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Gluten-Free Crispy Chicken Tenders

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! 

The BEST Gluten Free Crispy Chicken Tenders - Baked chicken tenders with a super crispy crunchy topping. These are AMAZING!

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.

My Gluten Free Crispy Chicken Tenders are made from @canyonbakehouse Gluten Free bread. They make such an awesome crispy coating! (they're also the BEST gluten free bread out there!)

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!

The BEST Gluten Free Crispy Chicken Tenders - Baked chicken tenders with a super crispy crunchy topping. These are AMAZING!

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.

Just a few tricks to make the BEST Gluten Free Chicken Tenders. These are so crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside!

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!

Crispy Gluten Free Chicken Tenders - These baked chicken tenders are SO easy and delicious. The perfect family dinner!

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…

The BEST Gluten Free Chicken Tenders - These are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. A family (and kid-approved!) favorite!

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
The BEST Gluten Free Chicken Tenders - These are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. A family (and kid-approved!) favorite!
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crispy baked gluten-free chicken tenders with ranch dipping sauce

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Gluten-Free Crispy Chicken Tenders with a fabulous crispy crunch! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 45 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.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 wire rack like this, spray your baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.
  7. Batter your chicken one piece at a time by first dipping into the batter to coat well, then rolling in the breadcrumbs. Place breaded chicken strips on the baking sheet (on top of the rack if possible).
  8. Repeat with remaining chicken until all pieces are coated. Lightly spray the top of the chicken with another round of cooking spray or oil.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through and the coating is golden brown.
  10. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce—honey mustard, ranch, barbecue sauce, ketchup, etc.

Originally shared July 2017. Updated Jan 2022.

28 Comments

  1. These chicken strips look yummy. I’ll be trying this recipe soon.
    I make fresh bread crumbs using a blender. It works for soft bread crumbs (use fresh bread), or dry bread crumbs (use dry or toasted bread).
    I’ve also read that you can use a box grater to make dry bread crumbs, starting with toasted bread.
    Sturdy breads (“Farmhouse” or other hearty white or whole wheat breads) make the best crumbs IMO.

    1. Ellen – I’ve tried it in a blender too. Works great! I’ve never tried it with a box grater, but love the ease of using my food processor or blender.

      I’m sure those breads make great crumbs! This has been a great gluten free solution for us now that those breads aren’t an option.

  2. These chicken strips were amazing. My very picky three year old ate them up. I used Ezekiel bread instead of gluten free and I used Primal kitchen chipotle lime mayo for a little extra zing ( not too spicy either). So so so good. Thank you for a wonderful recipe that I will be using again and again.

  3. Made this for my newly gluten free dairy free son and he loved it. Shallow fried in oil but will bake next time. I’m a vegetarian so I did not try, but they looked so tempting. Thank you so much.

  4. I’m making this the day after Thanksgiving for my GF cousin and her 7 year old daughter. I would like to make them either today and reheat tomorrow or make early in the day and reheat for dinner. Do you think that would work out? How do you recommend storing and reheating. If you think it will be too dry please tell me and I will make fresh. I want them to be the best they can be. Thanks for your recipe Emily! Hopefully you will be able to respond quickly, I do however know it is Thanksgiving and I hope you have a lovely one. I will understand if you don’t even get a chance to look at this message until way after the holiday.

    1. Emily – Happy Thanksgiving! For best results, I’d recommend making them fresh. They do dry out a touch upon reheating, but will taste great, too! I hope you all love them as much as we do!

  5. My 9 year old has Celiac. She likes foods that are kid friendly. We make these for the whole family and she LOVES them. We ALL do. Her teenage brother and father don’t even know their gluten free! 😬

  6. Can I just say, I LOVE these. I actually find them addicting! My 16 yr old daughter has celiac. The rest of us don’t eat GF all of the time, but if I’m cooking – we usually do (I’m not making two meals!) I must also confess that I tend to read recipes 2 or 3 times, get the gist of what is going on, then see what I have in my cabinets, fridge that is on the list or reasonably should work. Most of the time, I do pretty well. It is a practice that is currently coming in very handy during our STAY AT HOME orders, because I’m definitely not running to the store if I’m missing an ingredient. So on that note — I have made these and skipped the egg – they were great, replaced dijon with spicy brown – also great, used rice flour instead of Bob’s baking mix, used GF Hol-Grain chicken coating mix in place of it too – both worked great. Oddly enough, I have never used the Hol-Grain chicken coating mix the way it actually suggests too on the box, lol. I will also say the first time I made this recipe, I was incredibly doubtful. The thick batter like coating was very strange and I just thought it would be a mushy mess. I was SO wrong. Kudos to the chef on this one – apologies that I have morphed your perfection every time – but that is how perfect of a recipe it is — slight variations are still great because it is such a phenomenal recipe!!

    1. Amy – WOW WOW WOW! You totally made my day! I loved hearing about all your variations. It’s so nice to know the recipe can be so flexible!

      Thank you, too, for taking the time to leave a review. It’s so helpful! 🙂

  7. Looking forward to trying this recipe, one question: I see bits of green in the tenders, nothing in the recipe for the batter has anything green. What is that?

    1. Michele – That was just a little garnish at the end to make it look pretty :). I use cilantro or parsley, but it’s 100% optional and just for decoration.

  8. Love these for a quick dinner. I have used GF Panko and GF Italian bread crumb with great success

    The batter…..no substitute for that !

  9. These are FANTASTIC! A house favorite – do you happen to have the breakdown of nutritional info for the recipe?

        1. I have! I’ve had good luck following similar instructions–400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. They can sometimes stick, so make sure you either grease the bottom of the fryer well or use air fryer parchment paper (the kind with little holes to allow air circulation).

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