Learn to cook chicken tenderloins in the air fryer perfectly; juicy, delicious and easy. Ready in just 8 minutes, a secret trick ensures they never dry out!
I love cooking chicken in my air fryer. It’s fast, requires minimal prep, and honestly, turns out perfect every time. I’ve done it with drumsticks, chicken breast, thighs, and even air fryer chicken wings. My family’s favorite cut though, is cooking up chicken tenders.
My tenderloins are always crispy on the outside, juicy and moist on the inside, and perfectly seasoned.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ingredients needed
- How to make air fried chicken tenderloins
- How long does it take to cook tenderloins in the air fryer?
- Recipe tips and flavor variations
- Storage instructions
- What to serve with air fried tenders
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Tenderloins
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Simple ingredients. Easy, everyday ingredients that you probably have in your pantry!
- Quick. Air frying means time-saving- this recipe takes less than 10 minutes.
- Versatile. I often make this for my family for a quick weeknight dinner. All that’s needed is a couple of sides and a salad, and it’s a well-balanced meal.
- No breading is needed. Sure, you can use breaded tenders, but you won’t miss the panko breadcrumbs with my recipe. Bonus? It’s naturally low carb, keto, and gluten-free.
What I love the most about air fryer chicken tenders is just how easy they are to customize. Keep it simple with some spices or marinate it in some sauces, dressings, or a chicken marinade.
There isn’t much more than chicken and spices to make this recipe. As we mentioned earlier, there is no breading. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken tenderloins – If you can’t find chicken tenders or tenderloins, you can use regular boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into large strips (I often do this for pan-fried or baked chicken tenderloins).
- Spices- I keep things simple by using smoked paprika, Italian seasonings, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Olive oil – You can use any other neutral flavored oil.
- Parsley and lemon slices – To garnish.
Find the printable recipe in the recipe card below.
How to make air fried chicken tenderloins
Besides seasoning the chicken, there is little hands-on time required for this recipe. In fact, the air fryer takes care of all the hard work. Ready to air fryer some tenders?
Step 1- Preheat the air fryer. Start by preheating the air fryer to 190C/ 375F. Also, lightly grease the air fryer basket to prevent the chicken from sticking to it.
Step 2- Season the tenderloins. Next, add the chicken tenderloins and some oil to a mixing bowl. Add the spice mixture and mix well until combined.
Step 3- Add the chicken. Now, add the chicken tenders to the air fryer basket without overcrowding and in a single layer.
Step 3- Air fry the tenders. Air fry for at least 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Step 5- Rest and serve. Finally, transfer to a serving dish and rest the chicken for 5 minutes. Give a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley to serve.
How long does it take to cook tenderloins in the air fryer?
Chicken tenderloins typically take 7-10 minutes to cook in the air fryer. Of course, this depends on the thickness of the chicken.
For thicker cuts, instead of increasing the cooking time, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. If it is at least 165F, the chicken is cooked.
Recipe tips and flavor variations
- Ensure you have greased the air fryer basket to prevent the spices and chicken from sticking to it.
- If needed, cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket.
- To spice up your recipe, add spices like cayenne pepper, chili pepper, or red pepper flakes.
- Always choose tenderloins of a similar size, so that they cook evenly and completely.
- If I’m serving a crowd, I like to pair the crispy air fryer chicken tenders with some favorite dipping sauces, like BBQ sauce and ranch.
Wondering what is the best way to store leftovers? Here are best practices for chicken tender storage:
To store: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To freeze: Keep them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: You can reheat them back in the air fryer, a preheated oven, or a hot skillet. You can also microwave them if you are in a time crunch.
What to serve with air fried tenders
We like to keep things simple and pair our air-fried tenderloins with some healthy sides, and other air fryer recipes are a fantastic option. Here are some ideas:
Frequently Asked Questions
Also known as chicken strips or chicken goujons, tenderloins are thin strips of meat located under the breast. They are the leanest part of the chicken.
Yes, you can use breaded chicken tenders. The cooking time will not differ; just be sure not to add extra spices, seasonings, or oil.
The internal temperature of the chicken will be 165 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s completely cooked.
Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Tenderloins
- Preheat the air fryer to 190C/375F. Lightly grease the air fryer basket.
- In a mixing bowl, add the chicken tenders and oil and mix well. Add the seasonings and mix until combined.
- Add the chicken tenders to an air fryer basket in a single layer. Air fry for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove the tenderloins from the air fryer basket and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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