Golden and perfectly crunchy, these easy air fryer chicken tenders are spiced with Indian curry for an extra pop of flavor. Ready in 30 minutes, this kid-approved meal is perfect for a simple lunch or dinner.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
This easy chicken tenders recipe makes crispy, tender chicken that is perfect for a simple lunch or weeknight dinner. Seasoned with a bit of curry powder, paprika, and other spices, every bite is loaded with flavor. And even better, your air fryer does all the heavy lifting! From start to finish, this recipe is ready in 30 minutes.
I love serving crunchy chicken fingers with dipping sauces. There’s just something about the combination of crispy, juicy chicken coated in a creamy sauce. My favorite options are homemade honey mustard sauce 😋 and the chili yogurt sauce I often serve with baked chicken tenders.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make this air fryer chicken tenders. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full ingredient amounts.
- Whole milk: Low-fat milk or water work too.
- Yellow mustard: You can also use honey mustard or Dijon mustard.
- Chicken breasts: You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Salt and pepper
- All purpose flour
- Plain panko or pork rind crumbs.
- Spices: Garlic powder, Indian curry powder, dry mustard, cumin, and paprika.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
These are just like making your favorite breaded chicken— but in the air fryer! Here’s how to make the best chicken tenders:
- Whisk the eggs. Place the eggs, whole milk, and mustard in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until well combined. Set it aside.
- Prepare the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste on all sides. Set it aside. Place the flour in an extended plate or container. Set it aside.
- Season the panko. Add the panko, garlic powder, curry powder, ground mustard, cumin, paprika, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Set it aside.
- Dredge the chicken. Place the chicken in the flour and coat it on all sides. Then transfer it to the whisked egg mixture. Coat it completely.
- Add the panko. Place the chicken in the seasoned panko. Press it down so the panko sticks to the chicken. Do this for all sides.
- Cook the chicken. Place 4 to 5 tenders in the air fryer basket and spray them with cooking spray. Don’t overcrowd the basket – leave about 1/2-inch space between each piece. Trying to cook too many pieces at a time will result in softened, soggy tenders. Cook in batches.
- Air fry. Set the air fryer to 375˚F and cook the tenders for 8 minutes. Flip them over and spray them with more cooking spray. Cook for another 8 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Serve. Use kitchen tongs to remove them from the air fryer. Set them on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then serve the chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces.
Air fryer chicken tenders are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, just like traditional fried chicken tenders, but with much less oil and fat. They are a quick and easy meal or snack that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.
Tips For Success
- Use regular breadcrumbs. If you are out of panko, you can also use regular breadcrumbs. Your chicken tenders will still be crispy but with slightly less crunch.
- Don’t overcook them. Don’t try to speed up the cooking process by raising the temperature. While that may cook the chicken faster, it will also dry it out.
- Not a fan of spice? You can leave out the curry if you prefer a more traditional chicken tenders flavor.
- Try Italian seasoning. You can also swap out all the spices and add 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning for a different flavor profile.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do I Put Chicken Tenders In The Air Fryer?
- Each batch should be cooked for a total of 16 to 18 minutes. However, this depends on the thickness of the chicken. This is where a meat thermometer comes in handy because you can check the chicken’s temperature to see if it’s done. It should read an internal temperature of 165˚F regardless of its thickness.
Why Are My Chicken Tenders Not Crispy?
- There are several reasons why they might not be crispy. The first one is undercooking the chicken. It would be best if you fried them according to the recipe instructions or until golden brown and to an internal cooked temperature of 165˚F. If they’re golden but not crispy, you probably over-crowded the air fryer basket when cooking them. You need to cook them in batches and leave some room between the tenders so they have space to get crispy.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Chicken Strips
- Aside from your favorite dipping sauces, these chicken tenders are great with game-day sides and appetizers. Think finger food and homemade fast-food dishes like my Crispy Air Fryer Onion Rings. My Crispy Air Fryer Frozen French Fries are a quick side too. For the full snack-like platter, serve them with Turkey Ham and Cheese Sliders and Air Fryer Corn on the Cob.
- I also love making these for quick lunches and dinners. You can even slice them up and add them to a salad. These chicken tenders go wonderfully with cheesy baked cauliflower or as crispy chicken bites in this Kale Quinoa Salad.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Storage: Once thoroughly cooled, refrigerate these chicken tenders in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To reheat: I recommend reheating them in the air fryer at 375˚F for 3 to 4 minutes for the crispiest results. If you’re in a rush, microwave them for up to 1 minute or until warm. If you’re reheating a large portion, you can also use the oven. Set it to 400˚F and bake them for 10 minutes or until nice and crispy.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! You can freeze them raw or cooked. Here’s how:
- Raw. Once you’ve breaded the chicken, set it on a parchment-lined baking tray. Freeze them for 1-2 hours. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze them for 6 months. Cook them straight from frozen, but add 2-3 minutes of extra cooking time.
- Cooked. Arrange the cooled tenders on a lined baking sheet and freeze them for 1-2 hours. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly container and freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat them, set the air fryer to 360˚F and reheat them from frozen for 10 minutes.
More Easy Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2½ tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness and cut into 2-inch thick strips
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups plain panko crumbs, or pork rind crumbs
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Place the eggs, milk, and mustard in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until well combined. Set it aside.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides. Set it aside. Place the flour in an extended plate or container and set it aside.
- Add the panko crumbs, garlic powder, curry powder, ground mustard, cumin, paprika, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Set it aside.
- Place one of the chicken pieces in the flour and coat it on all sides. Then transfer it to the whisked egg mixture. Coat it completely. Next, place it in the seasoned panko. Press it down so the panko sticks to the chicken. Do this on all sides. Continue with the rest of the chicken tenders.
- Place 4 to 6 tenders in the air fryer basket, leaving about 1/2-inch space between each piece, and spray them with cooking spray.
- Set the air fryer to 375˚F and cook the tenders for 8 minutes. Flip them over and spray them with more cooking spray. Cook for another 6 to 8 minutes or until golden and crispy, and until the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F. Cooking time will mostly depend on the size and/or thickness of the chicken tenders.
- Use kitchen tongs to carefully remove them from the air fryer. Set them on a cooling rack for a few minutes.
- Serve the chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or already-cut chicken tenders. I like to use chicken breasts and just cut them into long strips.
- Panko Crumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs used as a coating for deep-fried foods. I like to use panko crumbs or pork rind crumbs, but you can also use regular breadcrumbs.
- Spices and seasonings: I added curry powder and smoked paprika to the breading for a bit of spice, but you can use whatever spices and seasonings you want or have on hand.
- Don’t overcook the chicken tenders because they will be dry and tough. Check the temperature and pull them out when their internal temperature reaches 165˚F.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.