Cooking Light "Fried" Panko Chicken Tenders & Cajun Creole Dipping Sauce

A month or so ago, I was loaned a copy of Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast: 250 Incredibly Flavorful 5-Ingredient 15-Minute Recipes. As you already know, I'm a huge fan of Cooking Light's recipes and a new cookbook from them gets my attention pretty quickly. This one is filled with color photos and some fresh recipes that I have not seen in the magazine. Many of their cookbooks are reprints of the magazine recipes, so if you hesitate to pick up this book because you subscribe to the magazine - don't!

Tonight, baseball was cancelled due to the rain we've been getting the last couple of days. So, I needed to come up with something for dinner that everyone would enjoy. I ended up choosing the recipe for "Fried" Panko Chicken Tenders. I have made chicken tenders with panko bread crumbs quite alot, but the method in this recipe had me intrigued. After you dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then coat in bread crumbs you let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes. While the chicken is sitting, you heat the baking pan you are using in the oven. I wondered if this method would produce a crispier (if that's possible) chicken tender.

While the chicken was hanging out, I prepared the dip recipe that was to accompany the chicken. I used Emeril's Bayou Blast seasoning for the Cajun-Creole seasoning in the recipe. I let that chill for a bit so the flavors could meld together. I think that if you made it and let it chill for a few hours or overnight it would increase the kick from the seasoning.
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What was the verdict? Well, I don't think preparing the chicken in this way really increased the crispiness but it was still very good. I think you could skip the step of dirtying the wire rack and just bake it on a preheated baking sheet. As for what the family thought? Well, there were NO leftovers which means it was really delicious!

I liked the mix of seasonings in the dip, it had just enough kick to make the chicken more interesting. I could see using this on sandwiches or even pannini's for some extra flavor. My Oldest tried the dip, and declared it the "best dip" he's ever had. Of course, you may want to know that his favorite dip so far is the onion dip made from soup mix and sour cream. At any rate, he enjoyed it and so did I.

"Fried" Panko Chicken TendersSource: Cooking Light, Fresh Food Fast


  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup non-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
  • Cooking Spray
  • Cajun-Creole Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine panko through salt in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk into another shallow dish.
  3. Dip chicken in buttermilk; dredge in panko mixture, pressing firmly to coat. Shake off excess panko mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes. While chicken stands, place a jelly-roll pan in oven to heat.
  4. Coat chicken well with cooking spray. Remove hot pan from oven; coat with cooking spray. Arrange chicken in a single layer on pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 23 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Serve with Cajun-Creole Dipping Sauce.

Cajun-Creole Dipping Sauce


  • 6 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free Cajun-Creole seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until blended.
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Looks like a perfectly crunchy coating - yum!
LaDue & Crew said…
Well, they sound pretty good! I'm wondering if there would be a difference in taste if you soaked them for a few hours, or overnight, in buttermilk as well..? I will definitely give them a try though!
Kristen said…
I love recipes like this and the best compliment is no leftovers. The bummer is that those are usually the ones that you would like leftovers of. These look really yummy!
Kerstin said…
This is a great chicken recipe for a weeknight meal! I love the spicy dipping sauce!
My kids would love these and I would love the sauce!
Debbie said…
I think this would be a perfect meal for this weekend when my grandson comes.
Chef E said…
This sounds and looks good to me, as I am looking forward to eating some good Cajun food when I return home in the summer! Nothing like a good crunch and kick, and along side a dip!
Wonderful recipe, that Cajun-Creole Dipping sauce really sounds fantastic.
The chicken looks crunchy and very inviting; my family would realy like these! The cookbook sounds interesting too. I may have to look into this! Thanks
Shelby said…
Something Grumpy will eat! lol. Looks great. I love Cooking Light too....but you already know that!

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