Baked Chicken Tenders

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These baked chicken tenders are coated in almond flour or meal, shredded coconut and a blend of spices. They’re absolutely delicious and perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce.

I feel like most adults deem chicken tenders as a kids food. But I’m a big fan of chicken tenders! They’re super flavorful, crispy and can be eaten on their own or in a variety of ways.

Overhead shot of baked chicken tenders on 2 plates with dipping sauce.

Instead of using traditional bread crumbs for breading, I made these baked chicken tenders paleo and grain-free by using almond meal. My family is hooked on this simple dinner!

Ingredients measured out to make baked chicken tenders: cayenne pepper, almond meal, egg, chicken, coconut flakes, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

Here’s What You Need

  • boneless skinless chicken breast – cut into strips. You can also buy pre-cut chicken tenders but they’re usually more expensive and it’s easy to slice a chicken breast into strips!
  • egg – to bind the almond meal to the chicken.
  • almond meal – the base of the breading! I typically use almond meal, but you can definitely use almond flour instead. You’ll mix spices into the almond meal or flour to make it extra flavorful.
  • unsweetened shredded coconut – to add flavor and crunch to the breading! If you’re not a big coconut fan, you can just use more almond meal.  
  • spices – a delicious combination of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.
tip!
Bake these chicken tenders on a baking sheet with a wire rack. The wire rack will result in a crispier texture! 
Side by side photos. The first is of coconut, almond flour and spices in a bowl. The second photo is a bowl of whisked egg and a bowl of the whisked almond flour mixtire.
Overhead shot of chicken tenders on a baking sheet.

Dip Pairings

You can’t have chicken tenders without dipping sauce, right?! Here are some of our favorites:

What to Serve Baked Chicken Tenders With

Like I mentioned earlier, these baked chicken tenders are actually pretty versatile! Here are some ways to serve them:

Overhead shot of a serving platter with baked chicken tenders.

How to Store Baked Chicken Tenders

Leftover chicken tenders store really well! After allowing them to cool, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, I like to pop them in the conventional oven or toaster oven for a few minutes so they crisp back up!

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4.73 from 61 votes

Baked Chicken Tenders

These baked chicken tenders are coated in almond flour or meal, shredded coconut and a blend of spices. They're absolutely delicious and perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients  

  • 1 lb organic boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup almond meal (or almond flour)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or ¼ cup more almond meal)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place almond meal, coconut, paprika, cayenne, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
    Overhead shot of a bowl with almond meal, coconut, paprika, cayenne, garlic, sea salt and black pepper ready to be combined.
  • Crack egg into another shallow bowl and whisk.
  • One by one, dredge each chicken tender in the egg bowl, wiping off any access and then dip each into the almond meal mixture. Roll until each tender is covered completely.
    Overhead shot of two bowls. One bowl has eggs that have been whisked and the second bowl has a mixture of dry ingredients with a whisk resting in the bowl.
  • Place the coated tenders on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. The wire rack will make for a crispier texture.
    Overhead shot of chicken tenders on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the tenders once at the 10 minute mark. When done the chicken tenders will be golden brown and completely cooked through.
  • Remove tenders from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
  • Leftover chicken tenders store really well. After allowing them to cool slightly, store in an airtight container for 5 days. To reheat, I like to pop them in the conventional oven or toaster oven for a few minutes so they crisp back up!

Video

Notes

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 386mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Additional Info

    Course: Lunch/Dinner
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: baked chicken tenders
    Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

    About Brittany

    Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

    More about Brittany
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    Recipe Rating




    118 Comments

    1. These look so good and definitely a recipe I need to try. I tend to get stuck in such a rut with how I make chicken, meat, etc. but this looks like a twist that is both tasty and easy!!

    2. On my list to make this weekend. Love this is low carb! Going to try with a tahini honey mustard dressing. Sound good?

    3. I make a recipe similar to this for the little girl I nanny and she loves them!! Always gobbles them up and they are WAY better for her than those frozen things 🙂 She also loves helping to bread them…even though she doesn’t want to get her hands dirty 😉

    4. Love these! I have not had a chicken tender in FOREVER. Almond meal is always awesome to cook with for sure.

    5. I definitely want to try these! I was diagnosed with celiac disease in March, and I’ve been missing chicken tenders as my go-to restaurant meal! I’m just a kid at heart ; )

    6. When I was preggers, I craved chicken strips all the time — and apparently that hasn’t changed! These look SO good. Is it kinda bad I want to dunk one in a milkshake or slather it with honey? Yum!

      1. Umm, yes!! Sounds like my childhood in a nutshell. I never ate chicken nuggets without honey!

    7. Loved these! I have a nut allergy, so I made Sunflower Seed meal to substitute and it turned out great!

      1. Woo-hoo! So glad that they turned out with sunflower seed meal. I didn’t even know sunflower seed meal was a thing.

    8. Made these tonight and the family loved them!! I made a double recipe so the kids could take them to school for lunch. Great recipe as I’m really trying to eat clean and feed the family delicious nutritious meals.

