Gluten Free, Paleo Plantain Crusted Chicken Tenders

These plantain crusted chicken tenders are a staple in our house!  My kids literally cheer when I tell them we are having these for dinner.  It’s always a plus when I can find recipes that my whole family loves.  These are so easy to make and healthy too. These chicken tenders are naturally gluten free, grain free, paleo, AIP and Whole 30 compliant.  

In addition to being absolutely delicious, I think my favorite thing about these chicken tenders is that you can double the recipe and freeze the extra.  These only take 15-20 minutes to reheat from the freezer in the oven, so these have become my “go to” on nights that we are busy with sports or even on nights when we get back from the airport after a trip.  This is a great way to serve a healthy dinner to your family on one of those super busy weeknights, and it’s so much better for you than fast food.

I love sharing new recipes with you, but I also love sharing tried and true recipes with you. I’ve been making these paleo chicken tenders for my family for years and these have got to be in everyone’s top five of everyone’s favorite things for dinner.  This crispy gluten free chicken tenders are such a crowd pleaser.  These plantain-crusted chicken fingers are a great way to serve your family tender and juicy chicken that everyone will love. 

What you need to Make Plantain Crusted Chicken Tenders

Chicken – Chicken tenderloins or boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips.  I always like to quickly go through the chicken tenders and cut off any gristle (extra fatty parts, tendons or sometimes bones) from the sides of the chicken that might have been left behind during the butchering process.  If you’re going to make your own tenderloins by cutting down chicken breast, just be sure the thickness of each individual chicken tender is roughly the same to ensure even baking.  You can use a rolling pin and gently pound out the tenders to give them an even thickness.

Breading – What makes this recipe so delicious is the plantain chips.  These already have oil which is what helps make these chicken tenders extra crispy.  My favorite brand is the Inka brand, and I can usually find those at Whole Foods, Trader Joes or online.   Please note that while the recipe calls for 1-6 ounce bag of plantain chips, I like to have an extra bag of plantain chips, just in case there are a couple of tenders left over that still need plantain coating.

Oil – In lieu of canola oil, I suggest using avocado oil for this recipe.  Olive oil would also work, but will slightly change the taste.

Seasonings – The suggested seasonings are pretty basic: salt, turmeric powder, garlic powder and onion powder. However, you can get as creative as you like with this part.  Cumin, taco seasoning, chili powder or paprika would all be great options for a little extra kick.

Serving Suggestions

Part of what makes these chicken tenders such a family favorite is the dipping sauces.  You can get as creative as you like with these.  Sometimes I will whip up some homemade ranch or honey mustard dipping sauce.  Hot sauce mixed with mayo or sour cream is another solid option.  We all love dipping these in bbq sauce.  Or sometimes, I’ll just open up the fridge and let each child pick out their favorite jarred sauce. 

Cooking Methods

Air Fryer – I do have to note that my preferred method of cooking is the oven (below). With more room on a sheet pan than inside an air fryer, I can cook all of these in one batch. Also, I find that the overall end product out of the oven is more tender and juicy.

  • Pulse plantain chips in a food processor until coarsely ground, similar to the size of oats.
  • In a small bowl, combine crushed plantains, salt, turmeric, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir to combine.
  • Dip chicken tenders in avocado oil,
  • Working one at a time, press tenders into the plantain coating to completely adhere.
  • Place breaded tenders in the air fryer basket in a single layer, without overcrowding
  • Air fry at 390°F for 8-10 minutes, flip halfway through, until golden brown and crispy.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.
  • Check internal temperature to confirm tenders reach 165°F and are fully cooked.

Enjoy your crispy plantain chicken tenders straight from the air fryer! Adjust cooking times as needed to account for the size of your air fryer and thickness of chicken.

Baked in the Oven

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Pulse plantain chips in food processor into coarse crumbs, similar to size of oats.
  • Mix plantain crumbs with salt, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder.
  • Dip chicken tenders in avocado oil.
  • Coat chicken in plantain mixture, pressing to adhere.
  • Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.
  • Optional: Broil 1-2 minutes per side for crispy texture.


You can enjoy your plantain chicken tenders for quick meals any night of the week by simply storing these properly in the refrigerator or freezer!


The best way to store your leftover plantain crusted chicken tenders is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow the cooked chicken tenders to cool completely, before placing in the container. Line the bottom of the container with parchment paper and place parchment paper between each layer to prevent these from sticking together. Properly stored in the refrigerator, the chicken tenders will keep fresh for 3-4 days.


For longer freezer storage, spread out the cooked, cooled plantain chicken tenders in a single layer on a sheet pan or plate and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Once solidly frozen, transfer the frozen tenders into freezer bags or airtight containers, removing as much air as possible. Label the freezer containers with the date and contents. Properly sealed and frozen, the plantain crusted chicken tenders can be kept frozen for up to 2-3 months. To reheat tenders from frozen, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes until hot and crispy again. Microwaving is not recommended as it will make the coating soggy.

chicken tenders

Gluten Free, Paleo Plantain Crusted Chicken Tenders

Sarah Erickson
My kids love these chicken tenders! They are great as an entree for a weeknight dinner and even better as leftovers in a salad or topped with pesto!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American


  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 6 ounces plantain chips plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pulse plantain chips in a food processor until coarsely grounded. The final consistency should have plantains no bigger than the size of oats. Many of the plantains will be a much smaller size. That’s the perfect consistency.
  • Add salt, turmeric, garlic powder and onion powder to plantains, and stir to combine.
  • Dip the chicken tenders in the avocado oil.
  • Then, press the chicken tenders in the plantain mixture. Note: You will need to push down on the chicken to make the plantain mixture stick. If the plantainspieces are not sticking, they are too big. Give them a few more pulses in the food processor.
  • Place on a baking sheet and repeat with all of the chicken tenders.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken tenders.

Optional: Turn the oven to “broil” and broil for 1-2 minutes per side to make the chicken tenders extra crispy.


    parchment paper
    shallow bowl
    shallow dish
    rimmed baking sheet
    – Honey mustard sauce – mustard, honey, oil
    – Buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, honey
    Keyword chicken, chicken tenders, dinner, gluten free, paleo, plantain

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