Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Skip the freezer isle for those previously deep-fried tenders and make these healthy crispy air fryer chicken tenders instead! Lightly breaded and seasoned chicken tenders get golden and crispy in just minutes and will no doubt be a hit in your household! Serves 4 (or about 8-10 tenders) in under 30 minutes! Did I mention you only need 5 ingredients?!

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

I’ve got another air fryer recipe for you and I think it’s one you will love! Chicken tenders are universally loved finger food, amiright? With a plethora of dipping options and their overall crispy exterior and tender juicy interior, what’s not to love?

My kids have been chicken tender fanatics since, well, forever. Haileigh dips it in ranch and/or Franks Red Hot and Malloree prefers to dip in barbecue sauce and ranch, simultaneously. My girls really only order them at restaurants, I’ve probably made chicken tenders from scratch a handful of times because they’re kind of a hassle and take some time to bread, cook, etc. Until today!

You’re going to lose your mind over how easy it is to make homemade crispy chicken tenders in the air fryer. If you don’t have an air fryer (affiliate) yet, you must! I kind of touched on it in a previous post, but the air fryer is an easy and healthier way to fry food with using a fraction of oil (because, hello? no deep-frying) and cooks and crisps evenly thanks to hot circulating air. To say I love my air fryer is an understatement (obviously). If my kitchen was a little bigger, it would be an appliance that takes up permanent residence on my counter. I can’t stop thinking of ways to health-ify previously not-s0-healthy fried foods or just food that I would be too apprehensive because of my deep-seeded fear of hot, bubbling oil.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

So wether you want to make these crispy air fryer chicken tenders for lunch for the kids to dip, or to top a salad or stuff into wraps – all you need is 5 simple ingredients and 30 minutes.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Here are the 5 ingredients you will need: chicken tenders – 1 package which is usually a pound, will feed 2 to 4 (or 8-10 tenders). You’ll also need non-aerosol olive oil cooking spray (using non-aerosol is a personal preference, you use what you like!), breadcrumbs (homemade or store bought), all-purpose seasoning salt and black pepper. That’s it!

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

In a shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs, 1-1/2 teaspoons of all-purpose seasoning salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk to combine and set off to the side for a smidge.

I make my own all-purpose seasoning (similar to Lawry’s) and the recipe can be found in my cookbook.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Next spray both sides of the chicken tenders with the olive oil spray, making sure to coat evenly.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l SimplyScratch.comCrispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Work in batches, tossing the chicken tenders in the breadcrumbs and shaking of the excess before transferring to a clan platter or cutting board. The oil helps adhere the crumbs to the chicken tenders and aids in crisping too. Win-win.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l SimplyScratch.comCrispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Spray the wire rack of your air fryer with olive oil spray before preheating to 390°.  Once hot, place 3 to 4 chicken tenders into the basket at a time. Give them space so they don’t touch and end up sticking to each other. Cook for 3 minutes, use tongs to turn the chicken tenders and cook for 3 minutes more.

Then remove the tenders to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining tenders.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Finally, once all of the crispy air fryer chicken tenders are cooked, I like to add them back into the basket and air fry for 1 to 2 more minutes to reheat if necessary.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

You would think by looking at these that they were store bought. Nope! Those are legit, homemade, crispy, golden brown chicken tenders! And they taste AMAZING!

Truth be told, I’m a ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce kind of girl. Unlike the rest of my family, ketchup really isn’t my favorite (unless it’s in a recipe or glazed over meatloaf). What is your favorite? Dipping options seem to be kind of endless. Here are some other delicious dipping sauce options you can find on SS:

sweet bbq sauce

spicy mustard

fry sauce

spicy sweet chili sauce


pizza sauce

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

What Is Air Frying? 

An air fryer is a counter top appliance that requires less oil (anything from a few spritz to 1 tablespoon) yet produces crispy food that rivals most deep fried foods. By using circulating hot air, it moves at a high speed so the food tends to cook in a fraction of the time.

There are a bunch of different makes and models of air fryers. My husband did the research (as he’s known to do) and found this air fryer [affiliate] to be one of the best. But do your research and purchase one that fits your lifestyle.

How is Air Frying Healthier? 

Air frying is healthier because only a thin layer of oil coats the food and when the hot air comes in contact it will crisp. Saving you a ton of fat and calories (without sacrificing any flavor!) because food is not being submerged in a vat of hot oil.

For more Air Fryer recipes, click here for my growing collection.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

Enjoy! And if you give these Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: 4 servings or about 10 tenders

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Skip the previously deep-fried and frozen isle and make these healthy crispy air fryer chicken tenders! Lightly breaded and seasoned chicken tenders get golden and crispy in just minutes and will no doubt be a hit at your household!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 26 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes


  • 1 package (about 1 pound) chicken tenders
  • non-aerosol olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose season salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Spray both sides of your chicken tenders with olive oil cooking spray.

In a shallow bow, whisk together the breadcrumbs, season salt and pepper. Working in batches, press each tender into the crumbs and turn to coat. Shake off any excess and place onto a clean platter or cutting board and repeat.

Spray the wire rack/basket (of your air fryer) to prevent sticking and preheat to 390°.

Once preheated, work in batches of 3 or 4 tenders at a time, keep them from touching to avoid sticking. Cook for 3 minutes, use clean tongs to turn and repeat for 3 more minutes more. Transfer to a cooling rack before repeating with the remaining chicken tenders.

To reheat, add all of the crispy (cooked) chicken tenders to the basket and heat at 390° for an additional minute or so.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2-1/2 tenders

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 112 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 702mg Carbohydrates: 12g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 4g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
[this post contains affiliate links.]


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6 Responses to “Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders”

  1. #
    E — May 10, 2018 at 1:22 am

    You are totally selling me to the idea of the air fryer!!

    And yes, I am a blue cheese dip kind of person too – my favorite though is to add some (very) hot sauce into the blue cheese dip just for a kick – you should try!

  2. #
    jenny — June 23, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    yummm! Love air fried chicken tenders 🙂

  3. #
    Doris Guthrie — September 3, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    I just got my air fryer a month ago and I use it every day. The food tastes so good and not at all greasy. I am still experimenting with it. I want to try baking biscuits soon. What a wonderful invention!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — September 10th, 2018 @ 7:59 am

      Isn’t it amazing! I never even thought to make biscuits in it!!

  4. #
    Lily Winter — December 21, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    I made dinner rolls in it and they worked out great! I’ve been doing chicken strips with egg and bread crumbs, but am trying your method because I never use all the egg.

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