These baked BBQ Chicken Tenders are incredibly easy to make! With a few secret tips, I'll show you how to get perfectly seasoned and cooked chicken - ideal for a quick weekday meal paired with your favorite side dishes!
The One Tip You Need
Baked BBQ chicken tenders can so easily be dry and bland when they come out of the oven. Here's a little tip: bake your chicken on a roasting rack! Elevating the chicken above the baking sheet allows air to reach the bottom of the chicken as it cooks. This helps the chicken cook faster and also locks in moisture before it has the chance to dry out. You also don't end up with the soggy bottoms of chicken cooked directly on the rack.
You can use a roasting rack specifically made for this purpose, or you can use an oven-safe cooling rack. The key word there is oven safe. Some cooling racks are coated with a substance that cannot be placed into a hot oven, so be careful that you're using the right materials!
Use an oven rack like this one (buy here)
What Ingredients Do I Need?
These baked BBQ chicken tenders is a simple recipe using a small handful of ingredients you likely already have available in your kitchen. Let's take a look at them:
- Chicken Tenders - I buy the boneless skinless chicken tenders. They usually come in packs of 1 or 2 pounds. This recipe is for one pound, but you can scale it up as needed to fit the size of your group. Most chicken tenders will come with a white tendon visible on the end. This tendon is edible but can be quite tough and chewy when cooked, so I usually use a sharp knife and cut it out.
- Olive Oil - Rubbing the chicken with a little olive oil will prevent it from sticking to the oven rack and will also promote lovely caramelization of the chicken and seasoning rub.
- Garlic Powder & Smoked Paprika - I like these two seasonings as they pair well with barbecue sauce and are pretty basic pantry staples. I don't measure how much I use - just give the tenders a light sprinkle.
- Salt and Pepper - Again, I don't measure, just sprinkle it on. I typically go light on the salt and a little heavier on the pepper.
- BBQ Sauce - Use your favorite! I used a smoky, spicy sauce, but this is really a matter of personal tastes, so if you have one you love to use... go for it! You'll need about ⅓ of a cup.
What Can I Serve With This Dish?
Barbecue chicken is as universal of a main dish as you can get, so you can serve it up alongside literally any side dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Potatoes - skillet potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes (white or sweet), french fries, boiled butter potatoes, or hey, even some potato chips (we're all friends here) will work.
- Vegetables - broccoli, asparagus, sliced carrots, or Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetables to roast in the oven (drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400F until done). Green beans sauteed in minced garlic and butter are delicious too. Or just go with a fresh green salad!
- Add a Carb - soft yeast dinner rolls, flaky biscuits, or slices of French bread toasted with butter, garlic, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Or if you wanna get sassy, some super cheesy mac 'n cheese.
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