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!

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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


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


  • 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!)


  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.


  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


  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    You know I don’t eat meat but if I did, these would be winners. Because let’s face it, we see eye to eye on adding more honey to the bbq sauce AND that we need a large bowl of dipping sauce, for you know, like 2 bites 🙂 I like a bowl of ketchup for my 3 fries, please. LOL Love your savory recipes you’ve been doing more of!

    1. “I like a bowl of ketchup for my 3 fries, please.” ummm, YES!

  2. This is my kind of food, love how crisp the chicken fingers look. I am a massive fan of using paprika cos of it’s smoky flavour. Can’t wait to try out your recipe Sally. Already drooling

    1. Yes! Smoked paprika is the absolute best. The most used spice (besides salt and cinnamon) in my kitchen for sure.

  3. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    How did you know that I have been CRAVING chicken fingers?! These look phenom and I have a huge packet of whole wheat panko that is begging to be turned into these babies. LOVE the marinading in honey BBQ. Drooling. Eating. Pinning!

  4. My son’s going to love you, because he BEGS for breaded chicken fingers every night, and tonight, he’s gonna get them.
    Love the whole wheat! Now I can feel all virtuous while I eat most of them before my kids do.

    1. Haha, yes! Mir, I have a feeling your son is going to love these! Hope you enjoy them too.

  5. Jess @ Sweet Menu says:

    Eeep! Loving these! How crunchy and golden are they! Will keep them in mind for when we are entertaining next, I think that’d be great as an entree!

  6. Chelsea @ Gal on a Mission says:

    That’s the only kind of BBQ sauce we will consume here as well! Love me some Sweet Baby Ray’s! Looks delicious, Sally! 🙂

    1. NICE! Much love to SBR’s sauce. Obsessed!

  7. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    How amazing do these look?! Honey bbq is my favorite sauce, and I love that you incorporated this into chicken fingers! Pinned!

  8. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat says:

    Oh my goodness, these look amazing! I’m totally having a craving right now! Send some over so I can eat some for breakfast, okay!?! 😉

  9. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    We love love Sweet Baby Ray’s!!! These chicken fingers will go so fast here! I will have to double this recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you guys are just as obsessed with SBR’s!!

  10. Cate @ Chez CateyLou says:

    These look so crispy and delicious!! Who doesn’t love chicken fingers?! But I like that they are baked, so I can feel better about eating them!! Can’t wait to make these!

  11. Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron says:

    BBQ chicken is the best! We eat it here all the time! What a great recipe Sally – loving all the savory options you’ve had 🙂 Plus way to rock these photos!! Pinning!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! I am finally getting used to my new lighting – 4 months after moving in! It takes time, as I’m sure you know.

  12. Layla @ Brunch Time Baker says:

    These are some serious honey bbq chicken fingers! crispy on the outside and packed with flavor on the inside, just the way I like it. Love this recipe Sally!

  13. Stephanie Rock says:

    Sweet Baby Ray’s are the best! Looks like I just found my recipe for dinner. 🙂

  14. Beth @ bethcakes says:

    I LOVE making baked chicken fingers at home! It’s so easy and like you said, I never get tired of them. Usually I just use straight up panko and maybe a little parmesan, but your honey bbq version sounds and looks SO good! Definitely going to try that the next time I make them. 🙂

  15. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen says:

    These look so crispy and delicious! We’re big fans of finger food here so this will definitely get made soon!

  16. Between Sweet Baby Rays, ketchup, and honey mustard… I am the condiment QUEEN. I swear I have about 80% condiment to 20% food when I’m eating anything. Especially ketchup. Fries + vinegar + ketchup. UGH, I die.

    1. I’ve never been more convinced that we are twins. My family’s nickname for me is “the condiment queen” lol

  17. BBQ this weekend at my house? Maybe I’ll serve up these? Oh but I got to test out the flavour first I tell myself before loading up on all the extra ingredients to make this 😉

  18. This looks like a super delicious and easy weeknight meal! Two wins in my book. I like Sweet Baby Rays as well, but I usually end up getting Bullseye. We might even have some BBQ sauce that needs to be put to some good use. Just need to get the panko! Your recipes are always super easy to understand and come out perfect. Thank you!!

    1. Bullseye is my #2 choice. So good!

  19. Polly @ Tasty Food Project says:

    I love cooking with panko! My husband and I will love this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says:

    BBQ chicken has to be my all-time favourite comfort food! Love the fact these are baked- and they still look super crisp and delicious. Lovely recipe, Sally!

  21. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    love these SO much!!! bbq is my go to chicken dipping sauce 😉

  22. Matt Robinson says:

    Sally, my sons would go crazy for these! Seriously. They could eat chicken fingers all day long if it was up to them. Love this recipe!

    1. You’ve gotta make them for your sons, Matt! Hope you all enjoy. I feel like a kid again eating these all the time.

      1. Love your savory recipe but I don’t live in united states ! So I don’t find Panko, what can I use for ? thank’s so much

  23. Of course none of us would ever do it, but it does bear mentioning for those new to cooking…

    You MUST throw out the bbq sauce used to marinade the chicken. You cannot use it for dipping the cooked chicken fingers. It may look fine, but it is not.

    Tasty cooked chicken fingers deserve fresh (and safe) sauce.

    Maybe worth putting in the recipe notes?
    Love your blog!

    1. Oh I would absolutely never eat BBQ that raw chicken marinated in! I just checked my recipe and it does not say to do that. Thank you Heather!

  24. You know how to make me crazy, Sally! You had me convinced at extra crispy chicken.. I will make these in a zip-loc to save myself some dishes (so lazy, I know ^^”). Looking forward to weekend already! 😉

    1. Great idea, My Linh!

  25. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain says:

    Oooo honey bbq sounds divine on chicken fingers, and baked?? Brilliant! Then I don’t feel bad at all when I eat 10. :O Cuz, you know, I need to eat as many chicken fingers as I have actual fingers. Or 20 if we count toes. It’s perfectly logical…

    1. Definitely logical. 😉

  26. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life says:

    There is nothing quite like honey BBQ! It always makes me think of my uncle and Dad grilling in the summer… and me wishing I could drink the sauce! 😉 I <3 homemade chicken fingers, especially the ones with the crispy coatings. Pinning!

    1. drinking the sauce – I like your style Mary Frances!

  27. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life says:

    My boyfriend is absolutely going to love these! Going on next week’s dinner list for sure. And because I’m a vegetarian he will get leftovers for lunch – girlfriend of the year right here! Thanks Sally 🙂

    1. You definitely should get an award for baking these for him and not being able to try any – hope he loves them!

  28. These look really good. And because I have chicken breasts thawing out right now…..I’m trying these for dinner tonight! Thanks!

  29. I made this for dinner tonight and everyone freaked! they loved it just the way it was!

    1. Wonderful, Aneesha! Thanks for reporting back.

  30. Tried these for dinner tonight…they are really good. My family looked at me when I put them on the table because they were not the usual ones I make. After they tried them they really liked them. They are nice and crunchy and have real good flavor with the honey bbq and the smokey paprika. I love that they are not greasy(baked not fried) and have a great crunch. I’ve tried some of your other recipes and they were very good as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reporting back, Pam! Happy you all enjoyed them.

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