    9. 5 stars
      I love these chicken tenders. I’ve done the recipe straight up, and then done different variations, using smoked paprika, etc. Also, once I realized I didn’t have almond meal when it was too late to run out and get it, so I used panko. I know they weren’t then paleo, but they still tasted good.

    10. 4 stars
      These are so so delicious!!! We’re doing Whole30 and they were such a nice change from roasted chicken. Thank you for an awesome recipe!

          1. Going to try these tonight, but one of my kids doesn’t like spicy food, so i was wondering about the spice level? maybe i will omit the cayenne even though i LOVE spicy…

    11. Hello, My husband and I just started the Paleo diet. We are having great success with all the meals we’ve been making. I was so excited to find the Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders recipe. I am making this recipe for my husband tonight for dinner along with a Paleo friendly mustard dipping sauce and a Paleo Salad. Thank you for posting this…

    12. We make these regularly for our girls. I like to double the recipe so hubby has leftovers for lunch. Another neat trick is to make an extra batch of the breading and cut up an extra batch of chicken for an easy throw together meal on a night you don’t have a lot of time. Thank you so much for this wonderful, kid friendly, leftover friendly and freezer friendly meal!!

      1. Yay!! So glad that you and your family like these chicken tenders and I love the make-ahead trick you shared too! I’m actually working on a new chicken parm recipe with these.

    13. I loved this recipe! I’m usually not a huge chicken fan but am trying to incorporate more of it into my diet for a boost of lean protein, which means I’m on the hunt for flavor filled, versatile recipes. I can’t wait to work these into my meal prep regularly and use them for salads, grain bowls, and more. Thanks so much for sharing this one.

    14. 5 stars
      “The chicken is not dry!” My husband blurted out after his first bite. We were out of paprika so I used some chipotle powder and I made extra for a salad to take to work tomorrow. Great recipe, thanks!

    15. 5 stars
      This was sooo good! I literally ate 3 pieces before I even sat down for dinner. Thank you so much for another delicious, healthy recipe 🙂

    16. Hi, sounds great I’m going to try it, is it freezeable though? I guess it is however let me know your thoughts please please ?

      Thank you

      1. I’ve never had a change to freeze them (we usually eat them all up), but I would assume that they freeze well. Let me know if you try it.

    17. 5 stars
      Can’t wait to try paleo chicken nuggets.

      Just a suggestion. I plan to read most of plan quickly and then organize a week of meal plans and shopping list. Then start program.

    18. 5 stars
      So tasty!! I don’t like too much spice so I halved the cayenne and it still had a good kick! I also double breaded them! Turned out UH-MAZING!

    19. I would love to make these, but my daughter has a tree nut allergy. I saw someone made them with sunflowerseed meal. Any other ideas for a substitute?

      1. Hi Garnett. I’m not sure if you’re trying to keep these paleo, but if not you could use bread crumbs. Another option is to try my chicken tenders that use brown rice crisp cereal for the coating. I shared this recipe over on myfitnesspal: https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/crispy-baked-chicken-tenders/ You might just want to leave out the hot sauce since you’re making them for your daughter. Hope this helps.

      1. I’m so glad you liked the tenders, Cristin. And I so appreciate you taking the time to come back and leave a star rating on the recipe. The ratings are super helpful!

    20. 5 stars
      This recipe was super easy. So delicious and yummy. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try more recipes.

      1. Yayy!! Thanks for trying this recipe, Rebecca. I’m so glad you enjoyed the tenders! And thank you so much for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. It means the world to me! <3

      1. I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoy this recipe!! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating. The ratings are super helpful to other readers, so I really appreciate it. <3

    21. 5 stars
      Love this recipe!

      Question, 1/4 serving size, what’s the conversion? I’m trying to log my calories but recipe isn’t an option.

      1. Hey Jolee – I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy this recipe! If you use 1 lb of chicken breast one serving would be 1/4 pound. Hopefully that helps. 🙂

      1. Hey Brandy – I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure how the tenders would turn out. I have seen people use full-fat canned coconut milk as a sub for eggs when breading chicken. Let me know if you try it.

      1. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Kim!! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it!

    22. I love this recipe!! So easy and delicious, I come back to it time and time again. I need to invest in a baking rack so I can get these extra crispy! Great recipe.

      1. I’m so glad you’re a fan of this recipe, Rachel!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating. It means the world to me. <3

    23. 5 stars
      This was delicious!
      A great healthy alternative for chicken tenders!
      The recipe was super easy and quick to make.

      1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe!! Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it!

