Like clockwork, a new year is under way and I’ve made chicken fingers.

Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers I

So not shocking. In fact, it’s embarrassingly unoriginal and stereotypical of me. I think I do this every year. Whomp whomp.

P.S. that’s my brother… the hand model.

Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers I

I can’t help it! I really love crunchy chicken fingers. I’m obviously in one of those phases where I feel like I’m twelve years old but still listening to Rod Stewart in my kitchen. And like, belting it. Loudly. Poorly. Hoping for an echo so my voice carries.

Such a mess. My iTunes account is semi-horrifying. Seriously.

Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers I

While I have about a billion other recipes for practically the same thing, it doesn’t keep me from trying new flavor combinations or new techniques or ways to make things different. I’m so hopeful all.the.time. These aren’t quite as crunchy as the traditional version made with multiple types of breadcrumbs, but they are almost as close and add a whole other element of flavor. Oh, and health! Full of health. Since they are made with almonds they are automatically a health food. Do it.

It’s amazing what I can justify in this world.

Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers I


Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers

Yield: serves 2

Prep Time: 6 hours (or overnight)

Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup almond meal
3/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


Add chicken to a baking dish and pour buttermilk over top to coat. Let soak for 4-6 hours refrigerated, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine almond meal, panko, flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Remove each chicken tender from the buttermilk and dip in breadcrumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Place on the wire rack. Spray each with a mist of olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from over, gently flip and mist with spray, then bake for 12 minutes more.

[The key to crunchy chicken fingers and keeping the breading on the chicken is the wire rack AND the misting spray!]

Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers I

I love being twelve years old.

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93 Responses to “Buttermilk Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers.”

  1. #
    Amy Powell — January 3, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

    I’m amazed at how good buttermilk makes fried chicken. these look fantastic!


  2. #
    Sharla — January 3, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

    Soggy chicken fingers are the WORST – thanks for the tips on “crunchy”


  3. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — January 3, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

    As if I needed an excuse to eat chicken fingers, you go and make them even more irresistible … it’s nuts (GET IT??!)


  4. #
    Anna Chandler — January 4, 2013 @ 12:44 am

    Jessica thank you so much for the helpful hint at the end! Excited to try these out.


  5. #
    Michelle — January 4, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    Healthiest chicken ever? I think so.

    I think iTunes libraries are meant to be semi-embrassing at best.


  6. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — January 4, 2013 @ 9:54 am

    My god these sound amazing. MUST MAKE.


  7. #
    Lauren Hardy — January 4, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    This is the poster child for finger lickin’ good food. :) Looks delicious!


  8. #
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) — January 4, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    These look so great but make me so sad since I am allergic to nuts. Poor me! Oh well, I will try them with panko perhaps?


  9. #
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — January 5, 2013 @ 11:57 am

    What a dip click! I want like, 2 dozen right now and I just finished my oatmeal. Buttermilk and chicken are awesome together too :)


  10. #
    Amy — January 5, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

    While I love your whole post, my FAV part is always your parting statement/sentence at the end of the recipe. Keep it up!


  11. #
    Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen — January 6, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    First off, I am THRILLED to see your recipe for homemade whole wheat panko!!! How have I not come across that before?!? Secondly, my recipes for oven fried chicken always fails, and I don’t know why…now I know it’s the wire rack! Yay! I’m excited about this recipe!


  12. #
    Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up — January 6, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    Yum! These look like they were fried they are so golden! Thanks for the tips!!


  13. #
    Lauren | Have Fork, Will Eat — January 7, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    Yum! I love crispy chicken fingers!


  14. #
    Becca — January 7, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

    Quickly took advantage of the recipe and made these for friends for my “board games night” on Saturday and they were a huge hit! Due to time constraints, I substituted the buttermilk bath for a quick flour + egg wash bath and they still worked out great! Can’t wait to make them again! Thanks Jessica!


  15. #
    Meg — January 8, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    These just look so delicious…


  16. #
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen — January 8, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    Anything that gets me to eat more smoked paprika is fine by me!


  17. #
    Molly — January 8, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

    I eat like a twelve year old too! Chicken fingers, mac-n-cheese, and ice cream!!! And i totally agree, the whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat bread crumbs, and almonds make this a health food!

    P.S. Nice hand model!


  18. #
    Diana — January 8, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

    I have to try this recipe! I currently have your favorite sweet potato fries baking in the oven & can’t wait to try them. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog but I have been reading a few posts this evening and I love your refreshingly honest admission to hating vegetables and eating like a child! When I read other blogs that are constantly professing how they love vegetables I wonder if they are secretly eating junk in the middle of the night!

    Thanks for sharing your recipes with us….I am a new fan that will be reading regularly:-)


  19. #
    Hannah — January 25, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

    Jessica. I love these chicken fingers and I’ve made them twice BUT they are never quite crispy. In fact the bottom side turns out a little soggy, and if I cook them any longer the chicken dries out and the crust burns. What’s a girl to do?


    • Jessica — January 25th, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

      hmm… are you using a wire rack???


      • Hannah — January 25th, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

        I am, yes! Too much almond meal? Overnight soak in buttermilk was too much? I cannot figure it out!

        • Jessica — January 25th, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

          gah, totally not sure – maybe try decreasing the almond meal a little and increasing the panko??

      • Hannah — January 25th, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

        Yes, that’s what I’ll try. Now to figure out how to flip them midway through without taking off little chunks of breading. These are clearly not my forte.

  20. #
    Efreet — January 29, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    I made these thice already, and I’m loving them! I even made them for the buffet for my sweetie’s birthday party, and they were a hit – 2 whole chicken breasts (about 1 Kg meat in total) disappeared! They’re not cheap to make as the almond flour costs one arm and a leg here, but they may well be my fave chicken-based snack now!


  21. #
    Margaritta — February 20, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    Hi! I am your fan from Poland :) Rly love your blog it’s amazing! I’ve got one uestions could you exactly tell me what is almoned ‘meal’? and whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose) – I dont know the meaning of those designations :(


  22. #
    Christine — June 4, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve had it bookmarked for the longest time and finally tried it yesterday. It’s great to find a recipe that doesn’t require deep frying and they still turned out crispy like you said they would. This one is going in our library for sure (in case our kid grows up to be a picky eater)!


  23. #
    RLolaS — September 8, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

    My boyfriend LOVES fried chicken but I HATE to make it beacause I feel it is SUCH a waste and quite a mess.
    It was his birthday and I did these, had a little issue with the “crunchines” probably because I didn´t spray them enough or because I got confused between the Panko and the Tempura and my mix ended up having both.

    Also making them made me realize HOW MUCH food we can throw away in some process. For this I bought a whole skinned chicken, so I had to de-bone it, I came out having a lot of left overs which I used in a vegetable-chicken soup mmmmmm… No food goes to waste :D


  24. #
    Savu Claudiu — October 15, 2013 @ 5:07 am

    That looks delicious !


  25. #
    Cathy — February 21, 2014 @ 1:44 am

    Just wanted to let you know I am sharing your wonderful recipe tomorrow in my Gluten-Free Recipe RoundUp with a link back to your original post!
    Have a terrific weekend!
    Cathy from



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