Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders Baked Healthy and Crispy

This is the best-tasting healthy, baked gluten-free chicken tenders recipe for tender, juicy chicken strips with a perfectly crispy coating. Whether you prefer chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, or crispy gluten-free chicken strips, this recipe has got you covered. Using natural ingredients, you can choose chicken breasts or tenders for these gluten-free chicken tenders, ensuring a…

This is the best-tasting healthy, baked gluten-free chicken tenders recipe for tender, juicy chicken strips with a perfectly crispy coating. Whether you prefer chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, or crispy gluten-free chicken strips, this recipe has got you covered. Using natural ingredients, you can choose chicken breasts or tenders for these gluten-free chicken tenders, ensuring a healthy and delicious meal. Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce and a side of french fries for a finger-licking lunch or dinner. 

I’m sharing several time-saving hacks for coating the chicken strips in flour, egg, bread crumbs, and oil in two steps, making this a quick dinner for busy weeknights the whole family will love. Plus, I include instructions for both baking and air frying to make these crispy chicken tenders just the way you like them.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Chicken Strips Recipe

  • You only need a few simple ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make for an impressive result.
  • It is full of delicious flavor!
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.
Chicken tenders on a baking sheet.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make my easy crispy chicken tenders:

Chicken Tenders (or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast): You can also use turkey tenders, pork tenderloin strips, firm tofu strips, or tempeh.

Tapioca Flour:  This is also known as tapioca starch. Try substituting with corn starch, arrowroot flour, potato starch, coconut flour, yellow corn flour or any other gluten-free flour. You can also use all-purpose flour if you don’t need gluten-free.

Eggs: Replace with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water), a chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water), unsweetened applesauce (1/4 cup per egg), or plain yogurt (1/4 cup per egg).

Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs: Opt for crushed gluten-free cereal (such as rice or corn cereal), gluten-free crackers, or crushed nuts like almonds or pecans. You can also use almond flour, yellow corn meal, or a corn flake crumb.

Light Olive Oil: Swap with avocado oil, coconut oil, melted ghee, or use cooking spray for a lower-fat option.

Italian Seasoning, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt, Black Pepper: Customize with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, fresh herbs, Cajun seasoning mix, taco seasoning, or a blend of curry spices.

Gluten-free chicken tenders on a plate with homemade barbecue sauce.

How to Make My Crispy Gluten-Free Chicken Strips Recipe

Here are easy, detailed, step-by-step instructions for making the best-tasting tender chicken strips. The simple ingredients are also repeated in the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post.

Step 1: Prepare the Coatings

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet and set aside.

If using chicken breasts, pound them to an even thickness and remove any excess fat. Then, cut them into 1″ wide strips.

Combine eggs and tapioca flour in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine gluten-free panko bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and light olive oil. Stir to form a crumb consistency.

Cutting chicken breast into 1 inch strips.
Adding flour to two eggs in a bowl.
Adding oil to bread crumb mixture.

Step 2: Coat the Chicken

Dip pieces of chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet with the wire rack. If you don’t have a wire rack, you can line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Dipping chicken strips in egg paste.
Dipping chicken strips in bread crumb coating.
Placing chicken strips on baking sheet with a wire rack.

Step 3: Bake the Chicken

Oven: Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Air Fryer: Bake for 9-11 minutes at 385°F or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Gluten-free chicken tenders on a plate with homemade barbecue sauce.

Helpful Recipe Notes

Baking Tips: Placing the chicken tenders on a wire rack ensures even cooking and maximum crispiness. If you don’t have a wire rack, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and flip them over halfway through baking.

​Juiciest Chicken: Use a meat thermometer and remove the chicken as soon as the internal temperature reaches 165°F. The chicken will become dry and tough the longer it bakes over that temp.

Extra Crispiness: To get extra crispiness and color on the coating, set the oven to broil on high for 1-2 minutes before removing the pan of chicken from the oven after the chicken is baked through.

