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A white bowl lined with parchment paper, containing fried chicken tenders stacked on a teal plate.
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4.59 from 34 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are crispy and golden on the outside and so juicy on the inside! These homemade breaded chicken fingers are extra flavorful without all the added grease.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 297kcal



  • 1 lbs chicken tenders (10-12 tenders)
  • ½ cup buttermilk see above how to make your own
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter or oil spray


  • Place the chicken tenders in a ziplock bag and pour the buttermilk into the bag. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  • In a shallow bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, flour, baking powder, and spices.
  • Remove the chicken strips from the buttermilk with a fork, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture to coat on all sides.
  • Preheat Air Fryer to 350°F (180°C) if necessary.
  • Put the chicken fingers in the Air Fryer basket and air fry for 10-12 minutes, pause after 4 minutes and brush chicken with melted butter then turn it over and brush butter on the other side. Cook until internal temperature reads 175°F and the chicken tenders are golden brown and crispy.
  • Serve right away with your favorite dipping sauce.


  • Marinate Chicken: The easiest way to marinate the chicken in the buttermilk is to put both together in a ziplock bag, press out the remaining air, and put the bag in the fridge.
  • Breading: Shake off excess buttermilk before putting the chicken pieces in the breading mixture. Also, shake off any excess breading mixture that doesn't stick to the tenders before putting them in the Air Fryer.
  • Air Frying: Place the breaded chicken fingers in one single layer in the basket. They can overlap a little bit but don't overcrowd the basket. I can cook about 1 pound of chicken tenders at the same time in my large Air Fryer (affiliate link).
  • Oil: You can use melted butter to brush the chicken tenders or use a pure oil spray like avocado oil or light olive oil.
  • Doneness: Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked but still tender and moist. The internal temperature should be 175°F.
  • Different Air Fryers: Different models of Air Fryers can cook faster or slower so make sure to keep an eye on the food.
  • Seasoning: Looking for a KFC-inspired seasoning? Combine 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
  • Leftovers: Leftover chicken tenders can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Recrisp them in the Air Fryer at 350 F for a few minutes before serving.


Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 848mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 593IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg