Gluten-Free Crispy Chicken Tenders – This oven-baked chicken tenders recipe is 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 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 a flour mixture, 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!
Get Creative! Dipping Sauces To Try With Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders:
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…
- Barbecue Sauce
- Buffalo Sauce
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- Classic Ranch
- Chipotle Ranch
- Citrus Avocado Sauce
- The Dijon Remoulade in this Air Fryer Fish Sticks post
FAQ + Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Baked Chicken Tenders
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
Originally shared July 2017. Updated Jan 2022.