These crispy Keto chicken tenders are brined then double “breaded” with a surprise ingredient that adds an insane crunch that you would never expect from a low carb chicken tender.
These tenders are perfect alone with your favorite dipping sauce or on top of a bed of lettuce as a salad. If you keep an open mind while trying these, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Can we talk for a second about how much I love chicken tenders but hate making them?
I know that’s a strange way to start a recipe for crispy keto chicken tenders but it’s true.
They’re not especially difficult to make or expensive or anything, I simply could never get them to come out right. Overdone, tough.
Then I started brining all of my white meat chicken before cooking it and my life was changed forever. I read about this technique in Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book.
Yes, that’s really the name of the cookbook. Definitely worth checking out!
Ok that might be a little dramatic but whatever. When you live a healthy lifestyle you pretty much have to embrace chicken breast. (Unless you’re vegan or vegetarian obviously) and when it’s not good, you won’t eat it. Period.
Low carb chicken tenders with pork rind breading
“But Carmella, how can breaded chicken tenders be low carb?”
Well they can’t really. That’s why I put the “breaded” part in quotes.
There are low carb breads that you could buy then grind to make breading for these tenders but it’s a little more fun to try something new and this method has less processed ingredients.
Want to learn more about Keto? Check out the beginner’s guide!
In order to get that insane crispiness I had to employ the use of an unconventional ingredient that will probably sound weird but hear me out.
*In my Iron Chef Chairman voice* The secret ingredient is: pork rinds.
Wait, come back! I promise I’m not crazy!
Seriously, one 4 oz bag of pork rinds serves as enough crunch for over a pound of chicken breast tenders. And, uh, have you ever had homemade ranch? Cuz, it’s ahmazing.
These to together, my friends, are what we refer to as a game changer.
Between the brining of the chicken tenders and the pork rinds, you really don’t need much seasoning but you can season the tenders before the breading step, if you desire. Using flavored pork rinds is also an option!
You can also skip the brining step if you want buuuuut I think you’ll feel where I’m coming from after you try it. The egg wash helps the pork rind breading adhere to the chicken tenders while also adding to the crispiness.
Not low carb? That’s fine, no one’s perfect (just kidding). Just replace the pork rinds with Panko bread crumbs. These are seriously bomb ya’ll.
Crispy fried chicken isn’t off limits! These are the crispiest keto chicken tenders you’ll ever have thanks to pork rinds. Ketogenic, gluten free, and Atkins friendly!
For the ranch dressing:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ full fat buttermilk
- ¼ tsp fresh chives
- ¼ tsp dry dill
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp parsley
- ⅛ tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- splash of Worcestershire sauce
For the brine:
- ¼ cup salt
- 2 cups lukewarm water
For the tenders:
- 1–1½ lb of chicken breast tenders
- 2 tbs of coconut flour or cornstarch
- 4 oz of pork rinds*
- 2 eggs + 2 tbs of water
- oil for frying
- In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors develop.
- Mix the ¼ cup of salt for the brine with the water until the salt is dissolved. Add chicken tenders and allow to brine for about 20 minutes. Any longer and the brine will break down the tenders too much, making them rubbery.
- While the tenders are brining, heat your oil to 350 degrees and scramble eggs in a bowl with 2 tbs of water.
- Pulse pork rinds in a food processor until they are coarsely ground, I used my Cuisanart Smart Stick. If you don’t have a food processor you can crush them with a mallet or your hands.
- Remove tenders from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Dust chicken tenders with coconut flour then dip into the egg mixture. Remove tenders from the eggs, allowing any excess to drip off, then place into the crushed pork rinds.
- Place tenders gently into heated oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is crispy.
- Drain on a cooling rack or paper towels and enjoy with ranch dressing.