These paleo chicken tenders are made with almond flour and no eggs! They’re paleo, whole30, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Chicken Tenders

What’s different about these chicken tenders?

I’ve always been a huge chicken nugget fan. Juicy chicken, crispy breading, and sweet & salty dipping sauce… what’s not to love? As a kid, if there were chicken nuggets or tenders on a menu, that’s what I was getting. Well, except if there was pizza, but that’s a recipe for another day.

Chicken tenders aren’t exactly healthy. They’re usually dipped in egg wash, breaded in panko or a white flour-based mixture, and deep-fried in not so great oil. Not these! Here’s what makes them different, and healthier…

They’re made without eggs

Not that eggs are unhealthy, but many have intolerances to eggs. This is the hardest thing to find when looking for chicken tenders that are grain-free! It’s harder to get breading to stick without eggs, and you do have to be a lot more careful with handling these while they’re hot since the breading is so delicate, but it does crisp up without the eggs.

They’re made with almond flour & arrowroot starch

No panko bread crumbs here! These are made with almond flour arrowroot tapioca starch. I love using these two flours to give a bit of bite and crisp to a breading.

They’re both paleo and whole30

Heck yes!

Paleo Chicken Tenders

How to make paleo chicken tenders

  • Prep the batter & breading: In one bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the flours and dry seasonings.
  • Bread and batter: Take one chicken tenderloin at a time and dip it into the coconut milk mixture. Allow the excess milk to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture until fully coated. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with all of the chicken.
  • Bake: Top the chicken tenderloins with avocado oil and transfer to the oven.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes or until the breading starts to crisp. Remove from the oven and very carefully flip the chicken tenders with tongs. The breading will be delicate, so go slowly. Bake for another 12-13 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F and the breading is crisped to your liking. Crisp under the broiler for 1-2 minutes if a crispier chicken is desired.
  • Serve: Remove from the oven and allow to cool before topping with parsley and serving with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Tips & Tricks for this recipe

Make it easier to batter and bread them by using separate hands

You can easily get you to batter really wet and ineffective if you get it too wet during the coating process. I use my left hand to dip the chicken in the coconut milk, then I let the excess liquid drip off, and use my right hand to coat in the flour mixture. That way, you keep your hands and the flour mixture less messy!

Be careful handling them while hot

Since they’re made without eggs, the breading is a lot more delicate. Go very slow when flipping them and when transferring them while still hot.

What should you dip these in?

  • Ketchup. I have nightshade-free ketchup in my cookbook.
  • Ranch. Primal Kitchen makes great ranch!
  • Honey mustard dressing. When my husband first tried these, he requested me to make them again with honey mustard!

The Ingredients

Chicken tenderloins

The easiest way to go about this is to get chicken cutlets and slice them in half. If that’s not an option, you can easily slice tenderloins from whole chicken breasts.

Almond flour and arrowroot starch

See below for nut-free recipes that are similar to this one

Coconut milk and apple cider vinegar

This makes a thick batter so you don’t need eggs. I haven’t tried almond milk, but you may need to whisk in a bit of tapioca starch to thicken it.

Garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley

paleo chicken tenders and ketchup

Nut-free options for chicken nuggets & tenders

I wanted to make an almond flour chicken tender because almond flour is so perfect for crispy chicken tenders! However, I actually have a pretty bad nut allergy to most nuts (but can thankfully have almonds) so I know the struggle of finding things that are grain and nut-free.

I have not tried a nut-free swap for this particular recipe, and when you’re swapping grain-free flours, it’s not always a 1:1 swap. Recipes tend to take a lot more tweaking to balance out the rest of the ingredients if you’re swapping out the flour, so a 1:1 swap would be challenging in this particular recipe without tweaking the rest of the ingredients at the same time.

However, I have a few options for you that are totally nut-free and already tested to work out perfectly so you don’t have to guess tweaking this recipe!!

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Paleo Chicken Tenders


  • Author: Michelle
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

These paleo chicken tenders are made with almond flour and no eggs! They’re paleo, whole30, dairy-free and gluten-free.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the flours and dry seasonings.
  3. Take one chicken tenderloin at a time and dip it into the coconut milk mixture. Allow the excess milk to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture until fully coated. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with all of the chicken.
  4. Top the chicken tenderloins with avocado oil and transfer to the oven.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes or until the breading starts to crisp. Remove from the oven and very carefully flip the chicken tenders with tongs, or simply gently roll then over with a spoon. The breading will be delicate, so go slowly. Bake for another 12-13 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F and the breading is crisped to your liking. Crisp under the broiler for 1-2 minutes if a crispier chicken is desired.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before topping with parsley and serving with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Notes

I have not tried this particular recipe without almond flour. See the blog post above for nut free options that are similar to this recipe.

All nutritional information are estimations and will vary. Estimations do not include optional ingredients.

  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 433
  • Fat: 22.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 29.8g

Keywords: chicken tenders

Chicken tenders