These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are breaded crispy chicken strips seasoned with spices and are easy to make. They are crunchy and crispy on the outside while moist and juicy on the inside. It is delicious on its own or pair it with your favorite sauce. Serve it as an appetizer or as a meal with a side of fries, vegetables or salad.
Air frying chicken tenders is healthier than deep frying and only need a teaspoon of oil. You’ll be amaze how crispy these chicken strips and they are not deep fried.
If you like to try another delicious air fryer chicken recipe, try this Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken Breast with Broccoli and Cheese.
What part of chicken are chicken tenders
They are the little strips of meat that are loosely attached to the underside of each breast and every chicken has two tenderloin or tenders.
Can I use chicken breast to make chicken tenders
Yes, you can use chicken breast instead of tenders. Lately, it’s been hard to find certain chicken cuts or parts. If you cannot find chicken tenders, use boneless skinless chicken breast. Cut it lengthwise like tenders about ½ inch thick.
How to make this air fryer chicken recipe
If frozen, thaw chicken tenders or chicken breast in the refrigerator overnight and dry with paper towel.
If using chicken breast, cut it lengthwise and ½ an inch thick.
In a small container, combine onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Reserve ½ of mixture to season chicken tenders and the other half to add to the breading.
In a shallow bowl or zip lock bag, make the breading. Combine ½ of the seasonings, bread crumbs and panko. Set aside.
Beat egg and place all chicken tenders until well coated. Sprinkle half of the seasonings.
Spray the bottom of air fryer basket lightly with olive oil.
Dredge each chicken tenders in breading. Gently shake to remove excess breading then place in the air fryer basket.
Note: If your air fryer is small, do not overcrowd and cook in batches. Bread the second batch after the first batch is cooked.
How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryer
Preheat the air fryer and cook the chicken tenders at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, flipping it halfway through cooking. Note: Cooking time can slightly vary depending on brand or model of air fryer.
Tips for a perfect and crispy chicken strips
Place chicken tenders in single layer in air fryer basket.
Do not overcrowd chicken tenders in airfryer so air can circulate to ensure even cooking.
Flip tenders to cook evenly.
I suggest that you always cook with the lowest cooking time. Open the air fryer basket 5 seconds before cooking time ends and check if your food needs more time to cook then add another minute or more. Note: It is possible your tenders are cut thinner or larger than mine and that would require adjusting the cooking time.
Variations to make this recipe
- Without egg – Lightly brush chicken tenders with olive oil so breading can stick to it. Same cooking time.
- Without breading – Brush chicken tenders lightly with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings. Adjust cooking time by less than a minute. Note: Depending on the brand of air fryer, cooking time will slightly vary.
Reheat chicken tenders in air fryer at 300 degrees F between 2-10 minutes depending on the amount. Less chicken tenders less cooking time and vice versa. Reheating chicken tenders stored in the refrigerator will require less time than frozen chicken tenders.
Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container up to 3 days in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer.
Yes, chicken tenders are white meat just like the chicken breast.
Yes, it will remind you to flip the tenders if the “TURN REMINDER” feature is enabled.
Yes, it is OK to open air fryer to check the food and it will continue cooking once you put the air fryer basket back.
Try other easy air fryer recipes
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 3 2.17 pounds chicken breast or 2.25 pounds chicken tenders
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 egg beaten
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup panko
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- Thaw frozen chicken breast in refrigerator overnight then pat dry with paper towel.
- If using chicken breast, cut each breast into 4 pieces, lengthwise ½ inch thick.
- Combine spices. In a small container, combine and mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. Reserve half of seasonings for chicken tenders and the to the other half for breading.
- Make breading. In another shallow bowl or ziplock bag, combine half of the seasonings with bread crumbs and panko.
- Beat egg in a shallow bowl.
- Place and mix chicken tenders in beaten egg. Combine half of the seasonings. Note: Chicken tenders are much tastier when seasoned.
- Dredge chicken tenders in breading. Shake gently to remove excess breading.
- Spray air fryer basket lightly with oil.
- Place chicken tenders in air fryer basket. Preheat and air fry at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through with internal temperature of 165 degrees F using a meat thermometer. Flip tenders halfway through cooking.
- Serve while hot and crispy.
- Cooking time can slightly vary depending on brand or model of air fryer.
- Also, your chicken tenders could be thinner or bigger than mine and cooking time can vary.
- I suggest you always cook with the lowest cooking time and add more time if needed. More tips in the post above.
- Do not overcrowd tenders in the air fryer. Air should circulate to ensure food is cooked evenly.
- Cook in batches if your air fryer is small. Bread the second batch after the first batch is cooked.
- Make sure to flip chicken tenders halfway through cooking.
- These chicken tenders are delicious on its own. You can serve it with your favorite sauce, if desired. It is delicious with Garlic Aioli sauce. Try my recipe if you like.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze up to a month.
- Reheat leftovers in air fryer at 300 degrees between 2 – 6 minutes depending on how much you have.