Chicken tenders are a firm family favorite, and when cooked in the air fryer they are hands down delicious! Super crunchy on the outside and perfectly juicy and tender, kids of all ages love these!

air fryer chicken tenders on plate with bbq sauce

What’s in this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe?

Let’s face it, you really can’t go wrong when you serve chicken tenders, and when cooked in the air fryer they are so effortless and the results are out of this world!

  • Chicken Tenders: Chicken tenders come from underneath the breast meat. If you can’t find any at the store, you can cut chicken breasts into strips.
  • Salt + Pepper: Enhance the flavor of these chicken tenders.
  • Eggs: Help the breading stick to the chicken tenders.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Make these tenders extra crispy. You can also use regular breadcrumbs.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a bit of salty umami flavor.

Pro Tip: Don’t overcrowd the tenders in the air fryer basket, or they will steam instead of becoming crispy.

Variations on Air Fryer Chicken Strips

These chicken tenders are super delish as is, but you can also change up the flavor by adding different seasonings in with the breadcrumbs, such as Italian, herbs de Provence, taco seasoning, cajun seasoning, or blackened seasoning.

You could also toss the cooked tenders in a sauce, such as Buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, or teriyaki sauce.

chicken tenders cooked in an air fryer
How long does it take to cook chicken tenders in an air fryer?

It takes about 8 minutes to cook these tenders. The total cook time will vary based on the size and thickness of the tenders, so I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to ensure that they are fully cooked through to 165°F.

Can I make chicken tenders with chicken breast?

Chicken tenders are found just under the breast meat of the chicken. They are very similar to chicken breast, but smaller and more tender and juicy. If you don’t have chicken tenders, you can make these with chicken breast sliced into pieces.

Do I need to preheat the air fryer before cooking chicken tenders?

It’s generally recommended to preheat the air fryer before adding the chicken tenders. Preheating helps to create a crispier exterior on the chicken. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for a few minutes before adding the chicken tenders.

Can I air fry frozen chicken tenders?

While you can cook chicken from frozen in the air fryer, it is not recommended for this recipe. If using frozen tenders, you’ll need to let them thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator before coating and air frying them. Unfortunately, the breading just won’t stick to frozen tenders.

How do I ensure the chicken tenders turn out crispy?

To achieve crispy chicken tenders in an air fryer, ensure that the breading or coating is well adhered to the chicken. Preheating the air fryer, as mentioned earlier, also helps with achieving a crispy exterior. Additionally, flipping the chicken tenders halfway through the cooking process can promote even browning and crispiness on all sides.

air fryer chicken tenders on plate with bbq sauce

How to Store and Reheat

These tenders are great served straight away, but they are also easily and quickly reheated in the air fryer and remain nice and crispy.

The cooked chicken tenders will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer at 375°F for about 4 minutes until warmed through.

How to Freeze

Freeze air fryer chicken tenders in a single layer on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours. Transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag to store for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cook time.

Serving Suggestions

These air fried chicken tenders are great to serve as an appetizer with dips like BBQ, ketchup, Chick Fil A Sauce, ranch, and other sauces. They make a great topping for salads or mac and cheese. I also really love them in chicken and waffle casserole!

dipping air fried chicken tender in bbq sauce
air fryer chicken tenders on plate with bbq sauce

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

Chicken tenders are a firm family favorite, and when cooked in the air fryer they are hands down delicious! Super crunchy on the outside!


  • Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Whisk the eggs in a shallow dish.

    2 large eggs

  • In a separate shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

    1¼ cups Panko breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Dip each chicken tender in the egg mixture and coat in the breadcrumbs.

  • Place the chicken tenders in the air fryer.

  • Cook at 400°F for 8 minutes, flipping the tenders halfway through.


  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. The chicken tenders should be placed in a single layer, so cook them in two batches if needed.
  • Panko breadcrumbs create a super crispy outside layer, but you can use normal breadcrumbs if that’s what you have.
  • Check that the internal temperature of the tenders is at least 165°F before serving.

Storage: Store air fryer chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

Amount Per Serving (0.5 pound)

Calories 403
Calories from Fat 108

% Daily Value*

Fat 12g18%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Trans Fat 0.04g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 245mg82%

Sodium 1163mg51%

Potassium 926mg26%

Carbohydrates 15g5%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 56g112%

Vitamin A 275IU6%

Vitamin C 3mg4%

Calcium 134mg13%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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