It’s crispy, crunchy, and tastes like a good time— I’m all about fried chicken lately. These keto chicken tenders are perfect for sharing and mine have a secret ingredient worth talking about—Shhh! It’s pickle juice!
Love Me Tender
It was always chicken tenders for me (and the kid’s menu) growing up. I loved chicken tenders (and the *less expensive* kids menu) just as much in college.
This is the tender that I’ve always loved—with layers of flavor fit for my grown-up tastebuds. Marinated in pickle juice. Coated in with herbs, parm, and pork rinds. Crisp, juicy, flavorful chicken. And we’re not done yet…
Then we dip for even more flavor. The possibilities are endless, but my go-to’s are spicy sriracha and garlic parmesan sauce.
So when the last pickle is gone and you’re left with that jar of juice…you know what to do.
Here’s everything you need to make keto chicken tenders without almond flour:
- Pickle juice to brine the tenders. I typically use Vlassics, although any brand will do here. Pickle brine chicken infuses a touch of pickle flavor while keeping the chicken juicy as it bakes.
- Chicken tenders – can’t find tenders? Use chicken breast cut into thin long tender-sized strips.
- Pork rinds – crush your pork rinds in a large resealable bag with a rolling pin. You can also buy pork panko, which I absolutely love because it gives you a consistent sized “grain”. Using pork rinds gives you the flavor of fried keto chicken strips without having to fry anything. It’s my favorite gluten-free bread crumb/panko substitute to keep the net carbs down.
- Parmesan cheese adds a bit more crunch and delicious salt-y flavor.
- Seasoning (a mixture of black pepper, smoked paprika, + garlic powder) – feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer.
Can I Make These in the Air Fryer?
Sure! Although, the pork rinds are already crispy and fried, so using the air fryer isn’t as necessary as it would be if you were making keto chicken tenders coconut flour. To make keto chicken tenders pork rinds air fryer, set machine to 400 F, and cook for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Since tenders vary in thickness, it’s easiest to tell that they’re done by checking their internal temp — should be 165 F.
Can I Fry These?
Not into keto chicken tenders baked? These can be fried by using a different coating — check out the tempura batter I use on my popcorn chicken or keto onion rings, and follow those instructions for getting the oil just right.
These low carb chicken tenders are begging to be dipped. Know that most storebought sauces are loaded with sugar, so read labels carefully or opt to make your own. My favorite dips for these include (+ recipe links!):
Reheating + Storing Tips
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Keep in mind the coating is a bit fragile, so I prefer containers to bags. To reheat, place your leftovers on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them in the oven until crispy and heated through.
More Keto Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Crust Pizza
- Keto Chicken Curry
- Keto Chicken Enchilada Soup
- String Bean Chicken Breast
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
Keto Chicken TendersPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- Pickle Juice enough to cover chicken (note 1)
- 2 pounds Chicken Tenders (note 2)
- 3/4 Cup Pork Rinds crushed (note 3)
- 3/4 Cup Parmesan grated
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic powder
- 2 Eggs
- Brine. Place chicken tenders in a large bowl and pour the pickle juice on top, making sure to completely cover the chicken. Place in the fridge and marinate overnight (note 4). Remove chicken from the brine and rinse with cold water. Dab off with paper towels before moving on to the next step.
- Prep. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prep. In a wide-mouthed shallow bowl, combine the pork rinds, parmesan, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. In a second wide-mouthed bowl, whisk the eggs.
- Dunk the dry chicken into the eggs, then into the parmesan/pork rind combo, making sure to evenly coat each side, and pressing to adhere if necessary. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the chicken in the preheated oven until internal temp reaches 165 F -- this took me 18-20 minutes but will depend on how thick your tenders are. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (note 5) and enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- Pickle juice - I used a 32-ounce jar. Use any pickle juice you love, I typically use Vlassics.
- Chicken tenders - can use chicken breast cut into long thin strips
- Pork rinds - crush pork rinds with a rolling pin until the size of panko crumbs. Or, purchase pork panko (we love it!).
- Brine time - we tested the chicken in pickle juice overnight vs. 3 hours, and noticed a huge difference in flavor! If you love pickles, opt for more time in the brine.
- Dipping sauces - most storebought products contain loads of sugar, opt for my sugar free versions or read labels carefully!