3-Ingredient Sheet Pan Chicken Marinara

updated May 29, 2020
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Sheet Pan Chicken Marinara

Frozen chicken tenders are topped with marinara sauce and melty mozzarella for a satisfying shortcut dinner.


Prep5 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Amelia Rampe

This 30-minute sheet pan meal was my oldest daughter’s favorite childhood dish, and it has stood the test of time. Smothering frozen chicken tenders in sauce and cheese is practically as fast as dunking them in ketchup, but makes for a crispy, bubbling chicken dish that will transport you to your favorite red-sauce joint.

The most important step of this recipe is warming the marinara sauce. As the chicken tenders bake, you’ll warm up the sauce on the stovetop with a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then, you’ll spoon the warmed sauce onto the baked chicken tenders and pile mozzarella cheese on top (you can add some Parm here, too). Because the chicken and the sauce are already warmed-through, you can crank up the oven temperature, allowing the cheese to quickly melt and crisp without making the tenders soggy.

A note about chicken tenders: Frozen chicken tenders come in many different sizes. This recipe was written for smaller tenders in mind, but if you have larger tenders, increase the amount of sauce by 1 tablespoon per tender.

Sheet Pan Chicken Marinara

Frozen chicken tenders are topped with marinara sauce and melty mozzarella for a satisfying shortcut dinner.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 (8-ounce) boxes

    frozen chicken tenders (do not thaw)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    marinara sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cups

    shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese


  1. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven according to the chicken tender package instructions.

  2. Divide 2 (8-ounce) boxes frozen chicken tenders among two rimmed baking sheets and bake according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed. Keep at a lower simmer until the chicken is ready.

  3. Remove the chicken from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 450ºF. Meanwhile, spread the marinara sauce on the chicken tenders (about 1 tablespoon each), then sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 tablespoon each).

  4. Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges are crisp and browned, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.