Cheesy Taco Chicken Tenders



2 cups buttermilk
1 + 3/4 pounds chicken tenders
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumn
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or sweet)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup panko crumbs
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
ranch dressing 

  1. A few hours before cooking marinate the chicken tenders in buttermilk, cover and refrigerate. Make the dressing too and refrigerate.
  2. When ready to cook set up a dredging station.
  3. In a small bowl mix chile powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few generous cracks of black pepper.
  4. In a wide, shallow dish with short sides mix the flour with half of the spice mixture.
  5. In a seperate, wide shallow dish with short sides mix the cheese with the panko crumbs and half of the spice mixture.
  6. In a bowl whisk the eggs and milk together. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  8. Remove chicken from buttermilk; allow excess to drain off.
  9. Use tongs to coat chicken with flour, then egg then cheesy panko crumbs - patting them on if needed. Place on baking sheet.
  10. Repeat until all the chicken is coated.
  11. Bake until chicken is golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature of 165 - 174 F.) Serve with buttermilk ranch dressing for dipping.

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