I’m not gonna lie, anything breaded is better fried than baked but I felt like being good today so I baked the chicken strips. If you give them a shallow fry in a skillet, they’ll be crispier, more moist, and more golden brown.
BUT for a baked chicken strip, they’re pretty freakin’ fantastic. Especially with the honey mustard dipping sauce. The sauce is actually the marinade, binding agent for the panko crumbs, AND the dipping sauce. It’s very multi-purpose, which makes this recipe a whole lot faster and easier than most breaded chicken recipes. No three step dredging here! Oh, and did I mention that I made it with light mayo? Yep, and it was still bangin’. But you gotta use Hellman’s light mayo because that’s the only one that tastes right.
Here is a tip for keeping this recipe low cost: buy the chicken and the panko in bulk. I buy chicken breasts in a large 5 lb. pack and then divide it up into freezer bags of two breasts each when I get home. If you happen to catch a “getting close to the sell-by date” sale on top of that, you’ll get a super deal. Panko crumbs can be expensive if you buy them in a small box but if you have a Whole Foods or similar store near by, check their bulk bins. I got my panko crumbs for 1.99/lb. I bought about 4 cups for only $1.39. Score!
Honey Mustard Chicken Strips
- 2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs.) $2.48
- 1 cup mayonnaise $1.69
- ⅓ cup honey $0.79
- ¼ cup mustard (any variety) $0.27
- ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
- ¼ tsp paprika $0.02
- to taste salt and pepper $0.05
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs $0.70
- In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, garlic powder, paprika, and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined then taste and season with salt to your liking. Divide the sauce into two portions. Half will be the marinade and half will be the dipping sauce – it MUST stay separate. Keep the sauce refrigerated until ready to use.
- Trim the chicken breasts of excess fat and slice diagonally into ½ inch thick strips. You should get about 14-16 strips total. Place the sliced chicken in a bag or bowl with half of the honey mustard sauce and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or over night.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a dredging station by lining a large baking sheet with foil and then placing two wire cooling racks on top. The wire racks keep the strips lifted as they bake so that the bottoms will crisp too. Coat the wire racks with non-stick spray. Pour the panko crumbs into a wide, shallow bowl.
- One by one, coat the chicken strips with panko crumbs. Do not wipe off excess honey mustard sauce before coating with panko, the sauce helps it adhere. Place the strips on the wire rack as you bread them. Continue until all of the strips are coated with panko crumbs. Discard the leftover honey mustard sauce that the chicken was marinating in.
- Bake the chicken strips in the oven until the crumbs have turned golden brown (about 30 minutes). To Fry: Alternatively, heat about ½ inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the surface of the oil looks wavy. Fry a few strips at a time on each side until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
- Serve warm with the reserved half of the honey mustard sauce.
Step By Step Photos
Start by making the sauce/marinade. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, garlic powder, pepper and paprika in a bowl. I used both regular yellow mustard and dijon but you can use any kind that you like.
Stir it all together until it’s well combined then taste it and season with salt to your liking. Separate the sauce in two. Half will be used to marinate the chicken, the other half will be used to dip the cooked chicken strips in. Keep the sauce refrigerated until you’re ready to use.
Slice the chicken diagonally into thin strips. I got about 15 strips out of the two breasts.
Place the chicken strips and half of the honey mustard sauce into a ziplock bag or a bowl, toss to coat the chicken, and then marinate for at least 30 minutes (refrigerated).
Prepare the dredging station by lining a large baking sheet with foil and then placing two wire cooling racks on top. The racks will keep the strips elevated as they bake, allowing the bottom to crisp up too. Pour the panko crumbs into a wide shallow bowl.
One by one, coat the chicken in the panko crumbs. Do not wipe off excess mustard sauce before breading. The sauce is what makes the crumbs adhere. I like to completely bury the strip in the crumbs, pat down on it, then gently fish it out and then they are completely coated. Place the strips on the wire rack as you bread them. Discard any left over marinade because it has raw chicken germs in it.
Once they’re all breaded, bake in a 400 degree oven (preheated) for about 30 minutes or until they’re golden brown. If you want to give the chicken a light dusting of spray oil before they go in the oven, this will help with the browning… I forgot to do that step!
This is my chicken after about 35 minutes. Frying them in oil will yield a much more golden, crispy chicken strip… but that’s up to you.
Dip the chicken strips in the reserved half of the honey mustard sauce. Oooh, it was so good.
Mmm, thick, sweet, tangy sauce…
AND I just happened to have the ingredients on hand to turn the chicken strips into a wrap! YUM.