Healthy Chicken Tenders are the perfect easy dinner made with only 7 ingredients! Baked chicken tenders that are Whole30, paleo & gluten free.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my policy and more about affiliate links. This post was originally shared in 2017 but has since been updated.
If you LOVE chicken tenders but are looking for a lighter option – these baked chicken tenders are for you! Baked instead of fried, paleo, whole30 and SO yummy – these are one of my all time favorite meals.
When I was growing up… I basically lived off of chicken nuggets/chicken tenders + pasta. I was the PICKIEST eater ever.
I also loved fries… I mean.. can you blame me? Fried potatoes and chicken… a match made in heaven.
If we’re being totally honest, I never really grew out of my chicken tender loving phase, and I still crave them.
That’s why I came up with my Healthy Chicken Tenders recipe! (Which I personally think is even better than whatever you’d get from a restaurant!)
What makes these Homemade Chicken Tenders healthy?
- Minimal ingredients – These chicken tenders are paleo, whole30, gluten free and so delicious!
- Baked, not fried– Even though these tenders are baked instead of being fried – you’d never taste the difference!
- Gluten, sugar, and soy free– Most chicken tenders are coated in bread crumbs and have all kinds of funky additives – these don’t!
- Low carb – While low carb doesn’t necessarily = healthy, the batter on these tenders is made from better-for-you nut flours instead of bread crumbs!
Even though these chicken tenders are healthy, they really don’t taste like it – I swear!
In addition to being good for you, these baked chicken tenders are also SUPER easy to make – they only have a few ingredients and a few steps. Let me show you how I make them!
Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe Ingredients
I make my healthy chicken fingers with a mix of:
- Almond Flour (or Almond Meal)
- Coconut Flour
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- An Egg
- A little bit of Almond Milk
- Pepper, Paprika, and Garlic Powder (optional)
I’ve also included some substitutions below if you don’t have these ingredients or need to make them nut free!
How to Make Chicken Tenders in a Healthy Way
Making healthy chicken tenders really is so easy. I know it can be simple to just pop the ones you like from the freezer in the oven.. but I promise when you try these you’ll love them!
- Mix together your breading.
- Dip the chicken tender in your egg mixture.
- Coat evenly in breading. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet + bake – that’s it!!
Substitutions for Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe
I purposely created these healthy chicken fingers with my paleo + Whole30 friends in mind – but you can definitely customize them for your family!
Nut Free: Substitute almond/coconut flour with bread crumbs
Milk: You can use any milk in this recipe
Can chicken breasts be used instead of chicken tenders? Yes, you can use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders. If you’re using whole chicken breasts they might need a little bit longer to cook. You can also cut chicken breasts into tender like ‘strips’.
Spices – You can add parsley, cayenne pepper or really any spices you like depending on your tastes!
Can you make these in the air fryer? I don’t have an air fryer, but many other people have made these in their air fryers and enjoyed them! I’d recommend following your air fryers conversion chart and trying them out!
How Long to Bake Chicken Tenders
Chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. We recommend baking chicken tenders at 450 for 15-25 minutes. This fully cooks the chicken and results in a crispy exterior.
Baking at 350: You should bake for at least 25 minutes
Baking at 375: You should bake for at least 22 minutes
Baking at 400: You should bake for at least 20 minutes
How long do you cook fully cooked chicken tenders? How long you should cook fully cooked chicken tenders depends on if they are frozen or defrosted. From frozen it usually takes about 15 minutes at 450. If defrosted they should warm through in about 5 minutes at 450.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Baked Chicken Tenderloins
I store these chicken tenders in the fridge for up to 4 days. I have never tried freezing the chicken tenders, but I think they would freeze well.
When you want to reheat your chicken tenders – place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 and heat for 5-10 minutes until edges are crispy.
I would not recommend microwaving these chicken tenders. They can get soggy and do not taste as good!
Freezing: You can freeze these chicken tenders. Lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer. When they’re frozen completely, place them in a ziploc bag. THey’ll last in the freezer for 2 months. When you want to reheat them, place them in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes until thawed and crispy. Make sure to freeze them after you have cooked them!
How to Serve Homemade Chicken Tenders
- Fries: Healthy Baked French Fries are a must make with these chicken tenders!
- Dipping: You can dip these in ketchup, or usually dip them in mustard. This one is one of my favorites. These baked chicken tender are also delicious dipped in the buffalo sauce in this recipe
- On a salad: This Strawberry Avocado Goat Cheese Salad is one of my favorites
- Roasted Veggies: Garlic Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Healthy Green Beans Almondine go great with these chicken tenders!
- Pasta Salad: We love this with our Caprese Pasta Salad!
Sauces to try with Baked Chicken Tenders
Any sauce goes well with these chicken tenders! We love:
Baked Chicken Tenderloins FAQ
To avoid overcooking chicken tenders use an internal temperature thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. Chicken tenders only take about 25 minutes to cook.
Your baked chicken tenders might be tough if they were over cooked, or depending on the quality of meat. Some chicken tenders are naturally tougher than others. We like to buy organic chicken tenders and find that they’re always juicy and moist.
Chicken tenders and chicken tenderloins are the same thing.
You can cook chicken tenderloins at 450 for 15-20 minutes.
We don’t recommend cooking chicken from frozen. Cooking chicken from frozen is a food safety issue. Make sure it is completely thawed before cooking.
Yes, you can use chicken breasts in place of chicken tenders. Simply cut them in strips.
We recommend baking chicken tenders uncovered in the oven so that they can get nice and crispy!
Other Healthy Chicken Recipes
We love cooking with chicken because it’s so versatile! Here are some of our other favorite healthy chicken recipes!
Baked Chicken Tenderloins
- Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large shallow bowl mix together shredded coconut, coconut flour, almond flour and spices.
- In a separate bowl beat one egg and milk
- Form an assembly line. Dip the chicken into egg mixture, and then dip into breading until all chicken is coated.
- Place the chicken tenders on lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes until outside of chicken is browned and crispy.
- Flour: You can substitute / 1:1 with whole wheat or panko breadcrumbs, however, they will not be paleo or whole30 friendly.
- Milk: You can use regular milk in this recipe
- Salt/Pepper: I don’t use french fries. You could add 1/4 teaspoon of each to the breading if you like. / in this recipe because I typically serve these with salted