The chicken tender is a delicious and crispy All-American classic that has been around for decades. They are great to eat on the go and have been enjoyed by kids and adults alike—although some adults might hide in the shadows when they eat them. Why? They have been a bit stigmatized thanks to the fast food industry.
BUT it is possible to make shameless chicken tenders in your home kitchen. It takes very little time, and this particular recipe is paleo friendly, which means that everyone can find something to love. Make a double batch and pack lunches with these throughout the week.
These chicken tenders can be prepared using two different methods. They can be oven “fried” in a skillet or baking sheet for a bit of a healthier tender, or they can be deep fried on the stove top for absolute maximum flavor that’s a bit closer to the tenders we have known and loved for so many years.
What You'll Need
2-4 packages of chicken tenders (2 lbs)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t granulated onion
1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 t granulated garlic
3/4 C almond flour or tapioca flour
For Deep Frying
1 T water
1 egg beaten
1 C lard
For Pan Frying
2 T coconut oil
Mix the ground chicken with the dry spices and one egg. Make small chicken patties using your hands, or an ice cream scoop, or some spoons. Roll the little patties into the almond or tapioca flour and set aside.
If deep frying—heat the lard in a pot on the stove top on medium heat. Add the water and the beaten egg to the remaining almond or tapioca flour and coat the tenders in the batter, then fry immediately in the hot lard. Cook until the tender reaches 165 degrees internally.
If pan frying—set the oven to 425 degrees and heat the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet or baking sheet. Place the remaining almond or tapioca flour in a bowl or plastic zippered bag and add the tenders a few at a time and shake them around to coat them in the flour. Add the tenders to the skillet and gently toss them around to coat them evenly in the oil.
Bake for 8 minutes on one side and then flip over and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked to 165 degrees internally.
This recipe will make extra and keep well for travel to school or work very easily. You will have leftovers to enjoy throughout the week!