Air Fryer Chicken Tenders: Crispy, Juicy, And So Easy!

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Craving crispy, golden chicken tenders without the mess and guilt of deep-frying? Look no further than your trusty air fryer! This magical appliance can whip up restaurant-quality tenders in a fraction of the time, with a healthier twist.

This recipe delivers the perfect balance of juicy chicken and a satisfyingly crispy crust. It’s so easy, even beginner cooks can impress their friends and family. Plus, we’ll break down the nutrition facts and answer some frequently asked questions to make your air fryer chicken tender journey a breeze.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe - BEST EVER! (low FODMAP/dairy-free option)
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe – BEST EVER! (low FODMAP/dairy-free option)


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (about 1-inch wide)

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt thinned with milk)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a kick)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate the Chicken: In a bowl, combine the buttermilk (or yogurt mixture) with the chicken tenders. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. This step tenderizes the chicken and helps it absorb the flavors.

    2. Prepare the Coating: In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). In another shallow dish, spread out the panko breadcrumbs.

    3. Dredge and Coat: Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade, letting any excess drip off. Dredge each tender in the flour mixture, ensuring it’s evenly coated. Then, dip it in the panko breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere.

    4. Air Fry Perfection: Preheat your air fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually around 400°F or 200°C). Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil. Arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching.

    5. Crispy Time! Air fry the tenders for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. You may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. To ensure even cooking, shake the basket gently halfway through the cooking time.

    6. Rest and Serve: Once golden and crispy, remove the tenders from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute for an extra burst of flavor. Enjoy your delicious homemade air fryer chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces like ketchup, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or ranch dressing.

    Nutrition Information (per serving, approximately):

    Calories: 300

  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 400mg (depending on the added salt)
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 30g

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I use different types of breading?

    Absolutely! Experiment with crushed crackers, tortilla chips, or even coconut flakes for a unique twist. Just remember to adjust the seasonings accordingly.

    2. What if I don’t have buttermilk?

    No problem! You can make your own buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

    3. How long will leftover air fryer chicken tenders stay good?

    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer or oven for a few minutes until crispy again.

    4. Can I freeze air fryer chicken tenders?

    Yes! Once cooked and cooled, place the tenders in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat them from frozen in the air fryer at 400°F (200°C) for about 10-12 minutes, or until heated through.

    5. What are some healthy dipping sauce options?

    For a healthier alternative to traditional dipping sauces, try Greek yogurt mixed with herbs and spices, hummus, or a light vinaigrette.