Easy Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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Easy Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are breaded and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Breaded with egg, breadcrumbs and seasoned salt, this recipe is super easy to make and is very convenient.

crispy air fryer chicken tenders

Why You’ll Love It

  • Versatility: These air fryer chicken tenders are a perfect snack to satisfy your hunger or add some cottage fries and a side salad for a full meal.
  • Simple ingredients: The delicious flavor of these chicken tenders can be attributed to their straightforward and simple ingredients. You have the freedom to adjust the seasonings to your personal taste.
  • Family favorite: Everyone loves chicken tenders!

imsen says: 5 stars My family and I love it. I will definitely make again. Super easy and great flavor!

» Also see our recipe for making Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich or an Air Fryer Whole Chicken.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken tenderloins: The main ingredient you will need to make these crispy tenders is chicken tenderloins. These are the tender strips that attach to the side of the chicken breast. You can buy chicken tenders. Or you can use chicken breast and cut them into strips. You can also purchase pre-breaded chicken tenders.
  • Egg: You’ll need a whole large egg. It acts as a binding agent and helps the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken tenders. Make sure the egg is at room temperature.
  • Breadcrumbs: You can use plain or seasoned breadcrumbs. Or even them yourself. Season them with dried herbs, salt and paprika for more flavor.
  • Lawry’s seasoned salt: This is a blend of salt, spices, and herbs that’s perfect for adding flavor to the chicken. You can choose to add spices separately as well. Whatever works for you.
  • Salt & pepper: Just salt and black pepper are a simple way to season the chicken tenders.
  • Spray cooking oil

Equipment Information

ninja double air fryer

Ninja® Foodi®XL 2-Basket Air Fryer

  • 2 independent XL air fryer baskets
  • Integrated Foodi® Smart Thermometer
  • Cook 2 foods 2 ways that finish at the same time

Expert Tips to Follow

  • Always check the internal temperature of the chicken before taking it out of the air fryer. It should be 165° F (74°C).
  • Use silicon-tipped tongs to easily flip over the chicken without ruining the non-stick surface of your air fryer.
  • You can also use a plastic Ziplock bag. It is a convenient way to coat the chicken without getting your hands dirty.
  • You can repeat the dredging steps twice for more crunch.
  • Spray the air fryer basket to keep the chicken tenders from sticking and the tops of the chicken tenders to help them get golden brown and crispy.

How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Here is a simple step by step guide on making air fryer chicken tenders:

Step 1: Prep the Chicken

Start by patting the boneless chicken breasts dry. Cut the chicken into strips or “tenders” and set aside. Skip this step if you are using chicken tenderloins.

Step 2: Set Up a Dredging Station

A dredging station consists of multiple bowls with different ingredients in each. For the first bowl, whisk an egg until frothy and set it aside. In the next bowl, add breadcrumbs and the seasonings (except salt and black pepper).

Pro Tip – You can also use a plastic Ziplock bag. It is a convenient way to coat the chicken without getting your hands dirty.

Step 3: Coat the Chicken

uncooked chicken tenders

Dip the chicken tenders first in the egg and then place them one by one in the breadcrumb mixture so that they are well coated. You can repeat the step twice for more crunch.

Place the breaded chicken tenders on a rack or plate until you are finished coating them all.

Step 4: Cook the Chicken

Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray and place the breaded chicken tenders in it, keeping some distance between them. It is important that you keep space; otherwise, they won’t cook evenly. Spray the tops of the chicken tenders as well, this will help them get golden brown and crispy.

Cook the chicken tenders for about 10 minutes at 360° F (182°C) . Don’t forget to flip the tenders halfway into the cook.

Test the chicken for the correct internal temperature of 165° F(74°C). If it hasn’t reached the correct temperature cook it for 2 more minutes and test again. Once their done, take them out of the air fryer, season with salt and black pepper, and serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.

Chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat when it reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This is the recommended minimum internal temperature for chicken established by food safety guidelines to ensure that any harmful bacteria present in the meat are killed.

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What to Pair with Air Fryer Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders

When you’re looking for something to pair with your air fryer chicken tenders, we’ve got a few ideas.

  • Sauces and dips: These chicken tenders are a perfect snack that goes so well with any sauce of your choice. Whether ketchup, bbq sauce, garlic mayo, honey mustard, you can enjoy these with any sauce or dip you like.
  • Serve with French Fries: Chicken tenders and French fries go way back! Whether it is potato wedges or sweet potato fries, I bet you can’t keep your hands off them.
  • Side Dishes: Chicken tenders will always go well with sides like mac and cheese, baked beans, or potato salad.
chicken tender being dipped in sauce

How to Store and Reheat

It’s best to air fry only the amount of chicken tenders you wish to eat at the moment. That’s because they don’t store well once they’ve been cooked. The breading won’t remain crispy and will have to be cooked again to get that crunch back. Cooking them a second time will lead to over-cooked, dry chicken.

