The Store-Bought Ingredient Giada De Laurentiis Uses For Chicken Tenders With An Italian Twist

Giada De Laurentiis demonstrates pride in her Italian roots on her award-winning Food Network shows, and in her cookbooks and recipes. In one of De Laurentiis' most popular shows, "Everyday Italian," she fuses her American and Italian identities to create Italian seasoned chicken tenders. She even uses a shortcut by recommending store-bought Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs as the crispy coating for the chicken cutlets.

Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs come neatly packaged by various stores and brands. They save you the trouble of buying a selection of dried herbs and aromatics typically used to season Italian recipes. Most of them contain parsley, garlic and onion powder, paprika, and occasionally dried thyme and oregano.

De Laurentiis blends these Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese for her chicken tenders, asserting that the parmesan adds a salty, nutty flavor and crispier texture to their crust. However, you could even save yourself the step of grating cheese by choosing a breadcrumb brand that has an Italian cheese on its ingredients list.

Even if you don't follow De Laurentiis' recipe, you can still employ her seasoned breadcrumb hack on plenty of other chicken tender recipes. For example, Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs would make the perfect substitute for the multi-ingredient spice and herb blend used in our herby chicken tenders recipe, in which it will pair perfectly with the arrabbiata dipping sauce. The breadcrumbs would also bring a tasty Italian twist to this crispy baked chicken tenders recipe.

More chicken tender cooking tips

While chicken tenders served at restaurants are often deep fried, De Laurentiis demonstrates that baking them is easier to execute and to clean up. The chef simply drizzles her coated chicken tenders with olive oil before baking them in the oven. This brings an earthy richness and just the right amount of fat to give them that fried taste and golden color. Plus, because they're small, thinner cuts of chicken, chicken tenders don't take long to crisp up in the oven. While frying them will take around eight minutes, chicken tenders baked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit will take around 15 minutes. Air-frying is another easy option, and the cooking temperature and time in an air fryer is 400 degrees Fahrenheit for between eight and ten minutes.

If you want to ensure the crispiness of a chicken tender's breading, corn starch is especially helpful. You can add cornstarch to the breadcrumbs, the egg wash, or the raw chicken for a dry-wet-dry dredging. Other recipes make the egg wash into a seasoned, creamy batter with ingredients like mayonnaise, flour, and hot sauce. De Laurentiis skips the egg wash altogether, opting instead to soak her chicken pieces in buttermilk both as a tenderizer and the adhesive for the Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs. Other simple tips include toasting the breadcrumbs you use to dredge the chicken, or letting chicken cutlets rest in an ice water bath to retain moisture and firm up.