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air fry frozen chicken tenders
How to make perfectly crispy frozen chicken tenders in air fryer! Way better than in the oven, this is how to make them taste like they’re from a restaurant.
- 1 bag frozen chicken strips
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
Lay frozen tenders in one layer, not overlapping, in basket and cook for 8 minutes. (timing will vary slightly depending on how large and thick your pieces are)
When time is up leave them in the closed basket for 5 minutes so the middle can continue to heat up.
air fry frozen chicken tenders recipe
Make the best Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Tenders (no breading) in a few easy steps! Follow the quick and easy recipe below to make the most flavorful, tender, and juicy chicken tenderloins. No thawing required!
- 1 pound raw frozen chicken tenderloins
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set the timer to 15 minutes. **I found 350 degrees Fahrenheit was the best temperature to cook the chicken tenderloins so that they wouldn’t dry out. I tested various temperatures including 400 degrees Fahrenheit and they dried out at that high of a temperature.
To a small bowl, mix the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
Brush each frozen chicken tenderloin with the oil seasoning mixture. Be sure to cover all sides of the frozen chicken tenderloin with the oil mixture. This is to ensure they don’t dry out.
Add the frozen chicken tenderloins to the air fryer in a single layer and cook for 15 minutes. Turn them over halfway through the cooking process. Cook until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit as measured with a food thermometer. **Watch my instructional video if you would like to see how I made this.
Once the chicken tenderloins are done, remove them from the air fryer. Let cool, then enjoy!
air frye frozen chicken tendres no breading
- 400 g (14.1 oz) frozen chicken tenders
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- Preheat the air fryer to 180°C (350°F). It should take roughly 5 minutes to heat.
- Place the tenders into the air fryer.
- Lightly spray the chicken tenders with the cooking oil.
- Cook for 15 minutes. I recommend turning the tenders halfway through cooking.
- Serve & Enjoy.
- I highly recommend that you use a meat thermometer to ensure that the center of the chicken is cooked. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 75°C (170°F).
- The cooking oil is entirely optional and can be left out if you want to keep things as healthy as possible. The oil does help guarantee a crispier crumb.
- I recommend preheating the air fryer as it will help ensure a faster and better cook. If you are low on time, you can easily skip this step. However, you may need to adjust the cooking time.
- Most chicken tenders are the same size. However, if you find that your tenders are smaller or larger, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- The nutritional information below was calculated by an online nutrition calculator, so it may not be accurate. For the most accurate information, refer to the frozen chicken tenders box.
- I do not recommend stacking the chicken as they may not cook correctly.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE?
- Healthy recipe. An easy chicken recipe that makes a really healthy dinner, much healthier than fast food, that is low in fat and calories but packed with protein which will keep you full longer.
- Easy to meal plan/meal prep. You can make a lot of these air fryer chicken tenderloins at once and plan recipes to use it through out the week.
- Eat them with your hands. You can eat these frozen chicken strips with your hands if you are eating them alone. Just pick ’em up and dip ’em in your favorite sauce like bbq sauce.
- Family friendly. Kids love them because they are plain and don’t have any weird flavors.
- Easy meal. This is easy and quick to make.
HOW TO COOK AIR FRIED FROZEN CHICKEN TENDERS?
Frozen chicken tenders or strips are sold in 2 ways: frozen fully cooked or frozen raw.
- Fully Cooked breaded frozen chicken tenders are super easy to cook in the air fryer. They can go straight from the freezer to the air fryer and cooked in minutes. You don’t need to spray the chicken because there’s plenty already when it was pre-cooked.
- RAW: There’s also frozen raw chicken strips, where the breading is pre-cooked but the chicken is raw. Timing between the frozen pre-cooked and raw differs by a few minutes. You still need to check to make sure the brand you bought cooks all the way through. Start by checking the strips after 10 minutes. And then cook for additional time to make sure it’s cooked and crispy to your liking.
CAN YOU STACK FROZEN CHICKEN TENDERS IN THE AIR FRYER?
It’s okay if you have a bit of stacking. The breading is frozen and already cooked so it won’t stick!
