These air fryer parmesan chicken tenders have a crisp, golden-brown crust just as if they were deep-fried, but without the messy grease and fattening calories. The dijon batter gives them extra flavor and the air fryer keeps the chicken tender and juicy.
I love using the air fryer on busy weeknights when I just don’t have time to worry about dinner. Chicken tenders cook pretty fast, but with the air fryer, it is even faster. Now there are no excuses to skip a homemade, healthy dinner. Air fryer parmesan chicken tenders will be your new favorite weeknight dinner.
You can start with raw chicken and make these delicious morsels from scratch in no time at all. It only takes about 10 minutes to make a quick coating for these little strips of chicken, then another 10 minutes to cook them in the air fryer.
Since air fryers are so small, they only take a couple of minutes to pre-heat. As a matter of fact, sometimes I skip the pre-heat and they turn out amazingly well.
The ingredients for air fryer parmesan chicken tenders
Here is the list of ingredients to make these crispy air fryer chicken tenders.
- Egg. The egg helps the batter stick to the chicken and acts as a binder.
- Dijon mustard. Dijon has a special flavor that just can’t be duplicated.
- Onion powder. We buy a large container of onion powder since it is so versatile.
- Garlic powder. We buy garlic powder in bulk as well.
- Chicken tenders. About 1 pound.
- Panko breadcrumbs. Panko is the secret to extra crispy air fryer chicken. These breadcrumbs are much crunchier than regular breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese. You can use the pre-grated parmesan if you want, but for the best flavor, I recommend buying a block of fresh cheese and grating it really fine.
- Salt and pepper. Basic necessities every kitchen should have.
Here is a list of helpful supplies for cooking in the air fryer.
- An air fryer.
- Silicone tongs. They withstand high heat and abuse from the dishwasher.
- Shallow bowls or pie plates to mix the batter and Panko topping in.
- A whisk to get the batter blended (or you can just use a fork in a pinch).
How to make air fryer chicken tenders
This is an easy recipe that gives remarkable results. The chicken turns out so tender and juicy, you can slice them with a spoon. The dijon based batter gives the chicken great flavor and it doesn’t overpower the parmesan coating. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the printable recipe card, but here is a breakdown of how easy the process is.
- Make the batter.
- Coat the chicken in the batter.
- Make the Panko/parmesan topping.
- Coat the chicken in the Panko topping.
- Cook in the air fryer until golden brown.
Helpful tips for success
- The average size of chicken tenders is 3-1/2 to 4 ounces. If you have chicken tenders that weigh less, then reduce the cooking time by 1 or 2 minutes. Cooking them too long will dry them out.
- If you need to check on the chicken tenders to make sure they are not cooking too much, it is ok to open the air fryer while the chicken is still cooking.
- If you use tongs to dredge the chicken in the batter and bread crumbs, then you won’t get clumpy lumps of batter on your fingers.
- Place the chicken tenders in a single layer so they cook evenly. If your air fryer doesn’t fit all the chicken at once, cook them in batches. Do not stack them on top of each other.
- Dip the chicken tenders in your favorite sauce. Try honey mustard sauce, Kansas City style bbq sauce, or a classic blue cheese dip.
What are chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders are the tenderloins of a chicken. They are strips of white meat that are attached to the underside of the chicken breast. They are slightly more tender than the rest of the white meat since the chickens do not use that muscle as much. They are also called chicken fingers or chicken strips.
Since chicken tenders are white meat, they can dry out quickly if they are not cooked properly. The air fryer does a great job because it cooks them hot and fast, but make sure you don’t leave them in too long.
What to serve with chicken tenders
Serve these chicken strips with a green veggie like our air fryer broccoli or asparagus and some air fryer baby potatoes. For dessert, make these deep dish chocolate chip cookie bowls or some air fryer brownies. You can’t go wrong.
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- 6 to 8 chicken tenders (about 1 pound)
Crispy parmesan bread coating
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- Preheat Air Fryer to 370°F.
- Place the egg, dijon, onion powder, and garlic powder in a wide bowl and stir with a whisk or fork until well blended.
- Add the chicken tenders to the batter and toss to coat well.
- Add the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to a shallow dish or pie plate.
- Dredge the chicken tenders, one piece at a time, in the crumbs. Press gently to get the crumbs to adhere.
- Place the chicken tenders in the Air Fryer and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes (see notes if you have smaller chicken tenders).
- Serve with honey mustard sauce or dip of choice.
- The panko breadcrumbs will make these chicken tenders extra crunchy.
- We used large chicken tenders in the photos. If you use chicken tenders that weigh less than 3 ounces each then reduce the cooking time to 8 minutes and check them to see if they need longer.
Amount Per Serving Calories 433Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 95mgSodium 1710mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 25g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.