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Tex Mex Chicken Tenders with Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce

Raise your hands. Who adores chicken tenders???

Me! Me! Me!

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders with Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce

There are a lot of foods I worshiped as a child that are still very much a part of my diet these days – Kraft mac and cheese, pigs in a blanket and corn dog nuggets to name a few – but perhaps my favorite of them all is the ever-so-popular chicken finger. I don’t know what it is about the little guys, but I’m a total sucker for them. I have to physically restrain myself from ordering them off every single menu they happen to be on (which is A LOT of menus). I even longingly looked at my niece’s kids chicken finger meal at a wedding we were recently at, when I had a beautiful “grown up” meal sitting right in front of me. What is wrong with me?

I suppose I could blame it on the nostalgia induced feelings they evoke, or perhaps I could blame it on the fact that I should eat “bar food” at a bar, but really, I just genuinely enjoy the taste. The crunchy outside. The soft, tender meat on the inside. The ability to eat using only my fingers with zero shame. And of course, the dunking!

Regardless of my rationalizations, I feel little to no embarrassment when ordering them, and I’m willing to bet, that you too, have a soft spot for those crunchy bites of heaven…

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders with Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce

While chicken tenders grace pretty much every children’s menu and bar menu across the greater US (or is this just a Midwest thing), they’re all pretty much the same. Deep-fried, full of fat and cloned from one place to the next. BUT they don’t have to be that way.

Which brings me to what we’re here for: Baked Tex-Mex Chicken Tenders.

I’ve taken my guilty pleasure, combined it with another favorite of mine, Mexican, and turned it into something that is not only healthy and cost effective, but delicious and anything but boring.

Raw chicken tenders are coated in an egg and skim milk bath, and then tossed in a taco inspired bread crumb of panko (Japanese bread crumbs), chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder and salt. The breaded tenders are lined up on cookie cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet (to ensure major crunch factor), and baked until they’re golden brown and seriously crunchy.

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders with Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce

And because taco-inspired tenders are nothing without something to dunk them in, I serve them with a zesty (and also healthy!) avocado garlic sauce made with creamy avocado, tangy Greek yogurt, garlic, cumin and a little bit of lime juice.

If you want to up the spice factor, just add in a little bit more cayenne to the bread crumb mixture and to the avocado dipping sauce until it’s spicy enough for your palate.

Be sure to make a giant batch of these, because grubby fingers (kids and adults alike) will shovel these into their mouths faster than you can serve them!

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders with Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce

Are Avocados Fruit or Vegetable?

The avocado is technically a fruit, and even more specifically, a single-seeded berry.

An avocado contains nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with dietary fiber.

Is Chicken Considered Lean Protein?

The leanest poultry is white meat without the skin.

A serving of chicken breast has about 25 grams of protein.

 Is Baked Chicken Breast Low in Fat?

A 6-oz. breast has about 142 calories and only 4 grams of fat.

Baked Tex-Mex Chicken Tenders with Garlicky Avocado Dipping Sauce

Baked Tex-Mex Chicken Tenders with Garlicky Avocado Dipping Sauce

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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes



  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sirracha
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespooon chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Avocado Garlic Dipping Sauce:

  • 5.3 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ large avocado
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of ½ lime


For the tenders:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and spray with non-stick olive oil spray.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk egg, milk and sirracha until combined.
  • In a large zip lock bag, add panko, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt paprika and cayenne.
  • Close and shake until combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
  • Place tenders a few at a time in the egg mixture. Let excess drip off.
  • Place in ziplock back, shut and shake until completely coated.
  • Shake off excess and line up on cooling rack. (You may need to use two)
  • Bake for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your tenders) until golden brown, crunchy and cooked through.

Dipping Sauce:

  • While the tenders are cooking, make the sauce.
  • Add all the ingredients into a mini food processor.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.


left overs will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator


Serving: 1gCalories: 818kcalCarbohydrates: 64.6gProtein: 43.5gCholesterol: 134.5mgFiber: 6.5gSugar: 5.3g
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 Family Favorite Easy Healthy Recipes

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