Air Fryer Chicken Strips are a quick and easy recipe made with a light Panko breading and tender and juicy chicken breasts. This kid friendly meal is sure to be a family favorite!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Homemade chicken strips made in your Air Fryer are a fantastic lunch or dinner recipe for the whole family! Who doesn’t love a crispy crunch chicken strip?! I know we make far more frozen ones than I would like to admit in our Air Fryer.
There really isn’t any excuse to not make them from scratch though. I have made these Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders more times than I can count, so it was about time I made a classic version of the staple.
They only require 6 simple ingredients and an Air Fryer. The results are a much juicier and fresher chicken tender the kids will still love! You can even make a large double batch and freeze some for later.
How to use your Air Fryer
If you don’t have an Air Fryer , I highly recommend you get one! I have the Phillips XXL and love he larger capacity. They are great for cooking a variety of healthier recipes with less oil, like these Air Fryer Pork Chops or Air Fryer Potatoes.
If you are new to using an Airfryer, then there are a few tricks to getting good results. Don’t worry, it isn’t complicated. In fact, you follow similar rules when you deep fry.
The most important thing to remember is not to overload the air fryer. Make sure the convection of hot air can easily whip around each chicken nugget and crisp it up nicely. If you pack it too tight, you will end up with soggy spots on the coating of the chicken tenders. If have a small basket, use a Double Layer Rack to separate your food better.
More Handy Air Fryer Tips For Frying Chicken
- There is no need to pre-heat your Air Fryer. It is a waste of energy in my opinion, seeing the small cooking chamber heats up so quickly.
- Keep your portion sizes as even as possible. You have some flexibility on what size to make the strips, but keep them consistent. Whether you like to do a long strip of chicken or prefer to make them bite sized nuggets, the size helps everything cook evenly.
- Freeze the breaded pieces of chicken very briefly after you bread them. Doing this helps avoid the batter from sliding off. It also helps get the exterior browned up nice and gives the chicken time to cook. This step is optional, but is especially great if you have a smaller Air Fryer basket and the chicken will be packed in closer.
- There is no need to turn the chicken. Too much turning and you risk knocking off the flaky Panko crust. The mesh basket allows for air circulation around the entire chicken tender. Let the hot air do it’s thing!
- Spray the breading with a light mist of olive oil spray for the crunchiest and nicely browned breading.
- Make sure your air fryer is clean. Keeping them clean is really easy, but any leftover grease from the last time you used it might impart a rancid taste to your current batch of tenders. That is easily avoided with a wipe down after each us to make sure it is clean. Just be sure not to put the basket in the dishwasher or it can ruin your non-stick coating!
Why Use Panko Crumbs?
Yes, you can use regular breadcrumbs or seasoned bread crumbs if that is what you have handy. However, I recommend keeping some Panko crumbs handy for a few reasons.
- Panko crumbs are specially made for use in frying. Panko bread crumbs are made from crustless bread. They are uniformly sized crumbs and they are wide and flat. This helps create more space between the crumbs and allows the crumb batter to fry very evenly. In other words, Panko crumbs help you avoid soggy breading!
- When it comes to air frying chicken, Panko crumbs really help get the air flowing around the entire piece of chicken tender. It is almost like those big flakes of crumbs create an individual rack for each piece of chicken.
- You can’t beat the crunch of panko. If you like to order your fried chicken “extra crispy” then Panko crumbs help you get there with the least fuss.
Can I Meal Prep Air Fryer Chicken Strips?
The great thing about making breaded chicken strips is you can easily meal prep a few batches worth. Freeze what you don’t intend to eat, then all you have to do is grab them from the freezer and pop them in your air fryer next time you need an easy meal.
- Prepare your strips with Panko breading, then lay them out in rows in a shallow pan. Let them freeze briefly, about 30 to 45 minutes should do the trick. Then you can toss them in one gallon zippered locking bags without having the breading fall off.
- Properly stored, you can actually keep them in your freezer anywhere from 3 to 6 months. I seriously doubt you will keep them that long though. Appetites and convenience will prevent that from ever happening!
- Make sure to use a sharpie style permanent marker to date the bag of strips. That way you know when you should use them by.
Recommended Sauces with Chicken Strips
A chicken strip without a great sauce to dip them in is like a hot dog without a bun. Will it still taste good without it? Sure, but the sauce just completes it and makes it so much tastier!
Here are some easy sauces I recommend for chicken tenders:
- Ketchup of course, but why not spice up the ketchup with a couple drops of hot sauce to add a bit of zest to it?
- Ranch or BBQ sauce are the obvious choices.
- Light Greek Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing
- Guacamole is a fantastic healthy option!
- Hoisin sauce is that sweet brown sauce that is the color of molasses. Kids love it too and it is not spicy at all.
- Curry Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce is a spicy twist on a light and creamy sauce, great with chicken!
- Honey and mustard go well together, or use them separately.
- 1 lb. chicken tenders or chicken breasts
- 3/4 c. Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- dash of salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Add the Panko bread crumbs to a separate bowl.
- Whisk the egg in a third separate bowl.
- If using chicken breasts, cut each breast into 3-4 even tenders.
- Coat each tender in flour, then egg and lastly Panko.
- Arrange the tenders in your Airfryer basket and spray with a light coat of olive oil. This is optional, but will help brown the chicken tenders nicely.
- Cook at 325° for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your tenders, until they reach an internal temperature of 165°.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauces!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 566mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g
Provided nutrition data is only an estimate. If you are tracking these nutrients for medical purposes, please consult an outside, trusted source.
Recipe first appeared on Yellow Bliss Road