Want a fast, easy meal that's done in minutes and satisfies that fried food craving? This Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer recipe takes just minutes and is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.
Chicken tenders were probably among the first things we made in an air fryer when we got our first one several years ago. That's because they're so easy to make and such a big hit with the whole family!
⭐️ Why air frying is the best way to make frozen chicken tenders
Crispy and tender - The way air fryers quickly circulate hot air is perfect for creating crispy outer textures on foods like frozen chicken tenders. It also makes the inside piping hot without drying out the food. And it's a healthy alternative to deep frying.
Easy - The prep time for this delicious recipe is minimal and it's a breeze to clean the air fryer tray after use.
Quick - Air fryer frozen chicken tenders take less than 15 minutes of total cooking time -- less time than a conventional oven.
Inexpensive - These chicken tenders taste like they came from your favorite fast food restaurant, but they're much cheaper!
Great for a quick meal or small gathering - Making frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer is a great way to save time when you want a quick meal or need to whip something up before friends come over.
The air fryer is also great for cooking other frozen foods in minutes, like Air Fryer Hash Browns and Air Fryer Frozen Pizza.
🍗 What kind of frozen chicken tenders to use
This air fryer recipe works best with similarly sized chicken tenders or chicken strips. If you combine larger ones with much smaller tenders, the smaller ones will be ready first and may overcook before the rest are done.
As for which brand to go with, I used Foster Farms Take Out frozen tenders for this recipe. They have a thinner breading than other kinds and the tenders turn out super crispy.
But you could use a host of different brands, including Tyson, Perdue, and more. Just choose your favorite. You'll still end up with delicious chicken tenders!
Optional: apply cooking spray over the top of the tenders before cooking if you want to add crispiness.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Here's how to make these delicious air fryer frozen chicken tenders (for full details and nutritional information, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post).
1. Remove the frozen chicken tenderloins from packaging and place your desired number in the air fryer basket. For best results, place them in a single layer. Be sure not to overfill the basket. Optional: Use olive oil spray or vegetable oil spray on top of frozen chicken strips before cooking.
2. Set the temperature to 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-9 minutes of cook time, or until the outside is golden brown and the center is hot and juicy.
Note: All air fryers cook a bit differently, so you may need to adjust temperature and cooking time a bit depending on the size of your air fryer and your air fryer model. See the equipment section below for the air fryer I use.
3. About halfway through, flip the tenders over. Then let them cook for the remaining 4-5 minutes.
4. Carefully remove the crispy chicken tenders from the basket of the air fryer once done cooking, and let them rest for 1-2 minutes to cool off a bit.
5. Serve with homemade bbq sauce, honey mustard sauce, ranch, or your favorite dipping sauce!
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
It's best not to stack frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer. This can lead to uneven cooking and may leave you with soft or soggy tenders at the bottom. For best results, cook them on an even layer.
Yes, it's a good idea to pause the air fryer about halfway through to flip over the chicken tenders. This helps ensure even cooking and helps prevent the tenders from burning on one side.
Store leftover tenders in an airtight container in the fridge. They should keep for up to 2 days. To reheat, use the air fryer again! Simply cook them for 3-4 minutes at about 350° until they're warm all the way through. It's best not to reheat them in the microwave as that can make the tenders soggy.
🍽 Serving ideas
Turn your chicken fingers into a complete meal with a delicious side dish like Air Fryer Broccoli, Air Fryer Corn Ribs, or BLT Pasta Salad.
And serve them with creative sauces like this Thai Peanut Sauce or Creamy Dairy Free Queso Dip.
⏲ Kitchen tools and equipment
You can use any standard size air fryer to make this recipe. I use my Ninja Foodi 10-quart Dual Zone Air Fryer, which I LOVE because it's so easy to clean and air fries quickly. But you can use any 6-quart or 8-quart basket-style air fryer or tray-style air fryer.
More easy air fryer recipes
Be sure to check out all of our air fryer recipes!
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer
- 3 frozen chicken tenders
- optional: cooking spray
- Remove tenders from packaging and place your desired number in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Optional: Use olive oil spray or vegetable oil spray on top of frozen chicken strips before cooking.
- Set the temperature to 390° for 8-9 minutes of cook time, or until the outside is golden brown and the center is tender, hot and, juicy.
- About halfway through near the 4 minute mark, pause the air fryer and flip the tenders over. Then let them finish cooking the remaining 4-5 minutes.
- Carefully remove from air fryer and let cool for a couple of minutes. Then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
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