Air Fryer Chicken Tenders is the perfect meal for kids, adults, fast food lovers, or really, anyone who loves ultra crispy chicken! It’s super moist, juicy chicken with a crispy crunchy crust, and it comes together in less than 40 minutes!
It’s hard not to use chicken to prepare dinner for my family.
It’s one of the leanest, most versatile proteins out there, and making air fried chicken tenders makes the meal that much healthier, because there’s no fatty oil involved!
So instead of making the same chicken recipes every week, try this fast food favorite – in a healthy way!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Even the pickiest eater won’t be able to resist air fryer chicken strips!
Juicy on the inside with a cheesy, garlicky breadcrumb crust, you won’t be able to stop after just one.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Boneless Chicken Tenders – Boneless, skinless tenderloins are almost always available in the grocery store meat department.
If you can’t find tenders, you can make your own chicken strips by making slices from a boneless chicken breast.
- Cooking Spray – The only oil we’ll need – and that’s just to keep the air fried tenders from sticking! I like to use an olive oil spray, but canola works too.
- Breadcrumbs – I like to use a mix of both Italian and panko breadcrumbs for a variety of texture and flavor, but you can use either or.
If you use just panko, compensate with a bit of Italian seasoning.
- Parmesan Cheese – You can really taste the difference between bagged, pre-shredded cheese and cheese that’s freshly grated right off the block.
So grate it fresh, right at home, if you can!
- Ground Mustard, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper – These basic seasonings give a good balance of salty, peppery, and spicy.
But add a dash of chili powder or paprika for some heat… or any seasonings you like! These air fryer chicken tenders are totally customizable.
How Long to Air Fry Chicken Tenders
Air fried chicken tenders normally take about 30 minutes to cook, but your cook time may be different than mine.
Cook time will vary depending on the thickness and cut of meat, and the air fryer model and size
So, it’s best to use the internal temperature of the meat to determine doneness. I suggest using an instant read digital thermometer.
The internal temperature of chicken tenders in the air fryer should be 165°F before removing them from the basket.
Storing and Freezing Leftovers
You can keep any extra air fryer chicken strips in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, just pop them back in the air fryer for a couple of minutes at 400°F.
Also, the cooked chicken strips freeze beautifully, so they’re perfect to use for creating a simple meal quickly!!
To freeze, just lay them on a baking sheet with a bit of space between each, then slide the pan into the freezer for 30 minutes or so.
When they’re partially frozen, transfer the air fried chicken tenders to a freezer bag. Stored in the freezer this way, they will keep for up to 3 months!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders FAQ
According to the FDA, the minimum safe internal temperature of poultry is 165°F – that’s the temperature at which potentially harmful, food poisoning-causing germs are cooked out of the food.
No one’s going to stop you, but it’s a pretty bad idea!
Not only will your tenders stick together as the crust cooks, but you’re also keeping each side of the tender from crisping up and preventing the meat from cooking thoroughly.
So unless you want mushy air fryer chicken tenderloins that are a mix of overcooked and undercooked, be sure to place them in a single layer.
Cook in multiple batches if necessary.
If you’re wondering what sauces are good for dipping chicken tenders into, there are almost too many options! A few of my favorites are:
- Honey mustard
- BBQ sauce – I love the tangy flavor of this Kansas City BBQ sauce. If you prefer a smoky flavored sauce, try our signature BBQ sauce recipe.
- Ranch dressing
- Chick-fil-A sauce
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, place all breading ingredients and stir to combine.
- One at a time, place chicken tenders in the egg, and flip to coat. Then press each tender into the breading mixture and flip to coat on the opposite side. Lightly shake to remove any excess. Place on a plate and spray each side with olive oil spray.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Place chicken tenders in an even layer (do not stack). Cook for 10 minutes, flipping the tenders with tongs half-way through. The chicken should be crispy on the outside and cooked through to the center, with an internal temperature of 165°F. Add additional time if necessary, 1 minute at a time until cooked through. Repeat for all remaining batches.
- Serve warm with honey mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2022
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