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Keto friendly and gluten free? Enjoy fried chicken tenders again! (and without an air fryer)


For those doing keto or are gluten sensitive, fried food can sound like it’s off-limits but guess what? It’s not! With the right recipe and ingredients, you can have that delicious fried flavor without any regret.

You may be wondering how you can have fried food on a keto diet since the definition of keto practically spells it out as off-limits. The secret is the breading and what you fry it in. This recipe uses almond flour instead of regular flour and ghee butter in place of oil. Those two combined give this recipe the keto seal of approval.

The keto diet

The keto diet is all about minimizing carbs while focusing on high-fat intake. The emphasis on fats makes this an ideal choice for anyone who wants to lose weight while still feeling satisfied after every meal.

The purpose of the low-carb aspect is to keep your body in a state called ketosis, where it produces ketones, which are produced when your body breaks down fat stores.

When you first start this type of diet, there is an adjustment period that might feel a little overwhelming. The first couple of weeks can be pretty harsh as your body tries to adjust to running on ketones instead of glucose. But once your system adjusts, weight loss becomes much easier.

This diet benefits weight loss because it limits food options, making you less likely to give in to temptation during your strict routine. It also helps that keto has so many health benefits when done correctly. But some people have trouble sticking with this type of eating plan… which brings me back to the keto-friendly chicken tenders.

Did I mention I fry them? Actually, fry them. I don’t pull out the air fryer for this recipe. The secret is simple, is ghee butter.

Why I use ghee butter 

Let’s start with what ghee is. 

According to Medical News Today, Ghee is essentially butter without the milk fats. You can make your own or buy it at your local grocery store. It originates from India, but it’s become easier to find locally due to keto’s popularity in Western culture. 

Ghee has advantages over the usual butter or oil when it comes to frying, especially for those on a keto diet.

First, ghee gives you more bang for your buck in the keto world in terms of fats (and since keto is based on an 80% fat diet, this is a big deal). Second, ghee is also much more stable than butter and able to withstand higher cooking temperatures, like those that happen while frying.

Due to the high heat, the breading on this recipe crisps up beautifully and creates a perfect golden color. The outside is crispy while the inside stays tender and juicy.

I made fried chicken with a lighter version of this breading, but it wouldn’t stay as crisp and golden. The extra egg white and almond flour in this recipe really make a difference.

Not only will keto-fried chicken tenders taste great, but you get the added bonus of increasing your vitamin and mineral intake without it leaving you feeling hungry. That full feeling, that’s the healthy fats doing their job!

Why I use almond flour 

Almond flour is rich in protein and fiber while also low carb, making this an easy choice for many on a keto diet. I use almond flour because it crushes into a fine texture that ends up creating what looks like regular flour, but contains way fewer carbs.

In my opinion, it’s the perfect replacement for regular flour.

I know what you’re thinking: almond flour is super expensive! I thought that too when I first started keto. But, if you don’t like the cost, you can always make your own almond flour. It’s easy to do with just a few simple ingredients, and it makes that price per pound go way down!

You may be wondering how to make your own almond flour too. It’s super simple and requires almonds, a blender, and about 5 minutes of your time. The Minimalist Baker gives an excellent overview of how to do it as well as the difference between almond meal and almond flour. It’s a cost-effective way to eat healthier without killing your monthly grocery budget.

I also want to mention that almond flour is full of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and iron among other healthy minerals. This means that when you eat this breading, your body will get plenty of good nutrients in return.

Now, let me show you how to make your very own keto friendly and gluten free chicken tenders!

Recipe Fried Chicken Tenders

First, gather your ingredients: 

  • Chicken tenders (the equivalent of two breasts)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Almond or sesame flour for breading 
  • Ghee butter for frying (don’t worry, this recipe doesn’t require deep frying to keep it on the keto side)


  1. Clean the chicken under cool running water and pat to dry using paper towels.
  2. Combine the egg with all the spices.
  3. Dredge the chicken in the egg and spice mixture.
  4. Cover each chicken slice in the flour.
  5. Over medium heat, I add two tbsp. of ghee to a non-stick pan.
  6. Pan fry each tender until golden and thoroughly cooked.

Serve hot with your favorite dressing.

Serving ideas

Part of any culinary experience is in the presentation and serving as much as it is in the actual flavor of the food itself. For this recipe, I have a few suggestions on how you can present your delicious meal with style. 

First, contemplate the most important part. The dipping sauce. 

There are several keto-friendly dipping sauces on the market. My personal favorite is the homestyle ranch. What can I say? You can’t go wrong with a classic. However, if you want something a bit different with that same great ranch base flavor, look for avocado oil ranch dressing. 

Second, what will you serve with it? For side dishes, I go for a keto-friendly Caesar salad or cauliflower hash browns. If you have a mushroom lover at the table, look up a recipe for creamy garlic mushrooms with bacon. Yummy.

As a last but not least suggestion, let’s talk about the garnish. A bit of parsley and lemon zest adds a nice pop of color to your keto-friendly chicken tenders recipe!

Cook and enjoy! Then come back and share in the comments what you thought.

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