Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer with Homemade Chick-fil-A Sauce

4.72 / 5 ( 67 Reviews )
6 Comments Jump to Recipe

air fryer chick fil a chicken strips copycat recipe

Today I am thrilled to share with you this very tasty and very delicious chicken strip recipe. Why is it so good? Because it tastes just like Chick-fil-A Chicken Strips. Our family loves Chick-fil-A. However, the thing with takeout is that sometimes it is so expensive. With this simple air fryer recipe, you’ll rethink getting takeaway from Chick-fil-A.

Watch us taste the difference in this YouTube video!

Chick-fil-A Chicken Tenders Secret Ingredient

how to make copycat chick fil a chicken

The ingredients for this recipe are super simple.

However, there is a special ingredient that really makes this recipe taste like the real deal and that is pickle juice.

Yep, you read that right. The pickle juice really brings out the Chick-fil-A flavor and makes this recipe so great.

How to Make Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Strips

Before you begin making this recipe, you need to soak the chicken strips in pickle juice for 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you want a stronger flavor, I recommend marinating the chicken for at least 2 hours. However, if you are in a pinch for time, 30 minutes will work as well since pickle juice has a pretty strong flavor.

Air Fryer Chick-fil-A Copycat Recipe

air fryer chick fil a chicken copycat recipe

This recipe is super quick in the air fryer. If you use small chicken tenders, then this recipe will be a breeze. Once your chicken is ready to be cooked, place the chicken in an even layer in the basket and cook for 5 minutes at 340°F/170°C, flipping the chicken over when there is about 2 minutes left. 

Depending on the thickness of your chicken, then you may need to cook the chicken longer. Use an instant read thermometer to gauge how much longer to cook your chicken for. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of or near 165°F/74°C, increase the heat to 400°F/200°C and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy to your liking and cooked through.

Download out my FREE internal temperature guide to know exactly when your food is fully cooked! 

Amazing Chick-fil-A Sauce Recipe

chick fil a sauce copycat recipe

Ever since our family discovered that Chick-fil-A sells their amazing Chick-fil-A sauce in bottles, this condiment has been a staple in our home. But when I tried making this homemade Chick-fil-A sauce, I was floored. It tastes like the real deal, and is probably a little healthier too. To make homemade Chick-fil-A sauce, you will need:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or bottle lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Simply, mix the ingredients together and let it cool in the fridge if you desire.

Final Thoughts

This recipe is so crazy easy that it is another staple in our home. Whenever I like to plan ahead my meals, I make sure that this Chick-fil-A copycat recipe is on the list. Do you think this recipe tastes like the real deal? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Pair this recipe with this delicious Wendy’s Frosty copycat recipe

More amazing air fryer chicken recipes

How To Air Fry- Everything You Need to Know

Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer with Homemade Chick-fil-A Sauce

This air fryer Chick-fil-A chicken tender recipe is so simple and delicious that you won't believe that you DIDN'T buy these chicken strips from Chick-fil-A.
4.72 / 5 ( 67 Reviews )
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Adjust Servings: 4



Chick-Fil-A Sauce


  • Place the chicken tenders in a Ziploc bag, add the pickle juice, and refrigerate for 2 hours (you can do more time if wanted, your chicken will just taste more pickely). If you are in a pinch for time, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • After the chicken finishes marinating, prepare your ingredients. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. In a second shallow bowl or plate, combine the flour, sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery powder.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 340°F/170°C for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dip and cover the chicken in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture. Place the chicken in a lightly sprayed air fryer basket. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.
  • Cook in the air fryer for 5 minutes, flipping when there is about 2 minutes left. Check the internal temperature of the chicken. My chicken strips were very thin, so this was plenty of time. If yours are thicker, they may need a couple of extra minutes. Add time as needed, making sure to flip the chicken so that each of the sides cook evenly.
  • Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of or near 165°F, increase the heat to 400°F/200°C and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy to your liking and cooked through.
  • Remove from the air fryer basket and enjoy with Chick-fil-A dipping sauce!

Chick-Fil-A Sauce

  • Mix together all the ingredients until well combined.

Recipe Notes

* You could also substitute the celery powder with celery seed. Or you could omit the ingredient. 
Chick-fil-A Sauce Recipe From:


Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 1885mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g
Ingredients: All-purpose flour, Basil, Chicken, Dijon Mustard, Honey, Kosher Salt, Lemon Juice, Milk, Mustard, Paprika, Pickle Juice, Powdered Sugar
Meal Type: Main Dish, #StayHome, Fall, New Year's Eve, Spring, Summer, Super Bowl Party, Winter
Categories: Copycat, Meat and Poultry, Air Fryer

Comments & Reviews

  • I havent tried this recipe yet.
    The directions mention milk but the ingredients do not. Just wondered the recommended amount of milk. Also, I love Chick-Fil-A chicken and nuggets. However, I do not like dill pickles and don’t think I’d ever have a cup of dill pickle juice. How important is that? Would chicken broth be okay, fir example?

    • Hi Deanna, great catch. Milk is added to the recipe ingredients, you will need a 1/4 cup. As for the pickle juice, its kinda like the secret ingredient for this recipe. So I highly recommend you use it. Since you don’t like dill pickles, I recommend only marinating for about 30 minutes.

  • Just pan fry em with oil. Air frying is messy and you’ll be left with naked chicken. I deep fried mine last night. And chose this recipe as an alternative. Breading ripped from the chicken and what was left was ashy with flour. The pickle juice tenderizes the chicken. If you aren’t for pickle juice go with seasoned rice wine vinegar. I never comment on recipe blogs. This is my first time and i hate to be negative but this was a waste of time and chicken. Nope. No thanks.

  • I love that the recipe is made with real chicken!
    I am going to try nuggets with real chicken. Do you have the recipe?
    Thank you so much!

  • I don’t have an air fryer so I fried them in a frying pan in a mix of olive oil and butter. They came out delicious. Not really like Chick Fil A but I liked them a lot. Will make them again.

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