Pork Rind Coated Baked Chicken Strips
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Seriously do it.
Crispy Chicken fingers are always something I have had a hard time saying no to. They are just so too yummy.
Our High School cafeteria honestly used to make the absolute best chicken fingers, and they would serve them on top of salads, subs, pasta, and of course, just as plain chicken fingers smothered in plum sauce.
Unfortunately both those chicken fingers and the plum sauce are just loaded with net carbs making them near impossible to eat on a low carb diet. Thankfully, my low carb chicken fingers are only 0.12g of net carbs each, and are a breeze to whip up.
There are a few tasks I don’t like to perform in the home kitchen, and deep frying is one of them. I do not have a deep fryer, so deep frying is messy, cumbersome, and wasteful.
Having to fill a pot with oil and try to regulate that temperature on the stove, only to have the oil get so dirty and gross half way through is a huge pain in the ass, but it makes the breading on chicken so crunchy and crispy there is just nothing like it…or so I thought.
No you don’t need an air fryer either, just a standard oven, and a baking sheet to get these low carb chicken fingers golden and crispy.
How to make crispy Baked low carb chicken Strips
The secret to a crispy oven baked chicken strips lies in both the coating, and how it is applied. No mater what you are cooking you always want to consider what you are going to be using to cook it before you prepare it.
These are lean strips of chicken breast that will be cooked in the oven, so right away that tells us two things. 1. We want minimal moisture in the coating so that it actually crisps up in the oven, and 2. we want to protect the chicken breast from becoming dry and chewy while the outside crisps up.
The solution to both of these is the miracle ingredient, mayonnaise.
The Crispy Coating
Previously, I would dredge the chicken using egg to adhere the coating. But I have found that the moisture in the egg in combination with the moisture released from the meat prevents the coating from reaching its maximum potential crispness without overcooking the meat.
Coating the chicken breast pieces with a light layer of mayonnaise instead of egg not only lets the coating become crispy and delicious, but the mayo actually adheres the coating better than eggs, and it protects the lean chicken breast from drying out during baking.
Like I said, its a miracle ingredient.
Can I use Miracle whip or whipped Mayo dressing instead of real mayo?
No. That’s disgusting.
Coating The Chicken Strips
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
The Coating Station
In order to make this 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!
Simply add pork rinds to a freezer bag removing the air, and begin to crush with your hands. 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.
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.
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.
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 not crush nicely like fresh ones will.
Add dry parmesan cheese to the pork rinds and combine well.
Next transfer some mayo to a small bowl, mix in 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 crushed pork rinds can be stored in the freezer and used the next time you need to coat something.
Extra mayo mixture can’t be used for much if it has come into contact with the raw chicken.
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 place 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 messy.
Bake at 350°F [180°C] for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. It should feel more firm than before when you poke it, but still have some give. Just 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.
Half way through you can carefully flip each one if you wish to evenly brown the coating. I didn’t do this because it takes too long for me (I’m lazy) and they turned out great. The bottom is a little crispier and a deeper golden brown but it’s delicious.
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 then this may not work for you.
But if you are more of an IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) kind of person like myself, then this honey mustard with only 1.5g net carbs per tablespoon is just perfect.
For reference this entire batch of honey mustard which is about 12-15 tablespoons was enough to liberally dip over 30 of these chicken strips and we still had leftovers.
Besides, the chicken fingers themselves have almost no carbs in them so you can spend a few on a homemade honey mustard!
Just 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 nice Dijon mustard to make a low carb Dijon honey mustard.
Baked Pork Rind Crusted Chicken Strips
- 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
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 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.
Make Ahead Tips and Leftovers
You can cook these is rather large batches ahead of time and store them in the fridge. When you are ready to eat them, reheat in the oven to crisp them back up! Just don’t cook them in there too long or they become dry.
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!
Whether you like your chicken as nuggets, fingers, chunks, strips, or popcorned, I hope you enjoy this low carb recipe for crispy baked pork rind coated chicken strips
Not only should you share this meal with your family for dinner tonight, but you should share this recipe right now so others can enjoy it too!
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