Chicken tenders are a popular food choice and we all know why. They are a healthy choice of meat, low in fat and high in protein. But most of all they are delicious with the right flavor coating, and this particular recipe contains no breading so it’s keto and low carb friendly. Tenders are great for parties, quick dinners, really any occasion. You can even pre-prepare the flavor coating and store it in the freezer for another day. Perfect for those nights you just don’t have the energy to prepare a meal.
What are chicken tenders?
To make chicken tenders, you need chicken tenderloin meat, which comes from the underside of chicken breast. This means that it’s super high in protein and low in fat.
Keto, paleo, Whole30 and low-carb friendly chicken tenders
Chicken tenders are lean as there is no skin, so yes they are high in protein, but low in fat. If you’re on a low-carb, Whole30 or paleo diet, this is great for you. To make this a keto meal, you want to add some fat. You could substitute the chicken tenders for cuts of chicken thigh which contain skin so are higher in fat. They are generally cheaper too. You may also want to add some additional fat to the meal. Avocados are healthy and high in fat. You could make guacamole or add avocado and olive oil to your side salad.
How do you make chicken tenders?
There are a number of ways to cook chicken tenders but I have found that the best way is to simply throw them into the air fryer. It’s set and forget. Even if you don’t turn them over mid-way, their fine. I hardly ever turn them over because I’m too busy making the side dish.
Chicken tenders can be dipped in sauce, or make up the protein component of a meal. I opt for the latter and usually make a salad on the side.
Why cook chicken tenders in the air fryer?
The air fryer circulates the heat evenly and is set and forget needing you to flip the tenders once. Leaves you time to prepare your side vegetables or salad, giving you the perfect meal, which is low carb, no breading and delicious! The air fryer is great for you if you want to cut down on fat because you don’t have the meat soaking in oil as it does in a skillet or frying pan.
Frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer
Preparing your chicken tenders and freezing them for another day is a great way to save time and money. Prepare your tenders on a weekend and then have a deliciously healthy meal on a weeknight when you’re too tired to cook an elaborate meal. Just take them out of the freezer, stick them in the air fryer and cook for 15-17 minutes ensuring the juices run clear. You should set your temperature at 380F/193C and pre-heat for a minute or two.
Nutrition in chicken tenders
Chicken tenders are highly nutritious. 100g of chicken tenders will give you a third of your B3 (Niacin) requirements for the day, about 20% of your B1 (Thiamin) needs, and a third of your protein needs, at just 250 calories. It’s also high in minerals, meeting 44% of your daily selenium needs, also containing manganese, copper and phosphorus. It’s not high in iron, providing just 6% of your daily needs. Add lots of leafy greens to your meal as well as nuts and seeds to your side salad to add to boost the iron levels in your meal.
The steps in this chicken tenders recipe
I like to short cut as much as possible. The easier a meal is, the better. So coating chicken tenerloin pieces is as easy as it gets. And with the air fryer, there’s no standing over a frying pan to cook them. So it’s great.
First step is to get out all the coating mix ingredients and combine. Throw them into a zip lock or freezer bag and shake. Slowly add the pieces of chicken and coat generously. You don’t need to prepare the chicken in any way.
Once your pieces are coated, place them into the air fryer. Now just to keep my air fryer clean, I always add a layer of foil or baking paper to the tray to make cleaning easier.
Now simply set the air fryer to 380F/193C and cook for 15 minutes.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (No Breading)
Chicken tenderloins coated in an almond meal spice mix (no breading) and cooked in the air fryer
- Air Fryer
- 500g Chicken tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons Almond meal
- 1.5 tablespoons Paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Dry mint
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1.5 teaspoons Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the spice mix by mixing all the ingredients andpouring into a freezer or zip lock bag
Throw 3 or 4 pieces of chicken at a time into the bag andshake to coat. The chicken doesn't' need oil for the mix to stick, but if youprefer the taste, then go ahead. You can even coat the chicken with the spicemix and then spray with oil.
Once the chicken is coated, place into the air fryer andcook for 15 minutes at 380F/193C.
While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare your sidedish. Salad, baked vegetables, or even rice are good options.