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Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

a pecan crusted chicken tender dipping in a honey mustard dipping sauce with more pecan crusted chicken tenders around it.

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Healthy pecan crusted chicken tenders are coated with a crunchy pecan crust and one of my favorite ways to make chicken that the whole family will love for a quick dinner. The pecan mixture is made with simple ingredients and becomes a crispy coating on these chicken strips, with an addicting texture and flavor.

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 1/2 cups (191g) pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup (29g) almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Pull chicken out of fridge and let sit on the counter (keep it in its packaging) while you prep the rest of the ingredients.*
  2. Place pecans in a food processor or blender and chop until they become fine crumbs with some small pieces.
  3. Mix pecan crumbs, almond flour, salt, and chili powder in a shallow bowl or plate.
  4. In a separate small bowl, scramble eggs.
  5. Place the air fryer wire basket next to the pecan mix. Dishes should be in this order: raw chicken tenderloins, egg, pecan breading, wire basket.
  6. Preheat air fryer to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Dip 3-4 chicken tenders in egg wash then coat in pecan mix.  Place on wire rack and repeat until all tenders are well coated.
  8. Cook for 14-16 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  9. Once tenders are cooked, place on plate/baking sheet to cool.
  10. Enjoy with a honey mustard dipping sauce, on top of a salad, or with roasted veggies and a starch!

Notes

*Letting the chicken get to room temperature before cooking will allow for even cooking. However, I wouldn't let it sit out at room temperature for longer than while you're prepping the breading as this can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

  • STORAGE: Store any leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • REHEATING: The best way to reheat the chicken is to place the tenders back in the air fryer to let them crisp up again! You can also reheat them in the oven on a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).
  • SERVING: These pecan crusted chicken tenders are best served and enjoyed fresh for optimal crispiness. I love serving these with ranch roasted cauliflower, crispy broccoli, candied brussels, or on top of a strawberry goat cheese salad or broccoli and brussels slaw!
  • Be sure to not over chop/blend the pecans! They may turn into pecan butter if you turn on the blender or food processor and just let it go. Pulsing them is the way to go! It may be best to split the pecans in half and chop one half a time.
  • Once cooked, you can place pecan crusted chicken tenders on a plate using metal tongs and let cool for 5-10 minutes. You can line the plate with paper towels if you want, but since there's no cooking oil, these chicken fingers aren't greasy at all!
  • You could add a teaspoon of onion powder in addition to the rest of the seasonings if you'd like!

    If you like the flavor of Italian bread crumbs, you can add any dried herbs like rosemary, parsley, and oregano to the pecan breading too!

  • You can use white whole wheat or all-purpose flour in lieu of almond flour if you'd like!
  • I haven't tried other nuts in place of pecans, but other ideas could be: peanut crusted chicken, almond crusted chicken, walnut crusted chicken, or even cashew crusted chicken tenders!

Nutrition

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