Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

I’m on a roll with these air fryer recipes y’all! And since I loved how well my air fryer chicken nuggets turned out, I wanted to try some air fryer chicken tenders next. This time I combined panko and regular breadcrumbs for the perfect texture and I used chicken breast tenderloins to make things super easy. They’re perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and a lot fresher than frozen chicken tenders! So get your favorite dipping sauce ready, because these air fryer chicken tenders are perfect for a quick & easy lunch or dinner meal.

Overhead view of Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a white serving plate with two dipping sauces on the side.

Ingredients You’ll Need

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

  • Chicken Breast Tenders: I like purchasing the chicken that is already cut into tenders or tenderloins. But you can also make your own tenders by cutting a boneless, skinless chicken breast lengthwise into strips.
  • All Purpose Flour: A light coating of flour helps the egg coating adhere to the chicken. 
  • Eggs: Eggs help the breadcrumb mixture adhere to the chicken tenders. You can also use buttermilk instead of eggs like we did for these air fryer chicken nuggets.
  • Panko and regular breadcrumbs: I used a combination of panko breadcrumbs and regular breadcrumbs. The regular breadcrumbs are finer in texture and provide a more even coating. The panko breadcrumbs give the tenders that crispy crunch that I love. Combined they provide the perfect balance.
  • Seasoning: A mix of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, garlic & onion powder, flavors the chicken and the breadcrumbs.

Homemade Dipping Sauces

Wanna make your own dipping sauce for these chicken tenders? Well here are some of our favorites:

  • Honey Mustard sauce
  • Homemade BBQ sauce
  • Comeback sauce
  • Sweet and Sour sauce
  • Mayo Ketchup

Recipe Tips For Success!

  1. When adding the breading, roll and press the chicken tenders into the breadcrumb mixture making sure it’s completely coated evenly all the way around.  
  2. Don’t crowd the basket. Making sure there is enough space around each chicken tender allows the hot air to circulate evenly and helps the tenders get nice and crispy. So cook the chicken tenders in two separate batches if you need to.
  3. Don’t forget to preheat the air fryer. Similar to preheating your oven, it’s a good idea to preheat your air fryer so the chicken tenders can cook evenly and get crispy on the outside.
  4. Spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray and repeat when it’s time to flip the tenders. This also helps the tenders to get crispy on both sides!

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Enjoy these easy chicken tenders with a side of roasted broccoli, air fryer french fries, or a simple Caesar salad. These tenders would also taste great with a side of oven baked steak fries or a simple pasta salad. And of course you can never go wrong with classic homemade mashed potatoes or homemade applesauce.

Side view of air fryer chicken tenders on a serving plate with one being dipped in honey mustard sauce.
Overhead view of Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a white serving plate with two dipping sauces on the side.
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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and perfect for a quick & easy lunch or dinner meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.56 recipe / $2.14 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4 (2 tenders each)
Calories 254kcal
Author Marsha – Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (about 1.25lb) $6.99
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided $0.08
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, divided $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 2 large eggs $0.33
  • 1/2 cup plain regular breadcrumbs $0.40
  • 1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs $0.32
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 tsp onion powder $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Place the chicken tenders on a cutting board. Season them on both sides with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Next sprinkle the flour over the chicken tenders and toss to coat evenly.
  • In a shallow bowl, add the eggs and whisk them together. In another shallow bowl, add the regular breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Mix the seasoning into the breadcrumbs.
  • Now line up the chicken tenders, beaten eggs, and breadcrumb mixture. Using tongs or your hands, begin to coat the chicken tenders by first dipping them on both sides in the egg mixture, then transfer them to the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs into the tenders and coat them evenly on both sides. Set the coated chicken pieces to the side on a clean plate or cutting board.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Place the chicken tenders in the basket in a single layer, making sure no pieces overlap. About 4 tenders at a time. Spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Air fry for 7 minutes then flip the chicken tenders over. Spray the tops of the chicken again with cooking spray and air fry for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer basket and repeat with the second batch of tenders. Let the tenders cool for 3-5 minutes, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tenders | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1179mg | Fiber: 2g
Overhead view of air fryer chicken tenders in an air fryer basket.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – Step by Step Photos

Overhead view of seasoned chicken tenders on a cutting board.

Place 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders on a cutting board. Season them on both sides with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.

Overhead view of chicken tenders tossed in flour on a cutting board.

Next sprinkle 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour over the chicken tenders and toss to coat evenly.

Overhead view of breadcrumbs and seasoning in a bowl.

In a shallow bowl, add 2 large eggs and whisk them together. In another shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup regular breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika. Mix the seasoning into the breadcrumbs.

Overhead view of chicken tenders breading station.

Now line up the chicken tenders, beaten eggs, and breadcrumb mixture. Using tongs or your hands, begin to coat the chicken tenders by first dipping them on both sides in the egg mixture, then transfer them to the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs into the tenders and coat them evenly on both sides. Set the coated chicken pieces to the side on a clean plate or cutting board.

Overhead view of breaded chicken tenders added to air fryer basket.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Place the chicken tenders in the basket in a single layer, making sure no pieces overlap. About 4 tenders at a time. Spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray.

Overhead view of chicken tenders being flipped in air fryer basket.

Air fry for 7 minutes then flip the chicken tenders over. Spray the tops of the chicken again with cooking spray and air fry for another 6 minutes until golden brown.

Overhead view of cooked air fryer chicken tenders in an air fryer basket.

Remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer basket and repeat with the second batch of tenders.

Overhead view of 8 cooked air fryer chicken tenders in an air fryer basket.

Let the chicken tenders cool for 3-5 minutes, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Overhead view of air fryer chicken tenders and steamed broccoli on a plate.

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