Gluten Free Crispy Chicken Tenders – These oven-baked chicken tenders are gluten and dairy free with a fabulous crispy crunch. A favorite for kids and grown-ups alike!
I know I’m not the only one looking for meals my whole family loves. Sometimes, I find that going back to the classics is a great way to spark creativity and inspire my kids to try something new!
These gluten free baked chicken tenders are the perfect example. The recipe is a classic you can come back to again and again. With the basic technique for these crispy chicken tenders in your back pocket, there are so many ways you can reinvent and reimagine the flavors. It’s a go-to recipe SURE to be a family favorite.
I’ve got three tips that make these the BEST baked chicken tenders we’ve ever tried, plus a TON of ideas for keeping the flavor interesting.
1. Toast Your Breadcrumbs.
While you might have relied on panko before going gluten free, I’ve found that I can STILL get that awesome crispy texture by toasting my breadcrumbs before breading. I start with Canyon Bakehouse Bread (my FAVORITE GF bread for taste and texture). The bread is so good that I hate letting any part of it go to waste. We ALWAYS save our ends for occasions like these (though we often use fresh slices too, when the craving hits!). Ends and stale pieces can be used for mini meatloaves, meatballs, homemade croutons, and crispy coating for recipes like this!
To speed things up, you can leave your bread out ahead of time for a few hours to get hard, or you can simply toss the slices straight into your food processor. Pulse until everything is pretty uniform, and you’re ready to go!
2. Make a Better Batter.
The traditional method for battering is to dredge in flour, then dip in an egg mixture, then dip in bread crumbs. I’ve found that combining the first two steps by adding flour to the egg mixture gives the chicken a better coating (and saves a step!) for me. It also REALLY helps the bread crumbs stick well, which makes for a lovely crispy coating.
3. Get Seriously Crispy.
Lastly, rather than baking your chicken tenders on a baking sheet, I like to first put a cooling rack/baking rack on top of the baking sheet (be sure yours is heat safe and doesn’t have any kind of coating on it). This allows air to circulate all around the chicken, which means no mushy spot sticking to the baking sheet when they come out of the oven. Instead, you get 360 degrees of awesomely crispy coating!
The beauty of a classic recipe like this is that there are ENDLESS ways to flavor and change them up. For instance, you could use these chicken tenders to top pasta (a la Chicken Parmesan), to make crispy chicken sandwiches or wraps, or to top an awesome Cobb-style or BBQ Chicken salad, loaded with goodies. Not to mention all the different dipping sauce ideas. This is great with SO many different dressings and dips. To name a few…
Notes on the Recipe
What if I’m Not Gluten Free? The same method would work beautifully with wheat-based breads, too. No other adjustments would need to be made.
Flavor Boosts. Again, there are SO many ways to flavor this. Try using sriracha or chipotle mayo instead of regular, or adding a little taco, ranch, or Italian seasoning to your mixture. A few shortcut ideas…
- Shortcut Italian Seasoning: 1/4 tsp oregano + 1/4 tsp garlic powder+ 1/4 tsp onion powder
- Shortcut Taco Seasoning: 1/4 tsp cumin + 1/4 tsp chili powder + 1/4 tsp onion powder
- Shortcut Ranch Seasoning: 1/4 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp onion powder + 1/4 tsp dried dill
- Shortcut Steakhouse Seasoning: 1/4 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp onion powder + 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Love Classics Like This? You Might Also Like…
- Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce
- 6 Amazing Ways to Stuff a Sweet Potato
- Perfect Paleo Meatballs
- The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Salad
This recipe is included in the new 7 Gluten-Free Recipes to Get Cookin’ guide from Sprouts. This free guide features tips for going gluten free, stocking a gluten free kitchen, and classic recipes to get you started. It’s perfect for gluten free beginners (and long-timers!) and anyone cooking for a gluten free loved one.
Find Canyon Bakehouse bread at your local Sprouts, my favorite place for picking up gluten free faves and fresh produce for fabulous prices. (Don’t forget to check out their app for mobile coupons, too!)
- 4–5 slices gluten free bread, such as Canyon Bakehouse Country White or 7 Grain
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or chicken breast, sliced into strips)
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp gluten free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Mix
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- Oil spray or cooking spray (I like coconut oil spray)
- To Serve: Your favorite dipping sauce–honey mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce, ketchup, etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Start by making the bread crumbs. Pulse bread in a food processor until you have fairly fine crumbs. Spread out on a baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray/spray oil.
- Bake crumbs at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes for even browning. Remove from oven and transfer to a shallow bowl or plate.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- Make batter, by whisking together egg, mayonnaise, mustard, gluten free flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk until smooth and place in a shallow bowl.
- If possible, place a metal cooling/baking rack on top of a baking sheet. This will promote even browning/crisping. If you don’t have a rack like this, spray your baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.
- Batter your chicken one piece at a time by first dipping into the batter to coat well, then rolling in the breadcrumbs. Place on the baking sheet (on top of the rack if possible).
- Repeat with remaining chicken until all pieces are coated. Lightly spray the top of the chicken with another round of cooking spray or oil.
- Bake at 400 degrees 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce—honey mustard, ranch, barbecue sauce, ketchup, etc.