Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are deliciously crispy and perfectly seasoned! The whole family will enjoy this easy air fryer recipe.

air fryer chicken tenders stacked on a plate with a dish of honey mustard sauce

The air fryer works its magic again with this chicken tenders recipe! Every time I make these, I am seriously impressed with the crispiness of these air fryer chicken tenders.

Since they’re super easy to make, this meal is perfect for feeding the family on a weeknight and kids love chicken fingers! (You’ll also love these easy dinner ideas.)

Serve these breaded crispy chicken strips with Air Fryer French Fries or Roasted Broccoli, plus your favorite dipping sauces. We love Honey Mustard, BBQ Sauce and the classic kid favorite, ketchup. Ranch Dressing and marinara sauce are also tasty options.

chicken tender dipped in honey mustard sauce

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • With the help of the air fryer, making crispy homemade chicken fingers is a breeze!
  • These are healthier than fried chicken strips. No oil is needed to make the crispiest chicken tenders in the air fryer.
  • Don’t have an air fryer? Try my Baked Chicken Tenders recipe.

Ingredients

ingredients for air fryer chicken tenders recipe

 

  • All-Purpose Flour: Coating the chicken in flour helps the egg mixture to stick. You can substitute whole wheat flour, if desired.
  • Eggs: Eggs act as the “glue” that binds the breading to the chicken.
  • Buttermilk: The buttermilk adds flavor and tenderizes the chicken. Combined with the egg, the buttermilk helps the Panko breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken, so the tenders turn out extra crispy. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make my buttermilk substitute, or, in a pinch, use milk.
  • Seasonings: A combination of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper makes a delicious seasoning for the chicken.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko has larger crumb pieces than regular breadcrumbs, which makes for a crispier breaded coating.
  • Chicken Tenders: These are best made with chicken tenders, but in a pinch you can slice boneless chicken breasts into chicken strips.

Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions below.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

  1. Gather three wide, shallow bowls, dishes or pie plates.
  2. In one dish, place the flour. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and seasonings. Place the Panko in the third dish. ingredients for chicken tenders, chicken, egg, buttermilk, seasonings, flour and panko breadcrumbs in white dishes
  3. Preheat the air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes.
  4. Coat the chicken tenders first in the flour, gently shaking off any excess flour. step coating two chicken tenders with flour
  5. Then, coat in the seasoned egg mixture. dipping tenders in seasoned egg and buttermilk mixture
  6. Finally coat in the Panko. coating chicken tenders in panko breadcrumbs
  7. Place the chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer (working in batches as needed). Air fry for 6 minutes on the first side. Then flip and cook on the second side for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through to 165° F when measured with an instant read thermometer. The tenders should be lightly browned and crispy.

six crispy air fried chicken tenders in air fryer basket

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe Tips

  • Cook in batches so that the chicken pieces are in a single layer in the air fryer. This allows them to get crispy on all sides as the hot air circulates around the pieces.
  • Flip the chicken tenders over half way through the cook time. This ensures that the tenders become crispy on all sides. Flip them carefully so as to keep all of the breading on the chicken. You can use two forks or tongs to flip the pieces. Be careful as the air fryer basket is hot. 
  • I didn’t have a problem with the breading sticking to the air fryer basket, but if this is an issue for you, you can spray the basket with cooking spray before adding the tenders.
  • You can add 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the Panko breadcrumbs, if desired.
  • If you are serving only 2 or 3 people, you can halve this recipe.

How to Freeze & Reheat

After air frying, you can freeze the cooked chicken tenders for up to three months. Let the tenders cool completely and then freeze in an airtight container.

You can reheat chicken tenders from frozen in the air fryer. First, preheat the air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Air fry the frozen chicken strips for 8-14 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165° F. As the hot air circulates around the frozen tenders, they will crisp back up as they heat through. This method also works for store-bought frozen chicken tenders.

To reheat leftover chicken tenders that are not frozen, preheat air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Then air fry the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.

dipping chicken tender in honey mustard sauce

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Find all of my Air Fryer Recipes here.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Making crispy homemade chicken tenders is easy when you have the help of the air fryer! These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are seriously crispy and perfectly seasoned. Enjoy them with your favorite dipping sauces.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer chicken tenders, chicken fingers, chicken strips, chicken tender recipes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time27 mins
Servings 5 servings
Calories 385kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders

Instructions 

  • To prepare the breading on the chicken, you will need 3 wide, shallow bowls, dishes or pie plates. In one dish, place the flour. In the second dish, combine the eggs, buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk or fork until well combined and no clumps of spices remain. In the third dish, place the Panko bread crumbs.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes.
  • Coat the chicken tenders first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the Panko breadcrumbs.
  • Air fry chicken tenders in batches, placing tenders in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook for 6 minutes on the first side and then flip the chicken pieces over and cook for 5-7 more minutes, or until tenders are cooked through to at least 165° F and lightly browned. Serve tenders with dipping sauces, as desired.

Notes

  • If you are serving only 2 or 3 people, you can halve this recipe.
  • After air frying, you can freeze the cooked chicken tenders for up to three months. Let the tenders cool completely and then freeze in an airtight container.
  • To reheat chicken tenders from frozen in the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Air fry the frozen chicken strips for 8-14 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165° F.
  • To reheat leftover chicken tenders that are not frozen, preheat air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Then air fry the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 3tenders | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 890mg | Potassium: 802mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 564IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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