Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are the perfect meal for kids, adults, fast food lovers, or really, anyone who loves ultra-crispy chicken! Super moist, juicy chicken with a crispy crunchy crust, air fried chicken tenders come together in less than 40 minutes!

titled image for air fryer chicken tenders


Instead of making the same chicken recipes every week, try this fast food favorite — in a healthy way!

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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 when you air fry chicken tenders, the meal is that much healthier because there’s no fatty oil involved! 

Juicy on the inside with a cheesy, garlicky breadcrumb crust, you won’t be able to stop after just one. 

Even the pickiest eater won’t be able to resist air fried chicken strips.

Don’t stop with just chicken tenders in the air fryer! Try French fried onion chicken, chicken legs, boneless breasts, or even a whole chicken!

ingredients to make air fryer chicken tenders

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 slicing up a boneless chicken breast.
  • Cooking Spray – The only oil we’ll need — and that’s just to keep the air fryer chicken 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 textures and flavors, 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. 
dredging chicken tenderloins in egg mixture and breadcrumbs

How Long to Cook Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer

It normally takes about 30 minutes to air fry chicken tenders, but your cook time may be different than mine.

How long to cook chicken tenders in the air fryer will depend on both the thickness and cut of meat, plus 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. 

crunchy coated chicken tender in air fryer basket

Serving Suggestions

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:

close up of tongs holding air fried chicken tender

Air Fry Chicken Tenders FAQ

What is a safe temperature for cooking chicken?

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.

Can you stack chicken tenders in an air fryer?

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 tenderloins that are a mix of overcooked and undercooked, be sure to air fry chicken tenders in a single layer. And cook in multiple batches if necessary!

breaded chicken tenders on plate with sauce

Storing and Freezing Leftover Air Fried Chicken Tenders

You can keep any extra air fryer chicken tenders 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!

close up of air fried chicken tenders with parsley


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dipping air fried chicken tender in honey mustard

air fryer chicken tenders closeup

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Donna Elick
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are juicy and moist, with the best crunchy crust! This air fried chicken tenders recipe makes a quick & easy meal!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Air Fryer
Servings 4


  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Breading ingredients

  • 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.

Donna’s Notes

This dish was cooked in a 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer, and in 2 batches (necessary to avoid stacking the tenders). If you have a smaller or larger air fryer, you may need to adjust cooking times.
Also, if your chicken tenders are larger or smaller than normal, your cooking times will vary. Be sure to check that they are cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F. Adjust cooking time as needed.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days in an airtight container.
To freeze, place cooked chicken tenders on a baking sheet, spaced apart, and put them in the freezer until they begin to freeze (about 30 minutes). Remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a freezer bag. Cooked breaded chicken strips freeze well for 2-3 months.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 319cal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 833mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image for chicken tenders in air fryer

Originally published August 2022, updated and republished June 2023

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t have a lot of time to cook because of work, so simple quick recipes are my favorite. I love these air fryer chicken tenders! They’re so tasty and easy to make.

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