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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

These air fryer chicken tenders are so easy to make and taste great! They only take 10-12 minutes to cook, and are perfectly crispy!

These air fryer chicken tenders were super easy to make. They only take about 15 minutes to prep with the breading, and 10-12 minutes to cook in the air fryer.

easy air fryer chicken tenders

I love using my air fryer to cook things quickly, and to get perfectly crispy “fried” foods. These chicken tenders were no exception.

They cooked very quickly, and were perfectly crispy without having to deep fry them in oil. And the chicken stayed nice and juicy. We really enjoyed these air fryer chicken tenders with sriracha ranch dipping sauce.

air fryer chicken tenders

Depending on the size of your air fryer, you will likely have to cook the chicken in batches, but the cook time is so short that this isn’t really a big deal. I needed to cook this recipe in two batches.

I have also made these with both corn flake crumbs and with panko breadcrumbs, and both were delicious, so use your preference.

air fryer chicken tenders

How do you get breading to stick to chicken tenders?

Breading these chicken tenders is actually very easy. After soaking the chicken, let the excess buttermilk drip off the meat and then dredge it in flour. It is then dipped in beaten egg mixed with milk, and then in panko breadcrumbs or corn flake crumbs. It should stay stuck to the chicken without a problem.

Cooking the chicken tenders in an air fryer helps with getting super crispy chicken tenders. I usually spray the air fryer basket and the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray.

You will also want to make sure that you don’t over fill the air fryer basket, as the air needs to be able to circulate in order for the chicken to get crispy. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the chicken in batches.

buttermilk ranch chicken fingerers

How do you cook raw, breaded chicken tenders?

Raw, breaded chicken tenders can be cooked in the oven at 375F for 20-25 minutes, or in the air fryer at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

This will obviously be a bit dependent on the size of your chicken pieces, as well as the type of air fryer you have if using that method, so check the internal temperature of the meat to determine if it is done.

homemade air fryer chicken tenders

What temperature should chicken tenders be?

You should cook your chicken tenders until they reach an internal temperature of 165F. I absolutely love this instant read thermometer for checking if meat is finished cooking or not.

buttermilk ranch chicken tenders

How to make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders:

  • The chicken needs to be marinated in buttermilk for 3-4 hours, or overnight, before making these chicken tenders. Don’t skip this step as the buttermilk tenderizes the meat.
  • Air fryers vary a bit in how they cook, so while these were cooked after 11 minutes at 400F for me, your air fryer may cook differently, or your chicken pieces may be a different size. Check the internal temperature of your chicken and make sure to cook it to 165F. I have an Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer.
  • We love these with sriracha ranch dip. It’s not overly spicy, but feel free to skip it and serve these with any dipping sauce you like!
  • If you prefer, I also have a baked version of these here: Baked Chicken Tenders.

Here are some more great appetizer recipes for you:

homemade air fryer chicken fingers
Yield: serves 4-6

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

air fryer chicken fingers

These air fryer chicken tenders are so easy to make and taste great! They only take 10-12 minutes to cook, and are perfectly crispy!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 27 minutes

Ingredients

For the chicken tenders:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (700g) chicken tenders (or chicken breast, cut into strips)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix, divided
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk or water
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

For the sriracha ranch dip:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

Instructions

For the chicken tenders:

  1. In a 9”x13” baking dish, whisk together the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of the ranch seasoning.  
  2. Place the chicken tenders in the buttermilk mixture, making sure they are covered in the buttermilk.  
  3. Cover the dish tightly and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  4. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and the remaining tablespoon of ranch seasoning.  
  5. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg and milk or water.  
  6. In a third bowl, mix together the panko, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
  7. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, let the buttermilk drip off the chicken and then dip it in the flour mixture, turning it to coat, and shake off the excess.  
  8. Then dip the chicken in the egg wash, and then the panko, turning it to coat both sides.
  9. Place the coated chicken on a baking sheet until you’re ready to air fry it, and repeat with all the chicken pieces.  
  10. Lightly spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray
  11. Preheat the air fryer to 400F, and spray the basket lightly with cooking spray.
  12. Cook the chicken tenders in a single layer for 10-12 minutes, flipping once, or until they are cooked through and golden. You may need to do more than one batch, depending on the size of your air fryer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165F.

For the dipping sauce: 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream, ranch seasoning, and sriracha, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

If you want to make your own Ranch seasoning mix, you can find a recipe for that here. If you want to use store bought ranch seasoning, 1 (28g) packet should be the right amount for the full recipe.

I’ve also made these chicken tenders using corn flake crumbs instead of panko crumbs and they work very well that way too if you prefer.

Air fryers do vary in how they cook, so yours may need a different amount of time to cook your chicken tenders than mine does. Check the internal temperature after 10 minutes, and if it’s not 165F then keep cooking, 2 minutes at a time, until they are cooked through. 

Recommended Products

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and ThermoWorks. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1/6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1257mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

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