Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders —  Get ready to add a kick of flavor to your dinner routine with these Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders! 🔥🍗

Tender and juicy chicken tenders seasoned with a perfect blend of spices, air-fried for a crispy exterior. It’s a quick and delicious way to spice up your mealtime. Let’s dive into this mouthwatering recipe!  

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Introduction to Blackened Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

When creating a flavor-packed meal that’s easy and impressive, look no further than The Best Blackened Chicken Tenderloins recipe. These tender, juicy chicken tenderloins are coated in a rich blend of aromatic spices, delivering a burst of Cajun-inspired flavor with every bite. The beauty of this recipe lies not only in its taste but also in its simplicity.

Season the chicken with paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and a touch of salt and pepper to create these delicious blackened chicken tenderloins. This spice blend gives the chicken a bold, smoky, and slightly spicy flavor. Once coated, the chicken tenderloins are air-fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy outer layer that locks in all the savory goodness.

What sets this recipe apart is its versatility. These blackened chicken tenderloins can be served as a main course, sliced atop a salad, tucked into a sandwich, or even enjoyed as finger food at your next gathering. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort, you’ll have a restaurant-quality dish that will become a favorite in your kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of bold flavors or simply looking to spice up your dinner rotation, The Best Blackened Chicken Tenderloins recipe is a must-try. Prepare to savor the irresistible combination of smokiness, spice, and succulent chicken tenderness, bound to leave your taste buds craving more.

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Why Choose Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders

If you’re searching for a mouthwatering yet hassle-free meal option, look no further than Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders. These delectable chicken tenders offer a multitude of reasons to choose them as your next culinary adventure.

First and foremost, they are incredibly flavorful. The blackened seasoning blend infuses each tender with a smoky, spicy, and herbaceous taste that tantalizes the taste buds. This flavor profile adds a touch of excitement to your meal, making it perfect for those who appreciate a little heat and zest in their dishes.

Secondly, these chicken tenders are a healthier alternative to traditionally fried options. Using the air fryer, you achieve that coveted crispy texture without excessive oil or deep frying. It’s a guilt-free indulgence lighter on calories but doesn’t compromise taste or texture.

Furthermore, the air fryer’s efficiency means that these chicken tenders are ready in a fraction of the time it would take to bake or pan-fry them. It’s ideal for busy weeknight dinners or craving something delicious without the wait.

Lastly, the versatility of these Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders makes them a winning choice. Serve them as a standalone entrée, add them to a salad, or transform them into mouthwatering sandwiches or wraps. Their adaptability ensures they can fit seamlessly into your meal plan, offering endless possibilities.

In summary, Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders are a flavorful, healthy, and time-saving option that caters to various tastes and dietary preferences. Choosing them means savoring a delicious, hassle-free meal that will become a household favorite.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders

The magic of Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders lies in its flavorful seasoning blend, which takes these tender chicken pieces to a whole new level.

With a combination of smoky paprika, a kick of cayenne pepper, and a medley of savory herbs and spices, each bite promises a burst of bold Cajun-inspired taste. It’s a tantalizing blend that elevates your chicken tenders to a restaurant-worthy dish right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

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​Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable full recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Chicken Tenderloins: The star of the show, chicken tenderloins, are lean and tender, making them perfect for this dish. You can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you must cut them before preparing the recipe.
  • Paprika: Smoked paprika contributes a rich smokiness to the seasoning blend, enhancing the flavor profile.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Adds a kick of spiciness to the blackened seasoning, but you can adjust the amount to your preferred heat level.
  • Garlic Powder: Infuses the chicken with a savory garlic flavor, enhancing its overall taste.
  • Onion Powder: Provides a subtle, sweet onion essence to the seasoning mix.
  • Thyme: Dried thyme leaves contribute a hint of earthiness and herbaceousness.
  • Oregano: Adds a touch of Mediterranean flavor with its slightly minty and earthy notes.
  • Salt: Balances and enhances the flavors of the spices and herbs.
  • Black Pepper: Complements the other spices and adds a hint of warmth.
  • Olive Oil or Cooking Spray: Helps achieve a crispy exterior when air frying.
  • Favorite Dipping Sauce: Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or lemon wedges.

