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Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe

Cheesy Chicken Tenders on a plate in the background of a chicken tender on a fork cut in half so you see the meat inside

Kitchen Tools for This Recipe

  • 2 to 2.5 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders, thawed
  • 2 Cups pulverized cheese crackers
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Cups Milk (2% is fine)
raw chicken soaking in milk in a bowl

The milk soaking or marinating process helps the meat to become more tender. If you are cooking a recipe with bone-in chicken, the milk soaking process will also pull blood away from the bone. 

We want these chicken tenders to be ready to eat in under one hour. Therefore, I place mine in a bowl to soak earlier in the day and go on about my business. They are ready to go when I’m ready to cook. If you are just a wild woman, like we all can be sometimes, skip the milk marinade all together. -gasp!

cheese crackers crushed in a mini food grinder

Chicken Tenderloins make the best Chicken Tenders in my humble opinion. They are more tender than using boneless breast cut into strips. I buy a 2.5 lb. bag of Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins from the meat department and keep them in my freezer to have on hand. 

Now pour the crushed cheese crackers into a gallon size resealable bag and add the seasonings. Close the bag and shake to blend.

Drain the milk off the chicken tenders by pouring the tenders into a colander.

Now place the chicken tenders into the cracker and seasonings mixture in the bag. Close and shake to coat. Then place the coated chicken tenders into the basket of your Air Fryer. Mine will hold about six chicken tenders at a time. Spritz each chicken tender with cooking spray lightly.

Chicken Tenders battered and ready to cook in the basket of an Air Fryer

Set the Air Fryer temperature to 400° and set the timer for 12 minutes. Check the tenders at the end of the first 12 minutes, turn over the tenders using tongs and spritz the other side with cooking spray. Then continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, checking every 3 minutes until done.

NOTE

Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°

Serve your Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

    Some Air Fryers require preheating. My Gourmia does not. I fill the basket with about six battered chicken tenders and set the temperature to 400 and the timer to 12 minutes. After the first 12 minutes I turn the chicken tenders over and continue to cook for another 10 minutes before checking again. 

    Internal temperature should reach 165° for chicken.

    Cheesy Crust Chicken Tenders served on a platter with ranch dressing in the center

    You don’t have an Air Fryer? No problem, also see our recipe for Cheez-It Crusted Baked Chicken Tenders

    Side Dishes for Chicken Tenders

    Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders are covered in a cheese cracker crust. Under 30 minutes cook time these Chicken Tenders are perfect for weeknight meals, snacks or party food. #Airfryer #chickenrecipe #partyfood #snackfood
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    Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe

    Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders are covered in a cheese cracker crust. Under 30 minutes cook time these Chicken Tenders are perfect for weeknight meals, snacks or party food.
    Course Recipes
    Keyword Air Fryer, Chicken recipe, party food, snack food
    Servings 4
    Calories 1274kcal
    Author Shirley Wood

    Ingredients

    • 2 to 2.5 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders thawed
    • 2 Cups pulverized cheese crackers
    • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 2 Cups 2% Milk

    Instructions

    • Soak the thawed chicken tenders in a bowl covered with the milk for at least one hour. Can be soaked overnight or all day while you are at work.
    • Pulverize the crackers in an electric food chopper. (I use these)
    • Pour the crushed cheese crackers into a gallon size resealable bag.
    • Add the seasonings to the crackers and shake to blend.
    • Drain the chicken tenders.
    • Place about 2 or 3 tenders at a time in the bag with the cracker mixture and shake to coat.
    • Place the coated tenders into the Air Fryer basket. (Mine will hold 6)
    • Spritz each one with the cooking spray
    • Set the temperature to 400°
    • Set the timer for 12 minutes and cook.
    • Check the tenders at the end of the first 12 minutes, turn over and spritz this side with the cooking spray.
    • Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes checking every 3 minutes or so.
    • Check the internal temperature which should reach 165°.
    • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

    Notes

    Cooking times vary with different brands of Air Fryers. To ensure chicken is done, use a meat thermometer.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 3o | Calories: 1274kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 172g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 32g | Cholesterol: 519mg | Sodium: 770mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g

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    Cheesy Chicken Tenders covered in a cheese cracker crust served on a white plate

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