These Whole30 chicken tenders are tender, flavorful, and a family favorite. Tenderized with a secret weapon (pickle juice!), they’re baked to perfection, making them super quick and easy, too. They’re on repeat at our house!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Whole30 chicken tenders are not only delicious (how could they not be with those delicious spices?) but they’re also super easy to make. Even better? Your kids will LOVE them. I’m not even joking. My whole family loves this recipe, which is not always an easy feat. You can imagine my joy when I found a recipe that makes everyone happy and is on the nutritious side, too!
- This recipe is lighter because of the breading – instead of a heavy all-purpose flour breading, we use a blend of almond flour and coconut flour that stays light but gets nice and crispy. Aside from that, these aren’t deep-fried or even pan-fried in oil. No, no. Instead they’re baked to perfection, golden-brown outside, juicy and tender inside.
- Of course, chicken tenders are wonderful all on their own, paired with your favorite dipping sauce. They’re fairly versatile, though! You can also chop them up and add them to a fresh salad, or make them into lettuce wraps, or lay them atop a bed of mashed potatoes (a la my Whole30 Fried Chicken and Mashed Potato Bowl with Gravy recipe).
Chicken – You can cut chicken breasts into chicken strips, which is what I typically do. For faster prep, though, you can pick up unbreaded, boneless, skinless chicken tenders from the store, which will keep you from having to cut up your own. Just make sure there’s nothing non-compliant added to them!
Pickle Juice – Highly, highly, highly recommend NOT skipping the pickle juice! Obviously you can if you just hate pickles, I’m not going to force you. Pickle juice is the magic ingredient in this recipe, though. Not only does it add flavor to the chicken meat, it also makes it unbelievably tender and juicy.
Almond Flour & Coconut Flour – Both flours are important here! The combination of the two gives you the perfectly crisp “breading” you’re craving. If you use just one or the other, you won’t end up with the same texture.
- Let the chicken tenders marinate in the pickle juice for at least one hour. For the best results, though, I recommend letting them marinate overnight! That way the chicken has a ton of time to tenderize.
- Refrigerate any leftover chicken strips in an airtight container up to 5 days. To reheat, I just pop them back in the oven or even into the air fryer so they stay crispy.
- A light spray of oil halfway-ish through the cook time will make the breading on the chicken strips even crispier. It’s totally optional, though, so feel free to skip it. You can also turn the broiler on for a minute or two at the end of the cook time. Just be careful not to burn them!
More Whole30 Recipes You’ll Love
- Whole30 Lasagna Soup
- Creamy Whole30 Bacon Mushroom Chicken Thighs with Thyme (Paleo)
- Whole30 Chicken Burrito Bowls (Keto, Paleo)
- Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad (Whole30)
- Whole30 Creamy Garlic Chicken (Dairy Free, Paleo)
- Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 1 ½ pounds, cut into strips
- ½ cup dill pickle juice from a jar of dill pickles
- 1 large egg beaten
- ⅔ cup almond flour
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- refined coconut oil spray or spray avocado oil
- Baking sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Airtight container or sealable plastic bag
- 2 shallow bowls
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine chicken strips and pickle juice in airtight container or sealable plastic bag. Toss gently to coat, then refrigerate at least one hour, tossing every so often. Note: for best flavor and most tender chicken, refrigerate overnight.
- When you're ready to cook chicken, drain and discard pickle juice. Add beaten egg to one shallow bowl and set aside. In second shallow bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, salt, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper.
- One at a time, dip chicken tender in beaten egg, pausing to allow excess egg to drip back into bowl, then coat all sides of chicken tender in almond flour mixture and shake any excess off into bowl. Place breaded chicken tender on baking sheet and repeat until all chicken tenders have been breaded.
- Place baking sheet in oven and bake 14 to 16 minutes. If desired, lightly spray tops of breaded tenders with oil after 10 minutes in oven, for a little extra browning. Once chicken tenders are golden brown and lightly crispy, remove from oven and serve warm with compliant dipping sauces and sides.
- The total number of chicken tenders produced will depend on the size and thickness of the strips you cut.
- If you’d like to use a thermometer to ensure your chicken tenders are ready, the food-safe internal temperature for chicken is 165° Fahrenheit.
- Make it Nut-Free: Use cassava flour instead of almond flour.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.