Panko Cheddar Chicken Fingers

These panko cheddar chicken fingers are baked to a crispy, crunchy exterior while staying moist on the inside.

These panko cheddar chicken fingers are baked to a crispy, crunchy exterior while staying moist on the inside.

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.

Cheddar crusted chicken fingers

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.

Panko cheddar chicken fingers

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).

Panko crusted chicken fingers

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.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Panko Cheddar Chicken Fingers

Panko cheddar crusted chicken fingers

These panko cheddar chicken fingers are baked to a crispy, crunchy exterior while staying moist on the inside.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 14 minutes


  • 1 lb. chicken tenders or breasts cut into "finger" size
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 3/4 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 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice for 1/2 cup milk.


filed in: Main Dishes
featuring: ·


  1. Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau

    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.

  2. Julie @ Table for Two

    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 :)

  3. Megan @ Country Cleaver

    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.

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      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!

  4. Heidi @ Food Doodles

    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

  5. Elizabeth

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

  6. Deanna

    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!

  7. Pingback: 8 Tasty Fried Chicken Recipes For Dinner - Tip Junkie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *