Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Crispy and juicy, these easy air fryer chicken tenders are a perfect party app or quick weeknight dinner. Don’t forget to freeze the extras! 

  • Prep Time:
    14 minutes
  • Total Time:
    25 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~18 tenders
  • Prep Time:
    14 minutes
  • Total Time:
    25 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~18 tenders
  • Ingredients

    • 2 pounds of chicken tenderloins or chicken breast
    • 2 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • ¼ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Olive oil spray


    1. Prepare your pan (if freezing). If you will be freezing some or all of the chicken tenders, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set it aside.
    2. Prepare the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with a clean paper towel. If you’re using whole chicken breasts (not tenderloins), pound the chicken using a meat pounder or rolling pin until they are about ½” thick. Slice pounded chicken breasts into 1-inch wide strips. Set aside.
    3. Toast the Panko. Line the bottom of the air fryer basket with foil. Add half of the Panko and lightly spray with oil. Set the air fryer to 350°F (no need to preheat) and toast the Panko until golden brown, about 4 minutes, gently shaking the basket halfway through. Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl (I like to use a cake or brownie pan) and repeat with the remaining breadcrumbs.
    4. Bread the chicken. In a shallow mixing bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, flour, salt, and pepper and whisk until fully incorporated. Add 1-2 chicken strips to the egg mixture and toss to coat. Transfer the battered chicken to the Panko pan with tongs or a fork. Use a spoon to sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, and gently press down on the chicken to help the breadcrumbs stick. Transfer breaded chicken to a large plate or prepared baking sheet if freezing. Repeat until all chicken tenders are breaded.
    5. Cook the chicken tenders. Lightly spray the ones you will be cooking with oil and place chicken tenders in a single layer into the air fryer basket. Air fry at 350°F (180°C) until chicken is cooked throughout, about 11-12 minutes (13-14 minutes if frozen). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
    6. Freeze the extra chicken tenders. Transfer the baking sheet(s) with the extra chicken tenders to the freezer and chill for 1-2 hours. Once firm, move them to an airtight freezer bag or container, pressing out as much air as possible from the bag when sealing. Frozen chicken tenders are best if eaten within four months.



    • To make gluten-free chicken tenders: Substitute your favorite gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour in the batter, and use gluten-free panko instead of traditional wheat-based panko for the breading.


    • Toast the Panko and store it in an airtight container until ready to use
    • Make the batter up to 1 day in advance
    • Make your dipping sauces up to 1 week in advance


    Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight food storage bag or container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, place on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet in a 250F oven/toaster oven for 5-7 minutes or until warmed through. Chicken tenders can also be microwaved for 30-45 seconds but be warned, they won’t be crispy.


    Nutrition information based on a 4-ounce serving and does not include dipping sauce.


    • Serving Size: 4 ounces (approx. 2 tenders)
    • Calories: 188
    • Sugar: 0 g
    • Sodium: 446 mg
    • Fat: 5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 10 g
    • Fiber: 0 g
    • Protein: 23 g
    • Cholesterol: 83 mg

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