Simple Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
How to Air Fry Chicken Tenders
If you just got an air fryer, one of the first recipes you may have searched for is an air fryer chicken tenders recipe, and we don’t blame you! Chicken tenders are super family-friendly and totally a comfort food!
It is EASY to make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!
You’re definitely going to want to save this recipe once you try it. These breaded air fryer chicken tenders are nice and crispy on the outside, with a juicy tender inside. Plus, they’re super simple to make!
These simple air fryer chicken tenders are just that – simple. The ingredients for the breading may look like a lot, but you’ll most likely already have most of the stuff needed on hand. If you don’t have any buttermilk, feel free to use a substitute like this DIY buttermilk:
- 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to measure 1/2 cup
The reason the buttermilk is important here is that not only does it help the breading stick to the chicken better, but it also tenderizes the meat and makes it juicier.
Preparing the Chicken Tenderloins for Breading
The longest part of this recipe is also the easiest – place your chicken tenders in a resealable Ziploc bag with your buttermilk and allow it to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. Be sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, and make sure to seal it tight. You don’t want any leakage!
Other than this 30-minute process, these air fryer tenders only take about 15-20 minutes to make!
Breading the Chicken Tenders
Once your chicken tenders are thoroughly marinated, remove them from the bag with a fork, shake off the excess buttermilk, and dunk them into your breaded mixture. Dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture until evenly coated on all sides.
Frying the Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer
Your tenderloins are almost ready! To cook them, spray the bottom of the air fryer pan, put the chicken tenders in the air fryer basket, lightly spray the tenders with olive oil spray, then air fry at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
At about the 5-minute mark, pause the air fryer and flip the tenders over. If you want to, you can spray with olive oil again and finish cooking until the tenders are golden brown and crispy. You want the internal temperature to be 175 degrees (I love to use an instant read thermometer for this purpose. This is the one I own).
Final Thoughts + Serving Tips
I love being able to make air-fried chicken tenders. They’re a healthier alternative to deep-fried tenders, they work great as a side dish, main or appetizer, and they’re super flavorful and simple to make. The entire family enjoys them!
Come to think of it, these air fryer tenders would be the perfect recipe for a super bowl party! (Check out these other finger food recipes for more party ideas.)
To add even more flavor to your tenders, serve them up with your favorite dipping sauce. We really like this Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce Copycat or a homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce. You can also serve these tenders alongside a green salad or a veggie tray to make it a more well-rounded meal!
More Air Fryer Recipes:
- 20 Healthy Air Fryer Recipes
- 15 of the Best Air Fryer Hamburger Recipes
- 15 Easy Air Fryer Recipes That Will Make You Want An Air Fryer
Be sure to check out our air fryer buying guide as well if you don’t already have one!
Simple Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
- 1.5 lbs chicken tenders approx 12 tenders - thawed
- ½ cup buttermilk or use this substitution: 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to measure 1/2 cup
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp celery seed
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- avocado or olive oil spray
- Place the chicken tenders in a ziplock bag and pour the buttermilk into the bag. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
- In a shallow bowl combine the panko bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, and spices.
- Remove the chicken strips from the buttermilk with a fork, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture to coat on all sides.
- Spray the bottom of the air fryer pan.
- Put the chicken fingers in the air fryer basket, lightly spray with your favorite oil spray, then air fry at 375˚F/191˚C for 10-12 minutes until internal temperature reads 165˚F/74˚C and the chicken tenders are golden brown and crispy. You'll want to flip the chicken at about half way through cooking time.
- If making your chicken tenders in batches, simply keep cooked chicken warm in a 160˚F/77˚C oven. You can re-crisp in the airfryer for a minute, if needed.
- Serve with your favorite dip!
Comments & Reviews
Just wondering what temperature setting you have Air Fryer on to cook these as it is not mentioned in Method
Hi Jo! Sorry about that! Set your Air Fryer to 375 degrees. I will update the recipe!
I make this for my teenager on a weekly basis. He loves it! I love how you don’t have to dip it in egg then flour. So easy. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the rating, Robin! We are so glad you found a winner for your teen.
I was hoping to get your view on air frying chicken tenders without the breading? Please advise and thanks for your wonderful tutorials!
This totally works, Dennis! You can just go ahead and season the chicken tenders however you like. Cooking time may be the same, if not a little shorter. Just make sure it comes to temp before you enjoy it!
I thought you would included the recipe for the dipping sauce!!!!
We have this tasty, homemade chick-fil-a sauce copycat recipe that you can find here: https://fabulesslyfrugal.com/recipes/air-fryer-chick-fil-a-chicken-strips-copycat-recipe/ and we also have a homemade BBQ sauce that you might like: https://fabulesslyfrugal.com/recipes/homemade-bbq-sauce-recipe-sweet-baby-rays-copycat/
I am in the process of making this for dinner tonight. Like most people, I don’t have buttermilk on hand, so I made my own using the vinegar and milk. However, there seems to be a discrepancy: one section states to use 1/2 tablespoon (which would be 1.5 teaspoons) and another section says to use 1/2 teaspoon. Which is correct?
Hi Dodie, sorry about the confusion. You will want to use 1/2 tablespoon. Generally when making homemade buttermilk it is 1 tbsp to every 1 cup of milk. Since you only need 1/2 cup of buttermilk, just use 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
Thanks for this recipe. The only thing I would change next time is I would hold off on including Celery seeds. I found the flavour dominated all the others. Thanks for putting this together!
Thank you, James, for sharing this with us!