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.
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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?
This is on regular rotation with healthy chicken nuggets, another family friendly favorite!
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 You’ll Love This Recipe
- 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.
Ingredients for Almond Crusted 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 healthy chicken stir fry 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.
- Eggs: To stick it all together!
You might also love to browse over 20 healthy almond flour recipes!
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 freezer meals. I’m obsessed!
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
These almond flour chicken tenders are great as:
- An appetizer with dipping sauce: Ketchup or your favourite healthy dipping sauce like healthy honey mustard dressing, healthy BBQ sauce or healthy ranch dressing.
- Faux fast food meal: Serve with Instant Pot mac and cheese or healthy mashed potatoes with gravy for a faux KFC experience or make this lower carb baked mac and cheese with cauliflower.
- Low carb meal: With savoy cabbage salad.
- Easy dinner with a side of veggies: This baked okra would pair nicely with almond flour chicken tenders (watch your kids devour it!), not to mention so easy to prep while chicken is baking and then pop right in the already preheated to 450 degrees F oven for another 15 minutes. I do not recommend to bake both at same time because steam from okra will result in less crispy chicken.
How to Store
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.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes to Try
- Cilantro lime chicken recipe
- Honey garlic chicken recipe
- Chicken burger recipe
- Chicken enchiladas recipe
- Air fryer chicken breast
- Cajun chicken
Need more dinner inspiration? Check out my collection of most popular healthy chicken recipes.
Almond Crusted Chicken
- 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.
- 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.