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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

With a crispy gluten-free breading and tender, juicy meat, these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are the bomb! They’re incredibly easy to throw together in 20 minutes or less.

We love to serve this with my Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes or my Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts.

Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders are often considered kids’ food – but I firmly believe that adults deserve to enjoy them just as much. I mean, who wouldn’t want to chow down on some juicy strips of chicken with that satisfyingly crispy exterior? Just thinking about these Air Fryer chicken tenders is enough to trigger a serious craving. I know because it’s happening to me right now!

I’m willing to bet that these bad boys taste even better than the ones from your favorite restaurant. And on top of that, they’re gluten-free! You’ll never scour the internet for another chicken tender recipe. This one is the real deal.

A plate of Air Fryer chicken tenders with three lemon wedges and a sprinkle of chopped parsley

What You’ll Need

Gather up the ingredients below and get ready for some top-of-the-line tenders. You don’t need much to make them happen!

  • Chicken Tenders: Or boneless, skinless breasts cut into small strips.
  • Mayonnaise: This helps the breading mixture stick to the chicken while tenderizing the meat in the process.
  • Dijon Mustard: For a touch of tang and spice to make the tenders really come to life.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced.
  • Gluten-Free Panko: Or regular panko breadcrumbs if you’re not gluten-free.
  • Gluten-Free Flour: This acts as a primer and locks in the moisture from the wet ingredients.
  • Dried Herbs: Namely, oregano and basil.
  • Garlic Powder: For depth of flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika: This provides a lovely hint of heat.

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Dried herbs, gluten-free flour, smoked paprika and the rest of the dry ingredients inside of a mixing bowl

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Let’s get down to business. Here’s how to make flawless chicken tenders, Air Fryer style:

Combine Mayo, Mustard & Garlic: Add the mayo, mustard and garlic to a small bowl. Stir until it’s all combined.

Coat Tenders: Add the tenders to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Toss to coat all of the tenders, then set them aside.

Four raw pieces of chicken in a glass mixing bowl with the mayonnaise mixture

Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the panko, flour, oregano, basil, garlic powder and smoked paprika to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix everything together.

Dredge: Dredge both sides of the tenders in the panko mixture. Press firmly to coat each tender in the mixture, then set them on a plate.

Prep Air Fryer: Heat your Air Fryer to 400°F and spray the inner basket with cooking spray.

Cook: Working in batches, cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side, until it’s cooked through, crispy and golden on the outside.

Four chicken tenders inside of a greased Air Fryer basket

Enjoy! Garnish the tenders with parsley and serve them with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.

Can I Bake These Instead?

I adore how crispy these tenders get in the Air Fryer, but they’re also easy to cook in the oven. Here’s how:

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Prep Chicken: Coat and dredge the chicken tenders as usual.
  3. Bake: Place the prepared chicken tenders onto a lightly greased baking sheet and cook them for 15-20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until they’re nice and golden on the outside.
  4. Enjoy! Serve the tenders with a sprinkle of parsley, some lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.
An overhead shot of a plate of homemade chicken strips on a marble countertop

Tips for Success

You’re just about ready to put this Air Fryer chicken recipe to the test (spoiler alert – it’ll pass with flying colors). But first, I have some extra tips and tricks to help you out.

  • Use Evenly Sized Tenders: I like to use pre-cut tenders for this recipe so that all of them are relatively the same size. If you’re cutting out your own tenders from a chicken breast, try to make them as even as you can so that some don’t cook faster than others.
  • Work in Batches: Don’t try to stuff all of the chicken tenders into your Air Fryer at once. This will cause them to cook unevenly – there should be a little space between each tender.
  • Don’t Forget to Grease the Air Fryer: Be sure to spray the Air Fryer Basket with nonstick spray so you can flip and remove your tenders with ease.
  • Use Tongs to Handle Hot Chicken: When you open the Air Fryer to flip over your chicken, be extra careful to avoid burning yourself. I like to use tongs to flip over my chicken so I don’t have to touch it with my fingers.

Serving Suggestions

You can totally keep things classic and serve your tenders alongside some ketchup, but maybe you want to try something new! Here are a few other dipping sauce ideas as well as tasty pairings for Air Fryer chicken tenders.

  • Serve with Mango BBQ Sauce: This sweet and savory Mango BBQ Sauce is unlike any other condiment! It adds an explosion of flavor to your chicken, and it’s super easy to whip up.
  • Pair with Garlic Parmesan Fries: There’s regular old french fries, and then there’s Crispy Oven-Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries. You decide which one you’d rather serve with your chicken!
  • Serve with Romesco Sauce: Made in 5 minutes flat, you’re going to fall in love with this Spanish Romesco Sauce. It’s nutty, tangy, savory and sweet, and it tastes wonderful with these chicken tenders.
  • Pair with Sweet Potato Salad: Filled with crispy bacon and tossed with a light honey mustard dressing, this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad is a must-make. It’s also the perfect side dish for these crispy tenders!
A homemade chicken tender being dunked into a small dish of ketchup

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

These tenders should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not store them until they’ve cooled completely. Reheat and enjoy them within 3 days of making them.

To keep them crispy, I recommend warming them up in the Air Fryer or the oven. Heat them at 350°F until they’re warmed through.

Do These Freeze Well?

Yes – these chicken tenders are freezer-friendly. First, freeze them on a baking sheet for 1 hour, or until they’re frozen solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and store them for up to 3 months. Reheat them directly from frozen for the best results.

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Air Fryer chicken strips on a plate with fresh lemon slices and ketchup

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American


With a crispy gluten-free breading and tender, juicy meat, these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are the bomb! They’re incredibly easy to throw together in 20 minutes or less.


  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup gluten free panko
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


  1. To a small bowl, add mayo, mustard and garlic. Stir together.
  2. Add tenders to the bowl with wet ingredients. Toss to coat all of the tenders.
    Set aside.
  3. To a medium bowl, add panko, flour, oregano, basil, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Stir to mix everything together.
  4. Dredge both sides of tenders in panko mixture. Press firmly to coat and set on a plate.
  5. Heat an Air Fryer to 400°F. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. In batches, cook the chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through and crispy and golden on the outside. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


  • To Store: Keep cooled tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: Heat tenders in a 350°F oven or Air Fryer until warmed through.
  • To Freeze: Freeze cooled tenders on a baking sheet for 1 hour, or until frozen solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen.

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