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These paleo and Whole30 Chicken Tenders are just as crispy, juicy, and delicious as traditional breaded tenders. Enjoy them for a fun weeknight dinner or kid-friendly after-school snack! Baking and air fryer instructions included.
It’s so easy to recreate the restaurant-worthy crispy chicken strips you know and love into a Whole30 delight. These Whole30 Chicken Tenders swap the traditional breadcrumb coating for a lightly seasoned almond flour and arrowroot mixture. Each coated and baked tender is extra crunchy, just like the classics!
The best part is you can cook these easy paleo chicken strips in the oven or air fryer. Both methods leave you with a batch of light and juicy tenders - just choose your favorite! Either way, you’re left with almost no mess, excess oil, or piles of dishes to wash.
For the very best weeknight dinner or after-school snack, pair the tenders with your favorite Whole30 compliant dipping sauces, like ketchup, ranch, or chipotle aioli. It’s the meal everyone is sure to love!
- It’s paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and low carb!
- The lightly seasoned almond flour coating is not only delicious, but extra crispy once baked. You won’t even miss the breadcrumbs.
- The baked or unbaked tenders are freezer-friendly. This way, you’ll always have a ready-to-cook batch on hand.
Chicken tenders - Boneless, skinless tenders are best. You can also use chicken breast cut into strips. The finished tenders freeze really well, so feel free to double or triple the recipe.
Almond flour - This gluten free alternative to breadcrumbs coats the tenders, giving them a crispy outside with a subtle nutty flavor.
Arrowroot - Just like cornstarch, arrowroot forms a coating around the chicken and crisps under the heat of the oven. Coconut flour or tapioca flour should work just as well, or you can use cornstarch or gluten free all purpose flour if you don’t need the recipe to be paleo and Whole30.
Spices and seasonings - A simple mixture of salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and pepper flavors the breading perfectly.
Step 1: Prepare the breading station. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Stir the flours and seasonings together in another bowl.
Step 2: Coat the chicken. Dip a chicken tender in the egg, then into the flour mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, then repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Step 3: Bake. Bake the chicken tenders until they’re cooked through. Turn on the broiler for a few minutes to help them get extra crispy. Once they’re done, serve the tenders with your favorite Whole30-approved dipping sauces and enjoy!
Expert tips and FAQs
- For extra crispy paleo chicken strips, spray the surface of the breaded tenders with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray halfway through baking.
- Feel free to bake the tenders on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet to achieve an even crisp on both sides.
- Keep an eye on the tenders while they’re under the broiler. They can go from crunchy and golden to burned in no time.
- If you prefer chicken tenders without the breading, make my simply seasoned air fryer chicken tenders instead.
Can you make them in the air fryer instead?
To air fry the chicken tenders, bread them as normal and lay them in an even layer in an air fryer basket. Cook at 390ºF for 6 minutes, then flip and cook for another 6 minutes.
Pro tip: Spray both sides of the tenders with cooking spray for maximum crunch!
What Whole30 sauces can I serve with chicken tenders?
The sugar and additives in most storebought sauces make them a no-go on Whole30. However, you can always recreate your favorites with approved ingredients. These chicken tenders are perfect with sugar free ketchup, sriracha mayo made with avocado oil mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, and spicy bang bang sauce!
What sides go with these chicken tenders?
Storage and reheating
Refrigerator: If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, let them cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: Once cool, place the chicken tenders on a baking sheet. Transfer it to the freezer until the chicken is solid. Place the frozen tenders in a freezer-friendly bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
Reheat: Leftover tenders are best reheated in the air fryer or on a wire rack in a 375ºF oven. To reheat from frozen, bake them in a 400°F oven until the breading is crispy and the centers are hot (about 18 to 20 minutes)
More Whole30 chicken recipes
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Whole30 Chicken Tenders
- Preheat oven to 425° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Next, create an assembly line: add the whisked egg to a shallow bowl, and the almond flour, arrowroot, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and pepper in a second shallow bowl, stirring to combine.
- Dip 1 chicken tender into the egg, shaking off any excess, then dip it into the flour mixture, making sure it's completely coated before placing it on the baking sheet. Repeat this with all of the chicken tenders.
- Bake the chicken tenders for 20-25 minutes (use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness), then BROIL for 2-3 minutes, which will help them get crispy.