To store: If you have to store them, allow them to cool completely and put them in an airtight container. You can keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.

To reheat: Reheat in the air fryer on 400° F for 5 minutes.

What Side Dishes to Serve?

You can serve some really easy side dishes with these air fryer chicken tenders. Sometimes, you can cook them together in the air fryer to make it even faster.

Some of our favorite side dishes to serve include:

Here are 28 more air fryer side dishes to try

Why Use an Air Fryer

An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.

Ninja Max XL
chicken tenders

What Oil & Oil Sprayer is Best for the Air Fryer?

The biggest issue most air fryer lovers face is finding the right oil and oil sprayer to use on food cooked in the air fryer. A fine mist of oil will help the entire piece of food crisp evenly, so it’s very important.

My personal preference is to use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle like the Evo one pictured below and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has no harmful aerosols or chemicals.

Evo Oil Sprayer Evo Glass Trigger Sprayer Bottle, Non-Aerosol for Olive Cooking Oils, 6-Ounce Capacity, 6 oz, Yellow/Black/Red
Pompeian USDA Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray, Full-Bodied Flavor, Perfect for Salads and Pasta Drizzling, Naturally Gluten Free, Non-Allergenic, Non-GMO, No Propellants, 5 FL. OZ., Single Bottle
Tenlary Oil Sprayer for Cooking - 210ml Glass Olive Oil Dispenser Bottle Spray Mister-Reusable Food Grade Oil Vinegar Spritzer Sprayer Bottles,kitchen Gadgets Accessories for Air Fryer,BBQ (Orange)

Questions About the Recipe

How long do you cook raw tenders in the air fryer?

These tenders cook at 360° F (182°C) for 10 minutes, shaking the basket or turning the pieces at the halfway mark.
Always check the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure it reaches 165°F (74°C) so you know it is fully cooked and safe to eat. If it hasn’t reached the correct temperature cook for two more minutes and check again.

Why didn’t my chicken get crispy in the air fryer?

Keep the tenders crispy by applying a light coating of cooking spray to the chicken. This is the key to achieving that desirable crisp and golden-brown finish. Some recipes will tell you not to use a spray of oil but we’ve found this to be the best way to go.

How do you keep the breading on the chicken?

Make sure that the chicken is dry before you start the dredging process. Another way to ensure the breading stays on while cooking is to spray the air fryer basket. That will keep the breading from sticking to the basket.

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chicken tenders

Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Tenders

Air fryer breaded chicken tenders are crispy from the outside and juicy from the inside. Made with simple ingredients, this air fryer crispy breaded chicken tenders recipe is super easy to make
4.8 from 43 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 316 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) chicken tenderloins
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (108 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) Lawry’s seasoned salt or similar
  • Spray cooking oil
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.
  • In a bowl, whisk the egg. In another bowl (or ziplock bag) combine the breadcrumbs and seasoned salt.
  • Dip the chicken tenders, one at a time, in egg, then roll or toss it in the breadcrumbs.
  • When done breading all the chicken, allow them to sit on a rack for a few minutes.
  • Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Place each piece of chicken in the air fryer basket and spray each with more cooking spray. Cook at 360° F (182°C) for 10 minutes, shaking the basket or turning the pieces at the halfway mark.
  • Test the chicken for the correct internal temperature 165° F(74°C). If it hasn't reached the correct temperature cook it for 2 more minutes and test again.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.

Notes

  • Always check the internal temperature of the chicken before taking it out of the air fryer. It should be 165° F (74°C).
  • Use silicon-tipped tongs to easily flip over the chicken without ruining the non-stick surface of your air fryer.
  • You can also use a plastic Ziplock bag. It is a convenient way to coat the chicken without getting your hands dirty.
  • You can repeat the dredging steps twice for more crunch.
  • Spray the air fryer basket to keep the chicken tenders from sticking and the top of the chicken to help them get golden brown and crispy.

All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 41gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 992mgPotassium: 698mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 110IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken
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3 thoughts on “Easy Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

    • Angela Morris says:

      Anna, did you spray the chicken strips with cooking oil before you air fried them? Sometimes all they need is a little spray of oil to help them brown and get crispy.

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