Looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner recipe? You’ll love these air fryer chicken tenders with no breading! They’re well seasoned, then air fried until juicy and tender. Follow my recipe here, and you’ll never have to eat dry or tough chicken tenders ever again!
Chicken tenderloins are the most tender cut of chicken, but it has to be properly cooked so it doesn’t dry out. Chicken tenders are a great dinner option, and the kids love them too.
This Air Fryer version is so easy. I have a breaded crispy version, but this is a little different. The chicken tenders are drizzled with oil, then coated in a few simple seasonings and air fried until cooked through, juicy, and tender. Dinner couldn’t get any easier!
I have so many easy and delicious chicken tender recipes that you can check out. Try my garlic butter chicken tenders, honey garlic chicken tenders, crispy fried buttermilk chicken tenders, oven baked crispy chicken tenders, grilled chicken tenders, Instant Pot chicken tenders, and many more!
Why You will love this recipe
- Healthier. If you’re trying to limit your calorie intake, or just want to avoid breaded/fried foods. Make these unbreaded chicken tenders instead of the crispy breaded version, they’re delicious!
- Easy. If you want to quickly whip up dinner with minimal fuss, make this! I love Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, but that recipe requires breading the chicken and sometimes it’s just easier to skip that step.
- Quick. You will love how quick these come together. All you need to do is season the chicken, and air fry for just 12-15 minutes.
Here’s what you need to make this:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken Tenders: Use fresh or frozen chicken tenders (they’re called mini fillets in the UK). If using frozen, let them thaw in the fridge overnight. This recipe uses 1 ½ lbs (650-700g) of chicken tenders. A bit more or less is fine too. Trim and remove the tendon from each. You can also use chicken breasts, cut into strips.
- Olive Oil and Lemon Juice: The olive oil adds flavor to the chicken, helps the seasonings stick, and helps you get that lovely char. Lemon juice will tenderize the chicken and flavor it too.
- Seasonings: I use whatever I have on hand, but for these chicken tenders I like to go with dried oregano, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. For a different flavor profile, try Italian seasoning, fajita seasoning, or taco seasoning.
How To Trim Chicken Tenderloins
Chicken tenders can be a little annoying because of that thick, white tendon they have in the middle. While it’s totally acceptable to cook chicken tenders with the tendon in, eating them is much more enjoyable if the tendon is removed. I personally like to remove the chicken tendons, and strongly recommend that you do too.
Here’s how you do it:
- Use a very sharp knife. This is the method that I personally use, but it does require patience. The tendon usually runs along the chicken tender, so just remove it carefully with a knife leaving the rest of the meat intact.
- Use a knife, a fork, and paper towels. First, using the knife cut around the top of the tendon so that you can get a hold of it. Then with one hand, use a fork or knife to hold the chicken in place, and with the other hand, pull the tendon out. I recommend using a paper towel to grip the tendon as it can be slippery!
How To Make Air Fryer Grilled Chicken Tenders
- Season. In a bowl or a zip top bag, combine the chicken tenders with the seasonings, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mix well so the chicken tenders are combined. If the times allows it, marinate in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 375°F/180°C. If using a parchment paper liner, add it after preheating the Air Fryer.
- Air Fry. Place the chicken tenders in the Air Fryer basket in a single layer, and air fry for 12-15 minutes flipping half way through.
The cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your chicken, and your Air Fryer model. The best way to make sure that you don’t end up with tough chicken is to check its internal temperature with a kitchen thermometer. The chicken is done and perfect when the internal temperature is at least 165°F/74°C.
Tips For Making The Best Air Fryer Grilled Chicken Tenders
- Preheat. I recommend that you preheat your Air Fryer for 10 minutes before adding the chicken, you don’t want to start with a cold Air Fryer.
- Use Parchment Liners. While this is not necessary, but I love using parchment liners to make clean up a breeze! Just make sure that you add them to the Air Fryer after preheating as you don’t want them to move around and help if added without food.
- Don’t overcook the chicken tenders, they cook so quickly and if they’re overcooked they can turn out stringy, dry, and tough.
- My Air Fryer: I always get ask what Air Fryer do I use and recommend. I’ve been using this Cosori for a while now, it’s just great! Large basket, great design, works so well, and I always recommend it to everyone.
I have a recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Breast that will be perfect for you. Included are instructions for breaded and unbreaded versions.
There is a tough white tendon usually in the center of each tenderloin. It’s fine to cook chicken tenders with the tendon left on, but it’s better to remove it.
You can! I usually recommend thawing the chicken before cooking, but if you’re in a hurry then just add 3 additional minutes to the cooking time.
I use a basket style Air Fryer for all of my Air Fryer recipes. The Air Fryer oven works the same way, just select the “Air Fryer” option, set the temperature, time, and start.
Store the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
What To Serve With Chicken Tenders
The recipe has enough flavor that you could serve the air fryer grilled chicken strips as-is, but if you’d rather, they go well with sides and dipping sauces, too.
For sides, they’re delicious with Roasted Broccolini (pictured) for a healthy meal. I also like to serve with Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes and Air Fryer Vegetables. Use the oven to make Baked Potato Wedges while the chicken cooks in the air fryer!
Chicken tenders are great when they’re dipped in delicious sauces, and homemade sauces are the best! Try these tenders with this delicious Fry Sauce, or with this copycat Raising Cane’s Sauce or Chick-Fil-A Sauce. Ranch would also be very delicious.
You know what else you can make in the air fryer? Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings!
Enjoy making and eating this delicious chicken tenders recipe! Make sure to pin it so you can make it over and over again.
- 1½ pounds (700g) chicken tenders they're called mini chicken fillets in the UK
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 juice of a medium lemon about 2 tablespoons
- In a bowl or a zip top bag, combine the chicken tenders with the seasonings, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mix well so the chicken tenders are combined. If the times allows it, marinate in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat the Air Fryer at 375°F/180°C.
- If using a parchment paper liner, add it now.
- Place the chicken tenders in the Air Fryer basket in a single layer, and air fry for 12-15 minutes flipping half way through.
- Storing. Store the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen