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! Air fryer chicken tenders are extra juicy too.
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.
You may also want to check out my low carb chicken nuggets recipe. I find that baking and then frying gives the best results.
Paleo Low Carb Coconut Flour Chicken Tenders
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.
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Coconut Flour Chicken Tenders
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher or natural sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon ground smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
- ½ teaspoon onion powder optional
- ½ teaspoon black or white pepper
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins 6 large pieces (8 smaller pieces)
- 1 large egg beaten
- ¼ cup avocado oil for optional frying
- On plate or shallow container, mix coconut flour, Parmesan and spices with a fork.
- Beat egg in small container. Drench each tenderloin in egg then gently press each chicken tenderloin in coconut flour mixture. Spray extra olive oil over the coating until wet to prevent dryness (or they can be fried after baking)
- 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) For better browning, heat ¼ cup oil in frying pan and fry each piece, flipping once, until both sides are browned.
- Eat plain or dip in your favorite sauce.
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
Low Carb Sweeteners | Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart
Array ( [calories] => 131 [carbohydrates] => 4 [protein] => 19 [fat] => 4 [sodium] => 332 [fiber] => 2 [serving_size] => 1 [saturated_fat] => 2 [cholesterol] => 85 [potassium] => 293 [sugar] => 1 [vitamin_a] => 211 [vitamin_c] => 1 [calcium] => 28 [iron] => 1 [serving_unit] => piece )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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I made these exactly as written snd they turned out yummy!!❤️ Not crunchy, but fantastic flavor????!
I will be making these again!!
These don't go crispy or crunchy like chicken nuggets should be, it's like the flour never cooks and stays raw which falls off and coats your mouth with raw flour.
Coconut flour doesn't crisp up. If you want a crispy coating, I recommend using crushed pork rinds or almond flour.
The video shows you dip the chicken in olive oil. not a beaten egg... so which is it?
It works best with egg so that's what's recommended. I originally used oil but changed it to egg as it works better.
I followed the instructions, dipping them in olive oil and then the coating. I baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and they are so very dry. They look amazing but are dry and bland.
Sorry they didn't work out. Most people prefer dipping them in egg versus oil so I'll make sure that is clear in the instructions. I still recommend spraying the coating with oil before baking, even when egg is used.
I'm a novice cook trying to make some more healthy dishes and this is a great recipe. Tastes fantastic with the coconut flour!
Oh my WORD. These were amazing! I'm so glad I used 2 packs of boneless thighs instead of just the one! I sliced each thigh in half length wise before breading and brushed on avocado oil before air frying them. The sweet coconut flour combined with the spices worked so well together. This is most definitely a keeper, thank you!!
Thank you for such a great base recipe! I tried this using almond flour and flax seed meal with a special coconut thai spice blend that I have. I did coat with egg before dredging and then sprayed them with olive oil spray. They were such a hit that I might just put them in my weeknight dinner rotation.
They turned out so delicious and crispy! I used nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan and put them in the AirFryer. Thank you so much for the recipe! I'll be making them again!
This recipe taught me to ALWAYS read the comments. I used the olive oil instead of egg. The coating didn’t stick and they didn’t look anything like the photos. IMO waste of chicken.
I've edited the recipes based on user feedback and my own experience making the recipes several times.
I watched the video, noted it said dip the chicken in olive oil then dredge. ???
Then I read the recipe and saw the egg for coating the chicken. Just a little error in the video.
The original recipe used oil, but it works much better with egg so the recipe was changed. However, It's still a good idea to brush or spray oil over the coconut flour coating.
Can this be made with almond flour?
I've made them with a similar coating to my shake and bake chicken.
here's my take:
1 -roll tenders in coconut flour
2-dip in egg
3-roll in chickpea breadcrumbs.
4-bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Freeze for snacks. Use airfryer to reheat frozen tenders. 🙂
I just loved this recipe. I love all your recipes. Your printing feature is the best. It includes the picture and the nutritional information and so many other sites do not. Whenever I find a recipe on the internet, I immediately go to your site and search for it and print it. You're the best! Thank you!
My pleasure! The nutritional info is super important if you're low carb.
mrs lesley brown
Just made these for dinner in the oven and they were ok. I soaked the tenders in pickle juice all so they chicken was super juicy but i should have added more part cheese and seasoning to the flour. I used egg and the coating stayed on no problem. I broiled them for a few mins each side to brown them but it didn't change the flavour at all. I think they would be awesome in the air fryer. It's on my wish list but not in the budget now unfortunately, but when I do get one this will be one of the first things I try as i really do miss breaded chicken fingers.
Thank you for the recipe.
Connie F Farrell
I like this idea, however I am not allow diary, will they come out good without the cheese?
Yes. I use nutritional yeast instead for Paleo.
Wondering about using coconut milk/cream to dredge chicken with coconut flour? Has anyone tried it? How do you think it would turn out?
I haven't tried it, but I think it should be okay.
What is the best method to re-heat these tenders. Even 1/2 a recipe is too much for one person.
I like to reheat in the toaster oven.
I made these dipped in olive oil, and baked on cooling racks as well, for probably a tab longer than called for, but that's because I am notorious for not setting the timer, lol. We loved the flavor, and not dry at all, but they didn't get crispy. The breading was soggy ? I did spray with canola oil instead of olive oil, not sure if that really affected the outcome. But I was considering trying them in an air fryer, wonder if that would help them crisp up? has anyone tried that? I think this is a great excuse for me to purchase one ?
I've been meaning to try in the air fryer but haven't yet. It isn't meant to be a crispy coating as it's tough to get that with coconut flour.
Using an air fryer will correct most of the problems in these comments..crispy not dry from over cooking, no messy oil adding unneeded fat, no hot oven, but I would recommend using the dry, wet, dry method of preparation...
I have tried these in the air fryer and they are so much better. I will update the recipe.
My husband has been following Paleo for years. Normally we fry his coconut flour tenders but it take so much "good" oil to do so. Today I baked them following your recipe. They were fabulous!
Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks for the feedback Heather! I agree. I hate wasting all that oil too.
I tried this recipe tonight for my significant other due to not having flour for him. Made sure I drizzled coconut oil over it several times. Turned out very moist with minimal coating coming off. Other than breading being slightly gritty to him, he said it was good. He is not eating keto but did tonight.
Thanks for sharing that Sandra! Maybe you can convince him to make the switch. 🙂