These keto fried chicken tenders are proof that eating keto doesn’t have to be for only those on a keto diet.
In fact, these delicious gluten-free chicken strips are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and even kid-friendly.
I mean, what more can you ask for? Say goodbye to Chick-fil-A tenders and hello to a low-carb fried chicken tender recipe that will fool everyone’s tastebuds, and you’ll be proud to serve.
I pride myself on creating recipes that the whole family can enjoy and still meet the macros for those on a ketogenic diet. After all, busy families shouldn’t have to create different meals to please everyone.
Although I am calling these keto chicken tenders, they can easily be keto chicken nuggets by just slicing the tenderloins into smaller pieces. Making them perfect for kids and adults to love.
Keto Fried Chicken Tenders
Stop missing fried, crispy chicken strips while doing keto with a recipe that is flat-out delicious and won’t have you worrying about consuming too many carbs.
You can enjoy fried foods while doing a ketogenic diet; the key is the type of coating or “breading” the food will have and the quality of oil it’s fried in.
One of the best reasons to make your own keto chicken tenders recipe is that you know exactly what’s in them.
Serve these chicken fingers as a meal or even as an appetizer. You can’t go wrong with a recipe that comes together quickly, is packed with flavor, and is considered healthy.
How To Make Keto-Friendly Chicken Tenders
I like marinating my chicken tenderloins for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of heavy cream, a little hot sauce, salt and pepper, and a little apple cider vinegar.
It’s my version of buttermilk, and it produces a moist, tender, juicy chicken each and every time.
Then it’s just a matter of using a meat mallet, placing your chicken between two pieces of cling wrap, and gently flattening the tenderloins or slicing the chicken breast into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
After the chicken has had time to marinate, it’s time to prepare your gluten-free chicken coating and egg wash.
The easiest way is to have two bowls, one with the egg mixture and the other with the dry ingredients you will use to coat your chicken.
Next, dip your chicken pieces one at a time in the egg wash, followed by the dry coating.
In order to keep things neat in the process, use one wet hand and one dry hand when dipping into the different coatings.
I personally like to double coat the chicken by dipping them a second time in the egg wash and crumb coating, then shaking off any excess before frying them golden brown.
I have included options for you to cook these three ways. You can fry them, bake them, and even cook these low-carb chicken tenders in an air fryer. All three methods are in the recipe card notes.
Keto Fried Chicken Gluten-Free Coating
For best results, I found that using both types of flour as well as the parmesan cheese is the secret to these being not only delicious but also giving them the perfect crunchy texture for crispy chicken tenders.
Parmesan cheese is an essential part of this coating for these low-carb chicken tenders; not only does the cheese make the coating extra crispy, but the flavor is spot on!
Once the heat causes the cheese to melt and then it sets, it adds that extra crunch we all expect from a great fried chicken recipe.
I know some people make their coating using pork rinds (pork panko) or just almond flour, but I find that crushed pork rinds do not hold up as well in the frying process, and it certainly does not crisp up the same.
I came up with this trusty coating very early in our keto journey, back in 2014, when I wanted to make healthier chicken nuggets for my then-young, picky son.
Main Ingredients Needed
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The following are all the simple ingredients you’ll need: Note that the full printable recipe card is at the bottom of the page, including the full nutritional data.
- Chicken tenderloins lightly flattened and sliced or chicken breast
- Avocado or refined coconut oil for frying
- Heavy whipping cream
- Tabasco hot sauce, to taste
- Apple cider vinegar, you could also substitute this for pickle juice
- Ground black pepper
Keto-Friendly Chicken Coating
- Finely milled almond flour, measured and sifted
- Coconut flour
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese, the kind that comes in a tub container for crunchier breading
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)
- Eggs for egg wash
Cooking Oil Options
As far as oils are concerned, I like using refined coconut oil with a neutral flavor, avocado oil, melted butter, or even quality lard. This may depend on your method of cooking.
Serve these fried keto chicken strips with a dipping sauce like a sugar-free BBQ sauce, sugar-free ketchup, our keto millionaire dip, or even a keto honey substitute for homemade honey mustard that is keto-friendly!
Of course, you can also use any spicy sauce that is sugar-free if you are not serving children.
