These air fryer chicken tenders are fresh chicken tenderloins coated in breadcrumbs, spices and parmesan cheese, then air fried until golden brown and crispy. A lightened up version of classic chicken fingers with less fat and just as much flavor.

You can never go wrong with comfort food like baked mac and cheese, cheeseburger casserole, and these super crispy chicken tenders made in the air fryer.

These air fryer chicken tenders are fresh chicken tenderloins coated in breadcrumbs, spices and parmesan cheese, then air fried until golden brown. These air fryer chicken tenders are fresh chicken tenderloins coated in breadcrumbs, spices and parmesan cheese, then air fried until golden brown.

A plate of air fryer chicken tenders served with ketchup.

I love to use my air fryer to make healthier versions of our favorite meals. My latest success is this air fryer chicken tenders recipe, my kids give this one two thumbs up! It’s a great way to get that deep fried taste with a lot less grease.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS?

Start by making the outer coating, which is a blend of panko breadcrumbs, Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and spices. Dip each chicken tender into seasoned flour, then into beaten eggs. Finally, dredge each tender in the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle a little butter over the top of the tenders, then air fry until crispy and golden brown.

Bowls of flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and seasonings and a plate of chicken.

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS

  • Chicken tenders can also be labeled as chicken tenderloins, and are found with all the other types of raw chicken in the meat department. You can also use chicken breasts cut into strips.
  • I use two types of breadcrumbs because the Italian style breadcrumbs add a lot of flavor, but the panko crumbs add that extra crispy texture we’re striving for.
  • Leftover chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the chicken in the oven or in a toaster oven until they’ve crisped back up.
  • You can serve these tenders as-is with a dipping sauce on the side, or slice them up and serve on top of a salad or pasta dish.
  • Make sure that the chicken tenders are in a single layer in the air fryer to allow for plenty of air to circulate. You may need to work in batches if they all don’t fit at the same time.

Chicken in a bowl of breadcrumbs.

Can you cook frozen tenders in the air fryer?

You can also use store bought frozen prepared tenders if you’re in a hurry. Cook frozen chicken tenders at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes per side, or until heated through and crunchy.

Breaded chicken pieces in an air fryer.

Flavor variations

These chicken fingers are great as-is, but you can switch up the ingredients to make new creations to suit your tastes.

  • Protein: This coating works well with strips of  firm white fish to make fish sticks. Fish sticks will cook in the air fryer for 4-5 minutes per side. You can also use cubed chicken breasts to make nuggets instead of tenders.
  • Coatings: Use 1 cup of plain or panko breacrumbs. Next, add other flavors with an additional cup of crushed cornflakes, cheese crackers, pretzels, or nuts.
  • Dips: While ketchup is a traditional side for chicken tenders, change things up by offering fry sauce, ranch, honey mustard, tzatziki sauce or BBQ sauce.

A hand dipping air fryer chicken tenders into a bowl of ketchup.

These air fryer chicken fingers will be a huge hit with both the adults and kids in your life!

More chicken recipes you’ll enjoy

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Video

5 from 14 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

AuthorSara Welch
A plate of air fryer chicken tenders served with ketchup.
These air fryer chicken tenders are fresh chicken tenderloins coated in breadcrumbs, spices and parmesan cheese, then air fried until golden brown and crispy. A lightened up version of classic chicken fingers with less fat and just as much flavor.
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time32 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/4 pounds raw chicken tenders also sometimes called tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • cooking spray

Instructions 

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the flour in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Place the eggs in another medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water and whisk until smooth.
  • Place the Italian style breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  • Dredge each chicken piece in flour, then coat in egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Repeat the process with all the chicken.
  • Drizzle the melted butter over the tenders, then spray the chicken with cooking spray.
  • Place the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer. You may need to work in batches.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, or until chicken is cooked through and coating is brown and crispy. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 697mg | Potassium: 663mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 4mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

Learn more about Sara

Related Posts

Free Bonus

5 Secrets to Meal Planning + Free Toolkit!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today. Iā€™m always searching for new Air Fryer recipes . These chicken fingers were delicious. They were moist, tender and crunchy. Excellent recipe . This will be my go-to recipe for chicken fingers.

  2. 5 stars
    this air fried chicken tender recipe is the best! I love homemade tenders, but I hate frying them in oil , this is super easy to do!

  3. 5 stars
    Served this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint! So easy and quick; turned out perfectly crispy and moist, too. Easily, the best way to enjoy chicken tenders!

  4. 5 stars
    I love chicken tenders in general but when it comes to my favorite type, it would be breaded chicken tenders. There is just nothing better! šŸ˜‰

  5. 5 stars
    Air frying makes these so much healthier and the parmesan is perfect for adding a salty kick. So perfect for lunch boxes or picnics!