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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders create a healthier option to fried chicken tenders  but still a tender piece of chicken that is crispy on the outside. The panko breadcrumb crust creates a crunchy crust on the chicken, but you can sub in regular breadcrumbs, and has great flavor from the spices. These are a kid and adult favorite!    

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on white plate

AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS

One of my most popular recipes on A Cedar Spoon is these Healthy Chicken Fingers and these Coconut-Crusted Chicken Tenders.

They are recipes I make time and time again for my family.

They are not only healthy, but easy to make. I have recently been making the chicken finger recipe in the air fryer.

I love Air Fryer Chicken Tenders because I can get them crispy quickly. It takes about 10-12 minutes total in the air fryer. 

I use my air fryer often to make recipes like this Air Fryer Cod, Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp and this Air Fryer Twice Baked Potato

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a white long platter.

There are so many reasons I love my air fryer but a few are: it involves very little clean-up, it gets the food extra crispy without the guilt of deep frying the food and it cooks food quickly. 

Today’s recipe for chicken tenders in the air fryer serve about 4-5 so if you are feeding a larger group you might want to double the recipe. 

My kids go crazy for these so I would suggest doubling the recipe if you have hungry children! 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders ingredients on a white board.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS?

CHICKEN TENDERS: You can usually find chicken tenders at most grocery stores.

I buy about 1 1/2 pounds for this recipe and it feeds 4-5 people. You can easily double this recipe!

BREADCRUMBS: I like to use panko breadcrumbs because I think it adds more texture and helps to create a crispier crust on the chicken.

You can also use regular breadcrumbs if you want

PARMESAN CHEESE: The Parmesan cheese helps to add savory flavor to the chicken and works well to create the crust we all love so much on chicken tenders.

I use shredded Parmesan cheese but you can use grated too.

SPICES: The spice combination I use is thyme, garlic powder, parsley and paprika.

You can also use Italian seasoning in place of the thyme to get a more herby flavor and if paprika isn’t your thing leave it out. 

OLIVE OIL: A lot of recipes uses egg to bind the ingredients together but I have always used olive oil and works great.

If you would prefer egg you can swap that for the olive oil but I suggest giving the olive oil a try to see if you like it. 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with vegetables on a plate.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS?

In a shallow bowl mix the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, thyme, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Set aside.

Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil into another shallow bowl.

Dredge the chicken in the olive oil and then into the dry ingredients making sure both sides are coated.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders chicken tenders coated in panko breadcrumbs.

Preheat air fryer to 400F.

Work in batches to cook the chicken for about 6 minutes per side, or until the outside is crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

You want to make sure that the chicken tenders aren’t touching in the air fryer and have a small space between each one.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders chicken in the air fryer.

Remove from the air fryer and sprinkle with fresh parsley if you want and serve warm with ketchup or honey mustard dipping sauce.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a large white plate.

HOW DO I STORE LEFTOVER AIR FRYER CHICKEN STRIPS

You can store the leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you do need to store leftovers just reheat in the air fryer or a skillet before eating. The air fryer will help to crisp them up again.

WHAT IS AIR FRY COOKING?

A lot of people might be wondering how an air fryer works. It is similar to an amped-up countertop convection oven. Its compact space promotes even faster cooking.

The top of the unit holds a heating mechanism and a fan. Hot air rushes down and around the food which is placed in a basket.

The rapid air circulation helps crisp up food.

A lot of people compare it to deep frying food but much, much healthier! It also requires very little clean-up and most of the time the basket in the air fryer can go in the dishwasher.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with parsley as a garnish.

IS AIR FRIED FOOD HEALTHY?

Air frying food is a healthy alternative to deep frying food in oil. You can air fry so many things from Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower, to Air Fryer Twice Baked Potatoes, to Air Fryer Donut Holes. 

My favorite part of using the air fryer is that the food can get that crispy outer layer that happens when you deep fry food.

When you air fry food it can cut 70 to 80% of the calories from the food and has less fat. You also are using no vegetable oil when using the air fryer which is much healthier. 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a long white platter.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH THESE AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS?

I love salads with all of my meals. Some of our favorites are this Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts, Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing or this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Vegetable side dishes are always a nice addition with chicken tenders. I enjoy these Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables, Garlic Broccoli or Turmeric Cauliflower

Potatoes are another great addition to these chicken tenders. I like these Spicy Lebanese Potatoes, Lemon Cilantro Roasted Potatoes or these Crispy Garlic Roasted Potatoes.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with logo.

 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on white plate

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders create a healthier option to fried chicken tenders  but still a tender piece of chicken that is crispy on the outside. The panko breadcrumb crust creates a crunchy crust on the chicken, but you can sub in regular breadcrumbs, and has great flavor from the spices. These are a kid and adult favorite!    

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs {or you can use regular breadcrumbs}
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

    1. In a shallow bowl mix the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, thyme, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Set aside.
    2. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil into another shallow bowl.
    3. Dredge the chicken in the olive oil and then into the dry ingredients making sure both sides are coated.
    4. Preheat air fryer to 400F.
    5. Work in batches to cook the chicken for about 6 minutes per side, or until the outside is crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. You want to make sure that the chicken tenders aren't touching in the air fryer and have a small space between each one.
    6. Remove from the air fryer and sprinkle with fresh parsley if you want and serve warm with ketchup or honey mustard dipping sauce.

Notes

You can swap and use regular breadcrumbs if you want.

Feel free to use any combination of spices that you like.

This post may include Amazon affiliate links. I make a small amount off of purchases that help me run my website. 

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emily

Sunday 5th of September 2021

Fantastic recipe and so easy!

Julia

Sunday 5th of September 2021

Thanks!

Air Fryer Mediterranean Chicken Thighs - A Cedar Spoon

Thursday 13th of May 2021

[…] like to make a variety of recipes like this Air Fryer Cod, Air Fryer Chicken Tenders and these Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken […]

Judine Boebel

Friday 5th of February 2021

Made these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders for dinner tonight. Using olive oil worked out great. This recipe was easy to make and came out delicious.

Julia

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing.

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