Habanero Chicken Tenders

As I enter the third trimester of this pregnancy, things are starting to get a wee bit uncomfortable. Sleeping is difficult. Jeans tight. And although I have an appetite like a horse, I can’t seem to eat as much as I once did. Everything just feels a bit, let’s just say, squished. However, one thing I am thankful for is the lack of heartburn. It hasn’t really set in yet. I’ve had a couple of episodes but not the constant version that some of my friends have had. This is good because I can still enjoy spicy food. Spicy food like these habanero chicken tenders.

Habanero is an interesting pepper, yes it is very very spicy but it also has a bit of a sweetness to it, I like to think that it balances out a bit. However, with that said, it doesn’t take much habanero to make any dish spicy. So while I did have two in my refrigerator, I decided to only use one. It was plenty hot for my taste. If you want to keep the habanero flavor but lose a bit of the spiciness remove the seeds. And remember, do not, I repeat, do not, touch your eyes after handling the pepper until you’ve washed your hands. Or better yet use gloves when handling. Habanero in the eye is not such a pleasant feeling…trust me.

Habanero Chicken Tenders Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 1.5 pound chicken tenderloins, rinsed and pat dry
  • 1 habanero
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons canola oil



Place chicken tenders in a bowl.


In a food processor combine habanero, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onion powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Pour marinade over the top. Cover and marinate for 2 hours.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cookie sheet on top of the baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray.


Mix the remaining teaspoon of salt with panko and plain bread crumbs.


Set up an assembly line with flour, egg and bread crumbs. Dip each chicken tender into the flour, then the egg, and then press into the bread crumbs until coated completely.


Place breaded chicken tenders on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with canola oil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn chicken tenders and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and cook until chicken is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.



Leave a Reply to StephenC Cancel Comment

  • Reply
    love hots
    November 8, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I found this while looking for some finger foods for an Eagle Scout court of honor.
    I will have to go up on the hab scale but ill put up a nice little warning sign for the wimpy folks.
    some like the hots and some dont. (they have a right to be wrong.)

  • Reply
    Awesome Dawson
    September 6, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Did you mean to bake the tenders for 5 min per side? A total of 30 mins seems to be a tad long!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 4:58 am

    OMG I looove habaneros! And finger foods! This is right up my alley, as I’m always looking for new ways to experiment. Gotta try this one. Might just be a staple for football season. Thanks Des!

  • Reply
    Jenn's Food Journey
    August 24, 2011 at 4:21 am

    I have always said habaneros had a bit of a sweetness to them, but no one believes me :) These look and sound great!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    ha ha.. I just came to your site to make the habanero roasted chicken… two preggos craving the same things!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Are you sure these tenders need to cook for that long at that high a temp? Seems to me they will be dried out. I won’t see your reply unless you write me at scrout1944@msn.com. Thanks.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

    BTW, I did once rub my eye after chopping up a jalapeno. It is not the kind of mistake that one makes twice.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I love the sound of this. I’d have to tone down the heat for Peter, but I can live with that.