Air fryer chicken tenders are completely mouthwatering with a tender and juicy inside and a crispy outside coating. A quick to make, perfect weeknight meal recipe your family will love. Healthy to make with less oil and the fried recipe!
Move over Tyson! This homemade version has become a weekly staple meal for us. They are surprisingly easy to make and can even be prepped ahead of time and frozen!
My favorite way to serve these is with some buffalo sauce and a side of potato wedges and veggie side like broccoli or asparagus.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy weeknight meal kids will love! Perfect to pair with french fries and green beans.
- Can be made adaptable to different dietary restrictions including Keto, Whole30, Paleo and Gluten Free!
- Made with less oil making them healthy and lower in fat compared to the classic fried version.
- Super crispy with great texture! This recipe reminds me of Shake and Bake chicken.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements and the notes below for substitution ideas.
- Breadcrumbs: Panko or homemade breadcrumbs work the best for this recipe.
- Pancake Mix: I like using Kodiak Cakes pancake mix but have also used oat flour and it works well also.
- Seasoning: The best seasoning to use is equal parts onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Everything bagel seasoning would also be a good seasoning to use.
- Egg: Two eggs are all you need for an egg wash but you can also add in a bit of buttermilk if you want to.
- Parmesan: cheese is optional - you can make this recipe dairy free if you want, but I love the flavor that the parmesan cheese adds.
How to Make This Recipe
This is a step-by-step walkthrough of how to cook this recipe. The recipe card at the bottom shows the exact cook time and temperatures.
Begin making these from scratch by setting up the bowls for breading. I season the pancake mix and breadcrumbs and then line up my bowls.
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper prior to breading.
The breading process is pancake mix, egg, Panko breadcrumbs. Repeat that with each of the tenderloins and move them to a plate.
Air fry (in batches if needed) for 5 minutes per side at 360F. Thicker cuts may need 6 minutes per side. Check that the temperature is 165F (I use an instant read thermometer) prior to serving.
- Be sure to pat the tenderloins dry before seasoning.
- Cook in a single layer and cook in multiple batches if needed.
- Be sure to not overcrowd the basket, allowing space between pieces.
- One serving is generally 2-3 tenders depending on how many are in your two pound package.
- Storage Instructions: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating Instructions: Reheat by cooking at 360F for 5 minutes.
- Swap breadcrumbs for almond flour or crushed pork rinds and pancake mix for keto pancake mix to make a keto version.
- Serve with sauce to dip in like ketchup, ranch dressing, Chick Fil A sauce, honey mustard, bbq sauce or Frank's Red Hot buffalo sauce for a hot & spicy kick.
- Serve on top of a salad, in a wrap or on their own.
Yes, they may be cooked at 425F on a baking sheet for 8 minutes per side or until inside reaches 165F.
Yes! Freeze uncooked tenderloins in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. When cooking ones that are frozen, add a few more minutes per side and be sure it temps to 165F.
Yes, you can bread them and cover with plastic wrap for later air frying. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day prior to cooking
I made these in the Instant Pot Duo Crisp and have also made them in the Ninja Foodi and Ultrean and they all work well.
If you've made this recipe, would you please leave a star rating and comment below on the recipe card? If you would like more simple + delicious eats please subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for the latest updates.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 2 pounds chicken tenders
- ½ cup pancake mix
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- additional salt + pepper to taste
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt & pepper
- Season pancake mix with ½ teaspoon each salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika and garlic powder.
- Season breadcrumbs with ½ teaspoon each salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika and garlic powder.
- Whisk egg. Line up three bowls to begin coating.
- Dip chicken tenders into flour, egg, then breadcrumbs. Move to a side plate.
- Place tenders into the basket. Cook at 360F for 6 minutes. Flip chicken tenders and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Cook until temperature reaches 165F.
I was wondering if it was 5 carbs per tender or what?
per serving which would be about 1/4 of a pound of tenders
Connie Sue Otten
do not see a nutrition count nor a carb count is there one?
just added nutrition info!
How long if from frozen?
I would try at 390F for 12 minutes total, flipping halfway. Be sure to temp them with a meat thermometer to ensure doneness.
Mine turned out a little to floury and dry.. but still edible! Will try to coat them less next time. I pounded a chicken breast to make it thinner and then cut strips. So 350 for 10 min might have been too much since they were thinner..
yep if they are thinner you will want to cut down the cooking time to maintain moisture.
Followed recipe but my breading fell apart. Is there a way to prevent this?
did it fall apart in the air fryer or before?
When i took them out.
they may have had too much of the breading on making them too heavy. Maybe try using a little less next time.
Still very raw after 10 minutes at 350. Will take at least 20 minutes. Seems like they will only cook evenly when in a single layer not stacked on top of each other
Every air fryer will cook differently but I would definitely recommend a single layer for cooking.
I'm wondering if you think this turns out better with coconut flour or almond flour. I happen to have both on hand.
I like coconut flour better (just a taste preference) but almond would also be great!
What are the calories etc... carbs, fat and protein?
The recipe is now updated for nutrition. Thanks!!