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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Crazy crispy on the outside, and amazingly juicy and tender on the inside, these finger-licking good air fryer chicken tenders are flavored with garlic and parsley and make the perfect healthy snack or appetizer! No air fryer? No problem, you can make these in the oven too! These delicious chicken tenders are totally gluten-free and dairy-free too, and your whole family is gonna love them!

A baking sheet full of chicken tenders.

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Our Trusty Air Fryer

Since getting our air fryer, we’ve been playing around with it and making plenty of air fryer recipes because it produces crispy golden brown foods with just a fraction of the oil that is required in deep-frying or even pan-frying.

From making snacks such as crispy air fryer French fries and Hasselback potatoes, to appetizers such as air fryer Brussels sprouts, air fryer corn on the cob, and air fryer zucchini fries, there are endless foods that can be made in the air fryer, and I’ve still got a whole list of recipes that I’m planning to try!

One of our first meals that we made with the air fryer were these deliciously juicy air fryer chicken wings, and given that they came out unbelievably good, I decided that I was time for another air fryer chicken endeavour!

Hand holding up a piece of chicken tender.

The Perfect Snack or Appetizer

These gluten-free chicken tenders are great for snacking on during the Super Bowl or any gathering, because they’re super easy to make, turn out amazingly crispy on the outside and oh so juicy and tender inside, and best of all, they’re packed with the flavors of garlic and parsley!

cornbread in a cast iron skillet
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Pair these with Sriracha (if you love some heat like me), or ketchup or marinara sauce (if you prefer something a little sweeter).

Either way, these are definitely going to be a big hit at any get-together and don’t say I didn’t warn you, but these won’t last long!

Hand reaching for a plate full of chicken tenders.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Little Oil Used: The best part about these healthy air fryer chicken tenders is that you barely need any oil to cook them (as compared to using a deep fryer).
  • No Oil Splatters: The great thing about using an air fryer as opposed to deep-frying the chicken tenders is that you don’t have to deal with oil splatters or dirty kitchen walls.
  • Totally Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free: Most chicken tender recipes use normal wheat flour breadcrumbs but I wanted to make a version that was both gluten-free and dairy-free for those who are Celiac and have either gluten or lactose intolerances (i.e. my husband Juan)! Using gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs for extra texture, these are totally gluten-free and dairy-free but no one would know!
  • Flexible: This recipe can be made in either the air fryer or the oven (see recipe notes for how to make it in the oven), so everyone can enjoy them!
A plate of chicken tenders on a wooden board.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Here’s a visual overview of the ingredients required for making crispy air fryer chicken tender recipe.

(For exact measurements and quantities, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.)

Labeled ingredients for air fryer chicken tenders.

Ingredient Notes/Substitutes:

  • Chicken Tenders: You can either buy pre-cut chicken tenders, or you can also buy skinless chicken breasts and cut them up into strips of approximately 1.5 inches wide by 5 inches long.
  • Breadcrumbs: I like using a mix of both normal gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free panko bread crumbs because it gives the chicken tenders an incredibly crispy texture. Alternatively, if you are not Celiac or gluten-free intolerant, feel free to use normal breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs instead.
  • Herbs: The mix of granulated garlic and dried parsley is my favorite savory flavor combination, but feel free to use other herbs or spices to add some oomph to the breadcrumbs. You can also use paprika, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder or even curry powder (the options are endless)!

How to Cook These Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders:

1. Whisk Breadcrumbs and Condiments

Whisk the gluten-free bread crumbs, gluten-free panko crumbs, dried granulated garlic, dried parsley, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Whisking breadcrumbs and dried herbs in a large metal bowl.

2. Dip Chicken in Egg

Place the beaten eggs in a shallow dish and dip the chicken tenders a few at a time in beaten eggs until they are coated all over.

Dipping chicken pieces in beaten egg.

3. Dredge Chicken in Breadcrumb Mixture

Dredge egg-coated chicken tenders in the breadcrumbs mixture, pressing them on all sides until they are evenly coated all over. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs before placing the coated chicken pieces on a dry plate and drizzle olive oil over the chicken on all sides.

Dredging chicken pieces in breadcrumbs.

4. Grease Basket and Preheat Air Fryer

Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray, or grease it with oil (this will ensure that the chicken tenders do not stick to the basket once cooked).

Preheat the air fryer to 400F. I usually just preheat it for 5 minutes and that’s more than enough.

Spraying air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Cook Chicken in Batches

Place chicken pieces in the basket and cook for 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through until they are golden brown.

(You may have to cook the chicken in a few batches depending on the size of your air fryer – the most important thing is not to overcrowd it so there is space for the hot air to circulate and crisp up the surface of the chicken).

Uncooked breaded chicken tenders in an air fryer basket.

6. Reheat

Once all the chicken has been cooked, return them all to the air fryer basket and reheat chicken at 400F for 2 to 3 minutes until all hot and ready to serve.

Golden brown chicken tenders in air fryer basket.

7. Garnish and Serve

Garnish these gluten-free chicken tenders with fresh parsley and serve with Sriracha, garlic aioli, honey mustard, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Hand reaching for a parchment-lined plate full of breaded chicken.

