It’s chilly outside, making it the perfect Friday night for one of our favorites: homemade chicken fingers! Everyone has their go-to comfort food, and for me, it’s a toss-up between crispy chicken fingers and the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, the second of which is a story for another time.
This chicken finger recipe is so easy to follow, you can eventually wing it (pun intended?) once you’ve done it a few times. Take note, you can cook these in an air fryer or an oven. I’ll give you directions for both options.
What’s especially great about chicken fingers is that everyone can enjoy them in their own way.
As a honey mustard enthusiast, sometimes I even have different brands of honey mustard available for dipping. My husband likes to keep his condiments spicy, so he enjoys his chicken fingers with spicy BBQ sauce or just straight up hot sauce. Our toddler of course likes hers with ketchup (surprise, surprise).
So without further ado, I bring you our “Weekend Worthy Chicken Finger Recipe”.
|Prep: 15 Min|
|Cooking: 20 Min (Air Fryer Oven)/25 Min (Conventional Oven)|
|Total: 35 – 50 Min|
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, with rib meat
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk (any kind, dairy or plant-based)
- 1 cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (can substitute 2 teaspoons minced garlic in water)
- 1 tablespoon sugar, brown or white
- 3/4 tablespoon salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Cooking spray
- Dipping sauces of choice: Honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or blue cheese work well.
Step 1: If you are using a conventional oven, preheat it to 350°F. If you plan to cook using an air fryer oven, you don’t need to turn that on just yet.
Step 2: Combine sugar, salt, and paprika in a large bowl that will be big enough to contain the sliced up chicken later on. Set this aside for now.
Step 3: Slice chicken into 1 inch strips and place the strips into the bowl of seasonings. Use your hands to mix the seasonings evenly with the chicken. Side note: Not my favorite part, but it only takes a few seconds. And always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before the next step.
Step 4: Get a second bowl and mix your panko and Italian breadcrumbs with the chopped garlic.
Step 5: Crack eggs into a third bowl with the milk, and beat together until combined.
Step 6: Pour the flour into another bowl, and then line all of your bowls up in the following order: flour, egg/milk mix, and breadcrumbs/garlic mix. It doesn’t matter if you choose right to left, or left to right.
Step 7: Set your baking pans to the vacant side of your breadcrumbs bowl, and spray the pans with cooking oil. Your pans will be different depending on whether you use an air fryer or a conventional oven, but these serve as your place for the chicken fingers to land once they are coated with breadcrumbs.
Step 8: One-by-one, use a fork to take each piece of chicken from flour, to egg/milk mix, to breadcrumbs, coating the chicken in each ingredient completely before you move on to the next bowl. After you coat the chicken with breadcrumbs, place it on your baking sheet. Be sure to space chicken fingers at least half an inch away from each other. You may need more than one pan.
Step 9: With the chicken fingers arranged in a single layer on your pans, you’re now ready to cook them.
- Cooking Chicken Fingers in an Air Fryer Oven: Air fryer models vary, and you will want to check the owners’ manual for any tips on cooking chicken. For our model, we put the chicken into the air fryer and then set it to cook at 370°F. Five minutes in, we swapped the bottom and top trays to help the chicken cook evenly. Five minutes after that, we took both trays out again, flipped each piece of chicken, then put the trays back in. After 5 more minutes (15 minutes in now), we swapped the bottom and top trays once more. We gave them 5 more minutes, until they were perfectly crispy and tender but cooked through (165°F).
- Cooking Chicken Fingers in an Oven: With your oven at 350°F, bake your chicken fingers for 12.5 minutes on one side, then take the pan out and flip them over. Bake for another 12.5 minutes, or until the chicken’s center reaches 165°F.
Step 10: After removing the chicken fingers from your oven of choice, let them cool for a minute or two, then serve with your favorite dipping sauces. Add a veggie on the side if you want to keep things balanced.
We cooked these for the first time tonight using our new Aria air fryer oven, and it really did add to the crispiness factor that makes chicken fingers just so darn delicious! If you try this using a different kind of air fryer, please feel free to share your experience and tips in the comments.
Enjoy and just try not to go back for seconds!