Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Last updated: June 6th, 2024

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These crispy air fryer chicken tenders are the best easy weeknight dinner, and a healthier alternative to frozen food or fast food.

Air fryer chicken tenders on a serving platter, served with ketchup, honey mustard, and bbq sauce

Sometimes you just want an easy meal that makes you feel like a kid again. Or, maybe you’re trying to come up with a dinner idea that’ll appeal to your own kids, but also be enjoyable for you! That’s where these crispy air fryer chicken tenders come in. They’re a super satisfying, delicious weeknight dinner served with your favorite dipping sauces and a side of fries – without being frozen, processed, or greasy.

What This Recipe Entails

This easy dinner recipe is all about convenience while still making real, nutritious food for you and your family. Break out that air fryer and let’s get cooking!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes, depending on the number of batches you need to make.

Part of why this recipe takes so long is because the chicken tenders need to cook in a single layer in the air fryer to get the best crisp. Each batch takes 14 minutes to cook. So if you have a large air fryer, multiple air fryers, or are cooking a smaller amount of chicken, you can cook larger batches and this recipe will be quicker. And vice versa!

Air fryer chicken tenders on a serving platter, served with ketchup, honey mustard, and bbq sauce

Ingredients For Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

You’ll need to make a simple 3-part coating for these chicken tenders – seasoned flour, egg wash, and seasoned breadcrumbs. The best part about this recipe is that you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen!

Here’s everything you’ll need to make crispy air fryer chicken tenders:

  • Chicken tenders
  • All purpose flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk (or water)
  • Plain breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground red cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

We like to thin out our egg wash with a splash of milk, but you can always just use water if you don’t typically have milk in the fridge. Don’t bother buying a whole carton of milk just for this recipe!

Air fryer chicken tenders on a serving platter, served with ketchup, honey mustard, and bbq sauce

How To Make Crispy Chicken Tenders In The Air Fryer

It’s so simple to make chicken tenders in the air fryer. All you need is a few shallow dishes for dredging the chicken and an air fryer!

Here is a step-by-step breakdown for how to make crispy chicken tenders at home and cook them in the air fryer:

  1. First, grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Next, prepare your dredging ingredients: Make the seasoned flour by whisking flour, salt, and pepper in one shallow dish. Then, combine the eggs and milk (or water) in a separate shallow dish and beat well. Finally, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a third shallow dish.
  3. Then, coat the chicken. First, coat each piece evenly in the flour mixture, then shake off the excess before transferring it to the egg wash. Coat completely in egg wash, then let any excess egg drip off before transferring it to the breadcrumbs. Finally, coat the chicken evenly in breadcrumbs, then lightly shake off excess and set aside.
  4. Once you have enough chicken tenders to fill the air fryer basket, cook in a single layer for about 14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Make sure to leave a little bit of space between tenders so they get proper air flow for even cooking.
  5. Continue coating the chicken tenders and cooking them in batches as needed, then serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces!

Depending on how much chicken you want to make and how big your air fryer is, you’ll need to cook in batches. We recommend coating only as many tenders as will fit in the first batch, then getting them in the air fryer before continuing to coat the rest of the chicken. Not only will this speed up the whole process of making dinner, but it will also prevent the chicken from sitting too long on the counter.

Note that you may need to grease the air fryer basket again between batches. Keep your cooking spray handy and give the basket a light spray if you notice the chicken starting to stick.

Crispy air fryer chicken tenders in a glass serving dish

Serving Suggestions

You can dip chicken tenders in pretty much anything and they’ll taste amazing. Here are some of our favorite sauces to serve these crispy chicken tenders with:

Serve crispy chicken tenders with french fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, onion rings, or a side salad. Or, slice them up and use them in sandwiches or wraps with cheese and veggies like lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Whichever way you choose to enjoy these, our crispy chicken tenders are a versatile protein for any meal you could imagine.

Storing and Reheating Chicken Tenders

You can store chicken tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. (That’s why we love making a big batch of this recipe on Sunday, and then using it throughout the week for easy lunches!)

To reheat leftover chicken tenders, you can warm them in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for about 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Or, warm them in an oven (or toaster oven) at 350 degrees F for the same amount of time.

Try our crispy air fryer chicken tenders recipe and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share below if you love it!


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5 from 1 vote

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

These crispy air fryer chicken tenders are the best easy weeknight dinner, and a healthier alternative to frozen food or fast food.
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken tenders

Seasoned Flour

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Egg Wash

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon milk or water

Seasoned Breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  • In a shallow dish, make the seasoned flour. Whisk together flour, salt, and black pepper and set aside.
  • In a separate shallow dish, make the egg wash. Combine the eggs and milk (or water) and beat well. Set aside next to the flour.
  • In a third shallow dish, make the seasoned breadcrumbs. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, ground red cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Set aside next to the egg wash.
  • Now, coat the chicken tenders, working with one piece at a time:
    First, coat the chicken evenly in the flour mixture, then shake off excess flour and transfer to egg wash.
    Coat completely in the egg wash, then let excess egg drip off and transfer to the breadcrumbs.
    Coat the chicken evenly in breadcrumbs, then lightly shake off any excess breadcrumbs and set aside on a plate or a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Once you have enough chicken tenders coated to fill the air fryer basket in a single layer, transfer them to the air fryer and cook for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Make sure to leave a little bit of space around each piece of chicken to ensure proper cooking.
    While the first batch of chicken cooks, continue dredging the remaining chicken tenders.
  • Continue cooking the chicken in batches as necessary, greasing the basket between batches if it starts to stick.
  • Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces, or let cool and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Egg wash: We like to thin our egg wash with milk when we have it, but don’t buy a whole jug of milk just for this recipe if you don’t already have it in the fridge. You can just use water and it won’t make a big difference.
Cooking the tenders: Depending on how many batches you cook, you may want to re-grease the air fryer basket at some point. Keep an eye on it and if things start sticking, hit it with some more cooking spray between batches.
Serving suggestions: We like to serve our chicken tenders with a variety of dipping sauces – ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and Chick-fil-A sauce, to name a few! As for sides, french fries, onion rings, or a side salad go great with these tenders. Check out our blog post above for more suggestions.
Storing: These tenders store well in the fridge for up to 5 days, so we like to make a big batch on Sunday and have delicious chicken readily available for lunch throughout the week. (Slice these tenders up and put them in a sandwich or wrap, or simply reheat them in the air fryer and enjoy!)
Reheating: Reheat chicken tenders in the air fryer, oven, or toaster oven at 350 degrees F for about 6 to 8 minutes.
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 458kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, breadcrumbs, cayenne, chicken, chicken fingers, chicken tenders, egg, flour, milk

Nutrition

Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 958mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 295IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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