Copycat Chick-Fil-a Chicken Tenders (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)
Succulent Chick-fil-a inspired chicken tenders coated in a savory seasoned breading then pan fried to perfection. This simple and delicious meal makes for an awesome kid friendly dinner, or doubles at a great gluten-free party snack or appetizer. These Paleo chicken tenders are so easy to make, even easier to eat, and are a super popular dish anytime!
Why Chicken is So Good For You!
We all know that chicken is a tasty and fantastic source of protein, but do you know why it is so good for you? Chicken, along with many other sources of animal protein, such as beef, eggs and fish, are a complete source of protein. This means that all nine essential amino acids are present and available to you when you eat these foods.
When it comes to nutrients, anything labeled as “essential” means that your body cannot make or synthesize this nutrient, so it must be provided to your body by the foods you eat.
As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must eat everyday to provide our bodies energy as well as the building blocks necessary in everyday functions such as growth and repair, immune support, and in the synthesis of our hormones and neurotransmitters.
The nine essential amino acids and their roles are :
- Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health
- Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair
- Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.
- Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.
- Isoleucine: necessary in immune function and energy regulation.
- Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.
- Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body’s ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).
- Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.
- Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body’s ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)
So grab some chicken tenders and let’s get cooking!
Copycat Chick-Fil-a Chicken Tenders Ingredients
1-1.5 lbs Chicken Tenders
1 Pasture Raised Egg, beaten
3/4 cup Fine Almond Flour
1/3 cup Arrowroot Starch
1 tsp Paprika Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper Powder or Chipotle Pepper Powder (opt)
1.5 tsp Fine Real Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
Avocado oil or Pork Fat for frying
How to Make Copycat Chick-Fil-a Chicken Tenders
1. Beat the egg in a medium bowl and add the chicken tenders, stirring to ensure each chicky tender is coated with egg.
2. In a large bowl you can cover with saran or a lid, combine the almond flour, arrowroot or tapioca starch and spices, whisk to combine.
3. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with enough oil so that there is about 1/8-1/4″ of oil/fat in the pan for frying (you may need to add more as the tenders cook and new ones are added).
4. Add the chicken tenders one at a time (shake a few times to remove excess egg wash) to the bowl with the flour mixture. Cover and shake well to coat the chicken tenders.
5. Fry the chicken tenders on both sides for about 5-7 minutes until fully cooked through.
- Be sure to do this in batches so you do not over crowd the pan and ensure you do not reduce the heat of the oil too much.
- Remove from heat and set onto a cooling rack to drain any excess oil. (I like to layer my cooking rack onto a bar pan and keep the tenders in the oven with the temp set low (around 170 degrees) until I have finished cooking all the tenders.
7. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until all the chicken tenders are done.
Enjoy with Paleo Chick-fil-a Sauce!
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Q: Can I bake Paleo Chick-fil-a chicken tenders?
A: Yes, you can bake them in the oven (425 for 10-15ish minutes), just brush a little bit of avocado oil or EVOO on both sides first and flip at the halfway point!
Q: If I make these ahead of time, will they reheat well?
A: Whenever I make fried food ahead of time, I keep them in the oven at the lowest temperature if it’s for a short time. For a longer period of time, reheat them in the oven at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
Q: Can I fry Paleo Chic-fil-a chicken tenders in vegetable or peanut oil?
A: Any type of vegetable oil (canola, soybean, vegetable, sunflower, peanut, etc.) is inflammatory, and in general I do not recommend using them to cook with.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.