However, keep in mind that the chicken tenders will take a little longer to cook and get crispy.
The size of your basket and the tenders are going to determine how many will fit at once. In my opinion, it’s best to cook them in multiple batches instead of crowding them.
ARE THESE AIR FRYER CHICKEN TENDERS KETO?
Since they don’t have any breading, any dairy and no eggs these air fried frozen chicken tenders really work well for any diet. Make them for the low carb diet, keto diet, gluten free diet, dairy free, Whole30 diet or just as a great option for a healthy dinner. My kids love ’em!
HOW LONG TO COOK FROZEN CHICKEN TENDERS IN THE AIR FRYER?
If you lay your chicken in a mostly even layer, they will take about 12 minutes to cook. Make sure you flip halfway through to ensure even crispiness.
If you stack your chicken tenders, they’re going to take a little longer to cook. Just keep an eye on them and make sure you give them enough time to get good and crispy.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN TENDERS?
It’s easy to make these frozen air fried tenders into a complete meal by adding a side dish. Here are some sides we like to serve with our chicken tenders.
- Potatoes. Potatoes always make a yummy side dish. Try out salt and vinegar smashed potatoes, frozen air fryer French fries or sweet potato fries, cheesy mashed potatoes, or air fryer tater tots.
- Dips. There are so many dipping sauces to use for chicken. There is ranch, honey mustard sauce, chipotle mayo, buffalo sauce, chick-fil-a sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup or cheese dip.
- Vegetables. We love these air fryer squash and zucchini, air fryer brussels sprouts with bacon, or roasted broccoli in air fryer.
- Bread. Make homemade rolls or french bread, cornbread, or air fryer dinner rolls.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). These chicken strips have a high breading-to-chicken ratio. That means that they are relatively high in calories compared to the protein they provide. To round out this entrée, I recommend adding a glass of milk for additional protein plus some veggie side dishes.
If your goal is weight loss, I generally think it is better to skip breaded foods and other items containing a lot of flour. Most grain-based flours (including whole grain varieties) provide 100-110 calories per measly ¼-cup. Nut flours contain more protein but are often even higher in calories.
Instead of choosing a breaded chicken tender, I would pick plain chicken tenderloins if your goal is fat loss. Since plain chicken is kind of bland in the flavor department, I’d add some herbs and spices to kick things up a notch.
On the other hand, what if you’re trying to encourage a picky child or someone who is underweight to eat more? In that case, a little whole grain breading might be your friend!
Breaded proteins and breaded veggies tend to be more appealing to those who are having trouble eating compared to plain protein and veggies. Add a favorite sauce for dipping, and you may find the person willing to try types of food they typically avoid. How optimal a particular food choice is almost always comes down to an individual’s food preferences, personal health goals, budget, and medical needs.
HOW DOES AN AIR FRYER WORK?
- An air fryer is basically a mini convection oven that sits on your countertop. Air fryers have a heating element at the top and a mechanical fan that helps circulate the hot air around your food more efficiently. This makes your food nice and crispy on the outside while keeping it moist and juicy on the inside.
- So although air fryers have a catchy name with the word “fryer” in them, there’s no actual frying involved at all!
- Basically, air frying gives you the taste and texture of deep-fried food that you crave but with little to no oil.
HOW TO CLEAN AIR FRYER?
(1) Clean after each use: This will make your air fryer cleaning much easier in general as you won’t have to work as hard to clean off residue, sauce and grease.
(2) Always unplug and allow to cool before cleaning your air fryer.
(3) Using a paper towel, hand wipe any crumbs out of the air fryer basket and pullout drawer.
(4) You can also use a paper towel to hand wipe any excess grease from the air fryer basket and pillow drawer.
(5) Clean with warm soapy water: Be sure to she a soft non abrasive sponge or cloth. You don’t want to harm the non stick surface.
(6) Use a toothpick to poke out any food stuck in holes of basket.
(7) Clean inside of air fryer: Set basket and drawer you the side. Again, issuing damp sponge or cloth dipped in warm soapy water, gently wipe inside clean. Check heating element for any excess debris.
(8) Wipe exterior with damp sponge or cloth.