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Keto Fried Chicken Tenders

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 or even keto chicken tenders, making them perfect for kids and adults to love.

As a fan of fried chicken, you should also try our keto chicken and waffles recipe, which is simply divine! And also, check out our keto chicken recipes for more delicious options.

Keto Fried Chicken Tenders

Best Keto-Friendly Chicken Tenders
Best Keto-Friendly Chicken Tenders

Stop missing fried, crispy chicken strips while doing keto with this delicious recipe that won’t have you worrying about consuming too many carbs. 

You can enjoy fried foods while following a ketogenic diet; the key is the type of coating or “breading” the food has and the quality of oil it’s fried in.

One of the best reasons to make your 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

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Keto chicken strips with ketchup on a white plate on a wooden background

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.

To keep things neat during the process, use one wet hand and one dry hand when dipping into the different coatings.

I like to double-coat the chicken by dipping it again in the egg wash and crumb coating, then shaking off any excess before frying it 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 chicken tenders served on a wooden board
Keto chicken tenders served on a wooden board

Keto Fried Chicken Gluten-Free Coating

As far as the no-bread coating goes, I used a combination of parmesan cheese, almond flour, coconut flour, and spices for my version of keto bread crumbs.

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

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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

Chicken Marinade

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Tabasco hot sauce, to taste
  • Apple cider vinegar, you could also substitute this for pickle juice
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt

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
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 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.

Serving Suggestions

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 sugar-free spicy sauce 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. Set the temperature to 375 degrees and cook the chicken tenders for about 15 minutes.

I also recommend adding a couple of tablespoons of melted butter or oil to the bottom of the air fryer so that the fries do not stick.

Tag Us

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.

Once you do, make sure you remember to tag us on  Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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 to put 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. 

Be sure to request our FREE Jesus and Keto E-Book (First 7 Days). We hope it blesses you.

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Keto Chicken tenders served on a white rectangle plate

Keto Fried Chicken Tenders

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Frying Time: 6 minutes
Additional Baking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes

These keto fried chicken tenders are proof that eating keto doesn't have to be for only those doing a keto diet. In fact, these delicious gluten-free chicken strips are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and even kid-friendly. 

Ingredients

Instructions

    Fried Keto Chicken Tenderloins Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the chicken to the bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
  4. After the chicken has marinated make your chicken coating.
  5. 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.
  6. Dip your chicken tenderloins one at a time in the egg wash, followed by the dry coating.
  7. I double coat my chicken tenderloins by dipping them a second time in the egg wash and coating. Shake off any excess before frying.
  8. Heat the 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.

Notes

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

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