These low carb paleo coconut flour chicken tenders are gluten free and keto friendly. Enjoy them plain or dipped in your favorite sauce. Unbelievably good!
My kids really like chicken tenders, but I hate the wheat flour coating. Since my older daughter (the pickiest child) seems to like other recipes I’ve made with coconut flour, I decided to try and make some low carb baked coconut flour chicken tenders.
This is actually the second recipe I tried. The first one dipped the chicken tenderloins in beaten eggs before coating in the coconut flour mixture, but that batch was very dry. Since making this, I also now love to make a chicken tenders wrapped in bacon.
To get the chicken moist without frying, I knew that some oil was needed. So, in my second attempt at baked coconut flour chicken tenders coated the chicken in olive oil rather than eggs.
What was the result using oil? A juicy chicken underneath a crisp gluten free coconut flour based coating. And the best part? My picky daughter ate three of the tenders without complaining.
How to make Paleo coconut flour fried chicken tenders
To make the oven fried chicken tenders, simply blend up the spices with coconut flour and either Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. (photos 1-4) Nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor without added dairy.
Next, you’ll want to dip each tender into a little oil (photos 5 & 6) and then coat with the coconut flour mixture (photos 7 & 8). Then, just place on a rack in a baking pan to bake. (photo 9)
It’s best to spray each tender with oil after coated. This helps to prevent the coconut flour coating from being too dry.
And flipping the tenders about halfway through helps them to cook evenly. Baking on a rack also keeps the coating on better than frying in oil.
An air fryer is another great way make these coconut flour fried chicken without frying in oil!
Thoughts on the Recipe
I’ve been trying to move towards a more Paleo low carb diet and this coconut flour chicken tenders recipe is Paleo friendly as well as being gluten free. You’ll just want to omit the Parmesan cheese or replace it with nutritional yeast for Paleo.
Although I thought the spice mixture was pretty good, you may want to tweak it a bit to suit your own taste. I recommend using kosher or natural sea salt because those coarser grinds stick best to the meat.
Each chicken tenderloin is drenched in olive oil and then coated in the seasoned coconut flour mixture. It goes really fast so this is something that you could easily make on busy evening. The prep time is about 5 minutes.
I’ve found that raising the “breaded” meat off the pan helps the coating to crisp up better. I use a regular Baker’s cooling rack for this and just place the rack on top of a shallow baking pan.
In addition, flipping the chicken tenders halfway through baking also allows for more even browning.
Don’t these baked coconut flour chicken tenders look like they were fried? They come out nice and crisp from the oven. The meat stays juicy inside because it is covered in high fat olive oil before adding the seasoned flour coating.
UPDATE: I’ve updated the recipe based on a few comments received. These changes made should result in tenders that are cooked to the right internal temperature (165°F) to reduce drying the meat out from overcooking.
The original baking temperature of 425°F seemed to be too high so I reduced it to 400°F. So the baking time was reduced from 30 minutes total to 20-25.
I tested these with a meat thermometer and they registered 165°F just after 20 minutes. Another comment was the dryness in the coating.
This was fixed by dipping each tender in olive oil and then the dry coating. Since this makes the baked coating soft and moist, I recommend placing the tenders about 6 inches from the broiler (on high) for about 1 minute each side to crisp the outside.
Paleo Low Carb Coconut Flour Chicken Tenders
Coconut Flour Chicken Tenders
These low carb paleo coconut flour fried chicken tenders are gluten free and keto friendly. Enjoy them plain or dipped in your favorite sauce.
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan optional
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or natural sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder optional
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder optional
- 1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins 6-8 pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil or a beaten egg
On plate or shallow container, mix coconut flour, Parmesan and spices with a fork.
Pour olive oil (or beaten egg) in small container. Drench each tenderloin in olive oil then gently press each chicken tenderloin in coconut flour mixture. Spray extra olive oil over the coating until wet to prevent dryness.
Ensure each tenderloin is completely covered with coating then place on a rack inside shallow baking pan. Spraying extra olive oil on top prevents dry coating.
Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes then flip each tenderloin.
Continue baking for an additional 10-12 minutes. To brown the outside, place tenders about 6-inches from top broiler on high and broil each side for about 1 minute. (You'll need to flip the tenders again to brown each side using the broiler)
Eat plain or dip in your favorite sauce.
To make in an air fryer, cook for approximately 8 minutes at 360°F (180°C).
Adjust seasoning to suit taste.
For Paleo, nutritional yeast is a great sub for the Parmesan cheese.
Makes 6 chicken tenders
Nutrition per tender
176 calories, 7.8g fat, 345mg sodium, 4.1g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 1.4g net carbs, 23.6g protein
Serving (2 tenders)
353 calories, 15.6g fat, 689mg sodium, 8.2g carbs, 5.4g fiber, 2.9g net carbs, 47.3g protein