Air Fryer Chicken Tenders cook up golden & crispy on the outside, but juicy inside. The best part is they can be made in under 20 minutes with just 6-ingredients. A parmesan breadcrumb coating makes them extra delicious.
It’s been way too long since I had chicken tenders. Why does it seem that as an adult, we don’t really get the option of ordering them in a restaurant. It seems that they’re always on the kids menu, but we miss out.
Today I set myself to change all that with these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders.
These chicken fingers are so much healthier than their deep fried counterpart. But, with their golden, crispy exterior, you’d never guess… I even added a bit of parmesan cheese into the mix to make them extra delicious.
Serve them up with a side of buffalo sauce, honey mustard, blue cheese, BBQ sauce or homemade ranch dressing and treat yourself to this healthier indulgence! They would also be amazing with this White BBQ Sauce, Bang Bang Sauce, Chick-Fil-A sauce, copycat In-N-Out Sauce, or Boom Boom Sauce.
Why air fry chicken tenders?
- The air fryer is great for making chicken fingers because they come out crispy, and juicy without the need for deep fryer, making them lower in calories and fat.
What kind of chicken to use?
- Look for chicken tenders in the store, they are already cut into strips and ready to go. If you can’t find chicken tenders, you can also cut chicken breasts into strips.
How do I bread chicken tenders?
- Set up three shallow bowls.
- Breadcrumb Mixture – Panko, Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.
- Dredge chicken tenders first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture.
- Buttermilk Chicken Tenders: Marinate the chicken tenders for at least 4 hours, or overnight, then drain and follow recipe as written.
- Spicy Chicken Tenders: Add 3 Tablespoons hot sauce to the egg mixture, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the breading mixture. Follow recipe as written.
- Air Fryer Unbreaded Chicken Tenders: Simply skip the breading step and season the tenders with salt and pepper. Cook as directed in recipe card below.
- Keto Chicken Tenders: Swap out the panko & breadcrumbs for almond flour. Combine with parmesan cheese and follow recipe as written. Alternatively, you can swap the breadcrumbs for pork rinds.
- Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders: Swap out the panko & breadcrumbs for pretzels. Follow recipe as written.
How to make them
- Preheat air fryer to 400-degrees.
- Dredge chicken in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumb mixture.
- Spray each side of breaded chicken generously with oil.
- Place chicken in air fryer in a single layer.
- Cook chicken 5-6 minutes each side, flipping halfway through.
How to tell when they’re done
- Chicken tenders should be cooked to 165-degrees. I like to test this with an instant read meat thermometer. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, test the chicken for doneness by cutting into it and ensure that it’s no longer pink inside.
How to reheat chicken tenders in the air fryer
- If you have leftovers, simply reheat them in the air fryer at 350-degrees for 4 minutes.
Yes! By air frying and not deep frying you are cutting down on both calories and fat.
You can definitely cook raw chicken in the air fryer. These chicken tenders can be made with breading or no breading. Either way, they will cook in the air fryer in about 12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
I like to coat my chicken tenders in a combination of panko, Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Of course, you can use all pano or all seasoned breadcrumbs, and you can omit the parmesan if you’d like.
Chicken tenders will take about 12 minutes to cook in the air fryer. Flip them over halfway through to ensure even cooking and that they crisp up on both sides.
To make frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer, preheat the air to 400-degrees. Add the chicken tenders to the basket and cook for 5-6 minutes, flip over and cook for 5-6 minutes longer until cooked through and golden.
Dipping sauces for chicken tenders
- Buffalo Wing Sauce
- Chick-Fil-A Sauce
- In-N-Out Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Boom Boom Sauce
- Honey Mustard
- Magic Dipping Sauce
- Ranch Dressing
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Cheddar Mustard Sauce
- Cilantro Lime Crema
- Bang Bang Sauce
- Chipotle Crema
- White BBQ Sauce
- More → 20+ Sauces for Chicken Fingers
What to serve with them
- Vinegar Coleslaw
- French Fries
- Cheddar Spoonbread
- Grilled Potato Salad with Tangy Mustard Dressing
- Arugula Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- Apple Slaw with Celery Root
- Click here for MORE side dishes to serve with chicken
More air fryer recipes
- Air Fried Brussel Sprouts
- Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks
- Pasta Chips
- Air Fryer Pork Belly
- Air Fryer Burgers
- Buffalo Wings
- Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- Green Bean Fries
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Air Fryer Falafel
- Zucchini Fries with Dipping Sauce
Did you try these air fryer crispy chicken tenders?
If you loved these air fried chicken tenders I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a ⭐️star review⭐️! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Grab 3 shallow plates. Add the flour to one. Whisk the eggs in the second one. Mix the panko, breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt, and pepper in the third one.
- Coat each tender in flour, then egg, and finally the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spray both sides of the chicken generously with oil.
- Working In batches, if necessary, cook the chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through and crispy and golden.
- Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.
This post was originally published in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The air fryer chicken tenders recipe remains the same. Enjoy!