Dish by Dish Tips/Tricks

  • Cook in Batches: I highly recommend cooking your chicken tenders in batches (the number of pieces you can cook in each batch will depend on the size of your air fryer). The most important thing is the chicken tenders are in one single layer with some space between each piece so that the hot air can circulate all over and make the chicken crispy all over.
  • No Air Fryer? Bake these in the Oven: If you don’t own an air fryer, you can easily bake these chicken fingers in the oven. Bake the tenders in the oven at 400F for 7 to 8 minutes per side until they are crisp enough for your liking.
  • Serve These Chicken Tenders with: I recommend accompanying these crispy chicken tenders with my homemade sriracha chili sauce, garlic aioli, honey mustard sauce, bbq sauce, buffalo sauce or even mayonnaise. Or use your favorite dipping sauce instead!
A plate of breaded chicken on a wooden board.

Recipe FAQs:

How do I Store these?

To store, let the cooked chicken tenders cool before placing them in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat chicken in the air fryer or oven at 350F for 5 to 8 minutes until heated up and then serve.

Can Air Fryer Chicken Tenders be Frozen?

Yes they can! See instructions below.
(i) Freezing cooked chicken tenders: let them cool completely before placing them in freezer-safe ziplock bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the chicken thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the air fryer or oven at 350F for 5 to 8 minutes before serving.
(ii) Freezing uncooked chicken tenders: Place the breaded but uncooked chicken tenders in freezer-proof containers in layers separated by plastic sheets. To cook, there’s no need to defrost the chicken. Simply preheat the air fryer to 400F, drizzle oil over the chicken tenders and place them in the air fryer basket (do not overcrowd). Cook for 15 minutes, flipping over halfway through until golden brown and crispy all over.

Hand reaching for a piece of breaded chicken.

Other Gluten-Free Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Enjoy:

Chicken tenders on a plate on a wooden board.

Gluten-Free Appetizers to Indulge in:

P.S. If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating below, and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. I always appreciate your feedback. Be sure to check out my entire Recipe Index for all the recipes on the blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Sign up for my Email List to get fresh recipes in your inbox each week!

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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Felicia Lim
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Crazy crispy on the outside, and amazingly juicy and tender on the inside, these finger-licking good air fryer chicken tenders are flavored with garlic and parsley and make the perfect healthy snack or appetizer! No air fryer? No problem, you can make these in the oven too! These delicious chicken tenders are totally gluten-free and dairy-free too, but no one would care!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

  1. Whisk Breadcrumbs and Condiments: Whisk breadcrumbs, dried granulated garlic, dried parsley, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Dip in Egg: Dip chicken tenders a few at a time in beaten eggs until they are coated all over.
  3. Dredge Chicken in Breadcrumb Mixture: Dredge egg-coated chicken tenders in the breadcrumbs mixture, pressing them on all sides until they are evenly coated all over. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs before placing the coated chicken pieces on a dry plate. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken on all sides.
  4. Grease Basket and Preheat Air Fryer: Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray or grease it with oil (this will prevent the chicken tenders from sticking once cooked), and then reheat the air fryer to 400F.
  5. Cook in Batches: Place chicken pieces in the basket and cook for 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through until they are golden brown. (You may have to cook the chicken in a few batches depending on the size of your air fryer – the most important thing is not to overcrowd it so there is space for the hot air to circulate and crisp up the surface of the chicken).
  6. Reheat: Once all the chicken has been cooked, return them all to the air fryer basket and heat up at 400F for 2 to 3 minutes until all hot and ready to serve.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Garnish air fryer chicken tenders with fresh parsley and serve with Sriracha or ketchup.

Notes

Chicken Tenders: You can either buy pre-cut chicken tenders, or you can also buy skinless chicken breasts and cut them up into strips of approximately 1.5 inches wide by 5 inches long.

Olive Oil: I used extra virgin olive oil but you can also use any neutral vegetable oil.

Breadcrumbs: I like using a mix of both normal gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs because it gives the chicken incredible texture.

Herbs: The mix of granulated garlic and dried parsley is my favorite savory flavor combination, but feel free to use other herbs or spices to add some oomph to the breadcrumbs. You can also use paprika, turmeric, onion powder or even curry powder (the options are endless)!

No Air Fryer? Here’s How to Bake: If you don’t own an air fryer, you can easily bake these in the oven. Bake the tenders in the oven at 400F for 7 to 8 minutes per side until they are crisp enough for your liking.

Storing: To store, let the cooked chicken tenders cool before placing them in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat chicken in the air fryer or oven at 350F for 5 to 8 minutes until heated up and then serve.

Freezing: If freezing the cooked chicken tenders, let them cool completely before placing them in freezer-safe ziplock bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the chicken thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the air fryer or oven at 350F for 5 to 8 minutes before serving. If freezing the uncooked chicken tenders, place them in single layers separated by plastic sheets in a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. To cook, no defrosting required. Simply drizzle with oil and then cook the chicken in the air fryer at 400F for 15 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Alternatively, cook in the oven at 400F for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping over halfway through until crispy and golden all over.

This recipe was originally posted in January 2021, but has since been republished to include clearer step-by-step instructions, as well as tips/tricks.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

2 Comments

  1. Good morning Felicia,

    I wish you a very Blessed 2021 and would love to continue seeing your blog growing amazingly with many many interesting, mouth-watering and healthy recipes to share with the community 🙂

    I love & bless you,
    Mum






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