by Olena

Easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko

Olena's image
Olena Osipov

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We’re leveling up a childhood favorite with these easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko! They’re deliciously crispy and golden on the outside, tender juicy on the inside, and a healthy version both kids and adults will love!

You might also like air fryer chicken breast, air fryer chicken drumsticks, or air fryer chicken wings.

Air fryer chicken tenders on serving plate with ketchup.

Chicken fingers and fries have always been considered the ultimate in kid friendly comfort food. It’s a quick and easy meal that they love and won’t complain about!

Put a healthy twist on a classic by making homemade chicken tenders in the air fryer along with air fryer sweet potato fries!

My kids are big fans of baked almond crusted chicken and healthy fried chicken, and if your kids are anything like mine and love anything with a crispy bite, they’ll love these air fryer chicken tenders!

Give the kids what they want while avoiding all the processed food in the freezer section. They’re fun to pick up and eat and even better when dunked in a delicious dipping sauce!

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe

  • Texture. Air fryer chicken tenders delivers the same crispy crunchy outer crust with tender meat as any deep fried version.
  • A family favorite. Who are we kidding? Adults love them as much as the kids do!
  • No grease. Made without grease splatter or mounds of oil and minimal clean up. The air fryer basket is dishwasher safe!
  • Made with real chicken breast. We’re not quite sure how many fillers are in the processed version of chicken tenders.
  • Budget friendly. Stock up on chicken breast when it’s on sale and use this easy air fryer chicken recipe whenever you need it!
  • Freezer friendly. Freezing cooked chicken tenders is convenient when you need a quick and healthy dinner idea later on.

Ingredients

  • Chicken tenders
  • Eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs, regular or whole wheat
  • Regular breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cooking spray
Chicken tenders, panko, bread crumbs, eggs and seasoning ingredients.

How to Make Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

Be prepared beforehand. The best way to go about this is to have everything prepped and ready to go!

1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F, then season the chicken tenders with 1/4 of salt. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and set them aside. Onto a deep plate, add breadcrumbs and seasonings. Stir it.

Ingredients chicken tenders, egg wash and panko breading in bowls.

2. Take each chicken strip and dip it into the egg wash. Lift it and allow any excess to drip off. Immediately dip it into the breadcrumb mixture. Flip it over to ensure it’s completely coated on both sides. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. At this point, you’re going to want to spray the air fryer basket. Not only to ensure a nice brown color, but also for it to not stick. Have you coated tenders ready!

Chicken tenders with panko breading on plate.

4. Lay chicken tenders down in a single layer, leaving enough room between them for air to circulate. Spray them with cooking spray and air fry for 10 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway. Once they’ve flipped over, spray them once more.

5. Serve immediately with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.

Air fryer chicken tenders in a shallow white bowl with ketchup.

Can You Make These with Other Cuts of Chicken?

You can. If you are going to be following these instructions to a tee, then be sure to use cuts of chicken that are similar in size.

If they’re thick, maybe consider cutting them into chicken nugget size pieces. If they’re full chicken breasts, consider using butterfly cuts.

If you can’t find chicken tenders already cut for you, you can use full chicken breasts and slice them yourself.

Can You Oven Bake Them?

Certainly! I’ve made coconut crusted chicken tenders in the oven as well as my almond crusted chicken tenders and they turn out great. These would be no different.

Bake chicken tenders on a foil lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Flip halfway.

Can I Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer?

You can make air fryer chicken tenders using frozen chicken for sure! If you are starting with slicing chicken breasts yourself, you may find it easier to cut them while they’re still mostly frozen.

Either way, tack on a couple of extra minutes of cook time. I’d say about 12, but each air fryer is different. So, do a little test on one of them to see if they’re fully cooked.

What Do You Serve Them With?

So many dipping sauces to think about! Ketchup, healthy BBQ sauce, sriracha and mayo, Thai sweet chili sauce, honey garlic dipping sauce, healthy ranch, honey mustard, buffalo sauce, the list is endless!

Serve with a side of:

Tips!

  • Even size. Use chicken tenders that are similar in size for even cooking.
  • Choice of breadcrumbs. I enjoy the combination of Panko and regular breadcrumbs, but you can use just one kind if preferred.
  • When dredging your chicken, allow any excess egg or breadcrumbs to fall off.
  • For a crispy crust, it’s important to leave enough room between each strip. You may need to work in batches.
  • Easily double or triple the recipe for serving a larger crowd.

Each make and model air fryer is different. I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer. You may find you need to keep your chicken tenders in a little longer to get them as crispy as you like.

FAQs

How to store leftover air fryer chicken tenders?

Keep any leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container for up to 3 days. These are great for lunch boxes when you want something other than a sandwich! A little ketchup on the side for dipping and you’re set.

Can I freeze air fried chicken tenders?

Yes, these are great for meal prepping. We all love the convenience of the frozen food section, but now we don’t need it.

Once completely cooled, flash freeze on a baking sheet before transferring them to a Ziploc. This way they won’t clump and freeze together. Keep them frozen for up to 3 months.

What kind of panko breadcrumbs are the best?

Panko breadcrumbs are flakier than regular breadcrumbs. They’re coarser and yet lighter. They’re made from white bread that’s had the crust removed, so they end up crispier when toasted or baked.

You can look for regular Japanese panko made with white bread. You can also use whole wheat Panko or gluten free, or if you’re looking for a keto friendly or paleo option, you can find Panko crumbs made from dried pork rinds.

As for what is best, it’s all up to you and what you like!

How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryer?

If they’re fresh, not frozen, and similar in size I find cooking them for 10 minutes in a preheated 400F degree air fryer is perfect. You may need to adjust give or take a couple of minutes if you and I are not using the same make and model air fryer.

Dipping air fryer chicken tenders into ketchup.

More Air Fryer Recipes To Try

Easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko

Easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko

We're leveling up a childhood favorite with these easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko! They're deliciously crispy and golden on the outside, tender juicy on the inside, and a healthy version both kids and adults will love!
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Season chicken tenders with 1/4 tsp salt.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside. In a deep plate add breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, 1 tsp salt, pepper and stir to mix.
  • Dip each tender into an egg wash first, then dip in a breadcrumb mixture on both sides, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Spray basket of air fryer with cooking spray, lay chicken tenders in a single layer and spray with more cooking spray on top. Air fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning once halfway through and spraying more with oil.
  • Serve hot with ketchup.

Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

    Reheat: Pop chicken tenders in the air fryer at 400 degrees F for several minutes (4-6) until warm and crispy.

      Freeze: Once completely cooled, flash freeze on a baking sheet before transferring them to a Ziploc. This way they won't clump and freeze together. Keep them frozen for up to 3 months.

        Equipment

        Notes

        • Each make and model air fryer is different. I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer. You may find you need to keep your chicken tenders in a little longer to get them as crispy as you like. 
        • When dredging your chicken, allow any excess egg or breadcrumbs to fall off.
        • For a crispy crust, it’s important to leave enough room between each strip. You may need to work in batches.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 3tenders | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 718mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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