Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Jump to recipe

air fryer chicken tenders recipe

Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders, once seen as “kid food” at restaurants, are now a classic air fryer meal to make at home. Air fryer chicken tenders don’t take much time to prepare. Even better-they’re healthier than going to, say, Raising Cane’s, which the amount of grease they use is not so healthy. 

Thankfully, you can make these healthy air fryer chicken tenders, which require little to no grease at all. If you don’t have an air fryer get one. It will change your life. But if you can’t get an air fryer at the moment, you can bake these chicken tenders in the oven instead. 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Flour

Flour is a big component of these chicken tenders. But if you prefer not to use flour, and want air fryer chicken tenders that are keto-friendly, then you can skip this step. The panko might not stick to the dredge as well, but it’s worth a try. 

Similarly, you can replace the egg with a tablespoon of butter for light breading on the outside. These keto air fryer chicken tenders will come out just as crispy (make sure to not skip the oil spray). 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Panko Breading

Panko breading makes these healthy air fryer chicken tenders so crispy. Another alternative for keto air fryer chicken tenders – instead of using the panko breading, try using almond flour. 

Just make sure you season it really well for flavor. You can also try adding a few minutes to make sure the breading cooks all the way through. 

How to Make Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

When making air fryer chicken tenders, prepare the dredge first. First, take your chicken out to get the chill off, about ½ hour before it goes in. You’ll preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit if you have to (some air fryers require no preheating). Then, grab a few shallow bowls for the dredging ingredients. 

In one bowl, combine breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. In the second bowl, beat the eggs (you can also optionally mix in about ¼ cup of buttermilk for more richness and fat). And in the third bowl, add the flour. 

Make sure you take your chicken tenders out a little beforehand so they’re not cold and can stick to the dredge more easily. You’ll dredge the tenders by taking each by a fork or pair of tongs and coating them with flour. Next, drop them in the eggs, and then the breadcrumbs.

It’s always easier if you have an assembly line going down. Have a baking sheet at the end so you can lay each one down as you go. 

Let the chicken tenders sit for about five to ten minutes before putting them in the air fryer, so the dredge “sticks” to them. Once all ready, add the chicken tenders to the parchment-lined basket, making sure they aren’t touching and are in one layer. 

Spray them with cooking oil. Cook for eight minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then flip them over. Give them another spray and cook for about seven or eight minutes or until they turn golden brown. 

Cooking these healthy air fryer chicken tenders in batches helps if you need to make many. Transfer the cooked air fryer chicken tenders to a plate. While cooking, be sure to get your dipping sauces together. Serve with fries and sauce and there you go! Enjoy!

You can store these air fryer chicken tenders in an airtight container or ziplock freezer bag in the fridge for three or four days. You can also freeze them and cook them later, adding additional time. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about five to ten minutes (flip halfway through). 

Every air fryer is different, so cooking times may vary. 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Healthy Cane’s Copycat Sauce

Raising Cane’s sauce is actually very easy to replicate. Normally, you’d want to do one-half cup of mayonnaise for the real thing.

A healthier copycat Raising Cane’s sauce would cut the mayonnaise in half by doing one-quarter cup of mayonnaise with one-quarter cup of low-fat Greek yogurt.

To make copycat Cane’s sauce, combine the following ingredients:

  • ¼  cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup low-fat Greek yogurt. 
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, to taste

Once you combine the ingredients, add any additional seasoning to taste. Let the concoction sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to a day (covered) before serving for best results. Take the sauce out about a half-hour before you are ready to serve. 

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with Buttermilk Ranch

If you’re more of a ranch fan, you can make a healthy ranch dipping sauce for your air fryer chicken tenders. All you need to do is combine the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Once combined, cover and leave in the fridge to chill for about half an hour. You can store this dressing in the fridge for up to seven days. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Can air fryer chicken tenders be keto-friendly?

Air fryer chicken tenders can easily be keto air fryer chicken tenders. All you need to do is sub the panko crumbs for almond flour. Also, omit the regular flour and use about a tablespoon of melted butter or the egg dredge as your binder.

This is a great way to have a little crunch but still have air fryer chicken tenders with no breading to be keto-friendly. 

Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer?

You can definitely put raw chicken in the air fryer. Just make sure the temperature is correct before consuming it after it’s cooked. You can test with a meat thermometer. 

Can you stack chicken tenders in an air fryer?

I wouldn’t stack chicken tenders in the air fryer. They won’t cook evenly and you might lose some batter. You want to cook in batches on one single layer, giving those tenders room to breathe. 

Can you make air fryer chicken tenders with flour and no breadcrumbs?

Yes! Simply omit the flour and substitute the breadcrumbs for seasoned almond flour. You can also use some grated parmesan to give it more flavor by mixing it in with almond flour. 

Can you put frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer?

You can put frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer around 350 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow for more time for the chicken tenders to cook all the way and flip in between. Cooking times may vary depending on the type of air fryer you are using. 

What do you need to make air fryer chicken tenders?

Pssst! Check out this Eggcellent Sale! 20% Off Sitewide

Find More Air Fryer Recipes and Reviews

Check out Instant Mealtime’s air fryer and Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes. If you’re looking for the best cookware and appliances check out our reviews and guides. It’s a one-stop place for air fryer foodies!



Recent Content