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How To Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer How To Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer


How To Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer

Written by: Amelia Brooks

Learn how to cook frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer easily and quickly. Find step-by-step articles and expert tips to make delicious crispy chicken tenders.

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When it comes to quick and convenient meal options, frozen chicken tenders are a popular choice for many households. They are not only delicious but also incredibly versatile, allowing you to incorporate them into various recipes. If you’re looking for a healthier and hassle-free way to cook frozen chicken tenders, then an air fryer is your best friend.

An air fryer uses hot air circulation to cook food, resulting in crispy exteriors and tender interiors without the need for excessive oil. This cooking method not only reduces the fat content but also significantly cuts down on cooking time. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer, ensuring you get perfect results every time.

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment at hand. All you need is a bag of frozen chicken tenders, your preferred seasonings, and, of course, an air fryer. Once you have everything ready, follow the simple steps outlined below to enjoy delicious and crispy air-fried chicken tenders.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enjoy crispy, flavorful frozen chicken tenders in minutes with an air fryer. Preparing, preheating, and cooking to perfection is easy, offering endless serving options for a delicious and convenient meal.
  • Elevate your air-fried chicken tenders with creative seasonings, dipping sauces, and variations. Experiment with different brands and types for personalized, flavorful results every time.

Preparing the Frozen Chicken Tenders

Before you start cooking, it’s essential to properly prepare the frozen chicken tenders. This step ensures that the seasoning adheres well to the chicken and helps enhance the overall flavor.

Begin by removing the desired amount of frozen chicken tenders from the packaging. You can use as many or as few as you need for your meal. Place the chicken tenders on a plate or cutting board and pat them dry with a paper towel. This will remove any excess moisture, allowing the seasonings to stick better.

Next, season the chicken tenders according to your taste preferences. You can use a simple combination of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or get creative by adding other herbs and spices. Sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the tenders, making sure to coat both sides for maximum flavor.

Once seasoned, you have the option to marinate the chicken tenders for additional flavor infusion. Place the seasoned tenders in a zip-top bag or a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This step is optional but can add depth and complexity to the taste of the chicken tenders.

After the chicken tenders have marinated (if desired), they are ready to be air fried. Preparing the tenders beforehand ensures that they are well-seasoned and ready to deliver a burst of flavor when cooked.

Preheating the Air Fryer

Before you start cooking the frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer, it’s crucial to preheat the appliance. Preheating allows the air fryer to reach the optimal cooking temperature, ensuring that your chicken tenders cook evenly and have a crispy exterior.

Begin by plugging in your air fryer and setting the temperature to the recommended temperature for cooking frozen chicken tenders. This typically ranges from 400°F to 425°F (200°C to 220°C). It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific air fryer model, as cooking temperatures can vary.

Next, set the cooking time. Most frozen chicken tenders require around 10-15 minutes of cooking time. However, it’s always a good idea to check the packaging of your specific brand for precise cooking instructions.

Now, allow the air fryer to preheat for approximately 3-5 minutes. This time may vary depending on your air fryer model, so it’s crucial to consult the manual for accurate preheating times.

While the air fryer is preheating, take this opportunity to prepare any sides or accompaniments you want to serve with the chicken tenders, such as a side salad or roasted vegetables.

Once the preheating time is up, your air fryer is ready to go, and you can start cooking the frozen chicken tenders.

Cooking the Frozen Chicken Tenders

Now that your air fryer is preheated and the frozen chicken tenders are nicely seasoned, it’s time to start cooking them. Follow these simple steps to achieve perfectly cooked and crispy chicken tenders:

  1. Open the air fryer basket and carefully place the frozen chicken tenders inside, making sure not to overcrowd the basket. It’s important to leave enough space between the tenders to ensure proper air circulation and even cooking.
  2. Close the basket and set the timer for the recommended cooking time. As mentioned earlier, most frozen chicken tenders require around 10-15 minutes of cooking time at a temperature of 400°F to 425°F (200°C to 220°C). It’s best to consult the packaging instructions for precise cooking times.
  3. During the cooking process, it’s recommended to shake the basket or flip the chicken tenders halfway through. This promotes even cooking and helps achieve a crispy exterior on all sides. Use tongs or a spatula to carefully turn over the tenders.
  4. While cooking, you may notice some excess moisture or oil accumulating in the bottom of the air fryer basket. If desired, you can remove the basket, carefully pour out the excess liquid, and continue cooking. This will help enhance the crispiness of the chicken tenders.

Remember to keep an eye on the chicken tenders as they cook, as cooking times may vary slightly depending on your specific air fryer model. It’s better to slightly undercook initially, as you can always cook them for an additional minute or two if needed.

Once the cooking time is up, the frozen chicken tenders should have a golden brown and crispy exterior. The tender meat inside should be thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. However, to be certain the chicken tenders are fully cooked, it’s essential to check for doneness.

Before cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer, make sure to preheat the air fryer for a few minutes to ensure even cooking. This will help the chicken tenders cook more evenly and become crispy on the outside.

Checking for Doneness

Before serving your air-fried frozen chicken tenders, it’s crucial to ensure they are cooked to the proper internal temperature to guarantee food safety. Here are a few ways to check for doneness:

  1. Using a meat thermometer: Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken tender. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked and safe to consume.
  2. Visual inspection: Cut into one of the chicken tenders to check its color and texture. The meat should be white and opaque, with no traces of pink. Additionally, the juices from the chicken should run clear, indicating that it is cooked through.

If the chicken tenders have reached the appropriate internal temperature or show no signs of pinkness and the juices run clear, they are ready to be served. However, if they need a little more cooking time, you can return them to the air fryer for an additional minute or two until they reach the desired doneness.

