Oh chicken tenders how I love you. My boyfriend’s nickname for me is actually chicken nugget because I love tenders / nuggets so much. But even I get tired of the same old tender and sauce combos. Enter this latest recipe where not only the sauce is unique but so is the breading! Using almonds really helps give the chicken and extra crunch and they brown so nicely in the oven. Be sure to pay attention to my tips on how to keep the breading from falling off in the oven!
I also happen to love sweet Thai chili sauce but right out of the bottle it’s a little goopy, sweet, and fake tasting for my liking. By mixing that sauce out of the bottle with a few other key ingredients, we get a more robust sauce with layered flavors that really make these tenders special.
Bonus – you can freeze these and reheat them for later meals. I often eat mine with rice and veggies to take advantage of the Thai-inspired flavors.
Crispy Crunchy Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Tenders
For the Tenders
- 3 lbs chicken thighs or chicken breasts cut into strips
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds – crushed into breadcrumb like consistency
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk – regular or alternative works!
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup sweet thai chili sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp microplaned ginger
- 1 clove microplaned garlic
- Set up your breading station by placing flour in a large plastic bag and seasoning with salt and pepper; place eggs and milk in bowl and whisk until combined, place breadcrumbs and almonds in a shallow pan and also season with salt and pepper
- Bread chicken by tossing in flour, then coating in egg mixture, then coating in breadcrumbs and place on a well oiled sheet pan.
- Once all chicken tenders have been breaded place in fridge for 20 minutes. This step is VERY IMPORTANT – it ensure the breading doesn't slide off while baking
- While chicken is in the fridge preheat oven to 425 F and begin making the sauce
- For the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a light boil just long enough for the sauce to thicken. Take off heat and set aside
- Once the chicken has rested in the fridge and the oven is up to temp, spray the tops of the tenders with oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip, spray again and bake for another 5 minutes
- Take the tenders out and dip each one in the sauce before placing back on the sheet pan. Once all tenders have been coated, return to oven and bake for 2-3 minutes until sauce caramelizes
- Serve tenders with extra sauce!