Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Discover the ultimate way to enjoy chicken tenders without the guilt of deep frying. Air Fryer Chicken Tenders offer a crispy, juicy, and delicious alternative that’s quickly becoming a favorite for families everywhere. Utilizing the air fryer’s technology, these tenders achieve the perfect golden exterior with a tender and moist interior, making them a healthier option for those who love their comfort food but want to keep it lean.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

The Benefits of Using an Air Fryer

The air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food, achieving a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil. This method not only reduces calories and harmful compounds associated with deep frying but also simplifies cleanup, making it a win-win for busy cooks. Moreover, air frying chicken tenders is quicker than traditional baking, offering a convenient solution for a quick and satisfying meal.

Ingredients and Preparation

Preparing Air Fryer Chicken Tenders begins with selecting quality chicken tenders, ensuring they’re fresh and properly trimmed. The tenders are then dipped in a mixture of eggs and milk, coated with breadcrumbs or panko for that irresistible crunch, and seasoned with spices and herbs to taste. The preparation process is straightforward, making it an excellent cooking activity for beginners or those looking to involve kids in the kitchen.

Cooking Instructions

To cook, preheat the air fryer to ensure even cooking and place the chicken tenders in the basket in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching to allow the air to circulate freely. Cook at a high temperature until the tenders are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F, flipping halfway through. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the air fryer model and the size of the tenders.

Serving Suggestions

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are incredibly versatile, serving as a delicious main course that can be paired with a wide range of sides from crispy fries to fresh salads. They’re perfect for dipping, with options ranging from classic ketchup and barbecue sauce to more gourmet dips like honey mustard or aioli. Whether it’s a casual dinner, a party snack, or a quick lunch, these tenders are sure to be a hit.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Customizing Your Chicken Tenders

One of the joys of making chicken tenders in the air fryer is the ability to customize the recipe to suit your tastes. Experiment with different coatings like seasoned flour, crushed chips, or even almond meal for a gluten-free option. Spices and herbs can be adjusted to create various flavor profiles, from spicy Cajun to herby Italian, making each batch of chicken tenders a new culinary adventure.

Embracing Healthier Cooking Methods

Embracing the air fryer for making chicken tenders is a step towards healthier eating without sacrificing flavor. This cooking method aligns with a balanced lifestyle, offering a way to enjoy beloved dishes in a way that’s better for your body. As air fryers become a staple in more kitchens, recipes like Air Fryer Chicken Tenders demonstrate how technology and tradition can merge to create dishes that are both delicious and nutritious.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are taking the culinary world by storm, offering a healthier alternative to the traditionally fried favorite. By utilizing the air fryer’s rapid air technology, these chicken tenders achieve a crispy exterior and juicy interior without the need for excessive oil. This method not only reduces the calorie count but also simplifies the cooking process, making it an ideal choice for quick, nutritious meals.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

The key to delicious Air Fryer Chicken Tenders lies in the selection of quality ingredients. Start with fresh, boneless chicken breast tenders for the best texture and flavor. For the breading, a combination of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and a blend of spices like paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder creates a flavorful crust that crisps beautifully in the air fryer.

Preparing the Chicken Tenders

Preparation begins with patting the chicken tenders dry, ensuring that the seasoning and breading adhere properly. Next, dip each tender first in a mixture of beaten eggs and milk, then dredge in the seasoned breadcrumb mixture. This double coating is crucial for achieving that coveted crispy finish. For an extra crunch, some cooks prefer using panko breadcrumbs mixed with a little olive oil.

Mastering the Air Fryer Technique

Cooking chicken tenders in the air fryer requires attention to detail. Preheat the air fryer to ensure a crispy texture right from the start. Arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer, leaving space between them for optimal air circulation. Depending on the air fryer’s size, cooking in batches may be necessary to avoid overcrowding. Halfway through the cooking time, flip the tenders to ensure even browning and crispiness on all sides.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are incredibly versatile, serving as a standalone snack or a main dish. Pair them with a variety of dipping sauces, from classic ketchup and honey mustard to gourmet aiolis and homemade salsas. For a balanced meal, accompany the tenders with a side of fresh vegetables, a light salad, or roasted potatoes, turning a simple dish into a satisfying feast.

Nutritional Advantages and Dietary Considerations

Opting for air-fried chicken tenders not only reduces calorie and fat intake but also aligns with various dietary preferences. For a gluten-free option, substitute traditional breadcrumbs with almond flour or crushed gluten-free cereal. Additionally, the air fryer’s efficiency in reducing the use of cooking oils supports a healthier lifestyle, making Air Fryer Chicken Tenders a smart choice for health-conscious individuals and families alike.