Always remember to handle the chicken tenders with care, using oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves when removing them from the air fryer, as they will be hot. Allow the chicken tenders to cool slightly before serving to avoid burning your fingers or mouth.

Now that your air-fried frozen chicken tenders are perfectly cooked and safe to eat, it’s time to plate them up and enjoy their crispy and delicious flavors.

Serving the Air Fried Chicken Tenders

Now that your air-fried frozen chicken tenders are cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy their delicious flavors. Here are a few suggestions on how to serve and enjoy your crispy chicken tenders:

  1. Serve as a main dish: Place the air-fried chicken tenders on a plate or serving platter and serve them as the main course. They are excellent on their own, but you can also pair them with your favorite dipping sauces, such as barbecue sauce, honey mustard, or buffalo sauce, for added flavor.
  2. Make it a sandwich: If you’re in the mood for a satisfying sandwich, you can use the air-fried chicken tenders as the star ingredient. Grab some buns or bread, add some lettuce, tomato slices, and your favorite condiments, and assemble a delicious chicken tender sandwich.
  3. Add them to a salad: For a lighter option, you can slice up the air-fried chicken tenders and toss them into a fresh salad. Their crispy texture and flavorful taste will provide a delightful contrast to the greens and other salad toppings.
  4. Create a chicken tender wrap: Roll up the air-fried chicken tenders along with some veggies, cheese, and a spread of your choice in a tortilla or wrap for a quick and satisfying meal on the go.
  5. Enjoy as a side dish: Air-fried chicken tenders also make a mouthwatering side dish. Serve them alongside your favorite sides, such as French fries, coleslaw, or roasted vegetables, for a complete meal.

Remember to get creative with your presentation and garnish the dish with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, or a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese to add an extra touch of flavor and visual appeal.

Whether you decide to enjoy the air-fried chicken tenders as a main course, sandwich, salad topping, or side dish, they are sure to be a hit with your family and friends. The crispy coating and tender meat will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.

Tips and Variations

While cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer is a straightforward process, here are a few tips and variations to consider for the best results:

  1. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket: Make sure to leave enough space between the chicken tenders in the basket to allow proper air circulation. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking and less crispy exteriors.
  2. Experiment with different seasonings: While a simple salt, pepper, and garlic powder seasoning is always delicious, feel free to get creative with other flavor combinations. Consider using chili powder, Cajun seasoning, dried herbs, or even a hint of lemon zest to elevate the taste of your chicken tenders.
  3. Try different dipping sauces: While the chicken tenders are flavorful on their own, dipping sauces can add an extra dimension of taste. Explore dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, sweet and sour sauce, sriracha mayo, or even a tangy barbecue sauce to complement the crispy chicken tenders.
  4. Add a breadcrumb coating: If you prefer a more textured and crunchy exterior, you can dip the seasoned chicken tenders in beaten eggs and coat them with breadcrumbs before placing them in the air fryer. This will create a thicker and crunchier coating on the chicken tenders.
  5. Preheat the air fryer: Preheating the air fryer ensures that the chicken tenders start cooking immediately, resulting in a more consistent and even cooking process. It also helps to achieve a crispier exterior.
  6. Flip the chicken tenders halfway through: To ensure even browning and crispiness on all sides of the chicken tenders, flip them over halfway through the cooking process. This will help achieve a uniform golden brown color.
  7. Keep an eye on the cooking time: Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken tenders. It’s essential to check their doneness by using a meat thermometer or cutting into one to ensure they are cooked all the way through.
  8. Try different brands and types of frozen chicken tenders: Different brands of frozen chicken tenders may have varying cooking times and require slight adjustments. Additionally, you can experiment with different types of chicken tenders, such as breaded, seasoned, or gluten-free options for added variety.

By following these tips and exploring different variations, you can personalize the cooking process and elevate the flavors of your air-fried frozen chicken tenders to suit your preferences.


Cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer is a convenient and healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. With its hot air circulation, an air fryer allows you to achieve perfectly crispy and golden-brown chicken tenders with minimal oil. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals in no time.

Remember to start by properly preparing the frozen chicken tenders, ensuring that they are seasoned to perfection. Preheating the air fryer is essential to achieve the desired crispy texture, followed by cooking the chicken tenders at the recommended temperature and time. Don’t forget to check for doneness using a meat thermometer or through visual inspection.

Once your air-fried frozen chicken tenders are cooked to perfection, the serving possibilities are endless. Whether you enjoy them as a main course, in a sandwich, on a salad, or as a side dish, their crispy exterior and juicy interior will delight your taste buds.

Feel free to experiment with seasonings, dipping sauces, and different variations to cater to your preferences and add excitement to your meals. And don’t be afraid to try different brands and types of frozen chicken tenders for added variety.

By utilizing the tips and techniques shared in this article, you can confidently cook frozen chicken tenders in your air fryer, impressing yourself and your loved ones with delicious and flavorful results every time.

So, go ahead and enjoy the convenience, taste, and health benefits of cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer. It’s a game-changer in the kitchen that will make your mealtime a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer

Can I cook frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer?

Absolutely! Cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer is not only possible but also a great way to get them crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
What temperature and time should I set for cooking frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer?

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and then cook the frozen chicken tenders for about 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time for even crispiness.
How do I ensure that the frozen chicken tenders are cooked thoroughly in the air fryer?

It’s important to use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken tenders has reached at least 165°F to ensure they are fully cooked.
Can I add seasoning or breading to the frozen chicken tenders before cooking them in the air fryer?

Absolutely! You can add your favorite seasonings or even coat the frozen chicken tenders with breadcrumbs or panko for an extra crispy texture.
What are some serving suggestions for air-fried frozen chicken tenders?

You can serve the air-fried frozen chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces, on a bed of salad, or even in a sandwich or wrap for a delicious and convenient meal.

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