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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (Super Crispy)

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are CRISPY and CRUNCHY on the outside and TENDER and JUICY on the inside. Skip the greasy mess of deep frying and get the same delicious chicken tenders for your favorite dipping sauces!

stack of chicken tenders on butcher paper with dipping sauces in the background

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

If you crave some good old fried chicken tenders, I’m here to help you out!

Cooking chicken tenders in the Air Fryer is not only EASIER and LESS MESSIER than making them in the oven, the tenders are even better!

Crispy and crunchy on the outside with a perfectly seasoned coating and tender and juicy on the inside.

You will be adding these yummy tenders to your favorite salads, pasta dishes, and tucking them in your lunchbox!

Why this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe is awesome

  • Better than the frozen or drive thru version
  • You can use your favorite breadcrumb alternative if you are gluten free!
  • Adjust the spices and coating ingredients as you like.
  • Ready in only 20 minutes!
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labeled picture of chicken tenders ingredients

Making your tenders at home doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a few simple ingredients and you are ready to go! I promise the whole family will love them.

Ingredients Needed

  • chicken tenders or sliced chicken breast
  • flour
  • Panko
  • breadcrumbs
  • eggs
  • spices

Chicken tenders – Make sure your chicken is cleaned and trimmed if needed. Sometimes you’ll see these labeled chicken tenderloins at the store, this is the same thing.

Flour – We use this as part of the coating. You can use a gluten-free alternative if needed, like almond flour.

Panko – If you like more crunch, use all Panko and leave out the bread crumbs.

Breadcrumbs – Here also, you can use your favorite gluten free alternative if needed. Seasoned just means that it has some Italian seasoning and maybe Parmesan cheese in the mix. This isn’t necessary but is a fun way to customize.

Eggs – Make sure these are beaten. You will first dredge your chicken in the beaten egg, then flour.

Spices – We use a mixture of garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper. Simple but delicious!

How to Make Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer

Making chicken tenders in your air fryer is actually pretty simple. Less effort and cooking time.

Just prep the chicken tenders as per the recipe, place them in the air fryer and you are ready to eat!

ONE: Make your dredge by seasoning the coating with your favorite herbs and spices.

TWO: Dredge your tenders in flour mixture, then egg mixture, then in the coating. Some recipes call for spraying with cooking spray, but I don’t find that necessary.

THREE: Air fry the breaded tenders until golden brown and crispy! Enjoy your homemade chicken strips.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

coated chicken tenders in an air fryer basket

FAQs

How long to cook chicken tenders in the air fryer?

Whether you are making a large batch for when you have guests coming, or are hosting a dinner party, you might be wondering how long it takes to cook them all.

Because they are lean meat it doesn’t take long, but it also does depends on how many tenders you’re planning to make. And how large your air fryer is, you might need to do them in batches to get the crispy chicken tenders.

In general, chicken tenders in a batch get cooked within 15-30 minutes. Great right?

Whether you’ve just started on a healthy eating spree or have been on it since quite some time now, you know how the air fryer could be one of the best investments you could make.

Can I make these in the oven?

You can just as easily bake these off in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Follow all the initial steps for coating your chicken pieces. I like using a shallow bowl for dredging.
  3. Place on your baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes then flip chicken over and cook for another 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy and fully cooked through (165ºF) .
  4. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce like honey mustard, BBQ Sauce, buffalo sauce or even ranch dressing.
long stack of tenders on brown paper

How to freeze homemade chicken tenders?

Once you have all your tenders coated and air fried, let them cool and freeze them on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen, place them in a large freezer safe bag until ready to serve.

To reheat them from frozen, heat at 400F for 10 minutes or until warmed through.

How do you preheat an air fryer?

To preheat your air fryer, set to desired temperature and turn on cook cycle and timer for 5-10 minutes. This will heat up the basket itself and keep the food from sticking.

Can you put raw chicken in the air fryer?

I have cooked chicken, pork, and burgers in my air fryer. All from the raw stage. Just be sure to check the internal temperature before eating to make sure they are cooked appropriately.

What to serve with chicken tenders?

These are perfect on their own, but also perfect served along with pasta, a green salad, potato salad, a nice slaw, or corn on the cob! Make them into a crispy chicken salad.

Is air fried chicken healthier?

Because you are not using oil to cook the meat, the finished meal has less calories and fat. Of course, if you dip them in a heavy sauce you are just adding it back in.

stack of air fried chicken on brown paper

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • Remove the “string” from the chicken tenderloins.
  • Freeze a large batch of the cooked leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container and reheat when you are ready.
  • If you like more crunch, use all Panko breadcrumbs and leave out the regular bread crumbs.
  • For best results, do not stack the tenders, cook them in a single layer. You need hot air circulation to get them crispy all around
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes to keep them from sticking to the basket.
  • Season your coating with your favorite herbs and spices!
  • Air fryers don’t need oil but I like to spray mine tenders lightly. It helps them brown in color.
  • You can lightly spray the air fryer basket if it doesn’t have a non-stick coating.
fried chicken tender torn open to see cooked meat inside on a piece of parchment paper

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

pinterest image for chicken tenders with text "air fryer chicken tenders"

These quick and easy air fryer chicken tenders are an excellent finger food option to enjoy when you’re craving fast food, but still don’t want to go overboard by getting them from the freezer aisle and frying them in all that oil.

More Easy Appetizers

square picture of chicken tenders for the recipe card

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are CRISPY and CRUNCHY on the outside and TENDER and JUICY on the inside.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 2 large eggs {beaten)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Panko crumbs **see notes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 370 degrees F.
  2. Clean and trim chicken if necessary.
  3. Add bread crumbs and seasonings to shallow bowl or plate, mix together with a fork.
  4. Add beaten eggs to shallow bowl or plate.
  5. Add flour to shallow bowl or plate.
  6. Dip one chicken tender in flour, then in eggs, and then in breadcrumbs mixture. Coating evenly on all sides.
  7. Set aside on plate or tray.
  8. Repeat with 3-4 more tenders.
  9. Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, depending on size of tenders or until golden and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  10. While chicken is cooking, prepare more chicken with coating.
  11. Repeat cooking until all chicken is cooked.
  12. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 828mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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