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Saucy, oven-baked Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch. These chicken tenders are GOOD! Coated in a mix of spicy seasoned crumbs, oven-baked, then tossed in a spicy-hot black pepper sauce. Follow these up with a delicious cooling ranch for dipping. These sauced up chicken fingers are loved by all…kids and adults. And yes, they’re even healthier (they’re baked, not fried), and so much tastier. Serve with oven baked french fries and veggies for an easy dinner that’s different, saucy, spicy, and beyond good!

overhead photo of Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch

We’ve officially come upon the time of year when football takes over and game nights are the thing to look forward to (especially during COVID). Yes, it’s football season, which as of today, is set to start on Thursday night. My brothers, my dad, and every other football-loving human I know are all excited. Even I’m excited, though I really don’t actually watch any football. There’s just something about the start of the season that’s exciting and even comforting to me.

To me, it means that fall is getting closer, as are cozier nights in general. And with the game on in the background, it just feels “homey”.

I’m really not sure why, but like clockwork, September hits, and I’m inspired to create recipes that are great for, not only easy family meals, but for fun game-day nights too. Which leads me right on into these chicken fingers.

Without a doubt, these chicken fingers are up there as one of my all-time favorite recipes. Seeing as we now have over twenty-five hundred recipes on HBH, that should really tell you something. These fingers are…so very good!

And loved by all.

Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers on baking sheet after baking

The history…

Like a lot of my favorite recipes, these chicken fingers have a little backstory.

Growing up in Cleveland, my parents would often have dinner on Friday or Saturday night at one of their favorite restaurants, Around the Corner in Lakewood, Ohio. Sometimes they’d go with friends, sometimes they’d bring us kids. Other times it was just the two of them (a rare occasion). Either way, more times than not, my mom was ordering their boneless buffalo chicken strips with their famous black pepper rub.

When we moved to Colorado I was lucky enough to get the recipe from a family friend who had waitressed at the bar. Apparently the recipe is very “secret”, but thankfully she gave it to me anyway. No measurements, just the ingredients, which was all I really needed.

I then attempted to recreate those chicken fingers. Are they identical to the original recipe? Nope, not even close. But my family is all in agreement that my version is more delicious than any you might order up in a bar…well there might be some debating between mine and ATC’s.

Anyway, they’re delicious, and it’s all about the seasoning, the sauce…and then that extra dip…beyond good.

side angled close up photo of Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch

The details…

So what’s the secret to this secret recipe?

Fajita seasoning and a generous amount of black pepper. But really it’s the fajita seasoning. For the seasoning, I mixed up my own blend of spices, which is the easiest to do, but of course, you could also use store-bought. Do what works for you!

To start, mix up some buttermilk with a splash of hot sauce and trimmed chicken tenders. The buttermilk is the “glue” that helps adhere the crumbs onto the chicken tenders.

Next, finely crush corn flakes and Cheez-It crackers (I like to use this healthier version) into crumbs to bread the chicken. The finely crushed corn flakes and cheese crackers are key to getting baked chicken fingers that taste like they’ve been fried.

Tip? Pulse the corn flakes and crackers in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb. If you don’t have a food processor, just add everything to the cornflake or cracker bag. Then step on the bag with your feet to finely crush them. Trust me, this works. It’s what my dad used to do when he’d make potato chip chicken when I was a kid. This trick is an oldie but a goodie.

Now, those cheese crackers? Do you really NEED them? No, you could simply use corn flakes. But the crackers add a special crunch and flavor that make them extra special and beyond delicious.

Next, bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to gently dab/brush the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven. You can’t skip this step, it’s crucial.

overhead photo of Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch

On to the sauce…

While baking, make the black pepper sauce. It’s simple…melted butter with hot sauce (I love Franks for this). Then add more fajita seasoning, and a good pinch of black pepper too. This sauce, while it is simple, is also everything – buttery, spicy, smoky, peppery – so much flavor.

In addition to the pepper sauce, I wanted to pair the chicken fingers with something cooling.

Enter the creamy, cooling greek yogurt-based ranch. I love classic ranch just as much anyone else, but honestly, this greek yogurt-based ranch is SO GOOD! It’s a little lighter and little tangier, but oh so creamy. The perfect dip for spicy chicken.

When everything is all done, serve um up with a drizzle of hot pepper sauce and a dip in the ranch. The chicken is saucy, spicy, a smidge buttery, and a little smoky. But the cooling yogurt ranch tames the heat and adds that special touch.

Altogether, it’s just some really really good food.

I love serving these chicken fingers with my herby baked sweet potato fries plus a simple green salad. It’s bar food at home and so much better. Added bonus? It’s so much healthier too! Love that these are oven baked, you’d never guess!

side angled close up photo of Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch

Looking for other fun fall game day dinners? Here are a few ideas: 

Spicy Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Fingers

Oven Fried Cajun Popcorn Chicken with Creamy Honey Mustard

Baked Sweet Potato Parmesan Tater Tots

Lastly, if you make these black pepper rub chicken fingers with greek yogurt ranch be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories Per Serving: 306 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Greek Yogurt Ranch

Instructions

  • 1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons hot sauce. Toss well to coat.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
    3. Add the corn flakes crumbs, cheese cracker crumbs (if using), 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning, and a large pinch of pepper to a medium-size bowl. Stir to combine.
    4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dredge through the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets. Lightly brush/drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
    5. Meanwhile, make the black pepper sauce. Stir together the melted butter, 1/2 cup hot sauce, 2 teaspoons fajita seasoning, and a pinch black pepper (to your taste).
    6. To make the ranch, combine all ingredients in a bowl or glass jar. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.
    7. Drizzle the chicken with the black pepper sauce. Serve alongside the ranch for dipping. ENJOY.

Notes

Fajita Seasoning: Combine 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.

overhead close up photo of Black Pepper Rub Chicken Fingers with Greek Yogurt Ranch

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are yummy! I like the cornflake and Goldfish cracker crust, which is different twist than the traditional panko flakes. As with all HBH recipes I make, I have to dilute the spice (you love your spice!!!), and would recommend not drizzling the sauce, but allowing people to just dip for their preferred amount.

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, so glad you enjoyed it! I really appreciate the feedback as well! 🙂 xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    These were amazing, came out better than I imagined and were the perfect app for football Sunday! I made extra and used the leftovers to slice up and add to a salad for lunch the night day.

    1. Hey Brooke,
      You could make just up until baking, but I would wait to bake these until you are ready to serve. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give them a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Carmen,
      I have not tested these in the air fryer, but I’m sure they would work just fine! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I made these last night, along with the Greek yogurt dip (and homemade fajita seasoning)! They are SO good and I will definitely be making again! Served alongside roasted parmesan green beans and mac n cheese 🙂 I’ve been in a rut lately with trying new recipes and ever since finding your site a couple months ago I have been SO inspired! I look forward to your recipes every day. Thank you!

    1. Hey Jordan,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    This is one of my husband and I’s favorite recipes. I absolutely love it! I’m also not a huge condiment person, however, the greek yogurt ranch is delicious. It’s easy to adjust spice levels as well which is great for when I’m cooking for more than just my husband and me. A million out of ten would recommend!

  5. 1 star
    If I could give zero stars I would. Bland, tasteless and slimy as fuck. Thanks for wasting my money, time and effort you dumb white bitch. This is the first time I’ve ever posted a comment and it’s because I’m that fucking pissed off. DO NOT MAKE THIS.

    1. Hi Kim! I apologize that this recipe did not turn out well for you, but there is no need to be so hostile. If there is anything I can help with, I would love to. Just let me know. xTieghan

    1. Hi Brett! I am really sorry about that.. Could you please explain what went wrong? I would love to help! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Has anyone actually cooked this recipe??? The best thing about a comment section on a recipe site is the notes you get from the public..Or is there a way I can organize the comments that im not seeing?

    1. Hi Spencer! I am sorry you are having a hard time finding the comments from people who have tried this recipe. I will leave some below for you! I hope you enjoy this one! xTieghan

      erica
      october 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm
      Just made these tonight for dinner–a big hit! I love the yogurt dip. My husband put his in a sandwich and gave rave reviews. Thanks Tieghan!

      karishma
      december 11, 2014 at 9:56 pm
      I made these with my boyfriend recently and we both LOVED them. Ah, the flavor was soo good. We ended up putting it in a salad for a spicy chicken salad with the ranch dressing deal. Delicious!

      gabrielle
      may 21, 2015 at 9:31 am
      I rarely comment on recipes that I try, but this was SO amazing that I had to comment. I could have easily eaten the whole pan by myself! And that ranch dressing recipe is superb. Thank you for sharing! This has become a family favorite!!!

      shelley
      march 16, 2020 at 6:01 am
      5 starsWe didn’t have all the ingredients (no dried chives, dill, buttermilk, fajita seasoning, chees-its or corn flakes) and it was still amazing! We made some substitutions (used more panko and added some parmesan) or skipped ingredients. The crunch and the yogurt ranch made it wonderful.

