Sesame Chicken Fingers with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce

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Chicken fingers, tenders marinated in buttermilk, breaded with panko and sesame seeds, baked, served with spicy orange sauce

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken fingers! The ultimate finger food, perfect for dipping. The challenge is, how to make crispy tender chicken fingers without having to deep fry them? 

With this baked sesame chicken finger recipe we are first marinating the chicken tenders in buttermilk. Then we dredge the tenders in a breadcrumb mixture with crispy panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds that have been browned and mixed with a little olive oil so they don’t dry out in the oven. We bake the tenders while quickly mixing together a spicy sauce made with orange marmalade and sriracha.

Sesame Chicken Fingers

Not counting the marinating time (which you can do hours in advance if you want), the whole dish comes together quickly. It’s kid-friendly, adult-friendly, and party-friendly.

By the way, it took us several tries to land on this particular recipe (my sweetheart can attest to the dry and tough rejects that even he didn’t want to eat), and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. I hope you like it too!

 

Sesame Chicken Fingers with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce Recipe

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  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (can sub a scant half cup of milk that has been mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 Tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Breading:

  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sweet orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar

Method

marinate chicken tenders in buttermilk mixture

1 Mix marinade ingredients (buttermilk, marmalade, soy sauce) in a medium bowl. Add the chicken tenders to the marinade and stir to coat completely with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer).

toast panko and sesame seeds stir in olive oil

2 While the chicken is marinating, prepare the breading. Heat a medium sized thick-bottomed skillet on medium high heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs to the dry hot pan and spread the breadcrumbs so they are in an even layer in the pan. Lower the heat to medium and stir frequently until the breadcrumbs begin to brown. Once you can see visible browning, stir in the raw sesame seeds. Continue to cook in the pan, stirring frequently until the mixture is a deep golden color. Remove from heat. Stir in the olive oil and the salt and stir until all of the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds are lightly coated with the oil.

dredge chicken tenders place breaded chicken fingers on rack over aluminum foil lined baking pan

3 Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top. Brush or spray the rack with a little cooking oil. Place the toasted breadcrumb mixture in a shallow bowl for dredging. Remove the chicken tenders one at a time from the marinade  (do not wipe off the marinade) and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture. Place them on the prepared rack on the roasting pan.

4 Bake chicken tenders at 400°F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

5 While the chicken tenders are baking, prepare the dipping sauce. In a small bowl stir together the orange marmalade, soy sauce, sriracha hot sauce, and seasoned rice vinegar.

Serve sesame chicken fingers with the spicy orange dipping sauce.

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Sesame Chicken Fingers

Showing 4 of 19 Comments

  • Sam

    Wow – these just came out of the oven and I’m not sure if the leftovers I planned to freeze will exist. These are delicious!

  • Laurel Montaine

    I tried this, and it turned out great. I did however, substitute the olive oil for sesame seed oil and it was so flavorful!

  • Nisanka Kusumsiri

    I want to cook this for my one year 10 month baby. She loves fried food. I want to make them healthier than just offering a fried junk food. Has anyone tried this for a baby of this age? Is it soft enough to bite/chew for a baby of this age? Thanks for comments.

  • Karina

    I made this recipe tonight, as “back up” for the kids in our diner party. Well, the adults loved them too! Perfect balance of crisp and moist. And so tasty! I didn’t realize I had bought bitter orange marmalade, so used apricot jam instead. Very good. Thank you Elise for another wonderful recipe!

  • Dean E.

    I’ve made this recipe several times since it was posted so it’s high time I thanked you for sharing it. This might be a bit nit-picky but I’ve used sweet (Smucker’s) marmalade for the marinade and bitter (Bonne Maman) for the sauce. Just a personal preference which I think works quite well. You’re quite right that toasting the breadcrumbs prior to baking makes them more tasty. Thanks very much.

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