These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are super simple to make and a healthy alternative to regular fried chicken. They’re crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside, and taste amazing with our homemade honey mustard sauce.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
If you are an air fryer fan like me, you will absolutely love this recipe for healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. Not only is it super quick to make, it’s also incredibly kid-friendly and healthy to boot.
From start to finish, this chicken tender air fryer recipe takes about 30 minutes to make including our homemade Honey Mustard Sauce. The finished air fryer chicken tenderloins are crispy, juicy, and delicious with any number of sides. These are also great for game day or a quick and easy lunch. And if you have any leftevers, be sure to try our Southwest Crispy Chicken Wrap, Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, or our Buffalo Chicken Wrap for an easy dinner idea.
Ingredients in This Chicken Tenders Air Fryer Recipe
- Chicken Tenders - raw chicken tenderloins are usually labeled as chicken tenders and can be found at most grocery stores. You could also use chicken breasts sliced into smaller chicken strips to make air fryer chicken strips.
- Buttermilk - you’ll need buttermilk to marinate the chicken before adding the breading.
- Breadcrumbs - you can use Italian breadcrumbs or Panko breadcrumbs to make the breading.
- Parmesan Cheese - grated Parmesan cheese works well.
- Spices: this recipe calls for using garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. You can of course feel free to adjust the seasoning however you would like.
- Olive Oil - you’ll need just a few tablespoons to drizzle over the tenders before baking.
Honey Mustard Sauce
- Honey - use your favorite kind of honey.
- Mayonnaise - full fat or even lite will work.
- Dijon Mustard - make sure and use dijon mustard, rather than yellow.
- Lemon Juice - fresh lemon juice has the best flavor.
- Garlic Powder - this adds garlic flavor without any chunks so that the sauce will stay smooth and creamy.
- Paprika - you only need a tiny bit to add a lot of flavor.
How to Make Air Fry Chicken Tenders
- Marinate the chicken tenders. In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken tenders and buttermilk. Use kitchen tongs to turn the chicken and cover all sides, then let sit for 15 minutes.
- Make the breadcrumb mixture. Meanwhile, in a pie pan or shallow baking dish, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Coat the chicken in the breading. Using tongs, remove the chicken tenders one at a time, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off. Place the chicken tender into the breadcrumb mixture and coat on all sides, pressing gently. Transfer the coated chicken tender to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then repeat with the rest. Drizzle olive oil over the tops just before cooking.
- Air Fry. Preheat the air fryer to 450-500 degrees, then cook in the preheated air fryer for 10 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken tenders, then continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- Make Honey Mustard Sauce. While the chicken is cooking, combine the honey, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, and paprika in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Serve. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the air fryer and let cool for a couple minutes. Serve warm with honey mustard dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your air fryer is preheated to between 450-500 degrees F, it should take between 15-20 minutes for your Chicken Tenders to cook. The amount of time depends on how many you cook at once, how thick the pieces of chicken are, and how hot your air fryer actually gets. No matter what, make sure and check the internal temperature using a digital thermometer. Your chicken is cooked once it has reached 165 degrees F in the center.
Yes! Reheating chicken tenders in air fryer baskets is a great method. It keeps them super crispy and takes just about 5 minutes.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still make these homemade Chicken Tenders! Instead of cooking your chicken tender or chicken strips in air fryer baskets, transfer your breaded chicken tenders to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftover Air Fryer Chicken Tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- How to reheat chicken tenders in air fryer: you can reheat in a microwave, or in a preheated air fryer for about 5-10 minutes.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
- 1½ pounds Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup Buttermilk
Breading for Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Dry Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil to drizzle on chicken tenders before air frying
Honey Mustard Sauce
- ¼ cup Honey
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- ⅛ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Paprika
- Preheat air fryer to 500 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken tenders and buttermilk. Use kitchen tongs to turn the chicken and cover all sides, then let sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a pie pan or shallow baking dish, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Using tongs, remove the chicken tenders one at a time, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off. Place the chicken tender into the breadcrumb mixture and coat on all sides, pressing gently. Transfer the coated chicken tender to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then repeat with the rest. Drizzle olive oil over the tops.
- Place the coated chicken tender onto a baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken tenders are coated. Drizzle a little olive oil on the chicken tenders. Transfer chicken tenders to an air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure the tenders do not touch (you may have to do multiple batches).
- Cook in a preheated 500-degree (or as close as you can get it) air fryer for 10 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken tenders, then continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- While cooking, combine the honey, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, and paprika in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Once cooked, remove chicken from the air fryer and serve warm with honey mustard dipping sauce. Enjoy!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Squash
- Air Fryer Red Potatoes
- How to Make Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
- Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Wings
- More Best Chicken Recipes
- More Easy Appetizers
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These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are crispy, juicy, and super simple to make. Serve with homemade Honey Mustard Sauce for a delicious, healthy, and kid-friendly meal.
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