Juicy Paleo Chicken Tenders
Updated: Feb 5
Succulent tender chicken coated in a savory seasoned breading then pan fried to perfection. This simple and delicious meal makes for an awesome kid friendly dinner, or doubles at a great party snack or appetizer. These gluten free tenders are easy to make, even easier to eat, and are a super popular dish on game day!
The spices in the almond flour breading is reminiscent of a copycat Chick-fil-a chicken strip, but without all the refined and inflammatory ingredients. I love to serve these with a great sauce, like my Wicked Wing Sauce or pile several warm chicken strips over a bed of fresh crisp greens with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing.
Why Chicken is So Good For You!
We all know that chicken is a tasty and fantastic source of protein, but do you know why it is so good for you? Chicken, along with many other sources of animal protein, such as beef, eggs and fish, are a complete source of protein. This means that all nine essential amino acids are present and available to you when you eat these foods.
When it comes to nutrients, anything labeled as "essential" means that your body cannot make or synthesize this nutrient, so it must be provided to your body by the foods you eat.
As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must eat everyday to provide our bodies energy as well as the building blocks necessary in everyday functions such as growth and repair, immune support, and in the synthesis of our hormones and neurotransmitters.
The nine essential amino acids and their roles are :
Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health
Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair
Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.
Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.
Isoleucine: necessary in immune function and energy regulation.
Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.
Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body's ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).
Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.
Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body's ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)
So grab some chicken tenders and let's get cooking!
Paleo Chicken Tenders Ingredients
1.5 lbs Chicken Tenders
1 Free Range Egg, beaten
3/4 cup Almond Flour
1/3 cup Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot starch
3/4 tsp Paprika Powder
3/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (opt)
1/4-1/2 cup Avocado oil or Pork Fat for frying
How to Make Paleo Chicken Tenders
1. Beat egg in a shallow and wide dish (I like to use a dinner plate or small rimmed baking dish).
2. In another clean shallow dish combine the almond flour, 1/3 cup of arrowroot or tapioca starch and spices. Gently whisk or mix well with a fork to evenly combine.
3. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with about 1/4 cup (or 4 Tablespoons) of oil/fat for frying (you may need to add more as the tenders cook and new ones are added).
I like to just coat the bottom of my pan with the oil/fat and have it come up about 1/8" up the side of the pan. Use your discretion and add enough oil to pan fry your chicken tenders.
4. Remove the chicken tenders from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
5. Dip one tender at a time in the in egg wash, allowing the excess drip off, then add to the breading to coat.
6. Fry the chicken tenders on both sides for about 5-7 minutes until fully cooked through.*
Be sure to do this in batches so you do not over crowd the pan and ensure you do not reduce the heat of the oil too much.
Remove from heat and set onto a cooling rack to drain any excess fat/oil. (I like to layer my cooking rack onto a bar pan and keep the tenders in the oven with the temp set low (around 200) until I have finished cooking all the tenders.
7. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until all the chicken tenders are done.
*Oven Option: bake them in the oven (425 for 15ish minutes), just brush a little bit of oil on both sides first and flip at the halfway point!
What to Serve with Paleo Chicken Tenders
Cilantro Lime Coleslaw: These chicken tenders are my favorite when served with this fresh, creamy, and tangy coleslaw. Simple whole food ingredients for a quick and easy side.
Wicked Wing Sauce: This wing sauce is the bomb!! Spicy, tangy, and sooo good with everything! I love to coat these chicken tenders with this sauce for spectacular buffalo tenders!
Wonderful Wedge Salad: Crisp iceberg, salty bacon, and creamy homemade blue cheese dressing, I'm pretty sure it doesn't get much better than this!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy