These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders get perfectly crispy with a parmesan cheese crust! Keto, low-carb, gluten free and easy to meal prep for an easy weeknight meal.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are finished quickly and have that perfect crispy crust! That crust is so crispy because the chicken is double coated in a parmesan and almond flour breading. It is a recipe that takes a few steps, but it’s worth it for the great taste and texture! As always, this is a quick overview of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. For the complete, printable recipe just keep scrolling.
- Chicken: This recipe will work with chicken tenderloins as well as boneless, skinless chicken breast. Simply slice them to make the fillets skinnier and smaller. It’s as if you were butterflying the breast, but you slice all the way through instead.
- Almond Flour: Almond flour is a base for our breading and makes an excellent crust. It’s keto, gluten-free, and grain-free. If you need a nut-free option, replace the flour with this Pork Rind Panko.
- Grated Parmesan: This parmesan is a part of our breading, so it needs to be the finely grated or powdered parmesan. Using shredded parmesan will mean your breading will fall off and not leave a crispy crust.
- Spices: I used Cajun seasoning and garlic powder for my spices, but you could use your favorite chicken blend. An all purpose seasoning blend, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning… It would all result in delicious, juicy chicken.
- Eggs: Size large, these keep the breading stuck to the chicken. If you can’t use eggs, consider looking through this list of the best egg substitutes to find an option that works as a binder.
- Mayonnaise: In this recipe, mayonnaise acts as another “binder,” or ingredient meant to help hold things together. You can use eggs alone and skip the mayo, but your chicken crust will have a better chance of holding together and getting crisp if you do both.
How to cook chicken tenders in the air fryer
This recipe requires a few steps, but they are all easy to complete! There’s a printable recipe card near the bottom of the page, but here’s a step by step guide with photos to help.
Slice the Chicken
If using large chicken breast you will need to slice the chicken. Follow the example above. Place a large breast on a cutting board and slice through it as if you are going to butterfly the chicken, except slice all the way through creating two thin breast. From this point you can cut those thinner breast lengthwise to create skinny chicken tenders if you prefer.
Make the Breading Mixes
To make a crispy breading, you’ll need two shallow bowls (pie plates work well for this if you don’t have any bowls). In one, combine your mayonnaise and egg, whisking until it’s well incorporated. This will act as the “glue” that holds the chicken and breading together.
In the other bowl, add the almond flour, parmesan, and spices, then mix very well. This should be a nice, fine, crumb mixture. For the right texture, make sure to use grated parmesan, not shredded.
Coat the Chicken
Dredge the chicken (both sides) through the egg mixture, then do the same in the breading bowl. Repeat this step, dipping in the egg mixture and then the parmesan mixture. When you’re done, lay chicken tender on a baking sheet and repeat until all chicken tenders are breaded.
Now that the chicken is breaded, put the pan of tenders into the freezer for just 10 minutes. This helps the egg mixture solidify, helping the breading stay on the chicken.
Air Fry Chicken Tenders
Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F for 3 minutes. Spray the basket with oil, then start laying chicken tenders in a single layer, not touching. Overcrowding the air fryer will lead to uneven cooking, and the breading won’t get crispy.
Cook chicken tenders for 6 minutes, then flip them over and continue to cook another 6 minutes. This makes sure both sides get evenly crispy and cooked. When the chicken reaches 165 degrees F on the inside, remove from the air fryer.
Storing and Freezing
These gluten free chicken tenders should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
You can freeze uncooked, prepared chicken tenders by preheating the air fryer to 375 degrees F for 3 minutes. Cook 8 minutes, flip and cook an additional 7-8 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders can be reheated in the air fryer, oven, or microwave.
- Air Fryer – 350 degrees F, 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on yours; depending on the size of the tender and the number of tenders in the basket, yours might take more or less time.
- Oven – 350 degrees F, 5-10 minutes. To prevent the chicken from browning too much, loosely cover with foil. Don’t close it tightly as it would cause the chicken to steam, losing any crunch your crust had.
- Microwave – high, 30+ seconds. This is quickest, but you do lose the crispiness in the breading. When you’re in a hurry, though, it works.
These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders would be perfect with Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes and Air Fryer Green Beans. For an easy kid-approved lunch, try adding Air Fryer Potato Wedges or Homemade Potato Chips! An Air Fryer Brownie is a great way to end the night, too.
If you like these Chicken Tenders, try these air fryer favorites:
- Easy Air Fryer Chicken – Extremely quick… Just season and cook! Great for meal prep protein or a weeknight meal.
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs – A great marinade adds an incredible amount of flavor to these drumsticks!
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets – Super kid friendly, but also a great snack for movie night for adults, too.
- Air Fryer Hamburgers – Another classic made quicker (and juicier!) with the air fryer. You’ll love the crispy edges around the side!
- Air Fryer Cookies – Perfectly gooey, sweet, and ready in 10 minutes. Great for an individual sized dessert!
FAQ’s about Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Almond flour can be replaced with breadcrumbs. To keep it low-carb and gluten free, you could replace with this Pork Rind Panko recipe. It crisps up perfectly and is easy to make ahead of time.
These crispy tenders need to be cooked at 375 degrees for 6 minutes, flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders*
- 1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup Almond flour
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
- In a shallow bowl, combine the eggs and mayonnaise. Whisk until it becomes a well-combined mixture.
- In another bowl or rimmed plate, mix together the cheese, almond flour, and seasonings.
- Place each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, turning to coat. Transfer chicken to the breading mixture, then turn to coat again. Repeat this step, dipping each piece of chicken into the egg and the breading one last time.
- Freeze the chicken for 10 minutes on a baking sheet to help the breading adhere to the chicken.
- Preheat the air fryer for 3 minutes to 375 degrees. Add 2-3 chicken tenders to the air fryer at a time and spray with cooking oil. Cook 6 minutes, flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
* Note: Instead of chicken tenders, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Simply cut into skinnier pieces (as if you were butterflying them, but you cut all the way through).
Serving Size:2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 18.3gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 591mgCarbohydrates: 3.6gNet Carbohydrates: 3.1gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 0.7gProtein: 36g