These healthy air fryer chicken tenders are made without breading in under 15 minutes. Coat them in BBQ or buffalo sauce for an easy weeknight meal everyone will love. They are juicy, flavorful, keto, and gluten-free!
Keto air fryer chicken tenders without breading
These air fryer chicken tenders are going to blow your mind! They are made without breading, are super juicy, and are healthy. This is my go-to dinner recipe when I want to eat healthier but still enjoy a childhood classic. You’ll also love these boneless and skinless air fryer chicken thighs.
The best part is that this recipe is very customizable. Enjoy these keto chicken tenders plain with your favorite dipping sauce, like ketchup or ranch. Or you can coat them in sugar-free BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, teriyaki, or honey siracha sauce after air-frying them. Trust me, this recipe will never get old!
No one can tell these naked air fryer chicken tenders are healthy or gluten-free. They are super flavorful and don’t compromise on taste. Kids, picky eaters, and your friends are sure to love them.
Healthy chicken tenders are perfect for lunch, dinner, meal prep, as an appetizer, and as a Game Day side. I cannot wait to hear what you think!
Why you’ll love this air fryer recipe:
- These air fryer chicken tenders are moist and tender.
- They have crispy edges but no breading.
- No breadcrumbs or panko needed
- Air fired in 10 minutes.
- Over 5 variations.
- Add your favorite BBQ, buffalo, or teriyaki sauce.
- These chicken tenders are keto, gluten-free, and low-carb.
- High in protein – with over 36 grams per serving.
- Perfectly seasoned.
- Perfect weeknight meal, Game Day appetizer, or side dish.
- Try these famous air fryer chicken thighs next!
Ingredients needed & substitutions
This is seriously the best-ever healthy air fryer chicken tender recipe! You only need three simple ingredients, plus some seasonings. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
- Chicken: This recipe is so customizable. You can use pre-cut chicken tenders or cut-up boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Chicken is a great source of lean protein.
- Olive Oil: Since this recipe has no eggs and no breadcrumbs, the olive helps the seasonings stick to the chicken tenders.
- Seasonings: You need a combination of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to season these no-breading chicken tenders perfectly.
- Optional Sauces: These naked air fryer chicken tenders taste even better when coated in a sauce! I love BBQ Sauce, buffalo sauce, teriyaki, and honey sriracha sauce.
How to make air fryer chicken tenders without breading
These air fryer chicken tenders without breading take under 15 minutes to make! The chicken tenders are juicy, flavorful, and keto. You don’t need flour, eggs, or breadcrumbs. Here are detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference so anyone level cook can make them. The full recipe and ingredient measurements are at the bottom of this page in the recipe card.
First, preheat your air fryer to 360°F and lightly grease it with non-stick spray.
Then, trim off all fat and tendons from chicken tenders. Or, if using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch thick strips.
Add the chicken tenders to a large mixing bowl with the olive oil and all the seasonings and toss to coat.
Next, place the seasoned (breadless) chicken tenders into the preheated air fryer basket and lightly spray them with olive oil or avocado oil spray.
Air fry at 380°F for 8 – 11 minutes, flipping once halfway through. They should be golden, with crispy edges, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
You can also toss the air-fried chicken tenders in a sauce. Simply heat ½ cup of bbq, buffalo sauce, or honey sriracha sauce in a microwave-safe bowl for 20 – 40 seconds. Once the chicken is done, add it to a clean mixing and toss it with the sauce.
Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce and a squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy your gluten-free air fryer chicken tenders made without breadcrumbs!
Expert tips for air fryer chicken tenders
- Use chicken breast or chicken tenderloins. I love that you can use pre-cut chicken tenderloins or cut-up whole chicken breasts. Both work perfectly.
- Preheat your air fryer. This ensures that the chicken tenders cook evenly and for the correct amount of time.
- Flip the chicken tenders halfway through. This ensures that the chicken tenders are air fried evenly and remain extra juicy.
- Add sauce. I love adding sauce after the tenders are done cooking to mix things up. I make this recipe at least once a week, so it is great adding some variety. Try BBQ, buffalo, teriyaki, garlic ginger, or honest siracha.
- Meal prep them. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can store extras in the fridge for up to 4 days. They made for a great meal prep lunch and dinner.
Sides for chicken tenders:
The options are endless! Chicken tenders go well with many side dishes. If you are in the mood for a salad, try this orzo pesto salad, watermelon feta salad, or strawberry goat cheese salad. For something heartier, try this mouth-watering gluten-free garlic bread, cornbread, these sweet potato wedges, or these smashed fingerling potatoes.
What makes these chicken tenders healthy:
These air fryer chicken tenders without breading are healthy for many reasons; here are three:
- No Breading. These chicken tenders are made without breadcrumbs, flour, panko, or eggs. It makes them low-carb, keto, and gluten-free.
- High Protein. There are 36 grams of protein per serving.
- Not Deep Fried. We air fry the chicken tenders without oil instead of deep frying them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they keto?
These air fryer chicken tenders are keto and low-carb since they are made without breading.
Are they gluten-free?
Yes, this healthy air fryer chicken tenders recipe is 100% gluten-free.
Can I use chicken tenderloins?
Yes, you can use chicken tenderloins for this recipe.
Can I cook them in the oven instead?
You can also bake these healthy chicken tenders in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the seasoned chicken tenders onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 – 14 minutes, until the edges are slightly crispy and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
Can I make them ahead of time?
These air fryer chicken tenders are excellent for meal prep, lunch, and dinner. Let them cool to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the air fryer at 250°F for 5 – 10 minutes.
What’s the best temperature to air fry chicken tenders?
For best results, air fry chicken tenders at 380°F. The chicken tenders won’t cook through if the temperature is too low, and they will dry out if the temperature is too high.
How long do I air fry chicken tenders at 380°F?
Chicken tenders take about 8 to 11 minutes to air fry at 380°F. Make sure the inside of the chicken tenders reaches 165°F.
Can you freeze cooked chicken tenders?
Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken tenders. Let them cool to room temperature, then place them in a freezer-safe bag. You can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just pop them back in the air fryer on defrost mode or in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds (or until warm) to reheat.
How to store and reheat:
Storing: For best results, store leftover air fryer chicken tenders without breading in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds until warm or in the air fryer at 250°F for 5 – 7 minutes (or until warm).
If you love this burger recipe, try these next!
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Sausages
- Air Fryer Chicken Burgers
- Hot Honey Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (No Breading)
- 1.5 lbs chicken tenders (8 – 10 pieces) or 3 chicken breasts cut into tenders
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- OPTIONAL SAUCES: BBQ Sauce, Buffalo sauce, teriyaki, or honey sriracha sauce
- Preheat your air fryer to 380°F.
- Trim off all fat and tendons from chicken tenders. Or, if using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch thick strips.
- Add chicken tenders to a large mixing bowl with the olive oil and all the seasonings. Toss to coat.
- Place the seasoned (breadless) chicken tenders into the preheated air fryer basket and lightly spray them with olive oil or avocado oil spray.
- Air fry at 380°F for 8 – 11 minutes, flipping once halfway through. They should be golden, with crispy edges, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce and a squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- OPTIONAL SAUCES: heat ½ cup of bbq, buffalo sauce, or honey sriracha sauce in a microwave-safe bowl for 20 – 40 seconds. Once the chicken is done, add it to a clean mixing and toss it with the sauce.
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