Baking Instructions For Keto Chicken Tenders
If you prefer to bake the chicken tenders, do so in a preheated 375-degree oven. Lay the chicken on a parchment-lined baking pan, and drizzle the top of the chicken with 2–3 tablespoons of melted butter.
Be sure the chicken tenders are not touching so they can crisp up evenly. The chicken will bake for 20–25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces.
You can verify it’s fully cooked by checking the internal temperature using a meat thermometer that reaches 170 degrees.
Keto Air-Fryer Chicken Tenders Instructions
You can also cook these low-carb chicken tenders in an air fryer. To do so, set the temperature to 375 degrees and cook the chicken tenders for about 15 minutes.
I also recommend you add a couple of tablespoons of melted butter or oil of your choice to the bottom of the air fryer so that they do not stick.
I sure hope you will give these delicious keto chicken tenders a try, as they’re such a tasty option for anyone doing a low-carb diet.
Also, check out our Amazon Store for our recommendations. You might be surprised by how many great keto options are at your disposal.
Grab Our Books!
In case you don’t know, we have two books for you, Essential Keto Bread and Essential Keto Desserts, both inspired by your requests over the years. We pray these keto cookbooks will help make keto a delicious breeze for you.
Join Our Jesus And Keto Movement!
Randy and I came to the keto diet looking at it from a Christian perspective; it’s the filter we choose to see from.
When we decided to combine our Christian faith and the keto diet, we did so in hopes of finding lasting transformation.
To say we needed God’s intervention is putting it mildly. When we followed the Holy Spirit’s lead to embrace the ketogenic diet and combine it with our faith, we got on the path to real transformation.
If you are looking for a Christian group that is using the keto diet to transform their lives, we invite you to join our Private Facebook Group and see if it’s not the key you have been missing.
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- 1 pound of chicken tenderloins, lightly flattened and sliced in half
- Avocado or refined coconut oil for frying.
- Chicken Marinade:
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons of tabasco hot sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- Chicken Keto Breading
- 1/2 cup of finely milled almond flour, measured and sifted
- 1/4 cup of coconut flour
- 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese, the kind that comes in a container
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 or to taste of cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten, for egg wash
Fried Keto Chicken Tenderloins Instructions
- Rinse and pad dry your chicken tenderloins. Using a meat mallet place your chicken between two pieces of cling wrap and gently flatten. Then slice each in half for tenders or in 1 1/2 inch pieces for chicken tenders. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the heavy cream, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. This will be the marinade for the chicken pieces.
- Add the chicken to the bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
- After the chicken has marinated make your chicken coating.
- Set two medium-sized bowls for the coating. In one bowl add all the dry ingredients and combine well. In the second bowl whisk the two eggs for the egg wash.
- Dip your chicken tenderloins one at a time in the egg wash, followed by the dry coating.
- I double coat my chicken tenderloins by dipping them a second time in the egg wash and coating. Shake off any excess before frying.
- Preheat some vegetable oil in a skillet to medium-high heat and cook both sides of the chicken until lightly brown. You will want to fry your chicken in two or three batches. The oil may need to be changed if the oil gets too murky from the coating.
- Place the chicken tenders on a baking sheet and lightly cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until fully cooked.
Baking Instructions For Keto Chicken Tenders
If you prefer to bake the chicken tenders do so in a preheated 375-degree oven and lay the chicken on a parchment-lined baking pan, and drizzle the top of the chicken with 2 -3 tablespoons of melted butter.
Be sure the chicken tenders are not touching so that they can crisp up evenly. The chicken will bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces.
Air-Fryer Instructions For Keto-Friendly Chicken Tenders
You can also cook these low-carb chicken tenders in an air fryer. To do so, set the temperature to 375 degrees and cook the chicken tenders for about 15 minutes. I also recommend you add a couple of tablespoons of melted butter to the bottom of the air fryer so that they do not stick.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 3 chicken tenders
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 495Total Fat: 30.3gSaturated Fat: 14.6gCholesterol: 201mgSodium: 735mgCarbohydrates: 9gNet Carbohydrates: 4.5gFiber: 4.5gSugar: 0.2gProtein: 42.3g