Healthy Crispy Chicken Tenders

Best ever healthy crispy chicken tenders that are gluten-free, nutritious, and made with six ingredients. Bake or air fry to get the perfect crunch without any oil! Made with simple ingredients like cauliflower crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs), garlic powder, and egg, these tenders are a must cook. Ready in under 20 minutes, forget about fast food take out, and make these mouthwatering, wholesome, and absolutely delicious chicken tenders.

healthy crispy chicken tenders

Best ever healthy crispy chicken tenders

Who else remembers ordering chicken tenders or chicken nuggets for every meal as a kid? Because, I sure do. When cooked correctly, they are just so tasty. Perfectly crunchy on the outsides, but super warm, tender, and moist on the inside. It is hard to beat.

Let me just tell you, these healthy chicken tenders might just be one of the best I have ever eaten. You won’t even be able to tell that they are healthy. I am serious. These crispy chicken tenders are the real deal my friends.

This easy recipe is not only ready in under 20 minutes, but it is super customizable. Got an air fryer? Cook these healthy crispy tenders in 10 minutes! Got an oven? Bake these crunchy nutritious chicken tenders in 12 minutes! I was serious when I said how easy and delicious this recipe was.

Anyone looking for a healthier chick-fil-a chicken nugget or tender recipe. This is for you! These crispy, crunchy and healthy chicken tenders are perfect for dinner, lunch, your kids, and even as a football Sunday appetizer! I dare you to give these wholesome tenders a try.

healthy crispy chicken tenders

Ingredients used to make best-ever crispy healthy chicken tenders

Forget about endless ingredients and money spent on one meal! This easy and full-proof recipe calls for six simple and nutritious ingredients, including salt and pepper. Honestly, you probably already have everything you need for this simple, healthy dinner recipe in your pantry.

Tools used to make healthy air fried chicken tenders (or baked!)

When I say this recipe is easy, I really mean it! You only need a few kitchen tools to make this simple and healthy lunch or dinner recipe! Clean up is going to be so easy. Here is a list of everything I used:

  • Air Fryer (if air frying)
  • Baking Sheet (if baking)
  • Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper (if baking)
  • Non-Stick Spray (I love using Avocado Oil Spray)
  • 2 Shallow Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk or Fork
  • Measuring cups: 1 tsp and 1 cup
healthy crispy chicken tenders

How to make healthy crispy chicken tenders

Making healthy crispy chicken tenders that taste like they are from your favorite fast food joint is really easy! Personally, I love to enjoy my healthy chicken tenders air fried. They are unbelievably crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and taste like they just came out of an oil fryer. If you do not have an air fryer on hand, no worries! Baking these chicken tenders will yield an almost identical perfectly crispy chicken tender.

To begin, decide whether you will be using an Air Fryer or an Oven.

If you have decided to bake them, pre-heat your oven to 425F, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick avocado oil spray or a drizzle of olive oil.

If air frying these perfectly crispy healthy chicken tenders, pre-heat your Air Fryer to 360F.

Next, if not using pre-cut chicken tenders, take your chicken breasts and slice them length wise. Each chicken breast should yield 3 to 4 chicken tenders. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Now, in one of your shallow bowls, whisk your eggs.

In the other bowl, add the the Cauli Crunch Cauliflower Crumbs, gluten-free or regular bread crumbs, or Panko. Mix in the garlic powder, salt, and pepper as well.

Next, dip each tender into your egg wash, and then into your bread crumb mixture. Be sure to cover the entire tender with Panko or bread crumbs. You may need to use both hands to press the chicken tenders down into the crumbs,

To Air Fry:

Once your Air Fryer is pre-heated to 360F, spray the basket with a little non-stick avocado oil spray.

Evenly space each chicken tender in the basket. Depending on the size of your Air Fryer, you may need to do two rounds.

Fry for a total of 10 – 12 minutes: 5 – 6 minutes on one side, open the basket, turn the chicken tenders over, and then fry again for another 5 – 6 minutes.

The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F before removing from the fryer.

To Bake:

Once your oven is pre-heated to 425F, evenly space the chicken tenders on the lined and greased baking sheet.

Bake for a total of 12 minutes: 6 minutes on one side, flip the tenders over, and bake for another 6 minutes. They should be golden brown with an internal temperature of 165F before removing from the oven.

Enjoy and serve with your favorite dips! I love the classics: ketchup and mustard. Doesn’t get much better!

healthy crispy chicken tenders

Make extra healthy crispy chicken tenders?

This recipe is perfect for meal prep! Living alone, I make a whole batch and enjoy it for at least three days.

For best results, store in a covered airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 5 days. Simply heat up by popping them into the air fryer at 350F for 2 – 3 minutes.

Did you make this recipe?

If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!

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Healthy Crispy Chicken Tenders


  • Author: Tati Chermayeff
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10 – 12 mintues
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 chicken breasts or 1 lb of pre-cut tenders
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Cauli Crunch Cauliflower Crumbs, gluten-free bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs, or panko *
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. If air-frying, preheat the air fryer to 360F. If baking, preheat oven to 425F and line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut chicken breasts lengthwise. Each breast should produce 3 to 4 tenders. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs.
  4. In a separate shallow bowl, mix together Cauli Crunch Cauliflower Crumbs (Regular, Panko, or Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs), garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Dip each chicken tender into the egg mixture, then into the crumb mixture. Make sure to coat each tender completely by pressing them into the mixture and using your hands to cover. 

TO AIR FRY:

  1. Once preheated to 360F, spray the basket with nonstick spray. Evenly space chicken tenders in the basket. Do not overlap them.
  2. Fry for a total of 10 – 12 minutes (by air frying for 5-6 minutes, turning them over, and frying against for 5-6 minutes). Chicken tenders should reach an internal temp of 165F.

TO BAKE:

  1. Even space the coated chicken tenders on the lined and greased baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-6 minutes. It should be golden brown with an internal temp of 165F.

Notes

* I used Cauli Crunch original cauliflower “bread” crumbs. It is a gluten-free alternative to regular bread crumbs. However, any unflavored bread crumb will work in this recipe!

  • Category: Lunch & Dinner
  • Method: Air Fryer or Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: healthy chicken tenders, healthy chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, gluten-free, gluten-free chicken tenders, healthy dinner, healthy lunch, chicken nuggets, panko, gluten free bread crumbs, Dinner, Lunch, healthy chicken

I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. In full disclosure, by purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. Everything counts to keep my dream afloat; thank you for supporting Healthful Blondie!

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2 Comments
  • Penny Jocabs
    Posted at 21:41h, 18 January Reply

    I make these weekly. So yummy! Thanks Tati 🙂

    • Tati Chermayeff
      Posted at 14:12h, 03 February Reply

      Hi Penny! I am so happy you liked these. They are my favorite too 🙂

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