I absolutely adore experimenting with new recipes, and today I want to share with you my latest obsession: Sweet and Spicy Baked Orange Chicken Tenders. Trust me when I say that these tender chicken strips are coated in a tantalizing sweet and spicy orange sauce that will blow your mind!
Now, I have to admit, it’s quite a challenge for me not to inundate you with an abundance of sweet and spicy recipes. But let me tell you, it’s tough when all I want to do is smother chicken in mouthwatering concoctions of ooey, gooey deliciousness. Just last week, I shared a creamy parmesan dijon skillet chicken recipe. Seriously, I could survive solely on sweet and spicy chicken dishes. The best part? They’re all baked instead of fried, and your taste buds won’t even notice the difference. They’ll be too busy reveling in the complex flavors and craving more.
Speaking of cravings, I can’t help but yearn for another serving of my hypnotic Baked Orange Chicken Tenders. These tender strips are bursting with flavor, thanks to their marinade in a delectable sweet and mildly spicy orange sauce. And here’s a little secret: that same marinade transforms into a sticky, irresistible Orange Glaze. It’s one of my favorite cooking methods—reserving some of the marinade, whisking it with cornstarch, and voila! You have a double dose of flavor without any extra work.
So, what are you waiting for? Give these Sweet and Spicy Baked Orange Chicken Tenders a try, and prepare to be amazed by the explosion of taste in every bite.
How to Make This Recipe (Sweet and Spicy Baked Orange Chicken Tenders)
|TOTAL TIME: 40 MINUTES||PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES|
|COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES MINS||SERVINGS: 4|
- 8 chicken tenderloins (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade (regular, not sweet)*
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons quality hoisin sauce (like Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2-1 teaspoon Sriracha/Asian hot red chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 cups cornflakes cereal, ground (measured whole)**
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- green onions
- orange zest
- Whisk the Orange Marinade/Glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup to a large freezer bag with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken and marinate for 60 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator. Refrigerate reserved Glaze separately.
- Melt ½ tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in panko and continue to cook and stir until browned. Remove from heat. (You can do this while your chicken marinates or days before and store it in an airtight container.)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil then top with a wire baking rack. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Line up your breading station: Add flour to a large freezer bag. Whisk milk and eggs together in a bowl or shallow dish. Mix panko, ground cornflakes, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl.
- Remove chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Add chicken to flour and toss until evenly coated. Working with one chicken tender at a time, remove from flour, shake off any excess then coat in milk/egg mixture and drain off any excess. Roll chicken in panko/cornflakes, pressing to adhere. Shake off any excess and place on a wire rack. Repeat until all chicken tenders are breaded.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F degrees or until chicken is cooked through. Broil until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare your Glaze.
- Add reserved Glaze to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Using tongs, dip chicken in Glaze to coat then return to baking rack or individual plates. Garnish with orange and green onions if desired.
- Cooking time: Total cooking time does not include marinating as that will vary on the individual.
- *Orange marmalade: Bitter or Seville marmalade is traditional and won’t have a special label, sweet orange marmalade made using Valencia, navel, or similar oranges can also be found, but it will be called out as “SWEET Orange Marmalade.” If you can only find sweet orange marmalade then reduce the sugar in the recipe by 1-2 tablespoons.
- **Cornflakes: You measure out 3 cups cornflakes before you grind them I use my food processor and pulse until the size of panko crumbs. You can place cornflakes in a freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin. You can substitute cornflakes with additional panko for a total of 1 ¼ cups panko and brown panko with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Crispy factor: The less time you wait between coating the chicken in the glaze and eating, the crispier it will be. That being said, the chicken has a wonderful texture but is not overly crispy.