Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, made with gluten free breadcrumbs and a blend of spices, ready in under 45 minutes!

The air fryer is perfect for when you want something quick an easy! Serve these crispy chicken tenders with these Air Fryer Potato Wedges (or Sweet Potato Wedges), Crispy Air Fryer French Fries, or Air Fryer Broccoli!

Hands pulling apart an air fryer chicken tender that's juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with a plate of chicken in the background.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders have a crispy outer coating, with a tender and juicy inside, and they’re really easy to make! They’re a great weeknight dinner option, and perfect to make ahead of time and freeze. 

Serve these with your favorite gluten free french fries, mashed potatoes, or a lighter side salad. You also want to include a dipping sauce, like honey mustard, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, or ketchup.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Individual ingredients for air fryer chicken tenders on a table.

Chicken. For this recipe we’re using chicken tenderloins, which are cuts from the underside of the chicken breast.

You could also use boneless skinless chicken breast cut into chicken strips. If you like dark meat, chicken thighs cut into pieces would also work (but they’d be closer to chicken nuggets). 

Gluten Free Flour. I’m using a simple gluten free all-purpose 1-to-1 flour blend. Dredging the chicken in flour helps create a more crispy texture, along with the breadcrumbs. 

If you’re not gluten free, you can swap out for regular flour. 

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs. You can use plain or seasoned gluten free breadcrumbs. This helps create a really nice crispy texture. 

If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can also pulse some gluten free Chex cereal in the food processor for a few seconds. 

Eggs. Eggs are a binding agent, and help hold everything together. 

Half and Half. I like to use half and half because it adds some fat for flavor. You can also use regular milk, heavy cream, or buttermilk. Buttermilk will also add a nice flavor to the chicken. 

Spices. You can use whatever spice blend you’d like here. I recommend trying my favorite seasonings, Ranch Seasoning Mix, or Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning. You can also use taco seasoning or Italian seasoning. 

For a really basic combo, we’re using kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. 

Olive Oil. Even though we’re air frying, you still need a small amount of oil to help everything get crispy. Some olive oil spray does the trick here, and it’s still less than traditional frying. 

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Step by step photos of how to make air fryer chicken tenders.
  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F. While that’s heating, set out three separate shallow bowls. In the first bowl, whisk together the spices and the gluten free flour. Add the raw chicken tenders one at a time, and cover them completely in the flour, shaking off any excess. 
  2. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and half and half. Dip the flour-covered chicken into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. 
  3. In the last bowl, add breadcrumbs. Place the chicken from the egg mixture into the breadcrumbs and turn to completely coat. You can gently press down with your fingers in any spots that seem too loose. Gently shake off any excess. Place the chicken on a plate, because we’re going to work in batches.
  4. Place the chicken into the air fryer basket and spray lightly with olive oil, until the breadcrumbs look just wet. Flip over and spray the other side. Air fry the chicken at 400°F for 6-7 minutes. Turn the pieces over, and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and the outside looks crispy and golden brown. Repeat with any remaining chicken. You want to do a single layer of chicken at a time, so you might have to work in batches here. 

Storage

Refrigerate air fryer chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the air fryer or in a toaster oven to prevent the outside coating from becoming soggy. 

Freeze leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container for 2-3 months. 

More Air Fryer Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer?

Yes, you can definitely cook raw chicken in an air fryer. The key is to make sure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Adjust the time depending on how big your pieces are. Chicken tenders will take about 10-14 minutes total (flipping half way), while a larger chicken breast will be more like 12-18 minutes, with the cook time depending on the size. 

Can frozen chicken tenders go in the air fryer?

Yes, you can cook frozen tenders in the air fryer, but it will take more time to cook than its defrosted counterparts.

If your frozen chicken tenders are already cooked and you’re just reheating them, it’ll take 5-8 minutes (more or less cooking time, depending on the size). 

Do you have to spray chicken with oil in an air fryer?

The air fryer does require a small amount of oil if you want to achieve that crispy, golden brown texture. If you don’t use oil in the air fryer, your recipe will turn out on the dry side.

Even with the small amount of oil from the cooking spray, it’s still significantly less oil than you’d need for a deep fryer!

Cooking Tips

  • If you want to cook everything at once, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 425°F for 15-20 minutes. Flip the chicken half way through so they get crispy on both sides. The cooking time can vary depending on how big the pieces of chicken are. 
  • Add some heat with some red pepper flakes, chili powder, or cayenne pepper. 
  • Serve these with your favorite dipping sauce! Try ranch dressing, or honey mustard. 
  • You can also make chicken strips using gluten free panko crumbs instead of bread crumbs if you have them. 
  • If you don’t have shallow bowls, try using a pie plate. Doing it this way allows you to do multiple pieces of chicken at once because they’re more spread out. 
Air fryer chicken tenders in the air fryer basket topped with green onion pieces.

If you loved this recipe, be sure to leave a 5 Star review below, and tag me with a photo of your finished recipe on Instagram @Jacqui_DishingDelish!

Hands pulling apart an air fryer chicken tender that's juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with a plate of chicken in the background.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, made with gluten free breadcrumbs and a blend of spices, ready in under 45 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 22 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Jacqui
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloin
  • 3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free breadcrumbs, plain
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • extra virgin olive oil , cooking spray

Equipment

  • 1 Air Fryer
  • 3 bowls

Instructions
 

  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Set out three separate shallow bowls. In the first bowl, whisk together spices and flour. Add the chicken tenders one at a time, covering completely in flour. Shake off any excess.
  • In the second bowl, whisk together eggs and half and half. Dip the flour-covered chicken into the egg mixture, covering completely, allowing any excess to drip off.
  • In the last bowl, add breadcrumbs. Place chicken in breadcrumbs and turn to completely coat. Gently shake off any excess.
  • Place chicken pieces in the air fryer basket, leaving room between each one. Spray lightly with olive oil, until the breadcrumbs look just wet. Flip over and spray the other side.
  • Air fry the chicken for 6-7 minutes. Turn the pieces over, and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and the outside looks crispy and golden brown.

Notes

Click on the time in the instructions to start a timer!
Storage
Refrigerate air fryer chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the air fryer or in a toaster oven to prevent the outside coating from becoming soggy. 
Freeze leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container for 2-3 months. 
Cooking Tips
  • You may need to work in batches, depending on how large your air fryer is. Keep this in mind, the total time of the recipe reflects one batch. 
  • You can also make chicken strips using gluten free panko crumbs instead of bread crumbs if you have them.
  • Add some heat with some red pepper flakes, chili powder, or cayenne pepper. 

Nutrition

Calories: 586kcal (29%)Carbohydrates: 45g (15%)Protein: 61g (122%)Fat: 18g (28%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 336mg (112%)Sodium: 926mg (40%)Potassium: 960mg (27%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 641IU (13%)Vitamin C: 3mg (4%)Calcium: 77mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)
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