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Oct 25

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Chicken tenders on a plate with BBQ sauce

These easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders come together quickly for a crispy, tasty, family-friendly weeknight meal. I absolutely love chicken fingers, and this healthier air-fried version satisfies my craving just as well as the traditional fried tenders. The seasoned cornflake crumb coating brings a ton of flavor and a bit of a spicy kick, and the air fryer gets the outside nice and crispy while keeping the chicken juicy inside. These chicken tenders taste great with any of your favorite dipping sauces, or even on their own! They’re also terrific chopped up on a salad or used in a wrap for lunch.  I’m not the only chicken tender lover in our household, and luckily my 3-year-old loves these as well!  Plus, a serving of these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders is just 229 calories or 2 WW Points. To view your current WW Points for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a platter

Oven-Baked Method

If this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders recipe seems familiar to you, that’s because I already have an oven-baked version of the same recipe on my site! I posted the baked chicken tenders back in 2017, and I didn’t have an air fryer back then. I definitely still enjoy these tenders baked, but the air fryer gets them a bit crispier, so that’s my preferred method now. I figured I should share this updated cooking method with you all, but if you don’t have an air fryer, you can still make my Baked Chicken Tenders and they will absolutely taste delicious. If you do have an air fryer, stay tuned because I definitely plan on trying more flavors of air fried chicken tenders and testing some of my other previously baked recipes using the air fryer.

Air Fryer Chicken Tender being dipped in sauce

Do I need to pre-heat my air fryer?

I’ve seen lots of mixed information about this. Some sources say you absolutely must pre-heat your air fryer and some say you needn’t bother. I think it probably depends on the brand of air fryer you own, so you may want to check your manual. I have a Simple Living brand air fryer and do not pre-heat for this recipe. I see that Philips brand also says you don’t need to pre-heat. If you’re not sure about your particular model, feel free to just run it for a few minutes before you add the chicken tenders to be sure.

Serving Size

I know people will want to know “how many chicken tenders are in a serving?” I decided to post the serving size by weight, because whether you buy chicken tenderloins pre-cut or cut your own tenders from chicken breasts, the size of each tender may vary. This recipe uses 20 ounces of raw chicken strips and for me this was 12 tenders. When breaded and cooked, the finished tenders weighed a little over 21 ounces total, so each serving was about 5.25 ounces by weight. For me, this was three tenders each. If your chicken strips are larger or smaller the number per serving may vary.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders in a pile

Chicken Tenders

Raw chicken tenderloins are sold in the meat section of most grocery stores, so definitely feel free to just grab those for this recipe. I often buy big bulk packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts at my grocery store and then use kitchen shears to trim them down into the shapes and sizes I use frequently in recipes. It’s cheaper to buy the breasts in bulk and since I use chicken breasts a lot in my recipes it makes sense for me! I generally cut the big chicken breasts into either 5-6 ounce cutlets or into strips like the ones used in this recipe (between 1.5-1.8 ounces each). Anything chicken that is cut off to make those I then cut into small chunks to make chicken bites. It’s easy to weigh out 1 lb or more of chicken chunks or tenders and some 5 oz cutlets and freeze them for later in quart size freezer bags. That way, I always have some cutlets and some chicken bites on hand to use in my recipes!

Looking for more tasty, lightened up recipes using chicken breasts? Check out my Mexican Street Corn ChickenCheesy Broccoli Stuffed ChickenLemon Pepper Chicken BitesBaked Chicken TendersCrispy Onion Dip ChickenNashville Hot Chicken BitesCrispy Chicken ParmesanApple and Brie Stuffed ChickenMaple Dijon Chicken and Squash SkilletStrawberry Balsamic Grilled ChickenBlackened Chicken BitesRicotta Stuffed Chicken BakeLemon Garlic Chicken and Beans SkilletCream Cheese and Herb Stuffed ChickenTuscan Olive ChickenBarbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken TendersPimento Cheese Stuffed ChickenCream Cheese Stuffed Everything Chicken, and many more in the Chicken section of my recipe index!

Air Fryer Chicken tenders on a plate with BBQ sauce
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5 from 6 votes
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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

These easy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders come together quickly for a crispy, tasty, family-friendly weeknight meal!


  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1.25 lbs (20 ounces) raw boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins, (you can also buy breasts and cut them into strips)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • ½ cup cornflake crumbs, (these are sold by the other bread crumbs in stores, no need to crush your own!)
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder


  • In a small dish, mix together the flour and paprika. Place the chicken strips into a gallon Ziploc bag and add the flour/paprika mixture. Seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken.
  • In a shallow dish, beat the egg thoroughly and set aside. In a separate shallow dish, stir together the cornflake crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, onion powder and garlic powder until thoroughly mixed.
  • One at a time, take the flour-coated chicken strips and coat them in the beaten egg whites. Allow any excess egg to drip off and then press the chicken tender into the dish of corn flake crumbs and flip so that both sides are coated in crumbs. Transfer the crumb-coated strips to the basket of your air fryer in a single layer without the tenders touching each other. My air fryer basket fit six tenders comfortably with space around them, so I was able to cook the tenders in two batches of six (12 tenders total).
  • When you have a batch of chicken tenders positioned correctly in the air fryer basket, lightly mist them with cooking spray. Set the air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip the tenders over and continue to cook your tenders for another 5-6 minutes until cooked through.


To view your current WW Points for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
WW Points per serving*: 2 (Points calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving*:
229 calories, 12 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 35 g protein, 0 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
MyWW SmartPoints per serving*: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 4 SmartPoints/ Blue: 2 SmartPoints/ Purple: 2 SmartPoints
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
6 per serving* (PP calculated using a Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition information below)
*Since people may cut/buy different sized chicken tenders, I recommend determining the servings by weight. My finished tenders weighed a little over 21 ounces, so each serving was about 5.25 ounces by weight. For me this was around 3 tenders.

9 comments on “Air Fryer Chicken Tenders”

  1. These look wonderful. I really need to try them. I have not had real chicken tenders in over 2 years. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  2. Thanks a tonne for this recipe. Gonna try it out this weekend.

  3. Food look good plus doing all the hard work for recipes thanks 5 stars

  4. These were amazing. Made them tonight they were just a tad too spicy for me due to the cayenne but next time I’ll just leave it out. Still enjoyed them and will be making these weekly. Thank you so much. Go bills! 5 stars

  5. These were absolutely delicious. My son is a chicken tender aficionado. He said these were the best homemade tenders I’ve ever made. Thank you for such an excellent recipe!5 stars

  6. Delicious! Tender and crispy at 6 minutes each side. Needed double the breading mixture though.5 stars

  7. These were amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe. My wife is a chicken tender fanatic, has been missing her take out, and these really hit the spot. Thank you!5 stars

  8. What substitute is best for the cornflakes?

  9. I really wish you’d put a “jump to recipe” link on your site!5 stars

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