These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are quick, easy, and so good! Juicy chicken tenders are soaked in buttermilk and Sriracha, lightly breaded, and air fried until golden and crispy.
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If you know anything about me at all at this point, it’s that I love Air Fryer Recipes.
And while there are so many things you can cook in the air fryer, chicken may be one of my favorites (don’t know where to start? Check out my 15 Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners!)
These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders go to show just how amazing air fryers are. Juicy tenders are marinated in a mixture of buttermilk and Sriracha, dredged in breading and seasonings, and cooked in the air fryer until tender in the middle and perfectly golden and crispy on the outside.
- Buttermilk: I use low fat buttermilk but regular will work as well.
- Sriracha Sauce: add more or less to taste.
- Chicken Tenders: you’ll need 1 ½ pounds of chicken tenders for this recipe.
- Breadcrumbs: we’re using both regular seasoned breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs to coat the chicken.
- All-Purpose Flour: the base of the breading which helps absorb moisture so the breadcrumbs can work their magic.
- Seasonings: a simple blend of salt, black pepper, and paprika is all the breading needs to give the chicken just the right amount of flavor.
- Oil Spray: we’re using oil spray to lightly grease the air fryer basket and to spray the outside of the chicken to help it get nice and golden.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Marinate: In a bowl, mix together buttermilk and Sriracha. Add in the chicken and marinate for 20-30 minutes.
- Bread: In a shallow baking dish, stir together Panko, breadcrumbs, flour, and seasonings. Pull the chicken out of the marinade and dredge each piece in the breading to coat.
- Air fry: Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF, grease with oil spray, and add in the chicken. Air fry until golden and crispy.
Air Fryer Chicken Strips FAQs
Yes! This recipe is designed for raw chicken tenders. They soak up the flavor from the marinade and hold the breading much better than frozen tenders do.
400ºF! This is just hot enough that the outside of the tenders gets nice and crispy, but not so hot that it burns before the inside is cooked all the way through.
While this can depend on the size of your chicken tenders and your air fryer, I cook mine for anywhere from 10-12 minutes and they come out perfectly every time.
In theory, yes. But I don’t recommend it for this recipe. If all you have is frozen chicken, thaw it overnight in the fridge. If you’re shorter on time, thaw it quickly by placing it in a bowl of cold water until it’s fully thawed. Change the water out every 20 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t get too warm.
Totally! You will just need to slice the chicken into smaller strips so they cook just as quickly as the tenders.
Yep! No air fryer? Simply follow the recipe as instructed up until cooking. Then, instead of air fryer, place the breaded chicken tenders on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are best right away, but leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months. To freeze, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and flash freeze. Once hardened, transfer to a container. When you’re ready to enjoy again, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then warm in the air fryer at 350ºF until heated through and re-crisped.
Tips and Notes for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Marinate it! Marinating the chicken for 20-30 minutes in buttermilk and Sriracha is optional, but definitely recommended. The acidity in the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and the Sriracha adds a layer of delicious spicy flavor.
- Use both breadcrumbs. The seasoned breadcrumbs add flavor while the Panko is what gives the chicken that golden color and extra crispy crunch.
- Preheat the air fryer. You want the air fryer to be hot before you add in the chicken. If it’s heating up with the chicken inside, the outside can burn before the inside is cooked all the way through.
- Spray the chicken. Lightly coating the chicken in cooking spray helps it get golden and crispy.
- Don’t stack. The chicken tenders need room to breathe so they can get crispy all the way around.
- Check the temp. The internal temp should be 165ºF. Check it before serving!
These chicken tenders are delicious served on their own with a side of ketchup, mustard or honey mustard, Ranch dressing, spicy mayo, or BBQ sauce for dipping!
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes to Try
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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce (use 1 tablespoon for less sriracha flavor)
- 1½ lb chicken tenders
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- oil spray
- In a large glass dish or bowl, combine buttermilk and sriracha. Add chicken tenders and marinate for 20-30 minutes (optional but adds lots of flavor)
- In a large, shallow baking dish, stir together Panko, bread crumbs, flour, salt, paprika and pepper.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- Take chicken tenders out of buttermilk marinade and place them into the dry breading mixture one at a time, pressing the bread crumbs into the chicken firmly. Place on a plate and repeat until all are done.
- Open air fryer, grease with non-aerosol oil spray and place chicken tenders in, leaving space between each one (you may have to do two batches). Spray chicken with oil spray.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes until both sides are golden and crispy and internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F, flipping once if needed. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
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