Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
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 4 Green, 2 Blue or 2 Purple WW SmartPoints. To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
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.
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.
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.
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 Chicken, Cheesy Broccoli Stuffed Chicken, Lemon Pepper Chicken Bites, Baked Chicken Tenders, Crispy Onion Dip Chicken, Nashville Hot Chicken Bites, Crispy Chicken Parmesan, Apple and Brie Stuffed Chicken, Maple Dijon Chicken and Squash Skillet, Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken, Blackened Chicken Bites, Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Bake, Lemon Garlic Chicken and Beans Skillet, Cream Cheese and Herb Stuffed Chicken, Tuscan Olive Chicken, Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders, Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken, Cream Cheese Stuffed Everything Chicken, and many more in the Chicken section of my recipe index!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 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.
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.