If you're looking for a healthier, yet equally delicious version of chicken tenders, cooking them in an air fryer with almond flour might be the answer. This recipe is also perfect for those who want to avoid gluten-containing flours, as almond flour is naturally gluten-free. Here, we'll be looking at the benefits of cooking with an air fryer, why almond flour is a great alternative to regular flour, and how to make your own almond flour from scratch.
The benefits of cooking with an air fryer
One of the main advantages of cooking with an air fryer is that it uses minimal to no oil. This means you can get that delicious crispy texture on your chicken tenders without the added calories and fat. Additionally, air fryers are easy to use and can cut down on cooking times. They're also a great way to prepare food for larger groups as they can cook multiple items at once.
Another benefit of using an air fryer is that it can be a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. When food is deep-fried, it can absorb a lot of oil, which can lead to higher levels of saturated fat. Air fryers, on the other hand, use hot air to cook the food, resulting in a crispy exterior and a moist interior without the need for excessive oil. This can be especially beneficial for those who are trying to maintain a healthy diet or are watching their cholesterol levels.
A healthier twist on chicken tenders
Traditional chicken tenders are typically breaded and fried in oil, but this recipe uses almond flour as a healthier alternative. Almond flour is nutrient-dense and provides plenty of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's also low in carbs, making it a great choice for those following a low-carb or keto diet.
In addition to being a healthier alternative to traditional chicken tenders, this recipe also uses chicken breast instead of dark meat. Chicken breast is a leaner cut of meat, which means it has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat. This makes it a great choice for those looking to reduce their calorie intake or maintain a healthy weight.
Another benefit of using almond flour in this recipe is that it adds a delicious nutty flavor to the chicken tenders. This can be enhanced by adding additional spices and herbs to the almond flour mixture, such as garlic powder, paprika, or dried oregano. Not only does this add flavor, but it also provides additional health benefits from the various herbs and spices.
How to make almond flour from scratch
Making almond flour from scratch is easy and affordable. All you need is some raw almonds, a food processor, and a fine mesh strainer. Simply pulse the almonds in the food processor until they reach a fine texture, and then sift them through the strainer to remove any larger pieces. Voila! Homemade almond flour.
Almond flour is a great alternative to traditional wheat flour for those who are gluten-free or looking for a low-carb option. It can be used in a variety of recipes, from baked goods to coatings for meats and vegetables. Plus, making your own almond flour allows you to control the quality and freshness of the product.
One thing to keep in mind when making almond flour is that it can quickly turn into almond butter if over-processed. To avoid this, pulse the almonds in short bursts and scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. You can also add a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to the almonds before processing to help absorb any excess oil and prevent clumping.
Alternative flours to use in your chicken tenders
While almond flour is a great choice for this recipe, there are other flours that you can use as well. Coconut flour, for example, is another gluten-free flour that's high in fiber and low in carbs. You can also try using a blend of different flours to create a unique flavor and texture.
Besides almond and coconut flour, there are other alternative flours that you can use in your chicken tenders. Chickpea flour, for instance, is a protein-rich flour that adds a nutty flavor to your dish. Buckwheat flour is another option that's gluten-free and has a slightly earthy taste. You can also experiment with using rice flour, cornmeal, or even ground oats to coat your chicken tenders.
The perfect seasoning blend for air fryer chicken tenders
Seasoning is key for any successful dish, and air fryer chicken tenders are no exception. To get the most flavor out of your almond flour chicken tenders, try using a blend of spices such as paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. You can also add in other herbs and spices that you like, such as thyme or cumin.
Another great way to add flavor to your air fryer chicken tenders is to marinate them in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs and spices. This will not only infuse the chicken with flavor, but also help keep it moist and tender.
When cooking your chicken tenders in the air fryer, be sure to preheat the machine to ensure even cooking. It's also important to not overcrowd the basket, as this can lead to uneven cooking and soggy chicken. Cook the tenders in batches if necessary, and flip them halfway through cooking to ensure they are crispy on both sides.
Tips for creating a perfectly crispy coating on your chicken tenders
If you want your chicken tenders to have a crispy coating, there are a few things you can do to achieve this. First, make sure to pat the chicken dry before breading it. This will help the almond flour stick better. You can also try using an egg wash or milk to help the almond flour coating adhere to the chicken. Finally, spray or brush the chicken tenders with a light coating of oil before putting them in the air fryer to help them crisp up.
Another tip for creating a crispy coating on your chicken tenders is to use a combination of almond flour and panko breadcrumbs. The almond flour will provide a nutty flavor and help the coating stick to the chicken, while the panko breadcrumbs will add an extra crunch. You can also try seasoning the coating with spices like paprika, garlic powder, or cayenne pepper for added flavor.
How long to cook chicken tenders in an air fryer
The cooking time for chicken tenders in an air fryer can vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. However, a general rule of thumb is to cook them at 375°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Always check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer before serving, making sure it reaches 165°F.
It is important to note that different air fryer models may have slightly different cooking times and temperature settings. It is always best to consult the manufacturer's instructions for specific guidelines on cooking chicken tenders in your air fryer.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your chicken tenders, you can try marinating them in your favorite sauce or seasoning before cooking. This can help to infuse the chicken with more flavor and make it even more delicious.
Serving suggestions and dips for your almond flour chicken tenders
There are numerous ways to enjoy your almond flour chicken tenders. You can serve them as a main dish alongside vegetables and a salad, or as a tasty snack or appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce. Ranch, honey mustard, and barbecue sauce are classic dips that pair well with chicken tenders, but you can also try making your own dipping sauces using ingredients like Greek yogurt, hot sauce, or pesto.
If you're looking for a healthier option, you can try serving your almond flour chicken tenders with a side of roasted sweet potato fries or a quinoa salad. These sides are packed with nutrients and will complement the flavors of the chicken tenders perfectly.
For a fun twist, you can also try making chicken tender sliders by placing a tender on a small bun with some lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce. This is a great option for parties or game day gatherings.
Frequently asked questions about cooking with an air fryer and almond flour
Q: Can I use regular flour instead of almond flour?
A: Yes, you can, but keep in mind that regular flour is not gluten-free and may also have a higher carb content.
Q: Can I use frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer?
A: Yes, you can. However, adjust the cooking time according to the thickness and temperature of the chicken.
Q: How do I clean my air fryer?
A: Make sure to clean your air fryer regularly by wiping down the interior and exterior with a damp cloth. Some air fryer baskets and trays are dishwasher safe, but check the manufacturer's instructions.
Overall, air fryer chicken tenders with almond flour are a delicious and healthy twist on a classic dish. Experiment with different seasonings and dipping sauces to find your favorite combo. This recipe is perfect for those looking to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor.
Q: What are the benefits of cooking with an air fryer?
A: Cooking with an air fryer has many benefits. It allows you to cook food with little to no oil, which can help reduce the amount of fat and calories in your meals. Air fryers also cook food quickly and evenly, making them a great option for busy weeknights. Additionally, air fryers are versatile and can be used to cook a variety of foods, from chicken tenders to vegetables to desserts.