Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders – Paleo

These fast and easy chicken tenders are kid-approved. Delicious all on their own or cut up in a salad, they make the perfect lunch or dinner.

This recipe was updated in the summer of 2020.

Frozen chicken nuggets or tenders are a typical go-to dinner for most kids these days. I can’t say I blame parents for caving, it is an easy and quick dinner, and you only need a frying pan, on those hectic nights when you’re taking the kids from one activity to the next and it seems you just can’t even catch your breath.


… Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s the best option for a meal. We like to keep homemade chicken nuggets in the freezer, but they don’t last long between the 5 of us. That’s why we love these fast and easy Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders. They cook up fast and reheat great without loosing the crunchy.

Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo

Chicken Tender Spice Blend

There aren’t any quantities on the ingredients, like the garlic, for this gluten-free chicken, because it’s more of a how-you’re-feeling-at-the-moment kind of recipe. But we’ve found this particular blend of spices to be just right, so make sure you use them all.

The easiest way to season the chicken is to do one side before you add it to the skillet, put them in the skillet, seasoned side down, then season the other side while they’re cooking on the frying pan. Less mess and all the spices stick to the chicken tenders and not to the plate.

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo
Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo
Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo

Cooking with Avocado Oil

Cooking them in the combination of ghee (or butter if you’re so inclined) and avocado oil gives you some really great fats without sacrificing flavor. Avocado oil is perfect for cooking at high temps and has a very mild flavor that doesn’t overpower foods, so if you haven’t made the switch to avocado oil yet, do it now. You won’t regret it.

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo

Chicken Tender Dipping Sauce

Our favorite dipping sauce with these chicken tenders is our Honey Mustard Sauce, but for some people that can really cut into your keto macros. Use our” target=”_blank” aria-label=”undefined (opens in a new tab)” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Ranch Dressing instead for minimal carbs and delicious fats for dressing your paleo fried chicken.

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free} by #paleo

Easy Salad Chicken

And finally, one other way we love to eat these chicken tenders is in a salad. Once the tenders are cooked up, cut them into 1/2″ thick slices of crusted chicken on the diagonal and serve them in your favorite salad to add some crunchy flavor. We are partial to our House Salad, but often just use whatever we have on hand. Can’t go wrong with mixed greens, crispy chicken, avocado, and a rainbow of veggies and maybe olive oil and garlic.

Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free}

Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders {grain-free; dairy-free}

Yield: 12 tenders
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

These fast and easy chicken tenders are kid-approved. Delicious all on their own or cut up in a salad, they make the perfect lunch or dinner.


  • 12 Chicken Tenders
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee or Grass-Fed Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • Honey Mustard Dip, -or-
  • Ranch Dressing, (use this dip option for Whole30 compliance)


  1. Rinse chicken tenders and pat dry.
  2. Sprinkle each herb/spice onto one side of the chicken tenders individually. How much you use is up to your personal preferences. We prefer to go light on the onion and garlic powders and heavy on the rest.
  3. Heat the ghee/butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken, seasoned side down. Once you add them to the skillet, don't move them. Cook until the edges turn opaque and white, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is in the skillet cooking, season the other side of them.
  5. Once the edges are white, flip the chicken tenders and cook on the other side for another 3-5 minutes, or until completely cooked through and no pink remains. Thinner tenders will take closer to 3 minutes, while thicker ones will take longer.
  6. Remove from the skillet and serve hot with a side of Honey Mustard or Ranch dipping sauce.
  7. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat, add some more ghee/butter and oil to a skillet, slice the tenders into bite-size pieces, and pan-fry until crispy and heated through.

Addition Serving Suggestion

  1. Once cooked or reheated, the sliced tenders make the perfect topping for any mixed green salad. Drizzle with the Hot Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing or regular Honey Mustard Dressing for a hearty meal.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 tender
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 533mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

Nutrition is calculated by a third party and may not be 100% accurate

There's no need for carb-filled breading on these flavor-packed chicken tenders. Coated in the perfect blend of spices and pan-fried to crispy perfection in buttery ghee, kids and adults will love this easy-to-make dinner. #paleo
  1. Delicious! Made this as a snack – skipped the home made sauces. Love how beautifully crisp the tenders got in the skillet. You’ve got a big fan over here! Thank you for guiding me into the light for Whole30. It seemed like it might be very bleak, but it is great to know you can eat great and still have plenty of flavor.

  2. I just made this recipe for my wife. It was a big success and really easy to put together. This one will definitely be in the rotation.

  3. Perfect recipe. Only question I have is whether or not I can add breadcrumbs to this to add to the texture. Not a huge fan of grilled or fried chicken texture.

    If so, any suggestions as to how to go about that?


    1. I have not tried breading the chicken or mixing the spices int a breading mixture. I would be somewhat partial to breading it in ground-up pork rinds to keep the carb count down, but you could try breading it in your preferred coating and try it out.

  4. Ok I don’t usually write reviews but this recipe is AMAZING!!! Not only do I use it religiously but I have also applied this method to other meats like scallops, pork, steak just whatever and the meat is always super tender. I shared it with my daughter and it’s now a part of her consistent routine as well. The only thing I added was tumeric an equal part just bcos I love the spice and it goes well with the other spices.

    1. Thank you Peggy! I love that you’re using the spice blend on other meats as well, I’ll have to try that out.

  5. Hey Cara,

    I would like to thank you for this post.
    Its beautiful and tasty, Its really helpful for me, I tried and make it.

  6. Hey,

    I would like to thank you for this post.
    Its beautiful and tasty, Its really helpful for me, I tried and make it.

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