Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers — If you’re a fan of zesty fried chicken, then this air fryer copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers recipe is just what you need.
Craving the crunchy and flavorful tenders from your favorite fast food spot but don’t want to break the bank? Have no fear! Using a few simple ingredients and your very own air fryer, you can easily recreate their famous dish in no time.
This quick and easy Main Course will satisfy the pickiest eaters, giving them lean protein and full flavor in each bite. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy all that fried goodness without worrying about unhealthy fat or calories!
What Are Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers
Zaxby’s is a fast-food chain that primarily serves chicken products in the United States, and one of their most popular items is their Chicken Fingers.
Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers, also known as Chicken Fingerz according to the restaurant’s menu, are breaded and fried chicken tenders. They are known for their tender, juicy chicken on the inside with a perfectly crispy and seasoned exterior. Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers are often enjoyed with Zax Sauce, a great sauce that adds a tangy and slightly spicy flavor to the chicken.
Zaxby’s offers these chicken fingers as individual items, in meals accompanied by crinkle fries, Texas toast, and coleslaw, and as part of their other menu options like salads and sandwiches. They are a fan-favorite and one of the highlights of Zaxby’s menu.
Why You Will Love This Recipe For Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers
If you’re a fan of Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers, you’re going to love this homemade Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers recipe for several reasons:
- Healthier Option: Cooking chicken fingers in the air fryer uses significantly less oil than traditional deep frying, which can reduce unnecessary calories and fats, making it a healthier choice without compromising the flavor or crispiness.
- Easy and Convenient: Using an air fryer is incredibly easy and convenient. You prep your chicken, set the temperature, and let the air fryer do it. There’s no dealing with hot oil or a messy stovetop.
- Perfectly Crispy and Juicy: Air frying creates a perfectly crispy exterior while keeping the inside of the chicken fingers moist and juicy. This is perfect for mimicking Zaxby’s famous chicken fingers.
- Customizable: When you make your own chicken fingers at home, you can adjust the seasonings and spices to your liking, making this recipe versatile and adaptable to your palate.
- Cost-Effective: Making this recipe at home can be more cost-effective than regularly dining out or getting take-out, especially if you’re feeding a family.
- Fun to Make: Last but not least, it’s fun! Cooking your favorite take-out meals at home can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, especially if you involve the whole family.
With all these benefits, there’s every reason to try this Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers recipe.
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers
Are you looking for an easy, delicious snack that will satisfy your craving for Zaxby’s chicken fingers? While nothing beats the original at your favorite fried-chicken chain, this copycat version of Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers cooked in an air fryer is the next best thing.
With just a few ingredients and a few minutes of cooking time in the air fryer, these irresistible chicken tenders will surely be a crowd-pleaser! Read on to find out all the ingredients needed and how to make this delicious copycat recipe.
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need to make Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers:
- Chicken Tenders: If you can’t find tenders, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips.
- All-Purpose Flour: For a gluten-free option, use all-purpose gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Eggs: The egg wash that helps the breadcrumb mixture stick to the chicken.
- Milk: Mixed with the eggs to create the egg wash.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko gives a crunchier texture than regular breadcrumbs.
- Kosher Salt: To taste, for seasoning the chicken and the breadcrumb mixture.
- Black Pepper: To taste, for seasoning the chicken and the breadcrumb mixture.
- Paprika: To add some color and mild sweetness to your breadcrumb mixture.
- Garlic Powder: This will add an excellent depth of flavor.
- Onion Powder: This will provide a subtle savory note.
- Cooking Spray: An oil-based cooking spray will be used to lightly coat the breaded chicken fingers before they go into the air fryer, ensuring they turn out perfectly crispy.
- Dipping Sauce: You can use your favorite dipping sauce or try to recreate Zaxby’s Zax Sauce at home.
Remember, these measurements can be adjusted based on your taste and the number of people you serve.
How To Cook Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers In Air Fryer
Everyone loves crispy chicken fingers, and what better way to enjoy them than with the taste of Zaxby’s? There is something for everyone, from their famous sauces to their unique tenders! Now you can make your copycat version of Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers in just minutes in your own kitchen using an air fryer.
We’ll show you the detailed steps on how to make these delicious home-cooked delights that will be a guaranteed hit among family and friends. Not only are they unbelievably tasty, but they are also surprisingly easy to budget-friendly as well. So don’t wait; let’s find out how to get the fried crunchy goodness at home now!
Step 1: Prepare the Chicken
First, rinse your chicken tenders and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Set Up Your Breading Station
Next, set up three shallow dishes. In the first dish, place the all-purpose flour. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. The third dish combines the Panko breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Step 3: Bread the Chicken
Dip each chicken tender first into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg mixture, ensuring it’s fully coated. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to ensure the crumbs adhere well. Place the breaded tenders on a tray or plate.
Step 4: Preheat the Air Fryer
Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 5 minutes.
Step 5: Arrange the Chicken in the Air Fryer
Spray the air fryer basket with some cooking spray. Then place the chicken fingers into the basket, ensuring they are not touching or overlapping. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook the chicken in batches.
Step 6: Cook the Chicken
Spray the top of the chicken fingers lightly with some more cooking spray. Then cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. You don’t need to flip the chicken fingers, but you can shake the basket halfway through if desired.
Step 7: Serve
Serve the chicken fingers hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Pro Tips For Making Copycat Zaxyby’s Chicken Fingers
Here are some pro tips for making perfect Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers in an air fryer:
- Use Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs that are larger and airier than traditional breadcrumbs. They result in a crispier, crunchier coating.
- Don’t Overcrowd the Basket: Ensure the crispiest chicken fingers are not touching or overlapping in the air fryer basket. If necessary, cook them in batches.
- Shake the Basket: Halfway through the cooking time, you can shake the basket to ensure the chicken fingers cook evenly.
- Use an Instant-Read Thermometer: The safest way to check if your chicken is done is by using an instant-read thermometer. It should read 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the chicken.
- Make Your Own Zax Sauce: Zaxby’s is famous for its Zax Sauce. Try making your own at home with mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper.
- Pat Dry the Chicken: Make sure to pat dry the chicken tenders before breading them. This helps the coating stick better to the chicken.
- Keep the Breading Light: Do not press too hard when applying the breadcrumbs; you want a light, airy coating that gets really crispy.
- Spray with Cooking Spray: Just before air frying, spray the chicken fingers with cooking spray. This helps them get golden and crispy.
Patience and attention to detail are the keys to perfect chicken fingers. Follow these tips and have delicious, crispy, and flavorful chicken fingers!
Can I use frozen chicken fingers in this recipe?
Yes, you can cook frozen chicken fingers in an air fryer. However, the cooking time will be longer, and you won’t be able to customize the seasoning as in this recipe.
Can I use other parts of the chicken?
Yes, you can use this breading method for other cuts of chicken as well, such as chicken breasts or thighs. Just be aware that cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the cut.
How do I store leftover chicken fingers?
A: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, use the air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for a few minutes until heated through.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.
What other sauces can I serve with these chicken fingers?
Besides homemade Zax Sauce, you can serve these chicken fingers with barbecue sauce, honey mustard, ranch dressing, or any of your favorite dipping sauces.
Why are my chicken fingers not crispy?
There could be a few reasons for this. You might be overcrowding the air fryer basket, leading to steaming instead of frying. The chicken fingers might also need a bit more time to cook, or the air fryer temperature might be too low. Also, make sure to spray the chicken fingers with cooking spray before cooking.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes, you can easily double this recipe. However, remember not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. You’ll need to cook the chicken fingers in batches to ensure they cook evenly and get crispy.
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Air Fryer Copycat Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, Or boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk, or buttermilk
- 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup Zaxby's Zax Sauce
- First, rinse your chicken tenders and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Next, set up three shallow dishes. In the first dish, place the all-purpose flour. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. The third dish combines the Panko breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Dip each chicken tender first into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg mixture, ensuring it's fully coated. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to ensure the crumbs adhere well. Place the breaded tenders on a tray or plate.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 5 minutes.
- Spray the air fryer basket with some cooking spray. Then place the chicken fingers into the basket, ensuring they are not touching or overlapping. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook the chicken in batches.
- Spray the top of the chicken fingers lightly with some more cooking spray. Then cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. You don't need to flip the chicken fingers, but you can shake the basket halfway through if desired.
- Serve the chicken fingers hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Parchment Paper, optional