Crispy gluten free chicken tenders! Perfectly juicy, tender, and so easy to make. These easy tenders are sure to be a favorite. They cook up easily in the oven or you can use your air fryer for even faster results. I know you will love them!
Healthy Homemade Crispy Chicken Tenders
Chicken Tenders! Who doesn’t love crispy strips of chicken in the perfect crunchy coating?
You may think that the only way to get crispy chicken tenders is by either buying them from your favorite fast-food stop or frying them in a ton of oil. But, what if I told you there was a way to get perfectly crispy chicken nuggets without a ton of oil or any frying?
Watch How to Make This Recipe
These healthy homemade chicken tenders are gluten-free, perfectly crispy, and so easy to make. Toasted panko breadcrumbs give them that crispy crunch and they are baked not fried to make them a much healthier option than traditional chicken strips.
All you need to make these are a few simple real food ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store. They’re a great fun and tasty dinner that the whole family will love!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Full list of ingredients in the recipe card, below.
Chicken Tenderloins: Lean, quick cooking, and you can easily find them at your local grocery store. You could cut chicken breasts into tenders yourself but this is the much easier route.
Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are a light and crisp Japanese style breadcrumb. I prefer to use them in this recipe because they give the coating on the chicken tenders the perfect crispness and texture. I have tried other breadcrumbs for these tenders and always return to the Panko breadcrumbs because they give the best results. You can find these breadcrumbs in the spice or baking aisle of your local grocery store. You might also find them in the international aisle.
Almond Milk: You can use coconut milk, dairy milk, or a different dairy-free milk if you prefer.
Eggs: These act as a binder and help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken.
Apple Cider Vinegar: I love using a little acid in my chicken marinade to help tenderize and add a little tang. If you do not have apple cider vinegar you could also use pickle juice.
Spices and Seasonings: Of course, breadcrumbs on their own are not enough. A variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings are added to the breadcrumb mixture to give these tenders the perfect flavor.
How To Make Baked Chicken Tenders
Full ingredients and instructions in the recipe card, below.
Step One: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the eggs, almond milk, and apple cider vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the chicken tenders to the mixing bowl and submerge them into the wet mixture.
Step Two: While the chicken marinates a bit, add the Panko breadcrumbs to a food processor and pulse until fine, two or three times.
Step Three: Pour the breadcrumbs into a mound on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to the breadcrumb mound and stir until the oil is well incorporated throughout the breadcrumbs.
Step Four: Spread the breadcrumbs into a single layer on the baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Step Five: Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl, then add in all of the seasoning and spices. Stir until the seasonings are well distributed throughout the breadcrumbs.
Step Six: Grease a wire baking rack and place it over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Step Seven: Remove a few of the chicken tenders from the egg mixture, around two to four tenders at a time, and transfer to the breadcrumb mixture. Use your fingers to toss the chicken in the breadcrumbs until well coated, pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken to help the coating stick.
Step Eight: Transfer the coated chicken to the greased wire rack. Bake the chicken tenders at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Serve the tenders with your favorite dipping sauce!
Can I Make Chicken Tenders In The Air Fryer?
Yes! I have tested these chicken tenders multiple times in both the conventional oven and in the air fryer and both will give you deliciously crispy and juicy tenders. I have to say that my favorite way to prepare them though, ended up being in the air fryer! I found that the air fryer cooked the tenders in just a few minutes and they were perfectly crispy in half the time.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders:
- Place the breaded chicken tenders on the rack in your air fryer basket.
- Leave a little space in between each piece of chicken. Depending on the size of you air fryer, you may have to cook the tenders in batches to ensure they have enough room while cooking.
- Cook the tenders at 400 degrees for eight to ten minutes until golden brown, crispy, and a thermometer reads 165 degrees.
- For best results make sure your air fryer is completely preheated to 400 degrees before adding the chicken nuggets.
Delicious Dipping Sauces
One of the best things about chicken tenders is the dipping sauce, in my personal opinion! Here are a few of my favorite options:
Homemade honey mustard sauce
Greek yogurt Ranch dip
Dairy Free ranch dressing
Spicy Lime Tahini Sauce
Tips and Tricks
- Do not skip baking the chicken tenders on a wire rack. For the crispiest tenders, the wire rack is a game-changer. If you are making them in the oven, baking them on a rack helps to ensure that the bottom of the tenders get crispy and don’t become soggy.
- Grind the breadcrumbs. Gluten free panko breadcrumbs can be a little big and when I tested this recipe, I found that it was almost impossible to get them to stick without first pulsing them in the food processor. I know it my seem like a hassle but pulsing them in a food processor helps to break the breadcrumbs down into a finer texture so that they actually stick to the chicken. If you do not want to pull out your food processor, you can also use a potato masher to grind the breadcrumbs into a finer consistency.
- Toast the breadcrumbs, before breading the chicken! This will ensure you get golden brown tenders that are perfectly crispy all the way around.
- Mix up the flavor by adding your own favorite seasonings to the breadcrumb mixture. I love to use my homemade ranch seasoning in this recipe!
- Serve them with a side of air fryer French fries or crispy potato wedges!
More Delicious Recipes You’ll Love
Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Crispy Baked Ranch Chicken Wings
Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
I hope you give these Crispy Chicken Tenders a try! It is so easy to make and absolutely delicious!
If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings / #allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.
- 1 ½ pounds chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 cup almond milk (you can also use coconut milk or dairy milk if you prefer)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups gluten free panko breadcrumbs (I used 4c brand)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cajun seasoning like Old Bay
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- honey mustard, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the eggs, almond milk, and apple cider vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the chicken tenders to the mixing bowl and submerge into the wet mixture.
- Add the panko breadcrumbs to a food processor and pulse until fine, two or three times.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a mound on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to the breadcrumb mound and stir until the oil is well incorporated.
- Spread the breadcrumbs into a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl, then add in all of the seasoning and spices. Stir well the seasonings and breadcrumbs are well combined.
- Grease a wire baking rack and place it over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Remove a few of the chicken tenders from the egg mixture, around two to four tenders at a time, and transfer to the breadcrumb mixture. Use your fingers to toss the chicken in the breadcrumbs until well coated, pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken to help them stick.
- Transfer the coated chicken to the wire rack. Bake the chicken tenders at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
- Serve warm and with your favorite dipping sauce.
Keywords: chicken tenders, air fryer chicken tenders, baked chicken tenders, chicken tenders recipe, chicken tenders air fryer
Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: Casey Colodny / THE MINDFUL HAPA