Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Marinate: 30 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Yields: 9 tenders
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
624 Calories
9g Fat
71g Carbs
59g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 624
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 197mg 66%
Sodium 3929mg 171%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 59g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 162mg 12%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 656mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Air fryer chicken tenders are crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, and full of flavor. These chicken breast tenders are marinated in pickle juice to help lock in moisture and provide a ton of flavor.

We dredged the chicken in seasoned flour and an egg mixture, but left out the breadcrumbs. You can add in breadcrumbs for even more crunch if you wish.

The chicken tenders are super easy to prepare and only require a few ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry. For equipment, all you need is an air fryer and a few bowls. There’s very little chopping involved and because you’re air frying, which also means no messy splatters or grease. They reheat nicely in the oven or for a few minutes in the air fryer. You can make numerous chicken recipes in an air-fryer with ease.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch wide strips)
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  2. Add the chicken tender pieces to a bowl or plastic bag. Pour the dill pickle juice over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Do not marinate overnight.

    Marinating chicken tenders
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  3. Whisk together the egg, milk, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a shallow bowl. 

    Egg and milk mixture whisked together
    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  4. Whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. 

    Dry ingredients whisked together
    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  5. Drain the chicken tenders and dip them into the dry mixture. Shake off the excess flour. 

    Chicken tender coated in flour mixture
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  6. Dip them into the egg mixture. Coat each tender completely. 

    Chicken tender in egg and milk mixture
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  7. Dip them into the dry mixture again. Shake off the excess flour. Make sure to completely coat with flour. You don't want any wet spots. This will cause the tenders to stick to the air fryer basket.

    Breaded chicken tender
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  8. Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. 

  9. Grease the basket of the air fryer with olive oil generously to prevent sticking. Add a single layer of the tenders and spray them with olive oil spray.

    Chicken tenders in air fryer
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  10. Fry for 15 minutes. Pause half way through and flip the tenders. Spray them again with the olive oil spray and finish cooking. 

    Cooked chicken tenders in air fryer
    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  11. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces. 

Tips

  • We went heavy on the ground black pepper. It provides a lot of flavor to the breading, which is important since they are not fried in oil.
  • Serve with homemade honey mustard, ranch, or barbecue sauce. Or go crazy and combine all three.

Recipe Variation

  • If you want to add even more crunch, dip the tenders in some panko breadcrumbs after dipping them in the egg mixture. You can also season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper for extra flavor.