Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Tenders are a family favorite, and great alongside your favorite dip and grains. Ready in about 20 minutes, they’re a weeknight staple, made with only a handful of ingredients!
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The typical stereotype for kids is that they love chicken fingers and chicken nuggets.
You don’t typically hear about lemon pepper chicken fingers, but I’m here to motivate you to serve chicken fingers a new way to your kids, and they’ll be asking for more.
Seriously, have you thought about making chicken fingers at home rather than grabbing them from the grocery store? These healthy baked lemon pepper chicken strips are easy to make and better than storebought!
You could even bread them to give them more of a lemon fried chicken tender feel if you so please. Or, if your kids ask you to.
I used to be hesitant to bake or cook raw chicken since I don’t love the texture and always worried that it would be dry.
But, hear me out when I say that since these lemon chicken tenderloins are baked in a marinade, they are anything but dry. In fact, perfectly moist and seasoned, and melt-in-your-mouth good.
They can be the star of the show for a dinner party, or just an easy addition for a weeknight dinner.
Why You’ll Love Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Tenders
- Kid friendly and family friendly – Baked lemon chicken tenders are a great go-to for a busy week. Serve with ketchup, ranch or a delicious honey yogurt sauce. Kids always want some form of chicken bites, nuggets or tenders, so this is a weeknight favorite for us.
- Can prep overnight – Just make the marinade overnight and let the chicken sit in it so you can throw them in the oven during the breakfast hour, prepping for dinner that night, an easy simple meal prep tip.
- Juicy, lean and filling – Say goodbye to dry chicken! Oven roasted lemon pepper chicken is completely transformed into juicy bites with a tantalizing lemon glaze.
- Make lemon pepper chicken bites – You don’t have to do the chicken tender shape. You can certainly cut your raw chicken into bite-size and make these as juicy lemon pepper chicken bites. So delicious!
Ingredients For Baked Lemon Chicken Tenders
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe – the ingredients are minimal and it’s super simple.
My recipe has a fun dipping sauce, which pairs so well with the crispy lemon pepper seasoning.
- boneless chicken tenders (can also use chicken breasts)
- lemon juice
- avocado oil
- spice blend – garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon pepper
- greek yogurt
- dijon mustard
If you have a lemon pepper blend spice, great, but if not, you can make your own, or just omit it and use more of the other spices listed.
The greek yogurt, honey and mustard combine for a sweet and tangy dipping sauce which is so good and is the icing on the cake.
How to Make Baked Lemon Chicken Tenderloins
If you’re using something other than chicken tenderloins, cut your chicken into a tenderloin shape. I bought chicken breasts and did this, but if you can buy chicken tenderloins, that will save you some time.
Then, you’ll want to make your marinade in a ziplock bag, and add the chicken to it. Letting it marinate for up to an hour, or even overnight if you are making in advance, will help give it more flavor.
Make sure to scroll down for the full recipe!
When you’re ready to bake, place all of the tenderloins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes.
Make sure to use a food thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked completely. The interior of the chicken should reach 165 degrees.
Make sure the chicken tenderloins aren’t too crowded on your baking sheet, so they cook more quickly and evenly.
Side Dishes For Lemon Chicken Tenderloins
I love serving these lemon chicken tenders baked alongside some veggies, often baked on the same sheet pan! I’ll also cook and serve alongside a big batch of meal prep rice.
The lemon adds such a beautiful and flavorful touch to these baked chicken tenders, I can’t imagine them any other way.
Here are some other favorite sides.
- Diced sweetpotatoes or potatoes (replace the pork chops in this sheetpan pork chops)
- Crispy parsnip fries
- Roasted brussel sprouts and carrots
- Mango quinoa salad
- Cheesy sweetpotatoes
- Instant pot quinoa with vegetables
Store these in an airtight tupperware container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, place in a single layer in a freezer bag or container for up to 4 months.
Yes, these chicken tenderloins are great for freezing! In fact, I often cook a bunch at once to freeze for later. They are good for up to 3-6 months in the freezer, though they will lose flavor and nutrition the longer they are frozen. To thaw, stick in the fridge overnight or thaw in the microwave.
If you make these in bulk, you can repurpose them in so many ways! They are delicious added to any pasta dish, in a tortilla or wrap, atop of a salad, on pizza and even in soup. Don’t let them go to waste.
You may enjoy some of these other recipes!
- Chicken apple sausage sheet pan
- Butter chicken rice bowl
- Oven baked chicken kabobs
- Chicken pumpkin chili
- Chicken strawberry salad
- 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken tenders, cut into ½ inch strips lengthwise
- Lemon slices
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
- ¼ tsp grated lemon peel
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp lemon pepper (optional)
Honey Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Cut chicken into tenderloin shape and pat dry.
- Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl or large ziplock bag, and add chicken, massaging it around the marinade.
- Cover and place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes (or overnight) to let marinate. While chicken is marinating, preheat oven to 400°F
- After marinating, transfer chicken to baking pan and 4-6 add lemon slices over it to bake
- Roast for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 8-12 minutes, or until the interior of the chicken reaches 165deg F*, using a food thermometer.
- Serve with honey yogurt sauce, alongside rice and your favorite vegetable!
*I love this food thermometer for testing the doneness.
Make sure to allow adequate space on the baking sheet so the chicken isn't too crowded.
You can top with more lemon pepper seasoning if you'd like.
For best results and more flavor, marinate overnight.
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Meat Thermometer, Instant Read Food Thermometer for Cooking, Waterproof Digital Kitchen Thermometer with Backlight, Ultra Fast Cooking Thermometer Long Probe for Grilling BBQ, Extra Oven Thermometer
Nature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Honey; 12oz. Squeeze Bottle; Award-Winning Taste
Newman's Own Lemon Pepper Seasoning; Great Zesty Flavor; Perfect Spices for Cooking Wings; No MSG, Gluten Free; Kosher; 8.68 Oz. Bottle
AmazonFresh Avocado Oil, 16.9 fl oz (500mL)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 560Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 594mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 54g