  7. 5 stars
    Made these for lunch today and the whole family loved them! They came together so quickly and were so delicious, with a perfect peppery bite to them. I will definitely make these sgain! Thanks for another keeper!

  8. These look delicious, but so do your pretzel chicken strips…going to make one of them this weekend, but can’t decide which! Any suggestions?! Haha, or is that like asking someone to choose their favorite child?
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Oh that is a hard one! Honestly, I do not think you could go wrong with either.. Since you’re on this one, I think thats a sign haha! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    These were excellent, and going in my regular rotation because now I have a box of cornflakes to use up! Made almost exactly as written, but pounded out my chicken breasts to get a more consistent thickness and added mayo to the ranch because I’m a glutton. So so tasty, and I made extra chicken for leftovers, which were no nice to have cut up into my salads for lunch. Thank you!

  10. Hi! This is literally one of the best things I’ve ever made ever. I want to eat them every day lol. BUT when I put the olive oil on them in the oven, they got kind of soggy? Any advice to remedy that? Or maybe I’m doing something wrong!

    1. Hey Courtney,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try! I would maybe try to go a little lighter on the olive oil or use an olive oil spray! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Seriously so good! I keep coming back for more. Easy to make and just so freekin’ good! Like craving it, all the time good.

    1. Hey Nahed,
      You can use whole milk in place of the buttermilk. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  12. Hi Tieghan,
    I absolutely love this recipe! I have made it twice and it’s been perfect for Sunday football watching. I still haven’t been able to get them as crunchy as I’d like. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      Thanks so much for trying the recipe! I would recommend drizzling with olive oil and turning halfway through to help crisp them up. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  13. Hi Tieghan,
    I want to make these tonight and was wondering if I could use all cheez it or goldfish crackers—I don’t have any cornflakes.
    I’m going to cut my chicken breasts into strips as well.
    I can’t wait to taste these!
    Thank you for all your great recipes and inspirations!

    1. Hey Susan,
      Yes totally fine to do!! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious, easy to make and crowd pleasing! I was worried that this was going to be stressful/too involved for a weekday evening with the sauces but it was easy to put together and I had time to make everything as the chicken cooked. I liked doing a double dip – first the hot sauce, then the ranch 🙂 My husband loved these too – great weekday dinner!

  15. 5 stars
    These were so good! We made them for our boys for there work lunch and they devoured them! They were even good warmed up the next day!

  16. I really want to make this! Can you share your fajita seasoning recipe? I have both your books but not sure it’s in them? Thanks!

    1. Hey Alex,
      The seasoning recipe is listed above in the recipe notes:) Fajita Seasoning: Combine 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.
      I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  17. 5 stars
    Made these and they were delicious! I will definitely be making these regularly during football season. One question — the bottoms on a few were a little soggy. Do you think I can skip the parchment paper lining to help them crisp a little more? Or maybe just leave them in longer next time? Love your recipes!

    1. Hey Kristen,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try! Yes you can eliminate the parchment and then I would flip them half way through next time. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  18. Hey
    I’am from The Netherlands and these chicken fingers look tasty i cant wait to try them out

    Thanke you for the recipe

  19. I really enjoy your posts and have made a few of your recipes successfully [thank you] but why are 98% of your pics orange?
    PLEASE put some recipes up of interesting things to do with green veg.
    judy

    1. Thank you so much Judy! I have a lot of recipes that have greens! Please let me know if you would like me to link a few! xTieghan

  20. Looks yummy! I would like to make with the fries you recommend but note they cook at slightly lower temp (400 versus 425). Could they bake at 425 instead so I can make chicken and fries at same time? Or would you recommend cooking chicken at lower temp for longer instead of fries at higher temp?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Jill,
      Yes that is totally fine to do, just keep an eye on them! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  21. Hi, the video shows breadcrumbs being added to the cheez its and corn flakes, but I don’t see it listed in the ingredients. Is that also optional?

    1. Hey Rina,
      So sorry I am not quite sure what video you are referring to, I don’t have a video for this recipe yet. I just use the cheez its and corn flakes for this recipe. Hope this clears things up for you!! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  22. 5 stars
    I truly appreciated this recipe. I am continually evaluating distinctive curry plans in this lockdown and this one was something different to us and tastes incredible.

  23. 5 stars
    my entire family LOVED this chicken and the sauces!! this will definitly become a regular at our house. HBH is our go to for recipes and once again we found another one we love.

  24. 5 stars
    We didn’t have all the ingredients (no dried chives, dill, buttermilk, fajita seasoning, chees-its or corn flakes) and it was still amazing! We made some substitutions (used more panko and added some parmesan) or skipped ingredients. The crunch and the yogurt ranch made it wonderful.

    1. Hi Leanne! I would say a 3, BUT you can easily reduce the spice by reducing the cayenne pepper. I would recommend just using a pinch, to your taste/liking. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

    1. Sure! Feel free to leave it out! Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  25. Made these tonight for my little boys and family after seeing the quick video on Instagram today (which disappeared?). They were a HUGE hit. Definitely a keeper. Thanks Tieghan! Look forward to trying more from your site. 🙂

  26. I like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll.

  27. I need tips!!!! Last time I tried making these, I couldn’t get the breading to stick at all!!!! It slips right off, how do I fix that?! Also how do I not get it to fall off when flipping on baking sheet.

    1. HI! Is it possible you are crowding the pan with too many chicken fingers? that can cause the crust to be too moist and slip of.

  28. I rarely comment on recipes that I try, but this was SO amazing that I had to comment. I could have easily eaten the whole pan by myself! And that ranch dressing recipe is superb. Thank you for sharing! This has become a family favorite!!!

  29. My boyfriend and I are absolutely obsessed these!! I’ve made it once a week for the past 5 or 6 weeks… it’s become our go-to dinner when we can’t decide what to make! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  30. WOW I don’t know how I came across your blog but I am rapidly becoming a HUGE fan!!! You Kung Pao Chicken rivals any restaurant’s. I’m having people over for dinner tomorrow – a mix of adults & kids – and I thought who doesn’t like Chicken Fingers. I’m normally not one to test a recipe out ahead of time <> but decided to give your Chicken Fingers a trail run today. And I must say they are truly some of the BEST I’ve ever had!!! SO FLAVORFUL!! Great recipe! I do think I’ll make some tweaks for tomorrow – like baking on baking rack on a cookie sheet and I’ll probably lower the oven temp to 425º but cook on convection to see if I can get an even better crust on mine. Not sure why but in my test run today my Pepper Rub that I spooned on my Chicken Fingers before they went into the oven came out burnt. Will probably just hit one side with the rub after they’ve been flipped. But you have a true fan. Thank you so much and I look forward to trying more of your recipes out in the future. Since I live in a house with 4 other guys, I’m guessing they will appreciate your talents as well.

  31. I made these with my boyfriend recently and we both LOVED them. Ah, the flavor was soo good. We ended up putting it in a salad for a spicy chicken salad with the ranch dressing deal. Delicious!

  32. Just made these tonight for dinner–a big hit! I love the yogurt dip. My husband put his in a sandwich and gave rave reviews. Thanks Tieghan!

  33. Found these during a search for your ranch dressing recipe which I can’t wait to try (with the buffalo falafels as a salad). These look delicious!

  34. Great recipe and my go-to for Ranch dip! Just stopping in for the ranch recipe and thought I’d let you know!

  35. These are the best chicken fingers I have ever had and the ranch…….mmmm …..there are no words to even describe it!! Thank you for the insanely great recipe….this one is a keeper.

  36. I love chicken fingers and try not to get too embarrassed when I order them at a restaurant. These ones sound like they’re full of flavor. I’ll definitely be trying them.

  37. These look ah-maaaazing! I can’t believe they’re baked with that gorgeous color and crispy coating. And greek yogurt ranch? Perfect!

    I can’t wait to make these!

