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Low-Carb Italian Chicken Tenders: Quick, Easy, & Tasty

Low-Carb Italian Chicken Tenders: Quick, Easy, & Tasty

Indulge in the harmonious blend of tender chicken and tangy Italian zest with our Keto Italian Dressing Chicken Tenders. Each bite offers a satisfying crunch, cloaked in a robust parmesan armor. Effortlessly marrying convenience with culinary delight, this three-ingredient wonder is your ticket to a low-carb feast without the fuss. Perfect for the busy epicurean seeking a quick yet sumptuous meal solution, these tenders are a testament to the simplicity of keto cooking. Enrobe your chicken in the rich, bold flavors of Italy and transform your dinner into a festive, protein-rich escape.

Course: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, AppetizersCuisine: Italian-AmericanDifficulty: Easy
5.0 from 1 vote


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Serving size


chicken tenders
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  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). This high temperature is key for achieving a beautifully golden crust on the tenders.
  • Take a mixing bowl and combine the chicken tenders with the Italian dressing, ensuring each piece is well-coated. This marination step infuses the chicken with flavor.Golden Italian dressing is being poured over plump, raw chicken tenders in a glass dish, the dressing speckled with herbs ready to marinate.
  • Add the grated Parmesan cheese to the bowl, tossing the tenders until they’re evenly coated. The cheese will create a delicious crust as it bakes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Parchment paper also prevents sticking without the need for additional oil or spray.
  • Arrange the dressed chicken tenders on the baking sheet, leaving space between each piece to ensure even cooking.Raw chicken tenders dressed with seasoning on parchment-lined baking sheet before being baked, portraying the preparation stage of the recipe.
  • Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. The high heat will cook the chicken quickly while also helping to crisp the cheese coating.
  • After 20 minutes, check the tenders for doneness. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and the parmesan should be golden brown.
  • Once cooked, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the tenders to rest for a few minutes. This brief rest allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring your tenders will be moist and delicious.Three perfectly baked chicken tenders rest on a white plate; their golden-brown crust dusted with herbs suggests a crispy exterior.
  • Serve the chicken tenders hot, with your choice of keto-friendly sides or a dipping sauce if desired.A cooked chicken tender, golden and speckled with seasonings, is held above a small dish, capturing the moment as it's dipped into a creamy sauce.


  • Serving Suggestions
    – Serve alongside a crisp, green salad dressed with a vinaigrette to add freshness and balance the richness of the tenders.
    – Pair with roasted vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of Parmesan to echo the flavors in the chicken.
    – Offer a keto-friendly cauliflower mash seasoned with garlic and herbs as a comforting and creamy side that mimics the texture of traditional mashed potatoes.
    – For added crunch, provide a side of keto garlic breadsticks made from almond flour and topped with melted mozzarella.
    – Create a dipping station with a variety of keto-approved sauces like sugar-free ranch, aioli, or even a homemade herbed yogurt dip to add moisture and tang.
  • Notes
    Marination Time: For deeper flavor, you can marinate the chicken tenders in Italian dressing for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. However, if you’re short on time, you can skip this step as the recipe will still yield delicious results.
    Cheese Options: While Parmesan is recommended for its flavor and texture, other hard, aged cheeses like Asiago or Romano can be used for variation.
    Dressing Selection: Be sure to select an Italian dressing that’s low in sugar to maintain the keto integrity of the dish. Always check the label for carb content.
    Cooking Time: Thicker tenders might require additional cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they’ve reached the safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
    Storage: Leftover chicken tenders can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer to maintain crispiness.
    Freezing: You can freeze the raw, prepped tenders on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag for storage. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  • Tips
    Even Coating: Use a zip-top bag to mix the chicken tenders with the dressing and parmesan. Shake it to get an even coating on each tender.
    Prevent Sticking: Even with parchment paper, give the paper a light spray with keto-friendly cooking oil to ensure the tenders can be removed easily after baking.
    Crispier Finish: If you desire a crispier coating, place the tenders under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, watching closely to avoid burning.
    Ingredient Quality: Using high-quality Parmesan cheese can significantly improve the flavor of the tenders. Freshly grated cheese may also melt and brown more appealingly than pre-grated options.
    Uniform Size: If tenders are of varying sizes, consider cutting larger ones in half for uniform cooking.
    Serving Temperature: For the best texture, serve the tenders immediately after baking, as they can lose crispness as they cool.
  • Variations/Modifications
    Spicy Kick: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add a sprinkle of red chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce into the Italian dressing before marinating.
    Herb-Infused: Introduce dried herbs such as oregano, basil, or thyme to the parmesan coating for an aromatic twist.
    Citrus Zest: Brighten up the flavor by adding lemon zest to the parmesan mixture, providing a citrus note that complements the chicken.
    Cheese Variety: Swap out Parmesan for other hard cheeses like Pecorino Romano for a sharper taste or a blend of Italian cheeses for complexity.
    Nutty Crust: Mix finely chopped almonds or pecans with the parmesan for an added texture and a nutty flavor.
    Dairy-Free Option: Use nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese for a dairy-free, cheesy flavor that remains keto-friendly.
    Mustard Marinade: Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard into the Italian dressing for a tangy, flavorful marinade that adds depth.
  • Prep Ahead
    Marinate in Advance: Prepare the chicken tenders with the Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese up to a day ahead. Store them in an airtight container or a marinating bag in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld.
    Freeze for Later: You can freeze the marinated and cheese-coated tenders on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When ready to cook, bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the original cook time.
    Quick Thawing: If you’ve frozen your tenders, place them in the refrigerator the morning of or the night before you plan to cook them for a thawed, ready-to-cook ingredient by dinnertime.
    Reheating: For the best results, reheat leftovers in an oven or air fryer at 375°F until heated through and the exterior is crisp again. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the breading soggy.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 271.5kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1.11g
  • Protein: 39.9g
  • Fat: 10.76g
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