Paleo chicken tenders that are actually crispy! These are incredibly delicious, easy to make, and coated in coconut flour, cassava flour, and a few simple spices. The perfect family-friendly weeknight dinner!
Can paleo chicken tenders be deliciously crispy? You bet! After many rounds of recipe testing, I’m excited to share what will hopefully become your new go-to paleo chicken tender recipe. These are easy to make, totally gluten free, and a family favorite!
Back in the day, I tried making homemade paleo chicken fingers, and pretty quickly decided it was too much work. I tried everything to get the tenders to crisp up, and ended up with a soggy and somewhat burnt pile of chicken tenders that didn’t make the cut.
The truth is, while almond flour is a great paleo ingredient for baking, it’s not the best option for frying. It doesn’t crisp up and can burn easily in the process. So, what’s the best option for frying? Cassava flour! This recipe is completely nut free, and uses the simple yet perfect combination of coconut flour and cassava flour.
After having two kids, I decided it was time to revisit the chicken tender. Let’s be honest—kids are picky and confusing. Some days, they love chicken, and the next, they won’t even look at it. So having a bit of variety is important. This is where paleo chicken tenders totally shine. This is the perfect weeknight dinner that’s easy to make, and yes—the whole family will love it!
What You Need to Make This Recipe
There are just a few simple ingredients you’ll need to make paleo chicken tenders. The ingredients are fresh, healthy, and whole30. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken tenderloins
- Cassava flour
- Coconut flour
- Sea salt
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- Avocado oil
- Primal Kitchen Foods ketchup, for serving
How to Make Paleo Chicken Tenders
The best part about this paleo chicken tenders recipe is that it’s incredibly easy to make. Just season your steak, toss the veggies in spices, and cook everything together on a sheet pan! Here’s how to make it in five easy steps:
- Prep the coating. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the cassava flour, coconut flour, sea salt, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and black pepper.
- Dip and coat. Dip each chicken tender into the egg wash, then dip each tender into the flour mixture and coat both sides. Transfer the coated chicken tenders to a clean plate.
- Cook the tenders. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan. Once the oil is warm, use a fork or metal tongs to place the chicken tenders in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip each tender and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Repeat as needed. Remove the chicken tenders from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons avocado oil to the pan and cook the remaining chicken tenders.
- Serve and eat! Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce, ketchup, or mustard!
The Secret to Perfectly Crispy Tenders
In this recipe, I combined two flours to give the tenders a nice crispy coating: cassava flour and coconut flour. I use cassava flour in other recipes, including my Paleo Banana Muffins, because creates an amazing texture for paleo and gluten free baking. You simply dip the tenders in egg, and coat each side with the flour and spice mixture. To fry the tenders, just cook them in a skillet with avocado oil for 3-5 minutes each side. That’s it!
The combination of spices, specifically the smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powder, give these paleo crispy chicken tenders a nice savory flavor.
Cooking Tips + Tricks
- To make dinner time a breeze, mix together the flour and spices ahead of time and store it in an airtight container.
- Want more heat? Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- Use a stainless steel or cast iron pan for the most crispy paleo chicken tenders.
- When cooking the chicken tenders, don’t overcrowd the pan. It will allow the tenders to get crispy, and they’ll cook up faster.
- To prevent your hands from becoming coated in egg and flour, use a fork or hold the chicken tender by the tip with two fingers.
Can I Make Substitutions?
Sure can! But please know you may not get the same result. If you’re short on ingredients, here’s what you can do:
- Chicken tenders: Only have chicken breasts? Make chicken nuggets! Just cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and dip and coat as described. Note: these will cook up faster than tenders, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.
- Cassava flour: You can use another paleo flour, like almond flour.
- Smoked paprika: Use regular paprika or chili powder instead.
How to Store + Reheat
Chicken tenders store great and make great leftovers! Store any leftover paleo chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When it comes time to reheat them, just pop them in the toaster oven or conventional oven at 350°F for a few minutes to help them crisp up.
Stocking the Pantry
For this recipe in particular, I recommend Otto’s Natural’s Cassava Flour and Primal Kitchen Foods Ketchup. I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs like coconut flour and avocado oil. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my Baking and Cooking Resources Page.
Other Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Sheet Pan Chicken, Sweet Potato and Broccoli
- Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
- 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
- 2 large eggs (or 3 medium eggs), whisked
- ½ cup cassava flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- Primal Kitchen Foods ketchup, for serving
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the cassava flour, coconut flour, sea salt, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and black pepper.
- Dip each chicken tender into the egg wash, then dip each tender into the flour mixture and coat both sides. Transfer the coated chicken tenders to a clean plate.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan. Once the oil is warm, use a fork or metal tongs to place the chicken tenders in the pan. Fill the skillet as space allows. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip each tender and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Remove the chicken tenders from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons avocado oil to the pan and cook the remaining chicken tenders.
- Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce, ketchup, or mustard!
- Use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet to get really crispy tenders.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking the tenders. The tenders will cook faster and end up more crispy when given adequate space.
- To make chicken nuggets, use only 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs. Cut your chicken into 1-inch pieces, and dip and coat as instructed. Cook for 2-4 minutes each side, or until cooked through.
If you make these paleo chicken tenders, come back and let me know what you thought in the comments below!