These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are perfectly crispy and golden on the outside, juicy on the inside, and so easy to make! A delicious weeknight dinner loved by all ages.
Crispy Homemade Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer
Chicken tenders remind me of Harbor House Cafe in Dana Point, California. I spent my prime pre-teen years eating there at least once a week and remember their chicken tenders being especially delicious – especially when dipped in their sweet and creamy honey mustard sauce.
Many years later and I still love chicken tenders (aka chicken strips or chicken fingers). And even though it’s been nearly two decades since I’ve eaten at Harbor House Cafe, their chicken tenders have never faded from my memories.
Today I’m sharing how to make chicken tenders in the air fryer. Super easy to make and so much healthier than traditional fried chicken tenders, these are just as crispy and delicious. No utensils are required these homemade air fryer chicken tenders are perfect for dipping into all of your favorite sauces (you’ll find a honey dijon dipping sauce recipe in the recipe card below).
Of course, if chicken tenders aren’t your thing (or maybe your toddlers), you can try these easy air fryer chicken nuggets, instead.
How to Cook Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer
- Pat your chicken tenders dry to remove any excess moisture. Season all over with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Whisk together the eggs and the milk in a medium shallow bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season. In a separate large, shallow bowl or plate combine the breadcrumbs.
- One at a time coat the chicken tenders first in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Gently press the chicken into the breadcrumbs to help the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees f for 5 minutes. Open the air fryer basket and spray with a light coating of olive oil cooking spray. Add the chicken tenders in a single, non-overlapping or touching layer.
- Cook the chicken tenders for approximately 7-10 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking.
- Repeat until all of the chicken tenders have been cooked.
How long to cook chicken tenders in the air fryer?
It will take about 8-10 minutes to fully cook chicken tenders in an air fryer that’s been preheated to 400 degrees f. Factors that may influence how long it will take for your chicken tenders to cook include the size of your tenders and the brand/model of air fryer you are using.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Transfer the breaded raw chicken tenders to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until you’re ready to cook the next batch.
- To keep your first batch of chicken tenders warm as the second (or third) batch cooks, place them in a regular oven preheated to 250 degrees f.
- Add optional seasonings to your breadcrumb mixture. Some suggestions include four tablespoons parmesan cheese, half teaspoon Italian seasoning, half teaspoon garlic powder, or half teaspoon onion powder.
- To make gluten-free air-fried chicken tenders, replace the regular breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs.
Storage and Reheating
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator until ready to reheat. Reheating is easy. Simply preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees f and spray the inside basket with a light coat of olive oil cooking spray. Place the chicken tenders in the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes, or until crispy and heated through!
What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
First and foremost, serve these delicious tenders with all of your favorite dipping sauces! Honey mustard is my favorite but creamy ranch dressing, ketchup, BBQ sauce, or chipotle mayo are all yummy. In addition to the dipping sauce, chicken tenders love a good salad like this simple arugula salad or fresh tomato salad, and, of course, a side of fries!
Have you tried making Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the chicken tenders with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Carefully combine the breadcrumbs on a large, shallow plate until they are evenly combined.
- One at a time, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and coat it evenly. Allow any extra egg to drip back into the bowl. Transfer the chicken to the breadcrumbs. Gently press to coat, then flip the chicken over to coat the other side. Repeat until all of the chicken has been coated in breadcrumbs.
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the inside basket with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken tenders in the basket in a single later so that they are not touching. Spray the top of the chicken tenders lightly with nonstick olive oil spray.
- Air fry at 400 degrees f for about 7-10 minutes total, flipping once halfway through cooking. The chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature registers 165 degrees f as read by a digital read meat thermometer.
- Repeat until all chicken tenders have been cooked.
- As the chicken tenders cook, whisk together the ingredients for the honey mustard dipping sauce in a small bowl.
- Serve and enjoy!
- I like to line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the breaded uncooked chicken to the baking sheet until I’m ready to air fry them.
- To keep the first batch of air fryer chicken tenders warm as the second (or third) batch cooks, place them in a regular oven preheated to 250 degrees f.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)