Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

published Dec 14, 2021
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

For the crispiest chicken tenders, look to the air fryer.


Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 48 minutes

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Chicken tenders on a pink plate with a dipping sauce on the side.
Credit: Renae Wilson

Another way to enjoy more crunchy chicken tenders in my life? Sign me up! Frying at home can sometimes feel like a daunting task: There’s the smell of frying that lingers in your home after, waiting for the hot oil to cool, disposing of the oil afterward. It’s exciting to know that tossing breaded chicken tenders in the air fryer can satisfy the craving without all the hassle.  

What Temperature Should You Cook Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer?

After breading your tenders, all it takes is about 10 minutes (or a little less) for a batch of crunchy tender goodness to be on your dinner table. Cook them at about 400ºF to maintain moisture, but gain crunch. I like to use a little cooking spray to help usher in that golden-brown color. And letting them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes after being coated will make sure that the breadcrumbs adhere better and the chicken cooks through evenly.

Serve with a Variety of Dipping Sauces 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

For the crispiest chicken tenders, look to the air fryer.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 48 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    well-shaken buttermilk or half-and-half

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    onion powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    mustard powder

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    chicken tenders (10 to 12)

  • 1/4 cup


  • Cooking spray


  1. Place 1/4 cup buttermilk or half-and-half and 2 large eggs in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place 2 cups panko breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper in second bowl or shallow dish and whisk to combine.

  2. Place 1/4 cup cornstarch on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders dry with paper towels. Place on the cornstarch and toss until fully coated. Working in batches, dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, then dredge in the panko mixture until fully coated. Return to the baking sheet in a single layer. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, which gives the coating time to adhere to the chicken.

  3. Heat an air fryer to 400ºF. Coat both sides of the chicken with cooking spray. Working in batches as needed, arrange the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry, flipping halfway through, until cooked through, golden-brown, and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes total. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350℉ oven for 15 minutes or in an air fryer for 5 minutes.