Pork Rind Coated Baked Keto Chicken Strips
Crispy baked chicken strips are a keto game changer! The secret to golden and crunchy yet juicy baked chicken is to coat them in mayonnaise first!
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Chicken ⇒ mayo ⇒ pork rind and parmesan “breading” ⇒ oven
That’s all that’s standing between you and the some truly crispy baked keto chicken fingers.
Only 0.8g of net carbs in 6 of these chicken strips, leaves plenty of room for a homemade low carb honey mustard!
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Seriously do it.
Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Strips
I do not own a deep fryer, nor do I plan to. It’s messy, cumbersome, and wasteful.
It does however produce a very crunchy and crispy coating that’s hard to match.
The secret to a crispy baked chicken strips lies in both the coating, and how it is applied.
These chicken strips are coated in already crunchy crushed pork rinds which only crisp further in the oven.
The crushed pork rinds are glued to the chicken pieces with a thin layer of mayo which not only keeps the coating stick, it also prevents the lean chicken breast from becoming dry and chewy in the oven.
Why Not Use Egg for Baked Keto Chicken Fingers?
You could, that’s a very traditional way to dredge something.
But its not quite the same thing. Mayo contains egg yolk and oil, it helps protect chicken breast from drying out in the oven. It’s also much easier to work with.
Eggs also contain more water than mayo which needs to be cooked off in the oven before the coating will crisp properly. In my experience mayo instead of egg leads to a better breaded baked chicken finger.
Mayo really is a miracle ingredient.
Can I use Miracle whip or whipped Mayo dressing instead of real mayo?
No. That’s disgusting.
How to cut chicken breast for chicken fingers
Lay out the chicken breast on a cutting board and pat them dry with a paper towel, this also helps get the outside crispy.
Identify and remove the tender portion attached to the underside of the chicken breast. (shown below)
Next, cut the breast in half lengthwise, and then again into lengthwise quarters. These chicken breasts were huge so I cut the larger pieces in half again and they were plenty big. Each breast gave me about 6-7 decent size pieces.
You can of course cut into whatever shape you like. Make some low carb chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, chicken poppers, popcorn chicken, whatever you want!
Season with salt and pepper before coating.
Can I use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts?
You can use skinless chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts.
However you may want to use a beaten egg to stick the coating rather than mayo.
Chicken thighs, mayo and pork rinds contain fat. During cooking, the fat renders from the chicken thighs and pools on top of the meat preventing the pork rind coating from reaching its full potential crispness.
Also, chicken thighs are fattier and don’t need the help of mayo to prevent drying out in the oven.
Low carb pork rind "breading"
In order to make this recipe low carb, the crispy coating or “breading” used is finely crushed pork rinds.
Unlike breadcrumbs or flour, pork rinds contain some of their own fat, and when you bake them, they just keep getting crispier and crunchier!
They are also gluten free!
To crush pork rinds Into Pork Panko for breading:
Simply add pork rinds to a freezer bag and seal leaving a small opening for air to escape.
Begin to crush the pork rinds with your hands, and once they start to break down into smaller sizes, use a rolling pin, a wine bottle, or some type of cylindrical object to further crush the pork rinds into dust.
If you buy pork rinds in small bags, then you can crush them right in that bag. Just cut a little hole to let the air out so it doesn’t burst the bag.
Empty crushed pork rinds onto a plate with dry parmesan cheese which adds a needed texture to the coating, and helps further season the chicken.
Instead of Crushing Your Own Pork Rinds..
There is a store-bought option, you can buy pre-crushed pork rinds to save some time and mess.
This is usually called pork panko.
Try these recipes that also use a low carb pork rind breading!
Crispy vs. Crunchy Chicken Fingers
For a very crunchy coating, keep the crush of the pork rinds coarse so it looks like panko bread crumbs or cornflakes.
For a light crispy coating crush the pork rinds very fine like Italian breadcrumbs.
Always use fresh pork rinds for coating, as pork rinds age, they become stale and chewy and will become difficult to crush.
The Coating Process
In a small bowl, mix mayo with any seasonings you like, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, curry powder, whatever you want. Combine well, season to taste, and set aside.
It’s best to prepare a little more than you need. It is a real pain to be in the middle of coating and run out of ingredients with a bunch of chicken left.
Extra mayo mixture can’t be used for much if it has come into contact with the raw chicken.
However, extra crushed pork rinds can be stored in the freezer and used the next time you need to coat something.
Using a basting brush, the back of a spoon, or your hands, lightly coat each piece of chicken in the mayonnaise mixture. You don’t need a very thick layer, just enough to coat and adhere the pork rinds.
