Easy Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Do you remember what you ate in high school? I do; it’s scary to think what my diet mostly consisted of: saltines, goldfish crackers, mochas, Subway subs (I was a certified “sandwich artist”), whatever my mom could get me to eat, and chicken tenders and jojos (fried potato wedges) from our local grocery store deli. I loved those deli chicken tenders. Coated in gluten and soaked in hydrogenated fat (I know, they sound really appetizing when I put it that way).

Loved is definitely a past-tense word, though. Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those super-unhealthy deli chicken tenders. Never again will I eat one, but I will eat one of my homemade chicken tenders…

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You will love these homemade and healthy Easy Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders. Their breading is flavorful and they are so easy to make; there’s no frying involved. You just dredge them in the breading and throw them in the oven to bake. They never get really crisp, but everyone will gobble them up. Leftovers (if there are any) never stay around for long.

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Easy Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders
Yields 4-6 servings

2 pounds chicken tenderloins
1 cup blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville)
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs
olive oil, in a sprayer (Like this one)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F) and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a pie plate or another shallow wide bowl, mix together the almond flour, flax meal, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, parsley, poultry seasoning, and ground black pepper.
  3. In another small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
  4. Blot the excess moisture off from the chicken tenders with paper towels and then dip them in the egg. Make sure the tenderloins are thoroughly coated in the egg mixture and then dredge them in the almond flour breading, pressing to adhere.
  5. Divide the breaded chicken tenders up between the 2 baking sheets and lightly spray with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 8-9 minutes. Flip the tenders over, lightly spray again with olive oil and bake for another 8-9 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (F).
  6. Transfer the chicken tenders to a platter and serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Megan’s Recipe Notes:
These chicken tenders never become really crisp, but with the tasty breading, they quickly will become a family favorite!

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Yields 5 tablespoons

3 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I use Annie’s Naturals)

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey and Dijon. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator for later use.

Megan’s Recipe Notes:
This dipping sauce is sweet; a little of it goes a long way. If it’s too sweet for your taste, try adding a tablespoon of mayonnaise to tone it down. 

And if Honey Mustard isn’t your thing, try ketchup or Homemade Ranch Dressing.

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This post is linked to Traditional Tuesday, Make You Own Monday, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays,  Tasty Traditions, Fight Back Friday, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, and the EOA Link Up.

Enjoy!!
xoxo,
Megan

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Comments

  1. Laura says

    “Breaded” and baked chicken tenders-a family favorite we gave up when we went gluten-free. But thanks to you I guess we don’t have to!!! Love that you used almond flour Megan and paprika and poultry seasoning are great additions to make the chicken super tasty. I wish I had these ready and made at my house for our lunch today!

    • Megan says

      We gave them up when we went GF too, Laura! It’s so nice to be able to have them again. I think chicken tenders are the perfect finger food!
      Hugs,
      Megan

  2. Mark Morley says

    This is a great idea. I have made something similar using crushed Gluten Free Corn Flakes which added a crunchiness.

  3. Anne says

    My little one will love these!! We haven’t had nuggets/tenders since I went grain-free a few months ago. I will have to put these on our menu soon. Thanks!

  4. Pam Gordon says

    I wonder if pre-toasting the almond flour might help? i would think if it’s not too fine it would toast…..

  5. amber says

    Oh Megan!!! These look so amazing. WOW! I am definitely going to try these. What a great lunch option during the week for my kiddos. And honey mustard is my all-time favorite dip!! I make it regularly and smother it over chicken. The perfect mix of sweet and sour…just can’t get enough.

    xo,
    –Amber

    • Megan says

      Hey Amber, thank you! Yes, my girls love these, so they would be a wonderful lunch option for your kiddos! I hope you guys are doing well!!
      xo,
      M

  6. Cathy Anderson says

    These sound delicious and I want to try them. But, do you have a nut-free flour suggestion since we have to be both gluten-free and peanut/tree nut free?

    • Megan says

      Hi Cathy!
      I think you could use a crushed up GF cereal (like brown rice crispies). I haven’t tried it specifically in this recipe, but I have used it in other recipes (fish sticks) and it worked out well. :)
      Megan

    • Caren says

      My children are also allergic to tree nuts. I wonder if coconut flour would work as well as Almond flour. I will have to give these a try. Thanks for the great idea!

      • Megan says

        Hi Caren,
        I’m not sure about using coconut flour, but maybe a combination of flax meal and unsweetened shredded coconut? Or even crushed gluten free cereal (like brown rice crispies or Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes). I haven’t tried the crushed cereal specifically in this recipe, but I have tried it in others (like fish sticks) and have been successful. Good luck! :) Megan

      • Mark Morley says

        The Coconut Flour does make a very good coating for the chicken. I have used it several times. But the coconut shreds would add texture to the coating. So, Maybe try the coconut flour and shredded coconut together. The resulting coconut chicken would have a wonderful taste.

          • Jen says

            Coconut flour is usually not a good option in recipes like these. It’s extremely dense and dry. In baking, you usually use about 1/6 – 1/4 the amount of coconut flour you would use in other recipes… this screws up ratios of ingredients and flavors, plus very little to dredge with. If you are going to use coconut flour try to find recipes specifically written for it. You will have better luck. I think the gf crushed cereal would give you results closer to what you are looking for.

  7. Carol@easytobeglutenfree says

    I made these for dinner last night. I didn’t make the sauce, just served them plain. I also put them on a rack in the pan so they would cook on the underside instead of turning them over ½ way through cooking. They are fantastic! I love using almond flour. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Megan says

      Hi Carol!
      You are so very welcome! Thank you for the wonderful review. :) I’m so glad you enjoyed them.
      Hugs,
      Megan

    • Megan says

      Hi Suzie,
      No, I haven’t tried it, but I’m curious myself. If you do try it, I’d recommend under baking them by just a couple minutes, otherwise when you reheat them they might be too dry. So maybe try baking 7 minutes per side, then freezing and reheating. If you try it, please let me know!
      Hugs,
      Megan

  8. Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says

    Missed out on checking out this post when it came out. YUM!!! I might make these this weekend. I have made gluten-free chicken tenders so many ways, but not with almond flour yet, believe it or not. ;-)

    xo,
    Shirley

  9. Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says

    Megan, I made these chicken tenders tonight. They are phenomenal! I will make them again and again for sure. They will be great for a quick and easy dinner and also for lunches. Thank you so much, dear!!

    Shirley

    • Megan says

      Shirley!
      This note was such an awesome surprise – especially coming from you! ((Hugs)) Thank you for trying them and for leaving me such a wonderful review! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
      xoxo,
      Megan

  10. Nancy says

    I’m allergic to almonds and eggs. I have hazelnut flour, so would that work? Can I use an egg substitute, like flax gel?
    Nancy

  11. Amber says

    Hi Meg,

    Made this recipe last night. AMAZING!!!! Wonderful, fabulous, easy, delicious, more happy yummy words….

    You can see a picture here on FB: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=589887664368363&set=a.292220644135068.78458.288512964505836&type=1

    I used sunflower seeds instead of almond flour (can’t digest), worked great. Your spice mix is so, SO yummy.

    Thanks for a great recipe!! My family thanks you too.

    Have a great weekend. We are heading out of town soon. See ya next week.

    xo,
    –Amber .

  12. Tracey says

    Can’t wait to try these…can you tell me what “blanched” almond flour is. I have regular almond flour.

    • Megan says

      Hi Tracey!
      Blanched almond flour are almonds that have been blanched (boiled) and then the skins removed before grinding them into flour. I’d imagine that your regular almond flour would work just fine though. ;) I can’t wait to hear how you like them!
      Hugs,
      Megan

  13. Paleo Moxie says

    These are amazing and much better than I thought they would be. I will be making these again for sure.

  14. says

    Amazing! I “tricked” my family and didn’t tell them until AFTER they were oooing and aaaaahing that it was almond flour. They have been resisting me for so long on going glutin free.. Last week was rice pasta… Won that… And this week was almond flour… Won that! This recipe is not just for kids it’s amazing. Instead of olive oil I use coconut oil spray gives a complimentary taste and doubled nicely with my side of oven baked sweet potato wedges with Celtic sea salt and coconut oil.

    Oh almost forgot, on my second batch.. Yes second. They requested more for taking for lunch tomorrow!!! I added 4 times the flax and they tasted just the same.. Double win!

    Thank you for this!!! Can’t wait to see what other goodies I can find on your page!

    • Megan says

      Hi Sharon,
      Almond meal should be fine, but the consistency of your breading might be a little different. I recommend Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.
      Megan

  15. Danielle says

    Hi! I had a horrible time trying to get the “breading” to stick to the chicken. Do u have any suggestion? It seemed to stick more to my fingers than the chicken. It didn’t come out looking as even as yours either. It was clumpy on chicken. The flavor was fantastic and my hubs said he would love to have them more often. So I really need some tips! Thanks

    • Megan says

      Hi Danielle,
      I use a fork to move the chicken around from the egg mixture to the breading, and then a spoon to help scoop the breading onto the chicken. That way my hands stay out of the mix as much as possible. Also make sure you’re using Honeyville Almond Flour. It has a finer texture than other brands and won’t clump as much! Hope that helps!
      Megan

  16. Kirsten says

    Megan I love all your recipes! I made your chicken strips tonight and my husband told me three different times that they were SO good! Thank you for making our gluten and dairy free life so much easier.

  17. Kate says

    I made these tonight for my son. They were ANAZING! We only had unblanched almond flour, I’m not sure what the difference but it still tasted great. My five year old couldn’t shovel them in fast enough, the sauce was very flavorful as well.

  18. Linda billingsley says

    Made the chicken tenders a few days ago. I am making them again as I am e mailing. Very good!

  19. Ashley says

    Can you make the dry mixture ahead of time and keep it sealed and just pour it in a bowl and use as needed?

  20. Ariella Bloom says

    My husband and I have been on the paleo diet every since I got really serious about losing my baby weight from my darling son. This chicken was delicious- better than any recipe I’ve made that include breadcrumbs- and I can’t wait to make it again! I made it with boneless dark meat cutlets and it came out great!

  21. Gwen says

    We’ve made these twice with flax-eggs. The first time, one out of the four pieces had the breading fall off. The next time, we put the damp chicken in arrowroot before putting them in the flax-egg. They worked great.
    Another tip, from Sara Moulton. When making something like this, it helps to put them in the fridge for an hour or more before putting in the oven. I’ve found that really helps keep the breading on.
    Also, since we don’t use parchment paper because of the silicon in it, we used plenty of avocado oil on the cookie sheet and they crisped up really nice.
    Thank you for this recipe. We are making them again tomorrow.

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