Chicken tenders aren’t just a restaurant menu appetizer anymore! Make juicy and tender sweet & savory air fryer chicken tenders in only 30 minutes with this easy recipe!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are savory and juicy, and so delish! I love that it takes less than 30 minutes to make them. Cooking these tenders in the air fryer makes them super crispy on the outside while keeping them nice and moist on the inside. I love to serve them with a basket of air fryer french fries and a couple of my favorite dipping sauces!
What part of the chicken is the chicken tender?
Chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin (thus the name “tender” for short), which is found under the breast meat running along either side of the chicken’s breastbone.
Are Chicken Tenders White Meat?
Chicken tenderloins are white meat! They’re very similar to chicken breast meat since they are a muscle that grows along the breast bone.
Ingredients needed for Chicken Tenders
To serve four people, I typically use around a pound of chicken tenderloin pieces. Luckily, your local grocer likely has them already packaged in one-pound trays. If you prefer, you can also buy chicken tenderloin pieces by the pound in the meat department of most grocery stores.
For this homemade chicken tenders recipe, you’ll also need ingredients for a marinade and a coating mixture. The marinade uses one simple magic ingredient – maple syrup! The maple syrup adds the most delicious depth to the taste of these chicken tenders.
For the coating, mix together breadcrumbs, flour, poultry seasoning, and paprika to make a slightly smoky, savory breading that will crisp up perfectly in your air fryer. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce if desired or dig right in!
With the maple syrup marinade and crispy coating, this recipe is like chicken and waffles in handheld, dippable form!
How to Make Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer
- First, trim any excess fat or unwanted pieces from the chicken tenderloins.
- Next, add the maple syrup to a bowl and dip the chicken pieces in the syrup to coat.
- Then, mix together the breading ingredients in a separate bowl, and toss the maple chicken pieces in the mixture to coat evenly.
- Add the breaded chicken pieces to a prepared air fryer basket, working in a single layer.
- Air fry the maple chicken tenders at 400 degrees for roughly 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve your air fryer chicken tenders with your dipping sauce of choice, and enjoy!
Tips for Making homemade Chicken Tenders
- Be sure to coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the maple syrup. Make sure that all sides are coated for best results. You’ll end up with the most flavorful sweet and savory chicken!
- Shake off any excess coating after dredging. Too much breading can stick to the air fryer basket, leaving you with a mess or even hindering the chicken from cooking evenly.
- Don’t have poultry seasoning? Make your own! Combine a couple of teaspoons of dried sage with 1.5 tsp dried thyme, a teaspoon each of marjoram and rosemary, a half teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Whisk together or stir with a fork to break up any clumps, then add a teaspoon to your flour dredge and store the rest in an air tight container for up to 6 months.
- Always serve chicken at a safe internal temperature. A meat thermometer placed into the thickest part of the chicken should read a minimum of 165 degrees F before serving.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Tenders:
There are so many delicious ways to serve chicken tenders! Here are some of my favorite accompaniments:
- A side of sweet & smoky BBQ sauce
- More maple syrup for dipping
- A side of honey mustard sauce
- Pure honey for dipping – it’s so good!
- Creamy buffalo ranch sauce – mix 2 parts ranch to 1 part buffalo sauce for an easy, fiery condiment that’s out of this world!
More Restaurant Style Air Fryer Recipes to Try!
PRO TIP: When cooking meat it is extremely important that you measure the internal temperature to make sure your meat has been cooked to completion. I highly recommend that you get a meat thermometer to keep handy when cooking in your air fryer!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air fryer
- Prepare the chicken tenders by trimming away any excess fat or unwanted areas.
- Pour the maple syrup into a medium sized bowl.
- In a second medium sized bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, flour, and spices.
- Working one piece at a time, dip the chicken tender pieces in the maple syrup, making sure to coat completely on all sides, then dip the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and turn to coat evenly.
- Spray the bottom of your air fryer basket with oil or lay down parchment paper and place the chicken pieces on top, making sure not to crowd the basket.
- Air fry the chicken tenders at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Keep in mind that cooking times vary depending on the model of your air fryer. You may need as little as 8 or as many as 12 minutes to cook the chicken pieces through.
- To ensure safety, internal temperatures should read a minimum of 165 degrees F before serving and consuming.
- This recipe works with gluten-free bread crumbs and gluten-free all purpose flour too.
Air Fryers can vary greatly. Please take the time to learn your specific air fryer. You may need to adjust times and temperatures based upon your air fryer. All though this website attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, the information should only be considered an estimate. Varying factors such as different product types, different brands, etc. can change nutritional information. It is your responsibility as a consumer to read all labels to make sure the ingredients fit your dietary needs as well as calculate your own nutritional information as a double check.