How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer

As moms, we’re always searching for quick and easy meals. Let me share a hack on how to cook frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer, it is my go-to lunches option when I’m having a busy day. Its kid-approved, and you pretty much throw them in the deep fryer, and you’re done! Not the healthiest option but at the very least a healthier way since we will air fry it. Let’s get started!

Before I share you my recipe, you may want to check out my Easy Air Fryer Veggie Stuffed Zucchini recipe which is also popular with my kids.

There are two ways to get frozen chicken tenders, you can either buy your favorite brand from the store or DIY it. Here’s how I make my homemade chicken strips:

  • Buy boneless chicken breast and cut to ½ inch strips.
  • Soak in buttermilk overnight for extra tenderness and juiciness.
  • Prepare the breading. Make an egg bath on a shallow bowl. Then, mix breadcrumbs and grated parmesan on another.
  • Take the chicken tenders out of the buttermilk and start breading.
  • Dip it on the egg bath then cover with breading on both sides then repeat once.
  • You can now air fry it or put it in a tight container and freeze for 3-4 days.

What Are Air Fryers?


It’s like a tiny convection oven. It cooks food by circulating hot air around it with a high-powered fan. Air fryers use at least 75% less oil than deep frying. You only need 1 tablespoon of oil to cook in an air fryer. Meanwhile, deep frying requires at least 1 cup of oil. This makes your favorite fried food like chicken tenders, a lot healthier. 😉

How Do I Make Frozen Chicken Tenders In An Air Fryer?

  • First, do not thaw your chicken tenders. You can cook them right from the freezer.
  • Turn the air fryer on and preheat to 400°F or 205°C for 5 minutes.
  • After preheating, brush, or spray the air fryer basket with oil. It helps make the food extra crispy. But, if you want to make it healthier, you can skip this step.
  • Line the basket with the chicken tenders in a single layer. Do not overcrowd it. Make sure to leave space between each piece to allow airflow.
  • Cook them at 400°F or 205°C for 10 minutes. For uncooked frozen tenders, cook them for 20-30 minutes. Make sure to flip the pieces halfway down the cooking time.
  • Check for doneness. You can use a candy thermometer; they should have an internal temperature of 165°F. If you don’t have one, just tear one of the pieces open. Note that bigger or thicker strips will need extra 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn the air fryer off. Let the chicken tenders sit in the air fryer for 5 more minutes to continue cooking the middle parts.
  • Pair with BBQ, ranch, honey mustard or garlic mayo dip. You can also serve them with veggies on the side.

Now you have guilt-free chicken tenders. It’s very easy to make even from scratch. And you don’t have to worry about getting splattered by hot oil! They almost taste the same as deep-fried chicken tenders but with less cholesterol. Plus, I have no trouble making the kids clean their plates when I serve this. Definitely a win-win mom situation. 😉

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