      1. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Leah. Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it. <3

    24. 5 stars
      Hi Brittany! Loved your recipe, but alas, I had to make a few changes, lol, i.e. fix my mistakes…😏 So I made a Mexican herbed marinade, used lemon juice n olive oil, then the pain hit, n it ended up sitting in the frig overnight uncovered…It was really thick but fine, cut it up, breaded it, it’s baking now…I used your coconut flakes n almond flour, but also added some ground up walnuts, so fingers crossed! Thank you for your recipes, much peace n love…😏❤🕊💚✌

      1. Hey Kara! I haven’t tried these in the air fryer, but I’m sure you could! Let me know if you try it and how they turn out. 🙂

    25. 5 stars
      I have made these twice. Each time they came out delicious! Thank you for the yummy 😋recipe!

      1. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Anne-Marie! Thanks for taking the time to come back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    26. 5 stars
      Great recipe! Very easy!! I can’t seem to get the crispness that I was hoping for. I even cooked for an extra 7 minutes. Any input would be appreciated.I’ll definitely be making them again!’

      1. You could try broiling them for a few minutes to get the crispy outside, but just keep an eye on them because you don’t want to overcook them.

    27. 5 stars
      These are delicious and satisfying! Even my husband loves them. After one time making these yummy chicken tenders, we printed an official copy to add to our cookbook. Thank you for making this healthy alternative recipe! It’s genius!

      1. Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Jessica! I’m so glad these tenders were a hit. Thanks for trying my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. It means the world to me. <3

    28. 5 stars
      My 5 1/2 year year old son has NEVER liked chicken fingers. Literally refuses to eat them. I have tried several times making
      my own and he still refuses. He ate ALL of these (I gave him three fairly large ones). He told me they were “delicious” and he can’t wait to eat more. Thank you 😊!!!

      1. Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Kate. I’m so glad these chicken tenders were a hit!! Thanks for making my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      1. Hey Ginger – 20 minutes should still be fine if you use 2 lbs, you might just need a second pan for cooking.

    29. 5 stars
      Sooo, sooo good! This will definitely make it into my regular rotation. I look forward to playing around with different spice combos too!

      1. I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Serina! Thanks for coming back to leave a review. I appreciate it!

    30. 5 stars
      I’ve made these for my family several times and will keep making them!! SO good! Everyone loves them and no one notices they are much healthier than traditional chicken tenders. Thanks so much!!

      1. Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear. I’m glad these chicken tenders are a hit with your family. Thanks for the review, I so appreciate it!

    31. 5 stars
      I didn’t want sweetness, so I replaced the coconut with nutritional yeast, and it was delicious! If you let the tenders rest on the pan after taking them out of the even, the breading gets crispier.

    32. These were so quick & easy to cook & came out great!

      I served with potato wedges & homemade honey mustard.

    33. We love these chicken strips! My son loves fried chicken tenders. These have been a fantastic healthy option. We make our own “Canes” sauce. Love these on salads and chicken Parmesan too.

      1. Yay! I’m so glad these chicken tenders were a hit, Christina! Thanks for making them and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

      1. Hey Val – I haven’t tried freezing these before, but I bet you could freeze them just fine. Let me know if you decide to try freezing them!

    34. Hi Brittany,

      I tried these last night and they were very good. I was wondering if you have any tips for keeping the breading on the chicken when you flip them or any ideas why it might not be sticking. I used a wire rack, egg replacer instead of eggs, and mostly almond flour (add only about a Tbsp of coconut flakes).

      Also, do you think the chicken would be crispier if I baked it on the bottom rack in the oven instead of the middle? Or do you think it would bake the outside too quickly?

      Thank you!

      1. Mmm maybe the egg replacer wasn’t keeping the breading stuck to the chicken as well as a regular egg? That’s the only thing I could think of! I’m not too sure on the oven, it really just depends on your oven. You could try it to see if it results in crispier tenders!

      1. Woo!! So happy to hear this, Pamela! Thanks so much for trying them out and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

    35. 5 stars
      These are so good. I really liked the texture of the coconut. I added red pepper flakes for an kick. Maybe my tenders were thicker, I had to cook longer. This is going to be a “go to” recipe. Thanks, you did it again!

      1. Ah yay!! So pumped these chicken tenders were a hit, Steve! I love the addition of the red pepper flakes for some spice. Thanks so much for the review and star rating. I really appreciate it!

    36. 5 stars
      This is now going to be my go to recipe for chicken tenders!!! So good and so easy. I didn’t have shredded coconut so added a little more almond flour and turned out so good-toddler approved too! 😉

      1. Yay!! Happy to hear these chicken tenders were a hit, Annelise! Thanks so much for trying them out and for the review. It means so much to me!

    37. 5 stars
      This recipe was TO DIE FOR!!! It turned out absolutely AMAZING and all my roommates were asking for the recipe. Love your recipes, truly genius, healthy and delicious!

      1. Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear, Taylor! Thanks for coming back to leave a review and star rating. It means the world to me.

      1. Yum! Such an easy and delicious recipe. So glad you all loved this recipe. Thank you for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, it means so much to me.

      1. Hi Jaycee – Did you make sure they were all evenly coated? Sounds like some spots might have had a thicker coating than others.

      1. Hi Briana – I believe these will freeze well, although I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you give it a try! Enjoy!