Chicken fingers are sort of a quintessential American meal. I mean, what's not to love? Breaded, crispy chicken served alongside some delicious dipping sauce is a winning combination. I do have to say, though, that I rarely eat them anymore. I never order them at restaurants and they aren't the first thing that come to mind when I prepare chicken for dinner. I just decided one night that Jack would probably like them so I gave this recipe a whirl. As usual, I was not disappoint and neither was Jack! I've made other versions of chicken fingers at home in past years that claim that they will be crispy but none have ever come out the way they claim they will. I think the combination of toasting the panko breadcrumbs and also using the rack over a sheet pan in the oven is key to achieving the crunchy exterior without frying. Whenever I do have chicken fingers, I must have honey mustard for dipping. If you are in the market for a new chicken tender recipe that is baked, give this one a try. :)
Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch wide strips
1. Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat toss the panko with the oil, then toast the bread crumbs, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the toasted crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate.
2. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, and salt. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and Dijon mustard.
3. Spray a wire rack lightly with cooking spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet. While working in batches, dredge a few pieces of the chicken in the flour, then the egg whites, and then the breadcrumbs to coat. Shake off the excess between each step and then lay the coated pieces on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.
4. Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with the cooking spray and place in preheated oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, 10-12 minutes.
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook