The chicken tenderloin is one of the most flavorful parts of the chicken, and you can use your air fryer to make perfect crispy air fryer chicken tenders.
For busy moms and dads, a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table for a bunch of hungry kids is to buy take-out fried chicken tenders from a fast-food restaurant or the grocery store cooked food section. However, you can easily cook your own fried chicken fingers at home.
At home, you also have fresher and healthier options than deep-frying. Air fryers have changed how the world eats, and we’re here for it! The chicken tenders you make in your air fryer will be just as tasty as the ones you buy from the grocery store already cooked.
When you air fry chicken strips, you have a quick and delicious meal to put on the table on a busy weeknight or a laid-back weekend.
Are raw chicken tenders the same as boneless skinless chicken breast? No, chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin, which is located below the breastbone of a chicken breast.
Air fryer chicken tenders have rapidly gained popularity among food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike. This modern cooking method offers a convenient, less greasy, and faster approach to preparing a classic, crowd-pleasing snack. Embracing the air frying technique allows for deliciously crispy chicken tenders with just a fraction of the oil used in traditional frying methods.
Preparing air fryer chicken tenders typically involves three key steps: seasoning, coating, and cooking. The process begins with coating the chicken pieces in the choice of marinade to enhance the flavor, followed by a light breading made of ingredients such as breadcrumb mixtures or crushed cereal. Finally, the coated tenders are cooked in the preheated air fryer, resulting in a crispy and juicy dish that is both tasty and more nutritious than its deep-fried counterpart.
Air fryers utilize hot air circulation to evenly cook the food, ensuring that it’s adequately browned and crispy on the outside while remaining tender inside. With various seasonings, breading options, and air fryer models available, trying this innovative cooking method is a great way to add some excitement and health-conscious choices to your culinary repertoire.
Chicken tenders are slightly higher in fat than chicken breast, but they’re still a healthy option for high-quality protein.
Best of all, chicken tenders can be served with a wide variety of side dishes. Chicken tenders can be a quick meal for the kids or an elegant dinner for you and your guests.
Read on to learn how to make the best airfryer chicken tenders.
Chicken Strips in Air Fryer
Why should you cook chicken tenders in your air fryer? There are lots of good reasons for using the air fryer to make a perfectly crispy chicken tender dinner.
When you make air fryer chicken tenders, you have less of a mess than if you fry your chicken tenders on the stovetop.
Another huge benefit of air fryer chicken tenders is that it’s much quicker than other methods.
Also, when you make homemade fried chicken tenders in your air fryer, it’s much healthier than those you can buy at restaurants. Usually, restaurants fry their chicken tenders in oil, so you’ve got a much healthier option by cooking your own chicken tenders at home.
You don’t even need oil for making crispy chicken tenders in the air fryer. All you need is a light olive oil spray and you’ve got a wonderfully crispy air fryer chicken tender dinner that’s ready to serve in minutes.
How to Make Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer from Scratch
Making air fryer chicken tenders from scratch in your air fryer is super easy, and you have not just a healthier chicken tender, but also less expensive ones.
To make homemade air fryer chicken tenders, you don’t have to cut the chicken. Chicken tenders are naturally in strips, so they’re ready to cook in your air fryer.
The first step to making homemade air fryer chicken tenders is seasoning them with sea salt and black pepper. Then, you coat them in a beaten egg and breadcrumb mixture and panko breadcrumbs.
When you have your chicken tenders perfectly seasoned and coated, put them on a cookie sheet, cutting board, or large platter to spray them lightly with olive oil spray. The olive oil cooking spray will ensure that the air fryer chicken tenders are super crispy.
How Long to Cook Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer
Chicken tenders cook very quickly in an air fryer. When you put them in the air fryer basket, be sure to place them in a single layer.
Air fry the chicken tenders for 5-6 minutes on both sides.
If you don’t want to use your air fryer to cook these chicken tenders, you can also use this same recipe to cook your chicken tenders in the toaster oven or the oven on your stove.
Ideas for Side Dishes to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
What goes with air fryer chicken tenders? You can serve any number of delicious side dishes with your crispy chicken tenders. Just think about what you enjoy eating with air fryer fried chicken and that will work just as well for fried chicken tenders.
Here are some other great ideas for side dishes for chicken tenders:
- Sweet potato fries
- Instant Pot corn on the cob
- Fried okra
- Mashed potatoes
Serve your air fryer chicken tenders with some air fryer French fries or tater tots. You can also cook up a baked potato in your air fryer.
For dipping sauce, you can serve your cooked chicken tenders with BBQ sauce, honey mustard sauce, ranch dipping sauce, teriyaki dipping sauce, and other sauce.
Also, leftover chicken tenders are great for cutting up on a salad with honey mustard dressing.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
When you want another chicken recipe, we have tons of options for you besides air fryer chicken.
Air Fryer Chicken Recipe
How to Cook Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer
Below, we’ve detailed the best recipe for air fryer chicken tenders. In addition to a crispy chicken tender recipe, this air fryer recipe will also work for air fryer chicken breast strips and other fried chicken. Also, you can make this recipe with frozen chicken tenders, but be sure to take the extra cooking time into account.
Our BEST Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer
- 12 individual raw chicken tenders about 1 1/4 pounds of chicken strip
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs and panko breadcrumbs 1/2 cup each
- Olive oil spray or other cooking spray
- Black pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for garnish and serving
- Optional ingredients:
- Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Other types of breadcrumb mixtures
- Almond flour or a flour mixture
- Season your chicken tenders thoroughly with sea salt and black pepper.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl.
- In another bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and bread crumbs.
- Dip the chicken tenders into the egg mixture to coat thoroughly.
- Dip the chicken tenders individually into the mixture of breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess breadcrumbs.
- Place the breaded chicken tenders on a cutting board, large plate, or sheet pan.
- Spray the chicken tenders generously with olive oil spray.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook the chicken tenders in small batches for 5-6 minutes on both sides.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken tenders are fully cooked.
Do you like a step-by-step video to show you how to make air fried chicken tenders? Check out this video below to learn how to make the perfect airfry chicken strips. It includes a copycat version of delicious Chick-fil-A sauce to serve with your air fryer chicken tenders.