By embracing the air fryer for making chicken tenders, cooks of all skill levels can enjoy a delicious, healthier version of this classic dish. The simplicity of preparation combined with the potential for customization in seasoning and dipping sauces ensures that Air Fryer Chicken Tenders can easily become a regular feature in meal planning for busy weeknights or leisurely weekend dinners.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders offer a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken, delivering the same crispy texture and juicy interior without the excess oil. Utilizing the air fryer’s hot air circulation, these tenders cook up quickly, making them a perfect option for a fast and delicious meal.

The Coating Process

The key to achieving the perfect crust on air fryer chicken tenders lies in the coating process. First, dip the tenders in flour, shaking off any excess. Next, submerge them in a beaten egg mixture, and finally, coat them thoroughly in seasoned breadcrumbs or panko. This triple-layer technique ensures each tender is fully covered and ready to crisp up beautifully.

Cooking to Perfection

Arrange the coated chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t touch to allow for maximum air circulation. Depending on the air fryer’s size, you may need to cook them in batches. Cook at 400°F for about 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Serving Suggestions

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are incredibly versatile and can be served with a variety of dipping sauces, from classic ketchup and mustard to more gourmet options like honey mustard or a spicy aioli. Pair them with a side of crispy air-fried vegetables or a fresh salad for a complete meal.

Customizing Your Tenders

One of the joys of making chicken tenders in the air fryer is the ability to customize the recipe to fit your taste or dietary needs. For a gluten-free version, use almond flour and gluten-free panko. For a keto-friendly option, opt for crushed pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs. Experimenting with different seasonings and marinades can also introduce a range of flavors to this simple dish.

Nutritional Advantages

Choosing to air fry chicken tenders instead of deep-frying them significantly reduces the calorie and fat content of the meal, making it a healthier choice that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. This cooking method also preserves the chicken’s tenderness and juiciness, ensuring a satisfying eating experience.

By embracing air frying for making chicken tenders, you open up a world of culinary possibilities that are both delicious and healthier. Whether you’re cooking for a quick weeknight dinner or preparing snacks for a gathering, air fryer chicken tenders are sure to be a hit.

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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are a healthier, yet equally delicious alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders. Using an air fryer, these tenders achieve a crispy exterior and juicy interior with minimal oil. Perfect for a quick lunch, dinner, or snack, they’re a hit with both adults and kids alike.



2 pounds chicken tenders (about 12)
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs (120g)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Olive oil spray


Prep Chicken: Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper.

Prepare Breading Station: In a shallow dish, beat the eggs. In another shallow dish, combine the panko, garlic powder, and paprika.

Coat Chicken: Dip each chicken tender in the egg wash, then coat in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere.

Prep Air Fryer: Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray.

Air Fry: Working in batches, place the breaded chicken in the air fryer basket and spray all over with the olive oil. Air fry at 400°F on one side until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and air fry until golden and crispy, about 5 more minutes.

Serve: Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Tip: Make ahead and freeze uncooked breaded tenders. This recipe cooks well from frozen so it’s ideal for making ahead. Freeze uncooked breaded tenders in a single layer on a baking sheet until firm, and then transfer to a plastic bag to store. The cooking time will increase by about 5 minutes, but use your instant-read thermometer to be sure they’re cooked through.


  • Ensure chicken tenders are not overcrowded in the air fryer basket for even cooking.
  • For gluten-free tenders, use almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Adjust spices in the breadcrumb mixture according to taste preferences.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Air Frying
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 260 kcal
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 28g

Frequently Asked Questions about Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

1. Can I make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders without breadcrumbs? Yes, you can make chicken tenders without breadcrumbs by using alternatives like crushed pork rinds, almond flour, or parmesan cheese for a low-carb or keto-friendly version.

2. How do I prevent the chicken tenders from sticking to the air fryer basket? To prevent sticking, lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush it with a small amount of oil before adding the chicken tenders. You can also use parchment paper with holes for easier cleanup.

3. Can I cook frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer? Absolutely! Air frying is great for cooking frozen chicken tenders. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as they might take a bit longer to cook through compared to thawed tenders.

4. Is preheating the air fryer necessary? While not always required, preheating the air fryer can help achieve a more even and crispy exterior on the chicken tenders. It typically takes about 3-5 minutes to preheat, depending on the model.

5. How can I ensure my chicken tenders are cooked thoroughly? Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken tenders reaches 165°F (74°C). This ensures they are safely cooked through and juicy.


Air Fryer Chicken Tenders not only offer a healthier alternative to their deep-fried counterparts but also deliver on flavor and texture, making them a favorite for cooks of all levels. With the ability to customize the recipe to fit dietary needs and preferences, these tenders cater to a wide audience, from those following a gluten-free diet to those simply seeking a quick and satisfying meal. The air fryer’s efficiency and versatility mean that delicious, crispy chicken tenders can be on your table in minutes, providing a fast solution to mealtime that doesn’t compromise on health or taste. Whether you’re a seasoned air fryer enthusiast or new to the air frying world, chicken tenders are a simple yet delightful dish that demonstrates the appliance’s capability to transform everyday ingredients into something extraordinary.

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