Healthier than deep-fried with delicious sourdough flavor, these juicy crispy baked sourdough chicken strips are sure to become a family favorite.
Toasting the breadcrumbs, dry brining the chicken, and baking at a high temperature is the secret to a crispy crust and tender juicy meat in this easy recipe.
There are so many ways to use up an excess of sourdough discard. If you're tired of making sourdough discard crackers, flatbreads, and waffles
If you prefer fried chicken strips I also have a fried sourdough chicken strip recipe.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- These chicken strips are a great way to use up extra sourdough discard.
- These crispy chicken strips taste amazing. Your whole family is sure to ask for seconds.
- Juicy chicken strips are dipped in seasoned sourdough batter and coated with toasted crispy panko breadcrumbs. They have just a slight tang from the sourdough discard and a crispy crunch crust while skipping the mess and calories of deep frying.
What is Sourdough Discard?
Sourdough discard is the part of your sourdough starter that you usually throw away when you feed it. I feel guilty about throwing away food and am always looking for ways to reduce food waste.
I've created a guide for creating a maintaining a small sourdough starter to help reduce sourdough discard waste.
Sourdough Tip: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make your chosen sourdough discard recipe.
What are the best containers for storing sourdough starter and discard?
How long does sourdough discard last?
What is the difference between sourdough starter and sourdough discard?
How to Cut Chicken for Chicken Strips
For tender juicy chicken, it is important to cut chicken strips across the grain. This makes the chicken fibers shorter so that the chicken tears easier and seems more tender.
TIP: Freeze the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes to make slicing easier.
Why You Should Dry Brine Your Chicken?
Dry brining also known as salting is a great way to ensure moist meat with a little extra flavor without the extra mess associated with wet brining. Dry brining seasons the meat and changes the structure of the proteins to allow them to retain more of their moisture.
When chicken is dry brined the salt draws the juices inside the meat to the surface. The juices dissolve the salt and are then pulled, along with the dissolved salt, back into the meat seasoning the chicken throughout.
Once absorbed the salt breaks down or denatures the tough muscle proteins, like myosin, which allows the chicken to retain more moisture as it cooks.
Skinless Chicken Breasts or Chicken Tenderloins: If using chicken breasts you will need to first cut them into 1-inch thick strips.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are crunchier than regular breadcrumbs.
Parmesan Cheese: Mixing parmesan cheese into the bread crumbs after they have been toasted gives them extra cheesy flavor. For the best flavor use freshly grated parmesan not the stuff found in the green can.
Sourdough Discard: The sourdough discard coats the chicken strips helping the breadcrumbs to stick.
Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness and aids in browning.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Dried Herbs and Spices: Dried parsley, sage, thyme, garlic powder, and smoked paprika add extra flavor to these chicken strips.
Wire Cooling Rack: If you don't have a cooling rack for your sheet pan you can buy one on Amazon. If you're in the market for new sheet pans as well they also sell them as sets in both half sheet pan and quarter sheet pan sizes.
Shallow Dishes: Shallow dishes like these Pyrex pie plates make it easy to dip and coat the chicken strips.
How to Dry Brine Chicken Strips
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with about 1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt.
Place the chicken on a wire rack placed inside of a large baking sheet and refrigerate the chicken uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking. This will allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Room temperature chicken will cook more evenly.
Breading and Cooking the Chicken Strips
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes until the breadcrumbs turn a light golden brown color.
Transfer to a shallow bowl like a pie plate and stir in the parmesan cheese.
Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a wire rack on a half sheet pan. Placing the breaded chicken tenders on a cooling rack to bake, allows the air to circulate evenly around the chicken, allowing the breading to get crispy on all sides without flipping.
Whisk together the sourdough discard, brown sugar, kosher salt, parsley, sage, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper in a second shallow dish. I like to use a pie plate.
Dip chicken strips into the sourdough batter.
Transfer chicken to the bread crumb mixture and toss to coat. Pressing down lightly to help the breadcrumbs adhere.
Place the coated tenders on the wire rack and spray lightly with oil. Flip and spray the second side with oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Some of my favorites are honey mustard, bbq sauce, ranch dressing,
I like cutting the chicken strips into bite-sized pieces and serving them on top of this kale salad. They can also be served plain or with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Honey Mustard
- Apricot BBQ Sauce
- Buffalo Wing Sauce
- Marinara Sauce or Pizza Sauce
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
Need some side dish suggestions? Try this cacio e pepe hash brown casserole, these crispy twice-baked potato cups, baked provel macaroni and cheese, Asiago creamed spinach, or this roasted vegetable pasta salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
The batter sticks best when the exterior of the chicken is really dry. This is why we first pat the chicken dry with paper towels and refrigerate it uncovered for several hours. The dry air inside the refrigerator will help dry the exterior of the chicken.
The most accurate way to ensure the chicken is fully cooked is to check it with an instant-read probe thermometer. This one from Thermoworks is my favorite. Fully cooked chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
To reheat the chicken tenders place them in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes.
How to Freeze Your Own Homemade Chicken Tenders
Cool the cooked chicken tenders to room temperature and then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to a zip-top bag, label with the date and contents, and store for up to three months.
To reheat frozen chicken strips: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.
Read this post How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders for more information.
- Toasting the breadcrumbs before coating the chicken ensures a crispy coating.
- Spraying the chicken with cooking spray helps to brown and crisp the chicken.
- There is no need to flip the chicken strips while they bake. Placing the breaded chicken tenders on a wire rack to bake, allows the air to circulate evenly around the chicken, allowing the breading to get crispy on all sides without flipping.
- If some of the chicken strips are smaller you may want to check them and remove them from the oven early.
If you are new to sourdough starters, I've created a sourdough gift guide that lists all of my favorite sourdough products.
Looking for more sourdough discard recipes?
- Sourdough Snickerdoodles
- Sourdough Banana Bread
- Sourdough Discard Recipe Roundup
- Sourdough Pita Bread
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