious- I used honey instead of brown sugar. We topped our salad with the chicken tenders. We will definitely make this again! Thank you!