Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

5 from 1 vote
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I ditched the deep fryer with these healthy baked gluten-free chicken tenders. Thanks to gluten-free panko breadcrumbs, these chicken fingers are crispy without any frying at all! I love to make a big batch and freeze them to have on hand for a speedy, kid-friendly dinner.

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders and French fries on a round plate with ketchup and mustard in bowls on side.

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders Recipe

Chicken tenders aren’t just for kids! Like Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, they’re a popular item on most restaurant kids’ menus, but chicken strips are loved by all ages.

My gluten-free version is baked so they’re healthier than anything you order at restaurants. The recipe takes just over 30 minutes and there’ll be enough to serve the entire family (and possibly even have some leftovers to freeze for a quick lunch the next day!).

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts: Make sure you’re using fresh, not frozen chicken breasts. The mixture won’t stick to thawed chicken breasts that have too much moisture.
  • Mayonnaise: Keeps the chicken juicy and tender.
  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: Thickens the sauce mixture so it better sticks to the chicken.
  • Egg: Also helps the panko breadcrumbs stick to the tenders.
  • Garlic and Onion Powders: Add flavor.
  • Paprika: Adds a mild, peppery aroma.
  • Salt: Enhances all the flavors.
  • Black Pepper: Gives the tenders a slight kick.
  • Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are the best choice for crispy chicken fingers, but if you can’t find gluten-free panko, you can substitute with regular gluten-free breadcrumbs. Just make sure they’re processed down to a fine crumb. 
Ingredients for Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders measured out in bowls and plates.

Tips and Notes

  • Cut the chicken into similar-sized strips so they all bake at the same speed.
  • Let the chicken tenders sit in the sauce mixture for at least 10 minutes before coating them in panko. If you need to leave the chicken tenders in the sauce for longer than 10 minutes, cover the bowl with food-safe plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you are ready to coat in the breadcrumbs.
  • Feel free to mix up the seasonings! Instead of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, try substituting a tablespoon of Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence.

Can I Make Them Without Eggs?

The mayonnaise is key to keeping these chicken fingers juicy, but you can use vegan mayonnaise instead. For breading, the eggs are also key to helping everything stick to the chicken, but you can replace it with a chia or flax egg.

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders and bowls of ketchup and mustard on parchment-lined baking tray.

Can I Air Fry Them Instead?

You sure can! Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and air fry the chicken strips in batches for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Storage Instructions

Store gluten-free chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400°F. You can reheat in the microwave, but the results won’t be as juicy and crunchy.

Close-up of insider of Gluten-Free Chicken Tender piled on top of other pieces of chicken.

More Gluten-Free Chicken Recipes to Try!

5 from 1 vote

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 33 minutes
Homemade gluten-free chicken tenders are quick, easy, and healthy. This 30-minute recipe is great for fast, kid-friendly dinners!

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

Instructions 

  • Trim any excess fat off the chicken breasts, then cut into strips about 4 inches long, 1½ inches wide, and ½ inch thick. Try to make all chicken strips similar in size so they bake at the same rate. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, gluten-free flour, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  • Add the chicken to the mixture and toss until the tenders are uniformly coated. Let this sit for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the panko breadcrumbs on a large plate and coat the chicken tenders one piece at a time. Use a fork to gently press the panko into the chicken so the crumbs stick on well.
    As each chicken tender is coated, gently shake off any excess panko and place the chicken tender onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Once all chicken tenders are coated in panko, place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The chicken tenders are done once the crust is lightly golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Notes

  • Cut the chicken into similar-sized strips so they all bake at the same speed.
  • Let the chicken tenders sit in the sauce mixture for at least 10 minutes before coating them in panko. If you need to leave the chicken tenders in the sauce for longer than 10 minutes, cover the bowl with food-safe plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you are ready to coat in the breadcrumbs.
  • Feel free to mix up the seasonings! Instead of the garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, try substituting a tablespoon of Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence.
  • To store: Gluten-free chicken tenders are best when eaten fresh as the panko crust gets soggy after refrigeration. If sealed well in a food-safe container, gluten-free chicken tenders can last in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • To freeze:  Bake and allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight food-safe container or zip-top bag for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat: Place in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400°F.
  • Mama says, “Make sure to always check your labels!”

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 587kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 37gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 761mgPotassium: 585mgFiber: 3gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 179IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!

How To Make Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders Step-by-Step

Trim any excess fat off 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then cut into strips about 4 inches long, 1½ inches wide, and ½ inch thick. Try to make all chicken strips similar in size so they bake at the same rate. Set aside.

mayonnaise, gluten-free flour, egg, and spices mixed in a glass bowl.

In a large bowl, stir together ¼ cup of mayonnaise, ¼ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of paprika, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir until smooth and thoroughly combined.

chicken tenders coated in a mayonnaise marinade in a glass bowl.

Add the chicken to the mixture and toss until the tenders are uniformly coated. Let this sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

tossing a chicken tender in panko breadcrumbs on a white plate.

Place 3 cups of gluten-free panko breadcrumbs on a large plate and coat the chicken strips one piece at a time. Use a fork to gently press the panko into the chicken so the crumbs stick on well.As each chicken tender is coated, gently shake off any excess panko and place the chicken tender onto the prepared baking sheet.

baked gluten-free chicken tenders on a baking sheet with ketchup and mustard.

Once all chicken tenders are coated in panko, place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The chicken fingers are done once the crust is lightly golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

About Cheryl Johnson

My name is Cheryl Johnson and I love food—lots of it! For 10 years, I owned a recipe and party planning blog, where I developed and photographed hundreds of recipes. After selling that blog in 2019, I decided to open up a bakery in my city. My bakery specialized in big over-the-top treats (think two-pound stuffed cookies).

My recipes have been featured on local news stations, Woman's World Magazine, and more. I'm excited to continue sharing my love of food with all of you!

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