Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

Enjoy a healthier take on a classic favorite with this air fryer chicken tenders recipe. It's a simple, quick, and reliable method that delivers juicy chicken tenders with a perfectly crisp and golden exterior. The air fryer does most of the work, allowing you to cook the tenders with less oil, while still achieving that desirable crunch.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
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The ingredients for this recipe should be readily available in most households. However, if you don't have seasoned breadcrumbs or panko, you might need to make a quick trip to the supermarket. These are crucial for creating that crispy, flavorful coating that really makes this recipe special. Remember to choose panko that is already seasoned to add extra flavor to your chicken tenders.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders: These are the star of the dish, loved for their lean, tender nature.

Eggs: Used as a binding agent for the breadcrumbs and panko.

Kosher salt: Adds flavor to the chicken.

Black pepper: Used to season the chicken, providing a slight heat.

Seasoned breadcrumbs: These contribute to the crispy coating of the chicken tenders.

Seasoned panko: Adds extra crispiness to the chicken.

Olive oil spray: Used to promote golden browning in the air fryer.

Lemon wedges: For a touch of acidity and brightness when served with the chicken.

One reader, Jayme Schwab says:

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This air fryer chicken tenders recipe is a game-changer! The tenders come out perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The seasoning is spot on, and the cooking process is so easy. It's become a regular in my meal rotation – a healthier alternative without sacrificing flavor!

Jayme Schwab

Key Techniques for Perfecting Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

How to season the chicken: Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper to add flavor to the meat before cooking.

How to coat the chicken: Dip the seasoned chicken tenders in beaten eggs, then coat them with a mixture of breadcrumbs and panko to create a crispy outer layer.

How to air fry the chicken: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F and cook the chicken tenders in batches for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they are cooked through and achieve a crispy, golden exterior.

How to serve: Serve the air-fried chicken tenders with lemon wedges to add a zesty, citrusy flavor to the dish.

How To Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders are coated in breadcrumbs and air fried until juicy inside and crispy outside for a delicious dish with less oil.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • lbschicken tenders,(12 pieces)
  • 2large eggs,beaten
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • black pepper,to taste
  • ½cupseasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½cupseasoned panko
  • olive oil spray
  • lemon wedges,for serving

Instructions

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

  2. Place egg in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and panko.

  3. Dip chicken in the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture and shake off excess and place on a large dish or cutting board. Spray both sides of the chicken generously with oil.

  4. Spray both sides of the chicken generously with oil.

  5. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F.

  6. In batches, cook the chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through and crispy and golden on the outside.

  7. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 531.44kcal
  • Fat: 30.20g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.20g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.53g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.98g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.46g
  • Fiber: 2.75g
  • Sugar: 1.87g
  • Protein: 26.67g
  • Cholesterol: 151.12mg
  • Sodium: 784.68mg
  • Calcium: 84.50mg
  • Potassium: 382.00mg
  • Iron: 2.87mg
  • Vitamin A: 40.23µg
  • Vitamin C: 4.84mg

Pro Tip for Achieving Extra Crispy Chicken Tenders

To ensure your chicken tenders are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, it's important to not overcrowd the air fryer. Cooking in batches allows for better air circulation, resulting in a more evenly cooked and crispy tender. Also, generously spraying the chicken with olive oil helps to achieve a golden brown color and adds an extra layer of crispiness.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Prep ahead: Marinate the chicken tenders the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use pre-seasoned breadcrumbs: Using pre-seasoned breadcrumbs can save time on measuring and mixing individual spices.

Substitute Ingredients For Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • chicken tenders - Substitute with tofu strips: Tofu strips can be used as a plant-based alternative to chicken tenders, providing a similar texture and absorbing flavors well when seasoned and cooked.
  • eggs - Substitute with flax eggs: Flax eggs can be used as a vegan alternative to eggs, providing binding properties similar to regular eggs in the recipe.
  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of salinity to the dish.
  • seasoned breadcrumbs - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs can be used as a substitute for seasoned breadcrumbs, offering a light and crispy texture when air-fried.
  • olive oil spray - Substitute with avocado oil spray: Avocado oil spray can be used as a substitute for olive oil spray, providing a neutral flavor and high smoke point for air frying.

