This air fryer chicken tenders recipe is perfect for a quick and easy dinner. The kids beg for me to make these air fryer chicken tenders because they’re perfectly crunchy without all the oil and the flavor is amazing! Make these homemade chicken tenders with some Gourmet Baked Gouda Mac and Cheese Recipe for a dinner the whole family will love!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
Fast and Easy Baked Chicken Fingers with the Crispiness of Fried
If you have kids then you know the immense love they have for chicken tenders. Unfortunately, most chicken tenders are packed full of junk that you don’t want your kids eating. That’s why I absolutely LOVE making my own chicken tenders…I know what’s in them and honestly, they taste like 10 times better than those frozen chicken tenders!
First, you want to start off with good quality boneless skinless chicken breasts. I like to use Zaycon chicken breasts because I can get fresh from the farm chicken at an unbelievable price. Our grocery store charges $4.49 a pound for boneless, skinless chicken breasts which is CRAZY when you’re feeding a family of 6…I wind up spending about $20 buying chicken from the regular grocery store for a single night’s dinner.
With Zaycon, you do have to order based on their schedule and the chicken comes in packages of 40 pounds. But, if you have the freezer space or a friend to split with, then it’s completely worth it! On average I pay $1.89 a pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts straight from the farm. Seriously, Zaycon chicken is so fresh you can truly taste the difference! Even Hubs has admitted that he can taste the difference.
Anyway, once you have your chicken breasts, you’ll want to cut it into chicken tender sizes. I prefer to cut the chicken myself because getting “tenders” as opposed to getting chicken breasts usually costs more. Plus, if you have a really good knife, like this— it cuts through the chicken like butter– it takes no time at all.
Once your chicken is ready to go you’ll want to mix up your “crunchy” mix. I usually eyeball it…but since we’re on the blog I actually measured it for you. 😆 So take a bowl that’s shallow enough to dip your chicken in but deep enough to hold your mixture. You’ll need 1.5 cups of panko breadcrumbs, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Side note- if you have some grated parmesan cheese you can add 1/4 cup and it makes these even yummier!! Mix all of your dry ingredients together.
In order to get the dry ingredients to stick and stay on your chicken tenders you’ll need a liquid base like butter, milk, or eggs. I like to use butter so I melt 6 TBS of butter to dip the tenders in before dredging them through the breadcrumb mixture. But, if you’re cutting back on butter you can always use an egg base. Simply break 2 eggs into a bowl, add 2-3 TBS of water and mix well.
After you get your chicken tenders coated you’ll cook them in the air fryer…you can also cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes but they won’t have the same crispiness. I love cooking with the air fryer because it cooks food at a very high temperature in a compact space which creates the crispiness of fried without the added calories of using oil.
In the air fryer you will cook your tenders at 400 degrees for 6 minutes, then flip them and cook an additional 6 minutes at 400 degrees. Make sure that the internal temperature of your chicken tenders reaches 165 degrees. Since tenders can be a different thickness you’ll need to gauge when your chicken is done all the way through. Just add 2 minutes at a time if you’re not sure.
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