by Olena

Almond Crusted Chicken

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 15 votes

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Healthy, naturally gluten free Almond Crusted Chicken made with almonds, seasonings and eggs. This easy recipe uses ground almonds in place of breadcrumbs to create crispy chicken tenders.

Other faux fried chicken recipes kids love are healthy fried chicken, coconut chicken and air fryer chicken wings. So good!

Almond crusted chicken tenders on parchment paper with a lemon wedge and ketchup.

Homemade almond flour chicken tenders have become one of my favorite ways to bake chicken breast on a weeknight. And my family loves how great it tastes because who doesn’t love chicken strips?

Almond crusted chicken is crunchy on the outside, moist inside and full of flavour. Not to mention that each piece is more filling than traditional versions thanks to the healthy fats in almonds!

Why Make Healthy Almond Crusted Chicken?

  • Quick and easy: Crispy almond chicken breast tenderloins are ready in under an hour and most of that is hands off oven time. 
  • Healthy: Almonds are high in calcium, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium and lean protein chicken is high in amino acids and helps maintain bone density!
  • Baked not fried: Which means lower in fat and calories and we can make a healthy dessert.
  • Kid approved: Kid tested, mom approved and they don’t even know they are eating a better for them chicken strip.
  • Diet friendly: Low carb, gluten free, sugar free, keto, paleo, Whole30, these chicken tenders fit into many healthy lifestyles! 

Crushed almonds, almond meal and almond flour are my new go-to instead of breadcrumbs. I use this healthy swap with healthy lemon chicken recipe and healthy chicken Parmesan as well! However, if someone in your family is allergic to nuts or you just want good old breaded chicken, check out this baked breaded chicken cutlets recipe.

Almond flour chicken tenders stacked on a plate with one cut open.

Ingredients for Almond Flour ‘Fried’ Chicken

If you want leftovers, double the recipe. One batch serves 4 people and when I made it, only a few pieces of crispy almond chicken breast were left.

  • Chicken: Use chicken breast meat or chicken tenderloins. I recommend boneless & skinless.
  • Almonds: Use raw almonds rather than seasoned and salted not to mess with other breading ingredients. Almond flour can also be used, although chicken won’t be as ‘crunchy’. I save almond flour for almond flour crust pizza instead. Looking for almond chicken? Try my stir fry or teriyaki chicken with an addition of sliced almonds instead.

Almond flour types: Almond flour or almond meal will work just as well. I grind almonds in a food processor for a homemade almond flour just because we like more crunch with almond crusted chicken!

  • Seasonings: Garlic or onion powder/granules, dried oregano or basil, salt and pepper. Don’t use fresh garlic or herbs because they will ruin the breading (however, fresh is best in this baked zucchini recipe).
  • Eggs: To stick it all together!
Almonds, eggs, seasonings and chicken breast.

How to Make Crispy Almond Chicken Breast Strips

There is a full recipe card below. 

  • Make nut breading: In a bowl, mix together ground nuts and seasonings. In another small bowl, whisk the eggs.
  • Prepare chicken: Wash chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Then cut into 1/2 inch thick strips lengthwise. Use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken pieces a few times on a cutting board. I suggest placing a piece of plastic wrap on top of the chicken. Do not skip this step. This will make your almond flour fried chicken so tender!
  • Dip the chicken: First dip both sides of each chicken strip into the egg mixtures. Then, coat completely with the almond flour ‘fried’ chicken mixture. Place the breaded chicken on a prepared baking sheet.

Tip: Try to hold the meat by the ends to prevent the almond mixture from sticking to your fingers. You can also rinse your finders in a bowl of cold water.

  • Bake: Place in preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes on one side. Flip and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Please note, when flipping the bottom might look under baked and soggy but it will get browned and turn into crispy almond chicken breast, trust me.

Freezer Friendly Chicken Tenders

Make ahead freezer meal: Prep the almond crusted chicken tenders as per recipe instructions. Lay the uncooked strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then freeze completely. Lastly, transfer to a large Ziploc bag. When you are ready to enjoy, bake from frozen following the recipe’s instructions + 15 minutes.

Check out my full list of 20 healthy frozen dinners. I’m obsessed!

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Nuts: Try cashews, pistachios or even smoked almonds (omit added salt) for a different taste!
  • Seasonings: Smoked paprika, paprika, thyme or cajun spices would taste amazing. Kids love smoked paprika on air fryer chicken drumsticks!
  • Eggs: All out of eggs? Try milk, buttermilk, sour cream or Greek yogurt.
  • Grated parmesan: Could be added to your breading mixture for an almond parmesan crusted chicken.
  • Other meat: Try this breading on salmon, whitefish or pork chops!

