Keto Chicken Tenders


Juicy, crunchy keto chicken tenders prepared three ways - baked, air fryer and fried

4.8 Stars (31 Reviews) 7 Comments

Get crispy, juicy keto chicken tenders using pork panko. You'll be amazed that they are homemade and not from your favorite fast food chicken restaurant and with about 1 g net carb per chicken strip, they make an easy keto meal solution.

Sometimes, you just crave fast food. But there is usually a keto alternative to that carb loaded fast food meal. Whether it’s a hamburger and fries or teriyaki chicken from Panda, there are lots of homemade versions that are low in carbs for you to enjoy and these keto chicken strips are no exception.

dipping a crunch chicken strip in a white bowl filled with honey mustard sauce

Fried chicken tenders, chicken strips or chicken fingers – however you say it, they are pretty much the same dish. Juicy chicken tenderloins coated with a thick layer of breading and fried or baked to yield a crispy, crunchy piece of chicken perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce – BBQ sauce, ranch or Chick-Fil-A sauce.

This recipe for keto chicken tenders is one of the crunchiest ways to make tenderloins. We triple dip the chicken in a special breading of almond flour and ground pork rinds along with a special seasoning blend. The result, that crunch you have been missing with a flavor similar to KFC or Popeye’s Chicken.



How to make keto chicken tenders

  1. Pat dry tenderloins with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Get out three bowls or plates. To the first bowl add almond flour, pork panko, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk an egg in the second bowl. In the third bowl, add only pork panko.
  3. Dust one chicken tender in the first bowl. Then dip in egg wash. Dust again with more almond flour and pork panko. Then back in the egg wash. Do a final coating in the third bowl with pork panko only.
  4. Fry in avocado oil on the stove top, bake in the oven or cook in the air fryer.

ingredients for chicken tenders including a bowl with pork panko, almond flour, garlic powder and onion powder. A bowl with egg and water wash and a cutting board with chicken tenderloins

Key ingredients

  • Chicken – Since this is a chicken strips recipe, we are going to using chicken tenderloin which is that thin flap of meat that comes off of the chicken breast. However, you can actually substitute for chicken breasts or chicken thighs and just cut them into thin strips.
  • Almond flour – The purpose of the almond flour is to help absorb moisture from the egg wash. It will help create a binder so that the crunchy pork rind breading sticks to your chicken tender as it fries or bakes. If you can’t have almond flour, try using parmesan cheese or protein powder. If you use protein powder, you will have to fry your chicken strips at a lower temperature since protein powder can burn easily – especially if you have larger chicken tenders.
  • Pork panko – The key ingredient for crunchy, crispy keto chicken strips and it is able to keep the net carbs low as pork panko is made from ground pork rinds and is zero carbs. If you can’t get a hold of ground pork rinds, just grind up pork rinds in a food processor or blender.
  • Egg – Creates a binder to help the breading stick to the chicken tenderloin.

Keto Chicken Strips Recipe Video

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Keto Chicken Tenders Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenders or thigh meat, cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cup ground pork rinds, divided
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg

Keto Chicken Tenders Directions

  • Keto Chicken Tenders
  • a white french fry box holding two chicken strips with a red and white checkered parchment paper hanging out


    • Chicken tenderloins – If you can’t find tenderloins at the grocery store or with your butcher, then use chicken breasts or thighs. Just cut into thin strips.
    • Almond flour – You can use coconut flour instead if you are allergic to nuts. Protein powder also makes an excellent binder for breaded chicken tenders.
    • Pork panko – If you can’t find pre-ground pork rinds, you can make your own by grinding pork rinds in a food processer, blender or pounding them with a rolling pin. If you can’t consume pork, try using grated parmesan cheese instead.

    Side dishes and dipping sauces

    Make it a complete meal with keto fries, jicama fries and a lemonade! Or if you are looking for a healthier option try some coleslaw.

    As for dipping sauces, my favorite is Keto Chick-Fil-A sauce but low sugar BBQ sauce or ranch can be used as well. My boys love plain ketchup or ketchup mixed with sour cream.

    a bunch of crunchy breaded chicken tenders on a baking tray and sprinkled with parsley with a bowl of sauce behind them

    Storage information

    Ideally, you want to eat your keto chicken strips right away as they can get soggy if you have to store them in the refrigerator. It’s easy to crisp them up again if you pop them in the air fryer or oven for a few minutes. To reheat, put back in the air fryer and bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes.

    You could freeze your chicken tenders too. After cooking them with the breading, flash freeze on a plate before transferring to a freezer safe container or bag. To cook, bake in the oven or air fryer just like you would frozen chicken strips.

    Spicy chicken strips

    For a spicy version of keto chicken strips, add the following to your breading mixture:

    • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or blackened seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

    Keto Chicken Tenders: FAQS

    Can you make chicken strips ahead of time?

    You can bread them ahead of time, but I would store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. You can freeze your cooked chicken strips. Instructions are above.

    Can you stack the battered chicken tenders in the air fryer?

    For even baking an crisping, you want to lay your chicken strips in a single layer. This will allow the air to circulate evenly around the chicken strips to get them extra crunchy. However, in a hurry, you can stack them.

    How long do you bake chicken tenders?

    This depends on if you are using an air fryer or the oven. In the air fryer, it will take at least 8-10 minutes. In the oven, the chicken strips will take about 15-20 minutes to cook through.

    How do you reheat them?

    The breading from leftover chicken tenders can turn soggy when stored in the refrigerator. Reheat chicken tenders in the oven or air fryer. Cook them at 350 degrees in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes. In the oven, cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

    Nutritional information & Macros

    Nutrition Information

    Keto Chicken Tenders

    Servings: 6

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 177
    Fat 8.6g
    Protein 24.5g
    Total Carbs 2.1g
    Net Carbs 1.3g

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    1. Finally, a keto chicken strip breading that actually works! We scarfed these down tonight – thank you! Just found your website and can’t wait to try more recipes!

    2. These are so good!! They didn’t last long at all. We just had a little sugar free ketchup with them. Thank you!

    3. These were really good, definitely no leftovers! I did spray them with some olive oil because they weren’t browning at all when I turned them.

    4. Absolutely delicious! I did add 1/4 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes to the breading mixture though because I love a little heat. Definitely on the menu again!

    5. Fantastic recipe, thank you so much for posting it! I think the blend of the pork rinds with the almond flour made for a finer breading. I seasoned with Jack Daniel’s Chicken Rub seasoning. It turned out great!

    6. We liked this a lot. Only pork rinds I had were chili lime flavored and they worked great. Amazed at how moist the chicken turns out in the air fryer.

    7. I just made these and I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed your recipe. I only had the hot and spicy chicharones but I think it added a little zip! Not hot or spicy… just flavorful. Thank you for such an easy delicious dinner. It definitely a “do over”!

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