How To Make Blackened Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer

Making Blackened Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer is a breeze! Follow these simple steps for a delicious and flavorful meal:

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Prepare the Chicken: Paint the chicken tenderloins dry with paper towels. This helps the seasonings adhere better and ensures a crispier result.

Create the Blackened Seasoning: In a small bowl, prepare the spice mix with paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your desired level of spiciness.

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Coat the Chicken: Drizzle olive oil over the chicken tenderloins or use cooking spray to coat them lightly. This will help the seasonings stick. Sprinkle the blackened seasoning mix evenly over the chicken, ensuring each piece is well-coated.

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (190°C) for 3-5 minutes. This ensures the chicken starts cooking immediately.

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders --No Breading

Air Fry the Chicken: Place the seasoned chicken tenderloins in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t overlap. Cook them for 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on your air fryer model, so use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Serve: Remove them from the air fryer once the chicken tenders have a crispy, blackened exterior. Let them rest for a minute before serving to lock in their juiciness.

Enjoy: Serve your Blackened Chicken Tenders as a main course or in sandwiches, wraps, or salads for a versatile and flavorful meal.

These Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders are a quick, tasty, and healthier alternative to deep-fried options, making them a perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation.

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Recipe Variations

While the classic Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders are a delicious choice, there are several variations you can explore to suit your taste preferences. Here are some recipe variations to consider:

  • Lemon Herb Chicken Tenders: Marinate the chicken tenders in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and your favorite fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley before coating them with blackened seasoning. The citrusy and herbaceous flavors complement the blackened spice blend beautifully.
  • Smoky BBQ Chicken Tenders: Instead of the traditional blackened seasoning, coat the chicken tenders with your favorite BBQ rub or seasoning mix. The air fryer will give them a delightful smoky flavor and crispy texture. Serve with barbecue sauce for dipping.
  • Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders: After applying the blackened seasoning, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the chicken tenders for a cheesy and savory twist. The air fryer will create a golden and crispy Parmesan crust.
  • Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tenders: Add a touch of sweetness to the blackened seasoning mix by incorporating a bit of brown sugar or honey. The combination of sweet and spicy flavors is irresistible.
  • Buffalo-Style Chicken Tenders: After air frying the chicken tenders, toss them in your favorite Buffalo sauce for a spicy kick. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.
  • Asian-Inspired Chicken Tenders: Create an Asian-inspired version by using soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil in the marinade. Coat the chicken tenders with cornstarch and your choice of Asian spices for an extra crispy texture.
  • Coconut-Crusted Chicken Tenders: Replace the blackened seasoning with a coconut coating made from shredded coconut and breadcrumbs. The air fryer will give these tenders a delightful crunch with a hint of tropical flavor.
  • Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Tenders: While cooking the chicken tenders, brush them with a mixture of honey and Dijon mustard. The sweet and tangy glaze adds a delectable twist.
  • Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders: Coat the chicken tenders in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and your preferred seasonings for an extra crispy and crunchy texture.
  • Mediterranean-Style Chicken Tenders:– Season the chicken with Mediterranean spices like oregano, thyme, and lemon zest. Serve with tzatziki sauce and pita bread for a Mediterranean-inspired meal.

Feel free to get creative and combine different flavors to suit your cravings. Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are incredibly versatile, making it easy to customize them according to your taste preferences. Enjoy experimenting with these flavorful variations!

Blackened Chicken

Pro Tips

Achieving perfectly crispy and flavorful Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders requires attention to detail and some pro tips to ensure they turn out fantastic every time. Here are some tips to help you master this recipe:

  • Pat Dry: Before seasoning the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture helps the seasoning stick better and ensures a crispy exterior.
  • Even Coating: Coat the chicken tenders evenly with the blackened seasoning mix. Use your hands to rub the seasoning onto the chicken, ensuring every nook and cranny is covered.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating the air fryer for 4-5 minutes before cooking ensures the chicken starts cooking immediately, resulting in a crisper texture.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t overlap. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and less crispy results.
  • Flip Halfway Through: Flip the chicken tenders halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning on both sides. This step helps achieve that perfect crispiness.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure the chicken is cooked perfectly, use a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Add a Drizzle of Oil: A light drizzle of olive oil or a quick spritz of cooking spray on the chicken before air frying helps enhance crispiness.
  • Serve Immediately: For the crispiest results, serve the chicken tenders immediately after cooking. The longer they sit, the more they may lose their crispiness.
  • Customize Seasoning: Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper in the blackened seasoning mix to suit your spice preference. You can make it milder or spicier according to your taste.
  • Pair with Dipping Sauce: Serve your Blackened Chicken Tenders with your favorite dipping sauces, such as ranch, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce, for an extra layer of flavor.

By following these pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders that are crispy, flavorful, and a hit with your family and guests. Enjoy the delicious results!

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders

Faq’s

What is blackened seasoning, and can I make it at home? Blackened seasoning is a flavorful spice blend commonly used in Cajun and Creole cuisine. It typically includes paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper. You can make it at home by combining these spices in the desired proportions. Adjust the cayenne pepper to your preferred level of spiciness.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken tenderloins? Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. However, chicken tenderloins tend to cook faster and have a more tender texture. If using chicken breasts, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly to ensure they are fully cooked.

Can I marinate the chicken in the blackened seasoning for extra flavor? Although marinating is not typically done for blackened chicken, you can certainly sprinkle the seasoning mix on the chicken and let it sit for a while to allow the flavors to penetrate. However, it’s not necessary to achieve a delicious result.

How do I know when the chicken tenders are cooked through? The best way to ensure the chicken tenders are cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C). Cooking times may vary slightly depending on your air fryer model, so rely on the thermometer for accuracy.

Can I make these chicken tenders gluten-free? You can make gluten-free Blackened Chicken Tenders by using gluten-free spices in the seasoning mix. This recipe is perfect for meal prep and low carb!

What are some recommended side dishes to serve with Blackened Chicken Tenders? These tenders pair well with various sides, including a side salad, coleslaw, cornbread, roasted vegetables, rice, salad, or even in sandwiches and wraps. Choose sides that complement the Cajun-inspired flavors.

7. Can I adjust the level of spiciness in the blackened seasoning? Absolutely! Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper in the blackened seasoning mix to control the level of spiciness. Start with less if you prefer milder flavors, and add more for extra heat.

Can I freeze leftover cooked chicken tenders? Yes, you can freeze-cooked Blackened Chicken Tenders. Allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. To reheat, place them in the air fryer for a few minutes until heated. To cook the frozen chicken strips, set the air fryer temperature to 390 degrees F and set the cooking time for 15-18 minutes.

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Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Description

Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders —  Get ready to add a kick of flavor to your dinner routine with these Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders! 🔥🍗

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to your spice preference
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dipping sauces of your choice, e.g., ranch, honey mustard

Instructions

  • Prepare the Chicken: Start by patting the chicken tenderloins dry with paper towels. This helps the seasonings adhere better and ensures a crispier result.
  • Create the Blackened Seasoning: In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your desired level of spiciness.
  • Coat the Chicken: Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the chicken tenderloins or use cooking spray to lightly coat them. This will help the seasonings stick. Sprinkle the blackened seasoning mix evenly over the chicken, ensuring each piece is well-coated on both sides.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for a few minutes. This ensures the chicken starts cooking immediately.
  • Air Fry the Chicken: Place the seasoned chicken tenderloins in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they don’t overlap. Cook them for about 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on your air fryer model, so use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Serve: Once the chicken tenders are cooked through and have a crispy, blackened exterior, remove them from the air fryer. Let them rest for a minute before serving to lock in their juiciness.
  • Enjoy: Serve your Blackened Chicken Tenders as a main course or in sandwiches, wraps, or salads for a versatile and flavorful meal.

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Cooking Spray

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 91kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 16gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 282mgPotassium: 300mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

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