Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders

Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders Recipe


  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 strips bacon


  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare Chicken:
    • Cut each chicken breast into 4 long, thin strips. This should give you a total of 8 chicken tenders.
  3. Season the Chicken:
    • In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, Kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
    • Add the chicken tenders to the bowl and toss them in the brown sugar mixture until they are well coated.
  4. Wrap with Bacon:
    • Take a strip of bacon and wrap it around each chicken tender. Ensure the bacon is snug around the chicken but not too tight.
    • Place the wrapped chicken tenders into a baking dish. If there is any remaining brown sugar mixture, sprinkle it over the top of the tenders.
  5. Bake:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The chicken is done when the bacon is cooked through and crisp, and the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  6. Serve:
    • Once the chicken tenders are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Tips and Secrets for Perfect Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders

  1. Uniform Chicken Strips:
    • Cut the chicken strips as evenly as possible to ensure they cook at the same rate.
  2. High-Quality Bacon:
    • Use high-quality bacon for the best flavor and texture. Thinner bacon strips will crisp up more easily.
  3. Even Coating:
    • Make sure each chicken strip is thoroughly coated with the brown sugar mixture for a uniform caramelized exterior.
  4. Secure the Bacon:
    • If necessary, use toothpicks to secure the bacon around the chicken tenders. Just remember to remove them before serving.
  5. Crispy Bacon:
    • For extra crispy bacon, you can place the chicken tenders on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This allows the heat to circulate around the bacon, making it crisper.
  6. Adjust Baking Time:
    • Keep an eye on the chicken tenders as baking times can vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and bacon. Check for doneness at the 20-minute mark.
  7. Alternative Sweeteners:
    • For a different flavor, you can substitute brown sugar with honey or maple syrup. Be mindful that these will also affect the texture and cooking time.
  8. Spice It Up:
    • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the brown sugar mixture for a sweet and spicy variation.
  9. Rest Before Serving:
    • Allow the chicken tenders to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the juices redistribute, keeping the chicken moist.
  10. Serve with Dips:
    • These chicken tenders pair well with various dipping sauces such as ranch, blue cheese, or honey mustard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders

  1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?
    • Yes, chicken thighs can be used. Adjust the cooking time since thighs may take longer to cook through compared to chicken breasts.
  2. What type of bacon works best for this recipe?
    • Regular thin-cut bacon works best as it crisps up nicely. Thick-cut bacon may take longer to cook and might not get as crispy.
  3. How do I ensure the bacon gets crispy?
    • Placing the chicken tenders on a wire rack set over a baking sheet can help the bacon crisp up. Additionally, you can broil them for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
  4. Can I prepare these ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the chicken tenders up to a day in advance. Wrap them in bacon, store in the refrigerator, and bake when ready to serve.
  5. What if my bacon isn’t crispy enough?
    • If the bacon isn’t crispy, you can broil the chicken tenders for a few minutes at the end of the baking time. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.
  6. Can I use turkey bacon?
    • Yes, turkey bacon can be used but it may not crisp up as much as pork bacon. Adjust the cooking time as needed.
  7. How do I store leftovers?
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
  8. Can I freeze the cooked chicken tenders?
    • Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken tenders. Reheat them in the oven to maintain the bacon’s crispiness.
  9. Can I use a different sweetener instead of brown sugar?
    • Yes, you can use honey, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute. Note that the texture and flavor may vary slightly.
  10. What sides go well with Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders?
    • These chicken tenders pair well with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, a fresh salad, or rice.
  11. Can I make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken thighs?
    • Yes, boneless skinless chicken thighs can be used. They may require a longer cooking time to ensure they are cooked through.
  12. How do I know when the chicken is done?
    • The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and the bacon is crispy.
  13. Can I add spices to the brown sugar mixture?
    • Yes, you can add spices such as garlic powder, paprika, or cayenne pepper to enhance the flavor.
  14. Can I grill these chicken tenders instead of baking them?
    • Yes, you can grill them. Cook over medium heat and watch closely to avoid burning the bacon.
  15. How can I prevent the bacon from unraveling during cooking?
    • Secure the bacon with toothpicks if necessary. Remember to remove the toothpicks before serving.
  16. What can I use if I don’t have Kosher salt?
    • You can use regular table salt, but use slightly less since Kosher salt is less dense than table salt.
  17. Can I use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar?
    • Yes, dark brown sugar can be used. It has a richer molasses flavor which will give a deeper taste.
  18. What dipping sauces go well with these tenders?
    • These tenders pair well with ranch dressing, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or blue cheese dressing.
  19. Can I use frozen chicken breasts?
    • It’s best to use thawed chicken breasts to ensure even cooking. If using frozen, make sure to fully thaw them before starting the recipe.
  20. How do I make sure the chicken stays moist?
    • Do not overcook the chicken. Using a meat thermometer can help ensure the chicken is cooked to the perfect internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

By addressing these common questions, you can achieve the perfect Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during preparation and cooking. Enjoy your delicious and savory dish!

Final Thoughts

Bacon Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders are a delicious and easy-to-make dish that combines the savory taste of bacon with the sweetness of brown sugar. Perfect for appetizers, main courses, or snacks, these tenders are sure to be a hit at any gathering. Enjoy experimenting with variations and serving them with your favorite sides and dips!