Tips for Best Results

  • Set the crust: If you are worried that your crust is not sticking, after you ‘bread’ your chicken tenders, cover and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Pat the almond coating: Alternately, if you are short on time, after breading, pat the chicken strips to seal the coating. 
  • Pulse almonds in food processor: Of course this is personal preference, but it’s really better with a few crunchy almond pieces on the chicken for texture! 
  • Tenderize your chicken: Don’t skip this step, it evens out the chicken’s texture and makes it juicier!
  • Drizzle of olive oil: Not necessary, but will add a crisp to the almond flour ‘fried’ chicken!

FAQs

Can I air fry almond crusted chicken?

Yes, although I have not tested this recipe, air fryer chicken tenders with panko is a favorite. You will need to adjust the cooking time as an air fryer will cook faster, one reader had success at 390F degrees for 15 minutes.

Can I make crispy almond chicken breast nuggets?

Yes, this is a great idea for smaller kids! Just cut your tenders into smaller sized pieces and they will cook faster so keep an eye on them in the oven.

Can I pan fry almond crusted ‘fried’ chicken?

Yes, this will require some use of oil, but is definitely doable in a large skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on each side until done.

What is almond fried chicken?

While there are many variations of this, many times it refers to a deep fried chicken tenderloin that is topped with gravy and then sprinkled with toasted almonds and served over iceberg. That dish has many steps and is high in calories and fat (as well as lacking nutritional value!), my almond flour ‘fried’ chicken is lower in calories, fat and carbs, plus has additional nutritional value from using whole almonds.

How many carbs are in crusted chicken?

A panko (breadcrumb) based chicken might have up to 45g total carbs! This low carb chicken with homemade almond flour contains only 3g.

How to Serve Gluten Free Chicken Tenders?

These almond flour chicken tenders are great as:

Got air fryer? Make air fryer cauliflower or broccoli for a whole crispy dinner that rivals any takeout!

How to Store Healthy Breaded Chicken?

Storing: Leftover chicken should be placed in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Please note, it will lose a bit of the crispiness once refrigerated. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Reheating:When ready to reheat, bake from frozen for 10-15 minutes or if leftovers for 5 minutes at 375 degrees F.

See recipe card for directions on how to turn almond flour fried chicken strips into a freezer friendly meal perfect healthy lunch ideas!

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

Baked almond crusted chicken tenders on baking sheet.
Almond Crusted Chicken

Almond Crusted Chicken

Healthy, naturally gluten free Almond Crusted Chicken made with almonds, seasonings and eggs. This easy recipe uses ground almonds in place of breadcrumbs to create crispy chicken tenders.
5 from 15 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 strips
Calories: 109kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, spray well with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In one small bowl, mix ground almonds, garlic (onion) powder, oregano (basil), salt and pepper. In another small bowl, whisk the eggs.
  • Wash chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Cut into 1/2 inch thick strips lengthwise. Place a few on a cutting board, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and pound with meat tenderizer a few times. Repeat with remaining pieces.
  • Dip each strip into an egg mixture, coat completely in almond mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Try to hold meat by the ends to prevent almonds sticking to your fingers, or rinse your fingers after each piece in a bowl with cold water.
  • Bake for 15 minutes on one side, flip and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Please note, when flipping the bottom might look under baked and soggy but it will get browned and crispy, trust me.
  • Best served right away while crispy with ketchup or honey mustard sauce for dipping, pressure cooker mac and cheese or with tomato mozzarella salad or savoy cabbage salad.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake from frozen for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

      Freezer meal: Lay uncooked strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, freeze completely and transfer to a large Ziploc bag. Bake from frozen following recipe's instructions + 15 minutes.

        Notes

        • Set the crust: If you are worried that your crust is not sticking, after you ‘bread’ your chicken tenders, cover and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. 
        • Pat the almond coating: Alternately, if you are short on time, after breading, pat the chicken strips to seal the coating. 
        • Pulse almonds in food processor: Of course this is personal preference, but it’s really better with a few crunchy almond pieces on the chicken for texture! 
        • Tenderize your chicken: Don’t skip this step, it evens out the chicken’s texture and makes it juicier!
        • Drizzle of olive oil: Not necessary, but will add a crisp to the almond flour ‘fried’ chicken!
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1strip | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.