Crispy Low Calorie Chicken Tenders Recipe

| | |
Jump to Recipe

These healthy, low calorie crispy chicken tenders are perfect for a high protein meal. All you need is three main ingredients: Chicken tenderloins, low fat buttermilk, and crushed cornflakes!

crispy chicken tenders with calories and macros

Want to save this post?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe

What’s better? Chicken Tenders or Tenderloin?

Both a chicken tender and a tenderloin are cut from the chicken breast. The Tenderloin is a naturally separated piece of the breast, that you can tear away and use. The “tender” is just any piece of the white meat from the breast, cut into a strip for baking.

If you are counting calories, there isn’t much difference in nutrition between chicken tenders and tenderloins. They are just taken from different parts of the chicken breast.

Although we call this dinner chicken tenders, technically, I make them with tenderloin. Either way, the calories and macros are similar.

How to get the low calorie chicken tenders crispy

Making chicken fingers or chicken tenders crispy has traditionally been done by battering the meat and deep frying it.

However, there is a healthier way, and the crispiness has been sufficient for our family! The only times my kids have ever had a deep fried piece of chicken was from a bucket at KFC. I’m pretty sure they don’t realize people cook that way at home though. lol

To make oven chicken crispy, I’ve used bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, and panko. But, I’ve had more success with crispiness by using crushed cornflakes! The cornflakes seem to never get soggy or soft. Just crispy!

I also bake at 400 degrees for a short amount of time (rather than cooking low and slow). These take 10 minutes on each side and then they should be finished.

You can always use a thermometer to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

How to make low calorie chicken tenders

To make these chicken tenders low in calories, I made sure not to include too many ingredients. When your recipe has 10+ ingredients, the calories are going to keep going up.

I used three main ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup corn flake crumbs.
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk.

You may need more cornflakes, but for the purpose of calculating nutrition info like calories and macros, I used 1/2 cup.

Serve with –> Low Calorie Pasta Salad!

steps to make healthy crispy chicken tenders

Low Calorie Crispy Chicken Tenders

Delicious high protein dinner idea, chicken tenders! Made super crispy, yet still low in calories.
4.67 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken fingers, chicken strips, healthy chicken tenders, low calorie chicken tenders
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 135cal
Author: Amy Roskelley


  • 16 ounces chicken tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash garlic salt
  • 1 dash onion powder


  • Soak chicken tenderloin in low fat buttermilk. Let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or longer.
  • Crush cornflakes, or buy them pre-crushed and add salt, garlic salt, and onion powder in a bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • With a fork, remove one chicken tender at a time and dip both sides into crushed cornflakes.
  • Arrange on a baking sheet- on top of a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip each chicken strip and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Serve with ketchup or honey mustard.


Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 135cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 1g
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthbeet or tag #healthbeet!

How to make this a balanced meal

To create a balanced meal for the family, we ate:

  • Protein: Low Calorie Chicken Tenders
  • Grains: Wild Rice
  • Veggies/Fruit: Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes!
Chicken tenders rice and zucchini on a portion plate

Modified for Low carb:

In full disclosure, I DID eat the chicken with the cornflakes for dinner.

However, the leftovers were a different story. Since I’m only 3 weeks away from my NPC Utah, Wellness stage, I scraped the cornflakes away from the chicken. I like to eat my carbs with fruit and bread of course!

This dinner below also fits the dinner on the weight loss plan for Bright Line Eating! (although you’d add a green salad to it!)

low carb version of chicken tenders
Modified the family version of this dinner to make it Bright Line Eating appropriate! My low carb version of chicken tenders

Pin this to save for later!

high protein low calorie crispy chicken tenders


If you like this, you might also like


  1. 5 stars
    Can’t believe these delicious tenders are low calorie and high protein. Using the corn flake crumbs was genius and it really did turn out perfectly! Not sure how I can ever go back to breadcrumbs. My daughter smashed these. Probably need to make more next time!

  2. 5 stars
    My kids love chicken tenders (and so do I!) so I’m glad to have found a recipe that makes them a little healthier! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow. Good, easy, and quick! I whipped up some honey mustard that went well with the sweetness of the cornflakes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating