Baked Honey BBQ Chicken Fingers

Extra crispy chicken fingers marinated in honey and BBQ sauce. Baked, not fried! They’re so simple; your whole family will love them.

baked chicken fingers on a silpat baking mat

Another savory recipe for you today. And it’s one of my favorites!

I don’t get too creative with dinner that often. All of my creativity goes into things like peanut butter brownies and pina colada cupcakes. A giant sweet potato and quinoa patties are usually a meal for me. Or even a “bucket sized salad” (as Kevin calls it) with beans, avocado, and a little mango guac on the side. Alright, now I’m hungry.

But my favorite protein-packed dinner? Something I could eat forever and never tire of it? My birthday meal of choice every single year? Good ‘ole BBQ chicken. I am a huge sucker for it, as you may already know

hand dipping baked chicken finger into bbq sauce in a white bowl

I made these chicken fingers a lot last summer because they’re on the healthy side and quite easy. Plus, who doesn’t like eating with their hands?! I spotted a steal of a sale on chicken the other day and stocked my freezer. Looks like baked honey BBQ chicken fingers will be on the dinner (and lunch) menu a lot this month. No complaints here! These crispy chicken tenders are so dang good.

I spotted this recipe on Rachael Ray and have switched things up over the past year the more often I make it… like adding the honey BBQ marinade step. Best decision ever.

Let’s talk about that marinade for a second. 3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s (the one and only BBQ sauce I’ll eat… and I am in no way affiliated with Sweet Baby Ray’s. But if Sweet Baby Ray’s is reading my blog, I may just faint in excitement. I love you sweet baby ray.) and some honey. I usually let the chicken marinate for 1-2 hours. If you’re in a rush, 30 minutes is fine. Just know that the longer it marinates, the more flavorful the chicken.

chicken strips in a bowl of BBQ sauce

The chicken fingers are baked, not fried, and breaded in Panko. Not familiar with Panko? Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in all major grocery stores near the stuffing. This recipe is developed using Panko and there are no substitutions yielding the same exact result.

Here’s why Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs in this recipe: Panko is made from crustless bread and is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko tends to stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease and liquid.

Before the Panko, you’ll coat the chicken in some whole wheat flour, salt, pepper, and seasonings – then in a quick dunk into beaten eggs. The flour allows the egg to stick, the egg allows the Panko to stick, the Panko gives the chicken fingers their crispy texture.

2 images of chicken fingers in coating in a glass bowl and coated chicken fingers on a silpat baking mat before baking

Bake the chicken fingers in a hot oven at 400F. The timing will depend how big and/or thick your chicken fingers are. Just bake until golden brown and the centers are cooked through. Mine always take around 20 minutes. Flip the chicken fingers after 10 minutes.

baked chicken fingers on a silpat baking mat

Serve with extra honey BBQ sauce for dipping. Who says baked versions of fried food just aren’t the same? Clearly they’ve never had these chicken fingers before. We’re obsessed.

They’re so crispy!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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baked chicken fingers on a silpat baking mat

Baked Honey BBQ Chicken Fingers

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 3-4
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Extra crispy chicken fingers marinated in honey and BBQ sauce. Baked, not fried!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Panko (or more, as needed)
  • nonstick spray like PAM, olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray (found mine at Trader Joes!)

Instructions

  1. Combine barbecue sauce and honey in a large bowl. If using chicken breasts, pound down and cut into strips. If using boneless, skinless chicken tenders (chicken tenders are the lean strips of meat found attached to the underside of chicken breasts – they can also be purchased separately.) – cut in half lengthwise. Add the chicken strips to the bowl and stir to coat. Cover tightly and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 4-6 hours. The longer, the more flavorful your chicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or coat heavily with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Pour Panko breadcrumbs into a third shallow dish. Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Add more Panko to the dish if you are running low. Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet. Spray each with nonstick spray to “seal” the breading, which will prevent the breading from staying raw and allows it to bake onto the chicken fingers.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Baking times may vary, just make sure yours are cooked through. If you like them more brown, bake longer.
  5. Serve chicken fingers with more BBQ sauce. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Chicken fingers freeze well, up to 2 months. Bake frozen for about 18 minutes, flipping once, at 350°F (177°C).
  2. Honey: You can simply use a honey flavored BBQ sauce. I find that there isn’t enough honey flavor for me, so even when I do use a honey BBQ sauce, I still add honey to the marinade. Test until you find what you like.
  3. Paprika: I love to use smoked paprika for added flavor – use your favorite seasonings if you do not have any on hand.
  4. Panko: Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in major grocery stores near the stuffing. Panko is heavily preferred opposed to regular bread crumbs because they tend to stay crispier longer. You can buy seasoned or unseasoned and then add more/less seasonings to your breading if preferred. I use unseasoned.
  5. Adapted from Rachael Ray.

Keywords: baked honey bbq chicken fingers, baked chicken fingers

50 Comments

  1. It might defeat the healthy intent but do you think this recipe would fry well?

    1. Definitely!

    2. How can you make without egg and gluten-free

  2. Hi Sally! I make these chicken fingers for dinner all the time and they’re a family favorite. We all love the taste but we find them a bit hard to eat because the breading slides right off. Any idea why that happens and what I can do to fix it?

    1. So glad you love the flavor! Are you coating in the flour before the eggs? You can really press the panko on and be sure to give them a light spray with cooking spray before baking to seal them!

  3. I made these exactly as the recipe stated but the flour barely stuck to the chicken. Therefore the egg and breadcrumbs barely stuck. Are you supposed to wipe the chicken before coating in flour?

  4. If freezing is that done after the breading while chicken is still raw? Or cook and cook it first?

    1. Hi Jeri, the chicken fingers freeze best AFTER they’re baked.

  5. Delicious!! Made these this evening and we ate them up. Having been marinated in bbq sauce really gives it alot of flavor!

  6. I love these chicken tenders and put them in wraps. I didn’t have time marinate that long and they still turned out great. Thanks for the delicious recipe.

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