  38. I’m made these for my grandkids – they loved the pics and wanted them NOW. Got to the part about drizzling one tablespoon sauce (which has a great aroma) on each finger – then I ran out of sauce! Did I have too many fingers or not enough sauce? I bought the amount of chicken you recommended and followed all the measurements. The grandkids say thanks for a great dinner

  39. Homemade chicken fingers are such a treat! I love your version using all that Frank’s and black pepper!

  40. I could NEVER give up chicken fingers, even as and adult I can’t resist them if they’re on a menu. These guys look insanely flavorful and SO crunchy!

  41. My mouth is watering. This is totally dinner tomorrow. I know what you mean about keeping people off the un-photographed food. My husband grabbed a slice of pizza off the tray last week and I freaked! I guess as bloggers, we know we have to resist temptation!

  42. SO pinning this recipe. It looks so good and I love love love chicken fingers! (I know, I’m 5)

  43. How great are these!! I love just about anything that includes Frank’s, so these will definitely be on the menu around here soon. And loving the crushed up goldfish!

  44. This looks so delicious! I can’t tell you the last time I had chicken fingers…perhaps it is time to remedy that. I think my Husband would agree!

  45. Tieghan, love how gorgeous these pieces of chicken are! You would’ve made raw chicken even look hot! 😉

  46. I will never, ever EVER get tired of chicken tenders/fingers/nuggets. The kid that permanently lives inside of my soul craves them every so often. I just can’t resist a crispy chicken cutlet dunked in some awesome sauce. This look AWESOME and will appease my grown-up self (haha what a joke!) and that kid dying for some McNuggets 🙂

  47. Holy Crap, are you from Lakewood!? I am, but my family moved away when I was a kid. Totally have to make this as a homage to my hometown.

  48. I think these would make my whole family happy. Chicken fingers + Cheez-Its + Greek yogurt… yes, please!

  49. I have a serious obsession with chicken fingers – not sure I could stop eating the entire batch of these!!!

  50. I think you hit every major food group for kids: chicken, cereal and Cheez-Its. Smudge was requesting chicken fingers, now I have the perfect recipe for her. Nice!

  51. What a wonderful combination of flavors, yum! I love that they are baked also. I think I have everything here for these and pretty sure dinner is set for tonight! 🙂

      1. I’ve made these using chicken tenders …Phenomenal! And most recently using chicken thighs. Fantastic recipe thank you very much!

  52. Hard to believe they’re not fried – these look great!! I’m right there with you about being freaked out by raw chicken. I have a bad habit of snacking on little pieces of things while I cook, and I’m always afraid I’ll absent-mindedly do that with raw chicken o.O

  53. Love love how nice and crispy these chicken fingers look! And that greek yogurt dip! I could so eat it with a spoon. I’m pretty sure my family would go nuts if I made this for them—I’m surrounded by meat-lovers as well. 😉

  54. These chicken fingers look perfect Tieghan! It’s been quite a while since I’ve had this favorite.
    That ranch dressing is the perfect dipping sauce. I love subbing Greek yogurt to save calories and fat.
    Have a great day!

  55. Once again Tieghan, your post makes me want to chuck work and just stay home and cook. How do you manage to create, find, imagine all of the wonderful dishes you do day after day, week after week? Rhetorical question….just please keep doing them. If my family wants to know what’s for dinner, I just tell them to read your post.

    Thanks for making making dinner fun!

    1. Aww!! Thank you so much!! You comment made me smile!! And I just use what I have around me for ideas and inspiration!

      Thanks again, Carol!

  56. These do look very crunchy and tasty. Might be a bit spicy for me, but the guys in the family would like them I am sure.

  57. Tons of flavor in these chicken fingers Tieghan – would never think to put fajita seasoning in the sauce – and the coating sounds so crunchy!

  58. These chicken fingers kinda are looking like breakfast. Is that weird? Maybe…but, there’s Greek yogurt so I am deeming it acceptable!
    These look perfect Tieghan! So crunchy with the perfect amount of heat…and pretty! I never did see a chicken finger prettier! Pinned

  59. These look so crunchy…I’m making them soon…and I’m with you on the raw chicken so gross I hate prepping it.

  60. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of Around The Corner – but I’m an east sider, so I hope that’s a good excuse, haha.

    EXCELLENT chicken recipe!