Panko cheddar crusted chicken fingers

Let’s be real, chicken fingers, fish sticks, fries…they’re all just vehicles for condiments. Whether it’s a homemade dip or a hfcs laden store bought one, (I’m not judging, that BBQ sauce there is not homemade and definitely not the picture of health) it’s by far the best part about all those foods.

I have a stash of Chick-fil-A’s polynesian sauce in my fridge that I’ve been “saving” for almost 6 months now (this is my public plea to the powers that be to get their Chick-fil-A asses north of NJ pretty please). It can’t be used on just anything, it’s got to be a meal worthy of such deliciousness.

This meal was definitely worthy but BBQ just seemed to go better with the whole cheddar thing going on.

I channeled my inner southerner with these and bathed them in buttermilk before the whole “frying” (not really, they’re baked) part. Honestly, I have no idea what the point of the whole buttermilk thing is, I just know they do that sorta thing down south. And southerners know their chicken. I live in NY, stores barely even carry buttermilk. But if it’s to keep the chicken nice and moist inside, it worked. If not, guess it was just a lucky coincidence. Either way…yay.

Crispy, crunchy and slightly cheddar-y on the outside, moist on the inside (as long as you don’t forget the oven’s on broil when you put the second batch in and wonder why there’s smoke pouring into your kitchen).

We watched the first episode in season 2 of Downton Abbey last night after dinner and all I could think of (while people are dying in the trenches of WWI nonetheless) is what a damn shame it was that Mrs. Patmore probably didn’t make chicken fingers back then and the poor Crawley’s had nothing tasty to dip into BBQ sauce.

Although I might be able to get over that if I could wear those dresses and have my own maid. Maybe.

3.0 from 1 reviews

Panko Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Baked to a crispy, cheesy perfectly crunchy outside while staying moist on the inside. Perfect for dipping in your favorite condiment.
Recipe type: entree, chicken fingers
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders or breasts cut into “finger” size
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • ¾ cup white cheddar, finely grated
  1. Place chicken in a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, flour, spices and parsley in a shallow dish/bowl.
  4. Fold in cheese.
  5. Dredge each piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and line on rack.
  6. Spray with olive oil or cooking spray and bake for about 7 minutes on one side.
  7. Flip carefully, spray again and bake for 5 more minutes.
  8. Turn oven to Hi-broil and broil for remaining 2 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
  9. Serve warm and with favorite dipping sauce.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own with regular milk and lemon juice. Use about ½ tablespoon of lemon juice for ½ cup milk.


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  1. 1

    Yum! I so love your photos! You do a great job, you make me want chicken fingers. Dam, now I really want chicken fingers!! Now thats all I’m going to think of today!!

  2. 2

    I like the extra va-va-va-voom with the cheddar in that panko crusting. Though, I think panko just makes everything automatically good. I’ve never marinated in buttermilk but have done yogurt and that also makes the chicken REALLY moist.

  3. 3

    WANT. Just found my dinner tonight :)

  4. 4

    These are just like chicken tenders but crispier and crunchier looking and i’m sure a bit healthier. and you have NO idea how obsessed I am over chicken tenders..i’d probably make like triple the amount just so i can eat a whole meal from it haha :)

  5. 5

    I love homemade chicken fingers. Delicious!

  6. 6

    Oooo I love these condiment vehicles! They look so crispy and delicious.

  7. 7

    Ha still working through all your stockpiled panko breadcrumbs?! Not that I’m complaining!! Keep em coming! They look delicious! :)

  8. 9

    I wouldn’t mind slurping up that whole ramekin of bbq sauce either!

  9. 10

    Good call on the healthy fun foods – I love a good chicken strip, but always feel guilty when they’re friend. Another WIN, m’dear!! XO! ~Megan

  10. 11

    Oh and BTW – I’m so glad I know someone else equally obsessed with Downton Abbey. I have made Ben start watching it with me, though it’s been on repeat in my DVD player for a couple weeks now. Now I’ve got him hooked. FTW! End of this season – mind. blowing.

    • 12
      Running to the Kitchen says:

      Season 1 or season 2? We just watched the 2nd episode in season 2 tonight. PBS is telling me I only have 5 more days to watch it online, so you can bet my butt will be glued to the couch doing just that! I have no patience for Netflix!

  11. 13

    Gina!! Now i’m craving cheddar chicken fingers at 10 am!!
    Could be worse, I suppose ;) Looks amazing!

  12. 14

    Seriously these look so good! May just have to go on the meal plan next week! :)

  13. 15

    These take chicken fingers to delicious new levels..panko and cheddar…I could have so much fun with that combo. YUM!

  14. 16

    This looks awesome. I’ve been dying to make some real southern fried chicken. One of these days…

  15. 17

    I love the photo where it looks like a little shark! It also reminds me of Florida…..where I want to be :(

  16. 18

    Glad I am not the onLy condiment hoarder. It is like a booby trap opening my fridge door. You never know when you might need some duck sauce!

  17. 19

    Cheese in the breadcrumb mixture? That is an awesome idea! Now I’m totally craving chicken fingers though and I don’t often buy chicken :( I think I need to. I honestly prefer baked chicken fingers to fried and these look sooooo good :D

  18. 20

    I think the buttermilk is to keep the chicken tender…but I’ve never made fried chicken myself, so I could be wrong! These look awesome!

  19. 21
    Elizabeth says:

    Love the healthy alternative and the suggestion in case you don’t have buttermilk (which I don’t)
    will be making these soon :)

  20. 22

    I will be the first to admit there are some corny parts of season 2, but wait until the Christmas special. Its amazing. I might re-watch it right now. And Mrs. Padmore looks so much prettier out of costume… actually, most of them do.

    Oven baked chicken fingers sound so good and I love the cheddar addition!

  21. 23

    Oh yeah babe. I make something similar but you can bet I’m adding the cheddar! You’re making my salmon dinner look less appetizing for dinner. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll do these babies up!

  22. 24

    Haha!!! “vehicles” for condiments…I agree!! I have been craving chicken fingers for so long now and these look wayyyy healthier than any others I’ve seen!!! YUM!!!!


  23. 25

    I love chicken coated in buttermilk and oh, all these seasonings in it. Yum!

  24. 26

    Yum! I’m all about the condiments also. I used to eat a whole body of ketchup with my fries. No joke. Kinda gross now that I think about it haha

  25. 27

    Oh yum – I love panko and condiments. My kind of finger food!

  26. 28

    Holy cow, these look incredible! And umm, I love me some condiments…bring ‘em on! :)

  27. 29

    Oh yum yummy!! I say I’m a Southern Wannabe and this recipe sure hits the mark. Your photos are just getting better and better (and they were damn great to start with) I always want to make everything you post!

  28. 30

    Amazing recipe. Now if only I had the ingredients to make it right now!

  29. 31

    I have all the ingredients for this! And a serious love for chicken fingers :)

  30. 32

    Great photos! I haven’t made chicken fingers at home in far too long…this needs to change!

  31. 33

    Yum Cheddar Chicken Fingers ! This is a great idea especially if you have children.


  1. [...]  Panko Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers ~ This delicious panko cheddar crusted chicken recipe delivers a crispy, crunchy and cheesy outside. [...]

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