Pecan-crusted chicken tenders

Everyone {especially kids} loves chicken tenders. We love to eat this version of chicken tenders at home, which is a ton healthier than the fried tenders you get at restaurants (which, let’s be honest, also are very good).

My people love this chicken. In fact, as I was making it the other day, Campbell came running in the kitchen to ask what I was making. When I told her pecan chicken tenders, she did a little jump for joy and shouted, “Yay! My favorite!” Heart swell! When you spend meal after meal trying to teach your child to eat her vegetables by convincing her to eat “just three more bites,” having said child declare something you are cooking at her favorite is a major victory. For a moment in time, all was right in the world.

You make the chicken by dredging chicken tenders in flour, then in egg whites, and then in a mixture of saltine crackers, ground-up pecans and spices. I used salt, pepper and paprika, but you could play around with the spice combination to suit your taste.

Cracker/pecan mixture

Cracker/pecan mixture

The chicken tender assembly line

The chicken tender assembly line

Then, you bake and eat. I served the tenders with homemade honey mustard dressing, mashed potatoes and baked zucchini Parmesan crisps.  When reheating your leftovers, I recommend heating these in an oven rather than a microwave. Oven = crispy. Microwave = soggy.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

These chicken tenders are kid-approved

These chicken tenders are kid-approved

Here’s the recipe.


24 saltine crackers, finely crushed

½ c. pecans, ground in food processor

2 tsp. paprika

¾ tsp. salt

Freshly cracked pepper to taste

3 egg whites

½ c. flour

2 packages of chicken tenders (should be 1 ½ to 2 lbs. of chicken)

Cooking spray or EVOO


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Stir together crushed crackers and next 4 ingredients.
  3. Whisk egg whites just until foamy.
  4. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray or brushed with EVOO on a foil-lined baking sheet (makes for easy clean-up!).
  5. Dredge chicken tenders in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg white, and then dredge in cracker/pecan mixture. Arrange on wire rack.
  6. Either lightly spray chicken with cooking spray or dab with EVOO.
  7. Bake at 425° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn once after 12 minutes.

One thought on “Pecan-crusted chicken tenders

  1. Yum! Thanks, Mary Ruth. I’ve added chicken tenders and pecans to my next trip to the grocery store list. I’ll let you know if Levi approves. He’s pretty much surviving on yogurt on goldfish these days.

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