Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders — There’s nothing better than the smell of crispy, juicy fried chicken tenders! And what if I told you you could get the same great flavor and texture without all the greasy fryings? Enter air fryer chicken tenders!
Perfectly crunchy and delicious on their own or dipped in your favorite sauce, these chicken tenders are incredibly easy to make, require minimal prep time, and have less fat than traditional fried versions. Get ready for a tasty experience – it’s time to try air fryer chicken tenders!
The Best Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Tenders
Air fryer chicken tenders are a healthier and quicker alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders. With the help of an air fryer, you can achieve crispy and delicious chicken tenders without the need for excess oil.
In this recipe, we will share how to make the best crispy air fryer chicken tenders that will surely be a hit with the whole family. They are easy to make and can be served with your favorite dipping sauces for a satisfying meal or snack.
Why Cook Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer
Cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer is a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. The hot air circulation in the air fryer can produce a crispy and golden exterior while keeping the chicken tender and juicy inside. This method also requires less oil than traditional frying, making it a healthier option for those who want to limit their intake of fat and calories.
Additionally, cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer is a quick and easy way to prepare a delicious meal. The air fryer heats up quickly and cooks the chicken tenders evenly, requiring less cooking than traditional baking methods. This makes it a great option for busy weeknights or when you need to prepare a quick and easy meal.
Overall, cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer is a healthier and more convenient option that can produce delicious results.
The Best Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
This is a great recipe for a simple but delicious meal. Who doesn’t love juicy and tender chicken tenders? From kids to adults, chicken tenders are a classic favorite. However, the traditional technique for making them requires a lot of oil; today, we will use a fraction of the oil.
You can make delicious chicken tenders with an air fryer without breaking out the deep-fryer. We’re here to share our go-to recipe for perfectly crispy yet juicy air fryer chicken tenders that is sure to become your family’s new favorite meal!
Ingredients Needed for Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Who doesn’t love a crunchy and delicious chicken tender? Now you can make them in your own home with ease! The best way to cook air fryer chicken tenderloins is with an air fryer.
You can have crispy and juicy chicken tenders with an air fryer without the added fat of deep-fried alternatives. It takes simple ingredients to transform ordinary chicken into scrumptious goodness strips that will become a family favorite.
Remember the step-by-step directions are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page, as well as the nutritional information.
- Chicken: Boneless Chicken Breasts or Chicken Tenderloins
- Panko Breadcrumbs: You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs
- Mayonnaise: Don’t worry. You will not taste the mayonnaise; it just gives the chicken a lot of flavors and keeps it juicy!
- Seasonings and Spices: Paprika, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder.
- Olive Oil Spray: Helps you get the golden brown color of the breaded chicken tenders.
- Dipping Sauce: Serve wtih your favorite dipping sauce
How To Cook Crispy Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer
Crispy chicken tenders are a favorite among both kids and adults alike. If you want to learn how to make perfectly crispy and tasty homemade chicken tenders without the added calories of deep frying, then an air fryer is the way to go! Perfectly fried chicken is flavorful and can be achieved with minimal effort in an air fryer. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through simple instructions on how to cook the most delicious crunchy chicken tenders using your air fryer!
Step One: Prepare The Breadcrumb Mixture
Using paper towels, pat the chicken down to remove excess moisture from the chicken. Mix the panko crumbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl or shallow bowl.
Step Two: Coat The Chicken Strips With Mayo
Add the mayonnaise to a large Ziploc plastic bag or shallow dish, then add your chicken to the mayonnaise, coating it both front and back.
Step Three: Coat Your Chicken
Then coat your chicken with the mayonnaise and roll the coated chicken with the panko mixture. As you coat the chicken with the mayonnaise and panko breadcrumb mixture, place the chicken into the air fryer basket. The basket should be sprayed with olive oil so the chicken does not stick; place the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
Step Four: Air Fry Chicken Tenders
Spray the breaded tenders with olive oil, coating the bread crumbs so the chicken does not dry out. Plus, the olive oil helps the chicken crisp up. Set the air fryer temperature to 390 degrees F (air fryer setting) and set the cooking time for 10-12 minutes; flip the chicken halfway during the cooking process, spray it with olive oil, and then air fry for another 5 minutes.
Remove the chicken when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F using a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer. Check the thickest part of the chicken tender.
Step Five: Serving
Remove the chicken from the air fryer basket, set it on a wire rack, and serve it with your favorite dipping sauce.
Pro Tips For Cooking Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer
Cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer is a quick and easy way to get crispy, juicy chicken without all the oil and mess of traditional frying. Here are some pro tips for cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer: Preheating your air fryer will ensure that your chicken tenders cook evenly and come out crispy. Preheat the air fryer for 3-5 minutes before air frying.
- Coat the chicken tenders: Dip the chicken, and coat evenly for the best chicken tenders.
- Spray the air fryer basket: To prevent the chicken tenders from sticking to the basket, give it a quick spray of cooking spray before adding the chicken.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket: Leave enough space between each chicken tender so that they cook evenly and get crispy all over. You may need to cook the chicken tenders in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
- Flip halfway through. Flip them halfway through the cooking time to ensure that both sides of the chicken tenders get crispy.
- Check for doneness: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken tenders are fully cooked. The internal temperature should reach 165°F. The cook time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken and the air fryer model you are using.
- Spice: Use a variety of spices and seasoning; if you want to add some heat to the chicken nuggets, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Serve immediately: For the best texture, serve the chicken tenders immediately after cooking. They’ll be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!
With these pro tips, you can make delicious and crispy chicken tenders in your air fryer every time.
How To Cut Chicken Tenders From Skinless Chicken Breasts
If you can not find a package of chicken tenders at your grocery store, you can easily cut chicken tenders from skinless chicken breasts is easy and can be done in just a few simple steps:
- Start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast: Place the chicken breast on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to trim off any excess fat or connective tissue.
- Cut the chicken breast in half: Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise so that you have two thinner pieces of chicken.
- Locate the tenderloin: On one of the halves, locate the thin, white tendon running along the underside of the chicken. This is the tenderloin.
- Separate the tenderloin: Use your fingers or a knife to separate the tenderloin from the chicken breast gently. It should come off easily in one piece.
- Repeat the process with the other half of the chicken breast to get another tenderloin.
- Trim and cut into strips: Trim any excess fat or tendon from the tenderloins, then cut them into roughly 1-inch wide strips.
And that’s it! You now have chicken tenders ready to be cooked any way you like. You can use them in recipes for chicken tenders or pieces.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Sauce Suggestions
There are many sauces you can pair with air fryer chicken tenders! Here are some suggestions:
- BBQ sauce: a classic option that pairs well with the crispy exterior of the chicken tenders.
- Honey mustard: a sweet and tangy sauce that complements the chicken well.
- Ranch dressing: a creamy, flavorful dip that goes well with almost anything, including chicken tenders.
- Buffalo sauce: if you like a little spice, buffalo sauce is a great option to add a kick to your chicken tenders.
- Garlic aioli: a rich and garlicky dipping sauce that goes well with the crispy texture of the chicken; sprinkle with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese right before serving.
- Sweet chili sauce is a popular dipping sauce that balances sweetness and heat and pairs well with the chicken.
- Teriyaki sauce: a savory and slightly sweet sauce that adds a delicious Asian-inspired twist to your chicken tenders.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to experiment with your own favorite sauces and dips!
How To Store Leftover Chicken Tenders
To store leftover chicken tenders, follow these simple steps:
Storing: Let the chicken tenders cool to room temperature before storing them. Place the chicken tenders in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Store the chicken tenders in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: If you want to keep your chicken tenders longer than four days, you can freeze them. To freeze leftover chicken tenders: Let them cool down to room temperature before freezing them. Place the chicken tenders on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and then into the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Then remove the frozen chicken tenders, and place them in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Store the chicken tenders in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thawing: When you’re ready to eat the frozen chicken tenders, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, and then reheat them in the oven or air fryer until they’re crispy and hot.
Reheating: Place the chicken strips into the air fryer basket, spray with cooking spray, or brush with olive oil, and cook at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes.
Can I Air Fry Frozen Raw Chicken Tenders?
Yes, you can air fry frozen raw chicken tenders, but it will require some cooking time and temperature adjustments. The great thing about using an air fryer is that you can cook meat from frozen for easy weeknight meals.
Can I Use Different Seasonings for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders?
Absolutely! One of the great things about cooking air fryer chicken tenders is that you can customize different spices and different seasonings. Here are a few seasoning ideas to try:
- Italian seasoning: a blend of herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme, adding a flavorful and slightly savory taste to the chicken tenders.
- Cajun seasoning: a spicy blend of paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper that will give your chicken tenders a bold and flavorful kick.
- Lemon pepper seasoning: a zesty blend of lemon and black pepper that will add a tangy and refreshing taste to your chicken tenders.
- Garlic and herb seasoning: a mixture of garlic powder, dried herbs, and salt that will add a rich and savory flavor to your chicken tenders.
- BBQ seasoning: a smoky and sweet seasoning that will give your chicken tenders a barbecue flavor.
When seasoning your chicken tenders, coat them evenly and use a light hand to avoid overpowering the flavor of the chicken. You can also experiment with different seasoning combinations to find your perfect blend.
More Air Fryer Recipes
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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 1 pound chicken tenders
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Using paper towels, pat the chicken down to remove excess moisture from the chicken. Mix the panko crumbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl or shallow bowl.
- Add the mayonnaise to a large Ziploc plastic bag or shallow dish, then add your chicken to the mayonnaise, coating it both front and back.
- Then coat your chicken with the mayonnaise and roll the coated chicken with the panko mixture. As you coat the chicken with the mayonnaise and panko breadcrumb mixture, place the chicken into the air fryer basket. The basket should be sprayed with olive oil so the chicken does not stick; place the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
- Spray the breaded tenders with olive oil, coating the bread crumbs so the chicken does not dry out. Plus, the olive oil helps the chicken crisp up. Set the air fryer temperature to 390 degrees F (air fryer setting) and set the cooking time for 10-12 minutes; flip the chicken halfway during the cooking process, spray it with olive oil, and then air fry for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F using a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer. Check the thickest part of the chicken tender.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer basket, set it on a wire rack, and serve it with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spary, or Olive oil spray