Serving Suggestions for Crispy Chicken Tenders

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the chicken tenders in a visually appealing manner, ensuring they are evenly spaced and the plate is not overcrowded. Consider using a combination of colors and textures to create an eye-catching presentation.

  2. Garnish with finesse: Add a touch of sophistication to the dish by garnishing with fresh herbs or microgreens. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a pop of flavor and freshness to the overall presentation.

  3. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Create an elegant drizzle of sauce or dressing on the plate using a squeeze bottle or a small spoon. This adds a professional touch and elevates the visual appeal of the dish.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the chicken tenders to stand out. This minimalist approach can create a sense of balance and sophistication in the presentation.

  5. Consider the plate selection: Choose a plate that complements the colors of the dish and provides a suitable backdrop for the chicken tenders. The right plate can enhance the overall visual impact of the dish.

  6. Attention to detail: Pay close attention to the finer details such as wiping any smudges or spills on the plate, ensuring the edges are clean, and the overall presentation is impeccable.

  7. Add a touch of elegance with lemon wedges: Instead of simply placing the lemon wedges on the side, consider slicing them into decorative shapes or twists to add a refined and elegant touch to the presentation.

Essential Equipment for Making Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer

  • Air fryer: An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism. It is a great tool for achieving crispy and golden results without the need for excessive oil.
  • Shallow bowl: A shallow bowl is used for coating the chicken tenders with egg and breadcrumb mixture. It provides a wide surface area for easy dipping and coating.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board is essential for preparing and assembling the chicken tenders before air frying. It provides a clean and stable surface for coating the chicken.
  • Olive oil spray: Olive oil spray is used to lightly coat the chicken tenders before air frying, helping to achieve a crispy and golden exterior while minimizing the use of excess oil.
  • Food thermometer: A food thermometer is essential for ensuring that the chicken tenders are cooked to a safe internal temperature, typically 165°F (74°C), before serving.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

  • To store leftover chicken tenders, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • When ready to reheat, place the chicken tenders in the air fryer and cook at 375°F (190°C) for 3-4 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 8-10 minutes.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the cooked chicken tenders. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the tenders to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

  • To reheat frozen chicken tenders, preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the frozen tenders in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until heated through and crispy. Adjust the cooking time as needed, depending on the thickness of the tenders.

  • Pro tip: For best results, avoid microwaving the chicken tenders, as this can cause them to become soggy and lose their crispy texture. Reheating in the air fryer or oven will help maintain their crispiness.

How To Reheat Leftover Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for a few minutes before adding the leftover chicken tenders. This will help them reheat evenly and regain their crispy exterior.

  • Place the leftover chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they don't overlap. If necessary, reheat them in batches to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to uneven heating and soggy results.

  • Spray the chicken tenders lightly with cooking spray or brush them with a small amount of olive oil. This will help restore their crispy texture during the reheating process.

  • Air fry the chicken tenders for 3-4 minutes, then flip them over and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until they are heated through and the exterior is crispy and golden brown. The exact reheating time may vary depending on the thickness of the tenders and your air fryer model.

  • If you prefer a slightly softer texture, wrap the chicken tenders loosely in aluminum foil before placing them in the air fryer. This will help retain moisture while still allowing the exterior to crisp up slightly.

  • For an extra burst of flavor, sprinkle the chicken tenders with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika, or dried herbs before reheating them in the air fryer.

  • Once the chicken tenders are heated through and crispy, remove them from the air fryer and let them cool for a minute or two before serving. This will allow the exterior to set and become even crispier.

  • Serve the reheated chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, ranch dressing, or BBQ sauce, and enjoy your delicious, crispy leftovers!

Interesting Trivia About Chicken Tenders

The air fryer chicken tenders recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders, as it uses minimal oil for cooking. This cooking method results in crispy and golden chicken tenders without the need for deep frying. Additionally, using an air fryer reduces the overall calorie and fat content of the dish, making it a guilt-free option for those craving a crispy chicken dish. Furthermore, air fryers are known for their efficiency in cooking, making this recipe a quick and convenient option for busy individuals. Enjoy the delicious chicken tenders with a fraction of the oil and calories!

Is Making Air Fryer Chicken Tenders at Home Cost-Effective?

This air fryer chicken tenders recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. Chicken tenders are an affordable protein option, and the additional ingredients like eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasoning are also budget-friendly. The use of an air fryer reduces the need for excess oil, making it a healthier and more cost-effective cooking method. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $10-$15, depending on the quality of ingredients. Overall Verdict: 9/10. This recipe provides a delicious and economical way to enjoy crispy chicken tenders at home.

Are Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Healthy?

The air fryer chicken tenders recipe is a healthier alternative to deep-fried chicken tenders. By using an air fryer, the recipe significantly reduces the amount of oil needed, resulting in a lower calorie and fat content. The use of chicken tenders, which are a lean protein source, is also a positive aspect of this recipe.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • The breadcrumb and panko coating, while adding a crispy texture, also contributes to the overall carbohydrate and potentially sodium content of the dish.
  • The recipe does not include any vegetables, which are essential for a balanced and nutritious meal.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this recipe, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the breadcrumb and panko coating with a mixture of finely chopped nuts (such as almonds or pecans) and grated Parmesan cheese. This will provide a crispy texture while increasing the protein and healthy fat content of the dish.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavor without relying on salt. Try using a blend of paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme, and dried oregano for a flavorful coating.
  • Serve the chicken tenders alongside a fresh salad or roasted vegetables to increase the fiber and nutrient content of the meal. A simple side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette dressing would complement the dish nicely.
  • Instead of using olive oil spray, brush the chicken tenders with a small amount of olive oil using a pastry brush. This will help you control the amount of oil used and ensure an even coating.

Editor's Opinion on This Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

This air fryer chicken tenders recipe is a delightful and healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders. The combination of seasoned breadcrumbs and panko creates a crispy and flavorful coating, while the use of olive oil spray ensures a golden and crunchy exterior. The addition of lemon wedges provides a refreshing and zesty finish to the dish. Overall, this recipe offers a simple and delicious way to enjoy tender and juicy chicken tenders with a satisfying crunch, making it a perfect choice for a quick and satisfying meal.

Enhance Your Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful medley of roasted vegetables, including carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers, seasoned with herbs and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Fruit Salad: Fresh and vibrant fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi, tossed in a light honey-lime dressing.
Creamy Coleslaw: Crunchy coleslaw with a creamy dressing, featuring a blend of cabbage, carrots, and a touch of tangy apple cider vinegar.

Delicious Alternatives to Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a flavorful herb and garlic mixture before threading them onto skewers and grilling until tender and slightly charred.
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Slowly cook the beef short ribs in a rich and savory broth until they are fall-off-the-bone tender, then serve with creamy mashed potatoes and a side of roasted vegetables.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: Combine ripe mango, creamy coconut milk, and nutritious chia seeds to create a refreshing and healthy dessert that can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a sweet treat.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and bubbly for a delicious start to any meal.
Caprese Skewers: Assemble skewers of fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves for a colorful and refreshing appetizer. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a burst of sweet and tangy flavor.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky golden crust and a sweet cinnamon-spiced filling. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess.

Why trust this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe:

This recipe guarantees crispy and flavorful chicken tenders using a popular kitchen appliance, the air fryer. The combination of seasoned breadcrumbs and panko ensures a satisfying crunch, while the use of olive oil spray promotes a healthier cooking method. The step-by-step instructions and precise cooking temperature ensure perfectly cooked and juicy chicken tenders every time. With the addition of lemon wedges for a zesty finish, this recipe offers a delightful and trustworthy way to enjoy a classic favorite with a modern twist.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
FAQ:
Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders?
Yes, you can use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders for this recipe. Simply cut the chicken breasts into strips or tenders to ensure even cooking.
Can I use an alternative to eggs for coating the chicken?
If you prefer not to use eggs, you can use buttermilk or a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard as a coating for the chicken. This will still help the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken and create a crispy coating.
How do I know when the chicken tenders are cooked through?
You can check for doneness by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (75°C) to ensure it is fully cooked. Alternatively, you can cut into a tender to ensure there is no pinkness and the juices run clear.
Can I prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the chicken tenders ahead of time by coating them with the breadcrumb mixture and then refrigerating them until you are ready to cook. This can be a time-saving option for busy weeknights.
What can I serve with the air fryer chicken tenders?
You can serve the air fryer chicken tenders with a variety of sides such as a fresh green salad, roasted vegetables, or even some homemade fries. The tenders also pair well with dipping sauces like honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing.

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