Serving Suggestions for Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

  • Dipping Sauces: For added flavor, serve with honey mustard, my Honey BBQ sauce, Homemade Ranch dressing, Greek Yogurt Tartar Sauce, or your favorite dip.
  • Side Dishes: For a balanced meal, pair with fresh vegetables, a crisp garden salad, gluten-free fries, or sweet potato wedges.
  • Wraps and Sandwiches: Use the chicken tenders in a gluten-free wrap or sandwich, adding lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce for a quick and tasty lunch.
  • Tacos: Slice the chicken tenders and fill them with them for gluten-free tacos. Top with avocado, salsa, shredded lettuce, and a squeeze of lime.
  • Salad Toppers: Cut the chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces and add them to a salad for extra protein and crunch.
  • Bowls: Create a nourishing bowl with quinoa or rice, roasted veggies, and chicken tenders drizzled with a tahini or avocado dressing.
  • Kids’ Meal: For a kid-friendly dinner, serve gluten-free mac and cheese with a side of apple slices.
  • Party Platter: Arrange the chicken tenders on a platter with dipping sauces and vegetable sticks for an easy and appealing party appetizer.

Refrigeration: Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing: Freeze cooked chicken tenders in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored for up to 2 months.

Reheating from Refrigerator: Reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or in an air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for 5-7 minutes.

Reheating from Frozen: Reheat frozen tenders in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 20-25 minutes, or in an air fryer at 375°F (190°C) for 10-12 minutes.

Microwave Option: For a quick option, microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, but note that this method may not maintain crispiness.

Air Fryer: Reheat them in the air fryer for 5-6 minutes at 385°F.

Can I use regular bread crumbs instead of gluten-free panko bread crumbs for chicken strips?
Yes, if you are not following a gluten-free diet, you can substitute regular panko bread crumbs or traditional bread crumbs in equal measure.

How do I make this gluten-free chicken tender recipe egg-free?
To make this recipe egg-free, you can use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water) or a chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water). Unsweetened applesauce (1/4 cup per egg) or plain yogurt (1/4 cup per egg) are also good substitutes.

Can I fry these chicken tenders instead of baking them?
Yes, you can pan fry them. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry the chicken tenders for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through.

How ​do I ensure the chicken tenders stay crispy after baking?
Placing the chicken tenders on a wire rack while baking allows air to circulate, ensuring even cooking and crispiness. Also, avoid overcrowding the baking sheet.

Can I prepare these chicken tenders in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the chicken tenders up to the breading stage, then refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze the breaded tenders and bake them directly from the freezer when needed.

What dipping sauces go well with these chicken tenders?
These chicken tenders pair well with a variety of dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, or a homemade yogurt-based dip.

Can I customize the seasoning?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different spices like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, or fresh herbs. You can also try Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, or a blend of curry spices for a unique flavor twist.

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders Baked Healthy and Crispy

Dairy-Free diet-friendly recipe
Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
This is the best-tasting healthy, baked gluten-free chicken tenders recipe for tender, juicy chicken strips with a perfectly crispy coating. I'm sharing several time-saving hacks for coating the chicken strips in flour, egg, panko bread crumbs, and oil in two steps, making this a quick dinner for busy weeknights.
5 from 3 votes
Servings 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds chicken tenders (or chicken breast)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten-free panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet and set aside.
    If using chicken breasts, pound them to an even thickness and remove any excess fat. Then, cut them into 1" wide strips.
    Combine eggs and tapioca flour in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine gluten-free panko bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and light olive oil. Stir to form a crumb consistency.
  • Dip pieces of chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet with the wire rack. If you don't have a wire rack, you can line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Oven: Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
    Air Fryer: Bake for 9-11 minutes at 385°F or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Baking Tips: Placing the chicken tenders on a wire rack ensures even cooking and maximum crispiness. If you don’t have a wire rack, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and flip them over halfway through baking.
​Juiciest Chicken: Use a meat thermometer and remove the chicken as soon as the internal temperature reaches 165°F. The chicken will become dry and tough the longer it bakes over that temp.
Extra Crispiness: To get extra crispiness and color on the coating, set the oven to broil on high for 1-2 minutes before removing the pan of chicken from the oven after the chicken is baked through.

Nutrition

Calories: 452kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 35gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 745mgPotassium: 600mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 294IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken tenders
Did you make this recipe and love it?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are so good!!! That is genious to combine the oil and bread crumb. They turned out crispy and tasty. The whole family loved them!!!

5 from 3 votes

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