Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Enjoy crispy, golden Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with our easy recipe. Perfect for a healthier, homemade snack or meal, they deliver all the flavor with less oil. Quick to make, these tenders will become your go-to for a delicious, crispy treat.
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These crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are golden and juicy, making them an ideal option for weeknight meals. I prefer making homemade chicken strips because they are much healthier than the fried alternatives. The best part about using an air fryer is that it achieves a super crispy texture with significantly less oil. This air fryer recipe for chicken tenders needs just a light spray of olive oil on each piece.

Check ou these Chicken Breast Recipes for more great dinner ideas!

Air fryer chicken tenders.

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Both kids and adults love this quick and easy dinner recipe! Eat the chicken by itself, on top of salads, with homemade French fries, or in soups and stews. It is versatile and flavorful!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe comes together in under 20 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Healthy: Air frying uses significantly less oil than traditional frying methods, resulting in a lighter and healthier chicken tender.
  • Ultra Crispy: The air fryer creates a perfectly crisp coating that rivals your favorite fast food joint.
  • Flavorful and Versatile: This recipe is easily customizable with different breading options and seasonings.
  • Allergy-Friendly: This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and sugar free.
  • Check out these Air Fryer Chicken Thighs and Air Fryer Chicken Breasts for our favorite air fryer chicken recipes!

Ingredients & Substitutes

Scroll down to the recipe card for the complete air fryer chicken tenders recipe.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are cheap and easy to find. For the best results, pick fresh organic chicken breasts. If using frozen, make sure to thaw them completely first.

Olive oil keeps the chicken moist and stops it from drying out. You can use another neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil if you prefer.

Garlic powder gives a delicious savory taste. You can also use fresh, finely chopped garlic.

Paprika adds a bit of heat and spice.

Onion powder enhances the overall savory flavor.

Finally, sea salt and black pepper add extra flavor.

Ingredients for air fryer chicken tenders.

Taste & Texture

These air fryer chicken tenders are juicy, tender chicken on the inside with a crisp, golden brown crust on the outside.

The secret lies in the air frying process, which circulates hot air around the chicken, creating a crispy exterior without drying out the meat.

The seasonings add so much flavor without overpowering the chicken.

How to Make

Step 1

First, if using chicken breasts, slice into long thin strips.  Add the chicken strips to a large bowl.  Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with seasonings.

Seasoned chicken strips.

Step 2

Toss until fully coated in oil and seasonings.

Step 3

Arrange in a single layer in your air fryer basket.  Do not overlap.

Air fryer with chicken.

Step 4

Air fry at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes.  Then, flip over and cook for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Golden strips of meat.

Step 5

Finally, remove from the air fryer and serve these air fryer chicken tenders.

Expert Tips for Success

Follow these tips and tricks to make the best air fryer chicken tenders.

Preheat Your Air Fryer: For the best results, allow your air fryer to preheat (if needed). A hot environment ensures the chicken tenders start cooking immediately, sealing in the juices.

Avoid Overcrowding: Cook in batches if necessary. Ensuring the tenders aren’t touching allows the air to circulate freely, achieving an even, crispy finish.

Turn Halfway Through: For uniform crispiness, flip your tenders at the halfway mark. Each side will have its moment against the hot circulating air.

Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken has reached the safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Crispy chicken tenders.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

This recipe for air fryer chicken tenders is a fantastic foundation! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Spicy: Add a kick to your tenders with cayenne pepper, chili powder, or paprika to the seasoning mix.

Herbacious: Fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano add a wonderful depth of flavor.

Cheesy: For an extra decadent twist, grate Parmesan cheese onto the chicken before air frying.

Buffalo: Coat the cooked tenders in your favorite buffalo sauce for a game-day favorite.

How to Serve & Store

These air fryer chicken tenders are perfect on their own or served with your favorite dipping sauces like homemade ketchup, honey mustard, or ranch dressing.

Try this chicken with sweet potato mash or easy Duchess potatoes as a side dish.

This easy recipe goes perfectly with kale Caesar salad or this fresh grapefruit and avocado salad

These air fryer potatoes and smashed potatoes are great side dishes as well.

Try these Air Fryer Potato Wedges as a side dish.

Leftover tenders can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to restore their crispness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make these tenders gluten-free?

Sure! Use almond flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs for the coating.

How long do you cook air fryer chicken tenders?

This recipe takes only 11 minutes to air fry.

How do I make homemade chicken tenders?

Slice the chicken breasts into long thin strips.

Tender chicken strip.

Equipment Needed

Meat Mallet: Pound the chicken breasts thin before slicing into tenders. This helps tenderize the meat.

Air Fryer: This basket-style air fryer is great for making crispy chicken tenders.

Knife Set: Use a sharp knife to trim the fat off.

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