Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – Southern buttermilk “fried” chicken made healthy in the air fryer! Crispy breading outside, juicy chicken inside. Cooks in under 15 minutes!
Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to make a meal meal that everyone likes? The struggle is real; the answer is yes!
The person that loves deep fried, the picky kids, the healthy eater. Am I missing anyone? They will all love these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders.
Enjoy them plain, dipped in ranch dressing, doused in spicy buffalo sauce or ketchup. They’re even ideal sliced and added to your favorite salad.
One meal for all. Can I get an Amen to that?
The recipe calls for buttermilk but don’t let that scare you off and please don’t make a special trip to the store for it. You can make your own buttermilk with just 2 household ingredients you probably already have.
HOW to make buttermilk:
Whisk 1 cup of milk with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar OR 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl then let it stand 5 minutes or until it thickens. That’s it.
What’s in Air Fryer Chicken Tenders?
- chicken tenders (or breasts sliced into strips)
- garlic powder
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- salt and black pepper
- cooking spray
How to make Air Fryer chicken tenders:
NOTE: for the best flavor marinate the chicken in buttermilk 15 minutes up to 2 hours. It makes the chicken tender and juicy and helps the breading stick for the ultimate crispy chicken tenders.
If you’re using chicken breasts, slice them into about 1 1/2″ wide strips.
Blend the marinade ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Add the chicken to the marinade then cover and refrigerate 15 minutes up to 2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper for easy cleanup then set aside.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and paprika to a shallow bowl then whisk to combine.
Remove the tenders from the marinade one at a time shaking off any excess liquid then add them to the breading, pressing firmly to coat each one.
Transfer the breaded tender to the prepared baking sheet then repeat until all the chicken is breaded.
AIR FRYING THE CHICKEN:
Preheat the air fryer to 400° for 3 minutes, then generously spray both sides of the tenders with cooking spray.
Add the tenders to the air fryer basket cooking 10-12 minutes total or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°, turning halfway through.
Work in batches for the size of your air fryer without crowding them.
What TO SERVE with Chicken Tenders?
There are so many side dish options to serve with these chicken tenders – plus all your favorite dipping sauces! Here are few of my favorite sides:. Here are a few options:
Potato Salad – best, old fashioned Potato Salad with tender potatoes, hard boiled eggs and crispy bacon, blended with creamy mayonnaise.
Baked Potato – perfect crispy skin with fluffy soft potato inside. Steakhouse style baked potato cooked in the air fryer!
Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad – cheese tortellini + all the antipasto favorites: salami, pepperoni, cheese, peppers, olives and onions dressed in a simple homemade vinaigrette.
Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes – crispy smashed potatoes with tender insides and loaded with delicious garlic butter flavor.
MORE AIR FRYER RECIPES!
Crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower – Crispy AIR FRYER Buffalo Cauliflower bites! Crazy good, boldly delicious air fried in minutes!
Air Fryer Sausage, Peppers and Onions – quick and easy weeknight dinner cooks completely in the air fryer in under 20 minutes!
Best Air Fryer Salmon – perfectly cooked salmon every time in the air fryer in just 10 minutes! Juicy inside, lightly crispy outside and loaded with healthy flavor.
Air Fryer “fried” Oreos – Oreo cookies wrapped in dough, air fried until golden then dusted with powdered sugar. Whip up this simple fair favorite at home without a drop of oil.
Crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken – boneless Buffalo wings breaded, air fried to crisp and tossed in Buffalo sauce. The ultimate, crowd-pleasing appetizer or quick and easy dinner.
Air Fryer Quesadillas – the BEST way to make quesadillas! Air fried in just 20 minutes for an easy meal, snack or appetizer. Crispy tortillas filled with melty cheese and any other favorites: chicken, beef, shrimp, roasted veggies, beans – even leftovers!
If you tried this Air Fryer Chicken Tenders recipe or any other on the blog then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders breasts may be used - slice into 1 1/2" strips
- 1 cup buttermilk see post for How to Make Homemade Buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- cooking spray
- If you’re using chicken breasts, slice them into about 1 1/2″ strips then add the marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken to the marinade then cover and refrigerate 15 minutes up to 2 hours.
- Add the breading ingredients to a shallow bowl then whisk to combine.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Remove the tenders from the marinade one at a time then add them to the breading, pressing firmly to coat them. Transfer the breaded tenders to the waiting baking sheet then continue until all the chicken is breaded.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400° then spray generously both sides of the tenders with cooking spray. Working in batches, add the tenders to the air fryer basket cooking 10-12 minutes total (4-6 minutes per side) or until the chicken is cooked through, turning halfway. Cooking times vary depending upon the air fryer and exact size of the tender.