I’m going to show you how to make the best, most delicious, real food chicken dippers. Tender, succulent chicken on the inside and crispy, crunchy breadcrumbs on the outside. And, because those dippers gotta dip, I’m serving them up with a thick and creamy soured (sour) cream and chive dipping sauce, with a little spring onion (scallion) for extra bite.
Chicken dippers or chicken tenders have long been a favourite of mine. When I was growing up, it was chicken dippers, chips and beans. Now that my health has a large part to play in my meal choices, I am trying my best to avoid processed food as much as possible. For me, that means making chicken dippers from scratch using minimally processed ingredients. And you know what, they still taste great. Heck, what am I saying? They taste EVEN BETTER!
CRISPY CHICKEN DIPPERS
If you still want to enjoy homemade chicken dippers without the nasties, it’s much easier than you might think. A little extra effort, yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
You’ll need a wholemeal (whole wheat) bread, as minimally processed as you can find. Reading the label is the best way to check. The first step is to blitz the bread slices in a food processor until you have an even crumb. Then, and what I believe to be the most critical part, crisp the breadcrumbs in a pan, using olive oil, before coating the chicken.
This ensures the breadcrumbs can achieve optimum crispiness in the oven, at the same time for the chicken to be cooked through. Using raw bread just gives you a soggy crumb and overcooked, dry chicken. Ew, not nice.
The last step is to brush or spray the breaded dippers with olive oil before putting them into the oven. This will give you even more crispy crunch.
ALTERNATIVES TO HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS
If making your own breadcrumbs is putting you off making this recipe, then you can absolutely buy ready-made wholemeal (whole wheat) breadcrumbs. They are a little tricky to find in the average supermarket, but you can find options online.
Just Wholefoods stock Wholemeal Breadcrumbs in 175g packs. These breadcrumbs are organic and are made from three simple ingredients. It’s a good, whole grain, minimally processed option for sure.
In general, it’s best to avoid white breadcrumbs if you can. When following a real food lifestyle, it’s best to avoid heavily processed white grains. White breadcrumbs fall into this category. Panko breadcrumbs, for example, are often advertised as the best crumb as their light, large flake that provides fantastic crispy texture and so many recipes call for them. But that does come at a price. Oh, that sounds so dramatic. I apologise!
But, in all seriousness, Panko breadcrumbs are made from wheat flour, a heavily processed grain and palm oil, a heavily processed fat. Stick with wholemeal breadcrumbs because they will provide you with more nutrients, including fibre, which will keep you fuller for longer.
THE SECRET TO SUCCULENT CHICKEN DIPPERS
The first secret to keeping chicken dippers tender and juicy is to bathe them in the tangy soured cream. Let them sit there while you prepare the other ingredients, and the slight acidity in soured cream will help tenderise the meat.
And then, the second secret is not to overcook them. Not really a secret I know, but still, you get the point. This is essential when you’re looking forward to delicious dippers.
WHAT CHICKEN SHOULD I BUY TO MAKE CHICKEN DIPPERS?
My favourite type of chicken to buy for this recipe is organic chicken mini fillets (or chicken tenders, depending on where you’re located in the world). They are pretty much ready to go, and they’re the perfect size for ultimate dunk-ability. But, you can easily use chicken breasts and then cut them down to size. It’s totally up to you.
ARE CHICKEN DIPPERS HEALTHY?
These chicken dippers are made with whole grains and natural real food ingredients. Furthermore, they are oven-baked instead of fried which eliminates the need for excess oil. A great healthy option if you love chicken dippers
Oven-Baked Chicken Dippers with Creamy Chive Dip
- Weighing Scales, Measuring Spoons
- Frying Pan or Skillet & Large Baking Tray (Sheet)
- Food Processer, 2 Bowls, Wooden Spoon & Kitchen Tongs
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) Chicken Mini Fillets (Chicken Tenders)
- 80 g (⅓ Cup) Soured Cream (Sour Cream)
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5 Slices Wholemeal Bread (Whole-Wheat Bread)
- 1½ tsp Dried Parsley
- 1½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Divided
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper Divided
Creamy Chive Dip
- 180 g (¾ Cup) Soured Cream
- 1 Spring Onion (Scallion) Finely Chopped
- 1 tbsp Fresh Chives Finely Chopped
- Gather your ingredients and get your equipment ready. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6/ 400°F/ 200°C.
- First, put your chicken mini fillets (chicken tenders) in a bowl with the soured cream, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated. Put to one side to marinate.
- Grab your slices of wholemeal bread and blitz them in a food processor until you have a fine crumb.
- Put a skillet or frying pan on a medium heat, pour in the olive oil and give it a minute to heat up. Tip in the breadcrumbs, parsley, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and the remaining salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes (more towards the end make sure the crumbs don't burn) until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and one by one coat each chicken fillet with the breadcrumbs. Press down firmly to ensure the breadcrumbs stick and shake off any excess before laying them on the baking tray.
- Bake the chicken dippers in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.
Creamy Chive Dip
- While the chicken dippers are in the oven, combine the soured cream, chives and spring onions to make the creamy chive dip. Happy dunking! I hope you like 'em!
DID YOU MAKE OVEN-BAKED CHICKEN DIPPERS?
If you do get the chance to give this Chicken Dippers recipe a try, feel free to drop me a note in the comment section and/or provide a star rating. I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for reading.
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