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Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe

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These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders are covered in a cheese cracker crust and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. Perfect for weeknight meals, snacks or party food.

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

These disappear quickly because they are tender and tasty. We use our favorite cheese snack cracker crushed in a food chopper for the crust. 

Cheesy Chicken Tenders are a nice change from the normal flour or bread crumb crusted chicken tenders. 

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!

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cheese crackers crushed in a mini food grinder

I used what was in my cabinet which happened to be Cheez-It’. However you can used Gold Fish is that is what you have in your pantry or a store brand of cheesy crackers will work too.

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. 

Printable Recipe Below

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

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

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

Printable Recipe Below

Kitchen Tools for This Recipe

Gourmia Air Fryer

Small Food Chopper

Meat Thermometer

Gallon size resealable plastic food bags

Bowl for soaking in milk

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

Air Fryer Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe

Yield: 4

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.


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Pulverize the crackers in an electric food chopper. (I use these)
  3. Pour the crushed cheese crackers into a gallon size resealable bag.
  4. Add the seasonings to the crackers and shake to blend.
  5. Drain the chicken tenders.
  6. Place about 2 or 3 tenders at a time in the bag with the cracker mixture and shake to coat.
  7. Place the coated tenders into the Air Fryer basket. (Mine will hold 6)
  8. Spritz each one with the cooking spray
  9. Set the temperature to 400°
  10. Set the timer for 12 minutes and cook.
  11. Check the tenders at the end of the first 12 minutes, turn over and spritz this side with the cooking spray.
  12. Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes checking every 3 minutes or so.
  13. Check the internal temperature which should reach 165°.
  14. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!


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

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 3
Amount Per Serving Calories 1274Total Fat 53gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 32gCholesterol 519mgSodium 770mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 1gSugar 7gProtein 172g

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