Place the mayonnaise coated chicken pieces on the plate of crushed pork rinds, and press down with your hand to stick the coating, flip and repeat this for each side of the chicken pieces.
Gently shake off any excess coating and space evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet to prevent sticking.
For less of a fuss, dredge using the dry hand wet hand technique, use one hand “the wet hand” to deal with the mayo covered chicken, and use the other hand “the dry hand” to coat and transfer the drier coated pieces to the baking sheet.
It just keeps things a little less chaotic.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Bake at 350°F [180°C] for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. It should feel more firm than before when you poke it, but still have some give.
If you are unsure, cut one open and see, it should be a consistent white all the way through and the liquid running from it should be clear.
If you are unsure then use a meat thermometer. Cooked chicken should register 165°F [75°C] internally.
Do I Need to Flip Them Halfway Through Cooking?
If you wish you can carefully flip each one if you to evenly brown the coating.
I’m lazy so I don’t and they turn out great every time. The bottom is a little crispier and a deeper golden brown but it’s delicious.
Can I Pan Fry or Deep Fry These Instead of baking?
Yes but you may want o make some modifications.
The mayo and pork rind coating tends to work best when baked and is intended to prevent the chicken from drying out in the oven.
When fried it doesn’t do the best job of keeping the coating intact.
If you want to fry these rather than bake them, I recommend using a beaten egg to stick the coating rather than mayo.
A mixture of egg and mayo works as well, kind of the best of both worlds.
Can I Cook These in an Air Fryer?
You sure can!
How To Make Low Carb Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Obviously “low carb” is a relative term. What I consider low, may not be low enough for you.
This dipping sauce contains actual honey, so if you are trying to avoid all sugars in general, then this may not work for you, and that’s ok. Who am I to tell you how to dip your chicken.
But if like myself, you are more of an IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) kind of person, then this honey mustard is a perfect low carb dip for any kind of crispy chicken.
Check this out:
Each tablespoon of this honey mustard contains roughly 1.5g net carbs (20g net carbs in the whole recipe).
This recipe makes enough honey mustard to liberally dip 25-30 or so chicken fingers (YMMV).
Each chicken strip has about 0.12g of net carbs! (basically 0)
So being conservative, each dipped chicken finger is around 0.92g of net carbs, or rather 10 dipped keto chicken strips is about 9.2g of net carbs!
To make an easy low carb honey mustard:
Mix ½ cup mayonnaise, 2-3 tablespoons of mustard, and 1 tablespoon of honey together. Voila, honey mustard!
A nice variation is replacing some or all of the yellow mustard with a quality Dijon mustard to make a fancy low carb Dijon honey mustard.
What Can I Use Instead of Honey?
Add a bit at a time and taste as you go.
It wont add the same honey flavour, you are just looking to add a little underlying sweetness to the mustard sauce.
Easy Baked Keto Chicken Finger Recipe
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Baking sheet
- Rolling Pin
- Basting Brush (Optional)
Pork Rind Crusted Chicken Strips
- 5 large chicken breast cut into strips/fingers/nuggets
- 5 oz pork rinds crushed
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & pepper
Low Carb Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (optional)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey see notes
- salt & pepper
Low Carb Pork Rind Crusted Chicken Strips
- Pat the chicken breasts dry and use a sharp knife to remove the chicken tender attached to the underside of the breast. Next slice the chicken breast lengthwise into roughly even sized strips. Larger pieces may need to be broken down further. Set chicken pieces aside for coating.
- To Prepare the coating, add pork rinds to a freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin until they are fine like bread crumbs. Initially crushing them with your hands will make it easer to pass over them with the rolling pin. Empty crushed pork rind coating onto a plate
- Add dry grated parmesan cheese, and combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl combine mayonnaise with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or any other seasonings you desire. Use a basting brush, a spoon, or you hands to lightly coat each piece of chicken.
- Press each side of the mayo coated chicken into the crushed pork rind and parmesan cheese mixture, making sure each side has a light yet even coating. Shake loose any extra coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for each piece of chicken.
- Bake at 350°F [180°C] for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through. The chicken will feel more firm than before and should be white all the way through with only clear liquid running from it.
- Serve with low carb honey mustard dipping sauce.
Low Carb Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
- In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and honey. Season to taste and serve.
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Make Ahead Tips and Leftovers
The recipe is perfect for batch cooking and meal prepping.
These keto chicken fingers can be prepared and cooked in large batches either ahead of time for storage them in the fridge, or to please a crowd as a low carb party appetizer.
Reheat in the oven to crisp them back up! Just don’t cook them in there too long or they become dry.
Otherwise reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
Time To Dive In!
I am delighted to share my low carb version of this childhood favourite with you. I hope it brings out the kid in you like it does for me!
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