Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders are the perfect 30-minute weeknight meal. Juicy chicken coated in gluten-free, garlic parmesan breading and oven-baked until crispy and golden brown.
If you’re a fan of tender chicken, we also have a traditional and straightforward Baked Chicken Tenders recipe that you’ll also love!
Table of Contents
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
You are seriously gonna want to try this recipe! We can’t get enough of these Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders. We usually double the batch because everyone wants seconds, and there never seems to be enough.
We also love that these Oven Baked Chicken Tenders cook in about 20 minutes, so dinner is on the table in roughly 30 minutes.
Traditionally, the tenders are dredged in flour, then dipped in an egg mixture, then coated in breadcrumbs.
Not here! There are no flour or bread crumbs for this healthier version, but you still end up with crispy yet tender chicken pieces.
If you prefer traditional Chicken Tenders, we have that too!
Total bonus in the mom handbook! Definitely add these to your Weekly Meal Planning!
Ingredients for GF Baked Chicken Tenders
For this healthy chicken strip recipe, you’ll need:
- Chicken Thighs – or chicken breast.
- Almond Flour – or coconut flour.
- Parmesan Cheese – grated.
- Italian Herbs – oregano, basil, etc.
- Garlic Powder – adds just the right flavor.
- Onion Powder – again, it just adds a little flavor.
- Paprika – a mild spice that’s underutilized 🙂
- Cayenne Pepper – optional.
- Salt and Pepper – to taste.
- Egg – it helps the coating stick to the chicken.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Tenders
One of the great things about this recipe is you can customize the spice in your breading. My daughter helped make them and added a little too much cayenne pepper, but they still turned out tasty as ever!
So, technically, tenders are breast meat, but we like to use chicken thighs in this recipe. They come out juicy and create such a wonderful flavor.
You can either buy chicken tenders or purchase thighs and cut them into tender-size pieces.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Next, line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Now, gather all your supplies. You’ll need two shallow bowls or plates for this recipe—one for the egg and one for the almond flour breading mixture. The spices (including salt and pepper if using) and parmesan go into the almond flour to create the yummy yet healthier breading.
For efficiency, we like to create a little assembly line. First, dip the chicken into the egg and then the breading. Then, put it on the parchment-lined baking pan.
You dip each piece of chicken into the egg and then the breading. Place on the baking sheet. Then it’s ready to slide into the oven and bake and until nice and crispy.
So, we’ve tried the recipe in several ways. We like using parchment paper to line the baking sheet.
The parchment helps get the delicious crispy coating. Also, flipping the pieces halfway through the cooking time ensures you have crispy chicken on both sides.
Plus, it’s easy to clean up!
How Long To Bake Chicken Tenders
We really like our chicken tenders crispy for our family, so we bake them at a higher temperature – 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 – 13 minutes.
Depending on the size of your tenders, it may take a few minutes longer. To be sure, we always test with a meat thermometer to make sure they’re done.
Note: Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
With this higher temperature, you don’t need to leave them in the oven that long. However, flipping the tenders halfway through is crucial to get them crispy on both sides.
Tips for Making Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
- As mentioned, you can use chicken breast or thigh meat for this recipe. Whatever you prefer.
- These Baked Chicken Tenders come out crispy straight from the oven, but the almond flour breading doesn’t stay crisp the second day. So, they are best eaten when finished cooking. However, we like them so much. We totally eat them leftover in a salad for lunch the next day.
- For the cheese, make sure you use grated Parmesan cheese, not shredded, as it sticks to the chicken meat better.
- If you can, use fresh chicken! The fresher the meat, the more juicy and tender it will be!
- Serve your Baked Chicken Pieces with a dipping sauce. We like honey mustard, the kids like ketchup, but a healthy ranch dressing is also nice.
How To Freeze Chicken Tenders
For a fast meal when things get busy, freeze a batch or two of these Healthy Chicken Fingers.
- Place your baked, cooled chicken strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Flash freeze by placing the chicken into the freezer until frozen solid.
- Once frozen solid, transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Here are our tips for preventing freezer burn.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders
To prepare your Chicken Strips from frozen, place frozen chicken tenders onto a baking rack in a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes or until warmed through.
They might not be as crispy as when you first made them, but they will be tasty!
Other Healthy Chicken Dinner Recipes
Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Tender, flavorful chicken wrapped in a lettuce wrap. Readers find this recipe as good if not better than PF Changs.
Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls – A flavor-packed recipe that comes together very quickly for weeknight meals.
Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken – Easy, flavorful, and very kid-friendly.
Slow-Cooked Chicken Noodle Soup – the traditional recipe with a little flavor boost.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – An easy recipe that’s healthy and gluten-free.
A Great Dipping Sauce for Chicken Nuggets
For Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
Mix 2 tablespoons honey with 1 tablespoon mustard. This 2:1 ratio of honey to mustard can be used to create any amount of sauce.
Ranch Dressing is another dipping sauce option.
Substitutions for Baked Chicken Fingers
- You can use panko bread crumbs in place of the almond flour.
- Chicken breast and chicken thighs are equally great in the recipe.
Supplies Used to Make Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
This post contains affiliate links. Disclosure policy here.
Baking Pan – a kitchen staple.
Meat Thermometer – the best way to tell if meat or poultry is done and safe to eat. Instant read and easy to use.
We Love Hearing From You!
If you try this Healthy Chicken Tenders Recipe or any other recipe on Suburban Simplicity, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it went in the comments below, we love hearing from you! Better yet, use the hashtag #suburbansimplicity if you make the recipe.
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders
- Baking pan
- parchment paper
- two bowls
- 1 1/2 pound chicken thighs (cut into strips)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk egg in a shallow bowl or plate. Set aside.
- Mix almond flour, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Italian herbs and salt in another shallow bowl or plate.
- Dip a piece of chicken into the egg mixture and coat on both sides. Then, dip the chicken into the almond flour mixture, also coating both sides. Put the breaded chicken on your lined baking sheet and repeat until all pieces are done.
- Place chicken into the oven and bake for 7 minutes and then turn each piece over and cook for another 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy and until internal temperature measures 165 degrees.