Recipe Review

This Extremely Popular Chicken Tender Recipe Has a Clever Secret Ingredient

published Aug 18, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn

In my search for the most popular chicken tender recipes of all time, it was impossible to ignore this Betty Crocker favorite. It’s the first recipe to pop up in a “chicken tenders” Google search, has a 4.5-star rating from upwards of 175 reviews, and has comments like “fabulous,” “crispy,” and “super super easy.”

I was excited to give this recipe a go for multiple reasons: It calls for Bisquick in the coating (and seasons it with Parmesan cheese, garlic, and paprika), the chicken is shaken in a zip-top bag (easier and less messy than dipping to coat), and the tenders are baked, which I was eager to compare to the deep-fried and pan-fried competition.

Would Bisquick lend these tenders a certain something that standard all-purpose flour doesn’t? Would baking be the secret to better tenders? Here’s what happened when I gave this recipe a go.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chicken Fingers

Since these strips are baked, you’ll start by heating the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet pan with foil, then coat with cooking spray. In a zip-top bag, combine Bisquick, finely grated Parmesan cheese, salt or garlic salt (I chose garlic salt because it has more flavor), and paprika. Whisk an egg in a bowl.

Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch strips, dip in the egg, then place in the bag. Shake to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all the chicken strips are coated, drizzle a few tablespoons of melted butter over the chicken and bake, flipping once, for 12 to 14 minutes.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe | Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe

My Honest Review of Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chicken Fingers

I’ll admit that with the exception of boxed brownie mix, I never really use pre-made baking mixes — so I wasn’t sure how I felt about the use of Bisquick in these tenders. But the Bisquick turned out to be the one reason why I liked it! It gave the chicken a creamy milky-rich essence that I really liked, and I found myself going back to experience it again and again. I also appreciated the butter pour, which I felt came through in the final dish.

Ultimately, however, this recipe won’t be my new go-to. Not only did I almost run out of the breading mixture, but I also wanted more seasoning overall: more paprika, more garlic, and a lot more salt. As is, these tenders are extremely bland. Baking them also proved to be underwhelming — instead of being crisp, they were just pretty moist.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe | Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe

If You’re Making Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chicken Fingers, a Few Tips

  1. Season the chicken before it’s breaded. Seasoning the chicken with salt from the get-go will improve the overall flavor of the strips. I’d also season the egg, and increase all of the spices in the breading mixture. I’d add freshly ground black pepper, too.
  2. Add an extra layer of panko. If I were to make these again, I’d keep the Bisquick as the first layer, then maybe coat it with panko as a second layer. You’d get all those milky notes with a crunchy exterior.
  3. Fry the chicken for extra crispiness. These tenders baked up moist, not crispy. I think the recipe has far more potential if the chicken is fried instead of baked.

Rating: 5/10

Have you ever made Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chicken Fingers? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn