Air Fryer Chicken Tenders come out super tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. You will love this 30-Minute meal!
Chicken Tenders – Air Fryer Style!
I am a huge chicken tenders and fries kind of gal. Always have been and always will be. My favorite kind of chicken tenders are the kind that are friend, you know in all of that oil goodness.
These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders taste like they’re fried in oil, but they’re actually fried in air!
Here’s why you need to make these:
- High Protein / Low Fat: per serving these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders have 38g protein and only 6g fat.
- So Crispy: the whole goal with chicken tenders is to get them nice and crispy. This is by far the best way to do so.
- Kid-Friendly: kids obsessed with chicken fingers? They won’t even know these weren’t from a restaurant or store-bought.
What you Need
There are 3 main components of this recipe. 1. Chicken, 2. Egg Wash, and 3. Breading.
Chicken: Chicken tenders call for chicken tenderloins. What is a chicken tenderloin? Essentially it’s a chicken breast that has been sliced into loins. Can’t find these at the grocery store? Simply, buy chicken breasts and slice them yourself.
Eggs: An egg wash is used to help the breading stick to the chicken during cooking. Don’t skip this part!
Breading: a crispy breading made with Panko breadcrumbs and delicious spices to give your Air Fryer Chicken Fingers both crunch and flavor.
Favorite Chicken Tenderloin Brands
- Just Bare Chicken
- Smart Chicken
For the Breading
Wondering how to make your chicken tenders in the air fryer extra crispy? The answer is panko breadcrumb!
- panko breadcrumbs – Panko breadcrumbs area Japanese style breadcrumb that are light, airy, and crunchy in nature. Thus- this recipe results in crunchy chicken fingers!
- white whole wheat flour: the flour also helps the spices and panko stick to the chicken. Feel free to use AP flour or gluten-free.
- Spices: no one likes bland chicken tenders. We’re using garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Feel free to use any spices your heart desires.
Breadcrumbs: don’t have panko? Try using normal breadcrumbs, whole wheat breadcrumbs, or even gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Make them spicy tenders: love hot chicken? Try adding cayenne or more red pepper flakes.
How to Make Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer
This air fryer chicken tenders recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and with super simple ingredients. Here’s how to make them:
Cooking Time: 7-9 Minutes
Step 1: Dip In Egg
Scramble 2 eggs in a large bowl. Then, dip each chicken tender in the egg wash, making sure to fully coat it. Let the excess egg drip from each tender.
Step 2: Dredge in Breadcrumbs
Next, dredge each chicken tender in your breadcrumb mixture. We suggest doing this one at a time so you can really coat each tenderloin with the breadcrumbs.
Step 3: Air Fry
Preheat air fryer to 400ºF and spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Place 3-4 chicken tenders in the basket (or how ever many you can fit without them touching).
Drizzle each tender with olive oil (or generously spray with cooking spray). Air fryer for 7-9 minutes depending on the size of your chicken tenders.
What is better, olive oil or cooking spray? We have tested this over and over again and olive oil is going to make your chicken tenders crispier than cooking spray.
Dipping Sauces for Chicken Tenders
Every chicken tender deserves a plethora of dipping sauces. Obviously ketchup is a number 1 recommendation, but here are some other ideas!
top tips for air fryer chicken tenders
- How do you Make Chicken Tenders Crispy? A combination of panko breadcrumbs and a higher heat is what makes chicken tenders crispy.
- High Heat: don’t cook your chicken tenders any lower than 400ºF. A higher heat helps crisp them up quickly, while still keeping them tender on the inside.
- Olive oil: whatever you do, do not skip the olive oil drizzle! The olive oil helps the Panko get nice crispy and golden brown.
How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryer? Cook chicken tenders in air fryer for 7-9 minutes at 400ºF.
Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer? You can easily and safely cook raw chicken in the air fryer. Cook a 6-oz. chicken breast at 375ºF for 10-12 minutes.
How long should you air fry raw chicken? Air fry a 6-oz. chicken breast at around 375ºF for 10-12 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Let air fryer chicken tenders cool completely. Then, transfer the chicken fingers into an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Looking to reheat chicken tenders in air fryer? Preheat air fryer to 400ºF and place chilled, homemade chicken tenders in the air fryer. Air fry for 3-5 minutes or until hot.
Can You Freeze Chicken Tenders?
To freeze homemade chicken tenders, remove them from the air fryer and let them cool completely. Then, transfer them into a freezer-safe, airtight container. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Preheat the air fryer to 400º.
- Next, add the panko, flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and stir everything together until combined.
- Crack eggs into a separate bowl and whisk the eggs until combined.
- Then, dip each chicken tender into the egg wash, completely coating each piece of chicken. Let the excess egg drip off of each tender. Then, dip the chicken into the bread crumb mixture, coating each side. It’s easiest if you do this one at a time to make sure that the chicken gets fully coated.
- Place 3 or 4 chicken tenders in the air fryer, making sure they are not touching, and drizzle them with olive oil (or spray them with cooking spray). Air fry for 7-9 minutes or until crispy. The internal temperature should read at least 165ºF.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all the chicken tenders are crispy.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Can't find chicken tenders at your grocery store? Buy chicken breasts and slice them into tenders.