In the off chance that you can’t tell by the picture, I’ll say it here, “these sweet and spicy paleo chicken fingers are amazing.” Wait … paleo? Yep, you heard right. The chicken is coated in an almond meal (aka almond flour) crust that is both 100% paleo and gluten free.
After a bake in the oven, it’s dunked in a deliciously sticky sweet and spicy sauce. If you forget about your knife and fork, you’ll licking the sauce off your digits for sure.
One thing you’ll notice is, because of the almond meal the chicken is VERY filling. The first time I made this I was super starving and thought that the recipe would only serve 2, at most. Even with the best of intentions my handsome man and I could barely finish half this recipe.
I should warn you that it is not quite as crispy as it would be if it were coated in panko or breadcrumbs. Maybe that seems obvious to you, but I had my fingers crossed that it would be.
The almond meal does give the chicken a nice coating that adds extra flavor and helps all the delicious sauce to cling better.
I like to have a little plain yogurt (is there really any other kind?) or some sour cream on the side for dipping. If I kept ranch or blue cheese dressing around the house, I’d probably try dipping it in that too. Just sayin’.
Note: Many people who eat paleo don’t eat dairy. Do keep this in mind if you’re thinking about what to dunk these guys in. They’re delicious on their own, and you won’t miss anything but the habit if you choose not to dip.
How to prevent the crust from falling off?
- Start with the best quality chicken you can afford. Cheap chicken is typically pumped full of water, making it look like it’s better value than a smaller piece of chicken. The problem with this is that when the chicken cooks the water is released, and it pushes the crust off. Don’t be fooled!
- Let the chicken sit for 30-60 minutes after you coat it in the almond flour; this helps to bind the crust together so that it sticks to the chicken.
- Make sure to shake any excess egg off the chicken before dipping in into the almond flour. You need some moisture to help it stick, but not so much that it causes the breading to fall off.
PS. If you’re looking for some more deliciously paleo inspiration, make sure to check out the Paleo Recipe Category. While I’m not strictly paleo myself, I eat a grain-free, bean-free, sugar-free diet about 90% of the time and totally love it!
If you make these Sweet and Spicy Paleo Chicken Fingers make sure to snap a pic and hashtag #theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on them!
Note: I’ve made some changes to the recipe, as well as added some tips in the last paragraph of the post, to help keep the crust sticking to the chicken. 🙂
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour (almond meal)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup tapioca or potato starch *NEW INGREDIENT*
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- ¾ cup honey
- ⅓ cup hot sauce (Franks or Tapatio work great)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Optional: yogurt or sour cream for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim any overhanging edges of the parchment paper.
- Place the almond flour, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper into a bowl and stir it together. Place the eggs in another bowl with a splash of water and whisk them.
- *STEP CHANGE*: Dip the chicken tenders, one at a time, into the tapioca or potato starch, then into the egg then into the almond flour. (Keeping one hand for the egg and one for the starch and flour makes this a lot less messy.) Lay the chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, or until it is crispy and beginning to golden brown.
- *OPTIONAL STEP*: Let the chicken rest for 30-60 minutes in your fridge before you bake it. This step will help the crust to stick to the chicken.
- While the chicken is baking, prepare the sauce. In a small frying pan over high heat bring the honey, hot sauce and garlic powder to a boil then set it aside.
- When the chicken has finished baking remove it from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Dip each of the chicken tenders in the sauce then lay them back on the baking sheet. Save the extra sauce.
- Put the chicken back in the oven for 2-5 minutes for the glaze to caramelize slightly. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Baste the chicken with any extra sauce one they come out of the oven then serve immediately.
Want some more delicious paleo chicken recipes? Check these out: