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How Long to Cook Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer? A Thorough Guide 2024

If you're a fan of crispy, delicious chicken tenders but want a healthier cooking method, an air fryer is your best friend. Cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer not only reduces the amount of oil used but also ensures that you achieve that perfect golden-brown crust. But how long to cook chicken tenders in air fryers to get the best results? In this blog, we’ll set out to explore the question “How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryers?”. We’ll begin by giving a snapshot of the essential steps of air frying chicken tenders, and then proceed to give our detailed analysis of cooking time for chicken tenders. Get started!


A Recap: How to Cook Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer?

Before attacking the question of “how long to cook raw chicken tenders in air fryers”, let’s do a short recap of the essential steps of cooking chicken tenders in air fryers first.

Preparing Your Chicken Tenders

Before you start air frying, you need to prep your chicken tenders properly. The preparation stage consists primarily of gathering ingredients, preheating the air fryer, and coating your tenders.

Gather Your Ingredients: You'll need air fryer chicken tenders with flour, of course. In addition, you’ll need eggs, breadcrumbs (regular and Panko), and additional seasonings like paprika, salt, etc.

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Preheating is crucial to ensure even cooking. Set your air fryer to around 400°F (204°C).

Coating: Dip your chicken tenders into a mixture of breadcrumbs and seasonings for that perfect crispy exterior.

Air Frying Chicken Tenders: Step-by-Step

After the preparatory stage, we move on to the core steps of air-frying chicken tenders.

Arrange Tenders in the Basket: Begin by placing your coated chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Remember to not overcrowd and leave some space for the air to circulate. As a tip, you can choose to line your basket with a piece of parchment paper beforehand for easier cleanup later.

Cooking: With the tenders layered in the basket, you can now hit the start button. How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryer at 400°F (204°C)? Generally, 10 to 12 minutes will do at a temperature of 400°F (204°C).

Flipping: Around the halfway mark, flip the chicken tenders to ensure even cooking and that golden-brown perfection.

Check for Doneness: To ensure doneness, the internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F, and the exterior should be crispy and golden. If needed, you can add a few extra minutes and check periodically.

Serve Hot: Once your chicken tenders are perfectly cooked and crispy, remove them from the air fryer, let them cool for a minute, and then serve immediately.

How Long to Cook Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer?

How long to cook chicken breast tenders in air fryers? In fact, this seemingly innocuous question is not that easy to answer. This is because how long to cook fresh chicken tenders in air fryers hinges on multiple factors. Let’s take a look at them first.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

Several factors influence how long to cook chicken tenders in the air fryer:

Tender Size and Thickness: Smaller, thinner tenders will cook faster than larger, thicker ones. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Air Fryer Model: The wattage and efficiency of your air fryer can affect cooking times. Some models cook faster or more evenly than others.

Temperature: How long to cook chicken tenders in air fryer is directly related to the cooking temperature. Generally speaking, the higher the cooking temperature, the shorter the cooking time.

General Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines for air fryer chicken tenders time and temp:

  • For average-sized chicken tenders, cook at 400°F (204°C) for approximately 10-12 minutes. Be sure to flip them halfway through for even browning.
  • Thicker tenders might require a few extra minutes, while thinner ones may cook faster, so keep a close eye on them.
  • Always check the internal temperature of your chicken tenders with a meat thermometer. They should reach 165°F (73°C) to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat. Another indicator of doneness is a brown and crisp exterior.

Safety and Cooking Tips

With the essential guidelines in mind, it's time to dive into some valuable tips that will elevate your cooking experience.

Safety Tips

Safety is always paramount for culinary adventures. Be sure to adhere to the following tips:

Handle Raw Chicken Carefully: Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw chicken separate from other foods and using separate utensils and cutting boards.

Use a Meat Thermometer: While it is possible to gauge doneness by touch or appearance, a meat thermometer provides precise and reliable results, reducing the risk of undercooking (and overcooking). Thus, a meat thermometer is highly recommended for air-frying chicken tenders.

Cooking Tips

Now is the turn for our cooking tips:

Coating Is Important: Coating creates a crispy, flavorful exterior that contrasts with the tender meat, enhancing the overall texture and taste.

Remember to Flip Halfway: Do remember to flip halfway through cooking. This is essential to ensure even browning on both sides.

Experiment Away: Don't be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and coatings to customize the flavor of your chicken tenders.

Line Your Basket With Parchment Paper: Lining your air fryer basket with parchment paper prevents sticking and makes cleanup easier.



Now you know how long to cook breaded chicken tenders in air fryers. It is a complicated question that depends on many factors. While cooking for 10-12 minutes at 400°F is something of a standard answer, adjustments are often unavoidable if you aim for the perfect cooking results. Ultimately, with proper cooking settings, repeated practice, and following expert tips, you can get your preferred chicken tenders and enjoy a beautiful feast together with your family or friends.

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