No breading air fryer chicken tenders are the perfect easy meal with the best crispy outside and juicy inside taste and texture. This simple and flavorful meal is healthy, delicious, and quick to make in under 20 minutes!
Air frying provides an easy-to-make and flavorful meal that is healthy!
With a fraction of the oil of traditional deep frying methods, air-frying naked chicken tenders has become one of my favorite ways to cook chicken!
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- Gluten-free, eggless, low carb, and keto.
- A great base protein recipe for salads, wraps, quesadillas, or as a main dish!
- More tender and juicy than grilled, baked, or blackened versions.
- Perfect for meal prep and make-ahead recipes.
- Quick and easy.
- Kid-friendly and great for picky eaters.
- Cook straight from frozen!
- Make in the Ninja Foodi or whatever air fryer model you have.
- No eggs, no flour, no breadcrumbs - easy cleanup!
Ingredients & Substitutions
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.
Use fresh, unseasoned chicken tenderloins that are hand-trimmed if possible. This makes prep super quick and easy.
A blend of garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and onion powder is my go-to chicken seasoning. Taco, Greek, Ranch, Parmesan, and Italian seasoning would also work well.
Whichever seasoning blend you choose, be sure that it includes salt.
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 cooking time and temperatures.
Mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
Lay tenderloins on a plate or paper towels and sprinkle half the seasoning mix over the tenders. Rub in and flip. Season the other side and rub the seasoning in.
Spray the tenders with cooking spray.
Place them in the basket with a small space between each, cooking in batches if necessary.
Air fry at 360F for 6 minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 6 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer for cooking tenders to 165F.
How to Serve Chicken Tenders
Serve as an appetizer with a dipping sauce like ketchup, ranch, bbq, or buffalo sauce.
Make Ahead, Storage, Freezer, Serving & Reheating
Make ahead by seasoning tenderloins and storing them in the refrigerator for up to a day before air frying.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To freeze, store seasoned, unbreaded chicken tenders in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
No breading chicken tenderloins can be reheated by air frying again for about 3-5 minutes at 360F until the internal temperature is 165F.
- If using a smaller air fryer, cook the recipe in batches. Provide space between each piece to ensure even cooking.
- Preheat the air fryer for 3-5 minutes before cooking.
- For a different flavor, try a homemade seasoning mix, marinade, or a store-bought seasoning blend.
- Note that every air fryer model works differently. Time and temp will vary depending on the model you use.
Cook unbreaded chicken tenderloins at 360F for 6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
The time and temp for cooking raw chicken tenderloins will vary depending on how thick your tenders are and which air fryer you have.
You do not need breading to make air-fried chicken tenders. If you want a breaded recipe, try these breaded chicken tenders.
Generally, no-breading air fryer chicken tenders do not have an issue with being soggy, since they do not have breading.
Follow this recipe for breaded chicken tenders for crispy air-fried chicken tenderloins, especially if your chicken is not crispy.
Yes. If making straight from frozen, prep and season them beforehand and then freeze. This helps the seasoning to coat.
Also, add at least 3-5 minutes per side to cook frozen unbreaded chicken tenders and temp to 165F internally.
Using an online calculator, we calculated 226 calories per serving (½ pound) of chicken tenders. Refer to the recipe card for further nutritional information.
No Breading Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. Set aside1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Lay on a plate or paper towels and sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the tenders. Rub in and flip. Season other side and rub in.2 pounds chicken tenders
- Spray chicken tenders with coconut oil spray. Place tenders in basket with a small space between each, cooking in batches if necessary. Air fry at 360F for 6 minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 6 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to cook tenders to 165F.
- If using a smaller model you may need to air fry in batches. Make sure tenderloins are baked with a bit of space between each so you can ensure proper and even cooking.
- Make Ahead: Season tenderloins and store them in the refrigerator for up to a day before air frying.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: Store seasoned, unbreaded chicken tenders in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: No breading air fryer chicken tenders can be reheated by air frying for about 3-5 minutes at 360F until the internal temperature is 165F.