Crispy, juicy hot honey chicken tenders glazed in a butter-free sweet and spicy sauce and made without oil in the air fryer or baked in the oven. A super easy appetizer or weeknight dinner that can be made gluten-free!
The crispiest chicken tenders glazed in hot honey
I love chicken tenders, but they have to be super, super crispy! That’s why I am so excited to share this extra crisp and crunchy chicken tender recipe that you can cook in the air fryer or bake in the oven without oil.
These chicken tenders are glazed in hot honey and are sweet, sticky, and spicy. They are the perfect finger food for football season, an appetizer, or even a meal for family dinner.
The chicken is super moist, and the breading is extra crunchy. You can even make these chicken tenders gluten free or make your own hot honey sauce!
Hot honey chicken tenders are so delicious! Serve them with ranch, these homemade mozzarella sticks, or even this healthy buffalo chicken dip.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Crispy, moist, and juicy breaded chicken tenders.
- Easily air fry or oven bake these chicken tenders.
- This recipe can be made 100% gluten free.
- The chicken tenders are glazed in sweet and spicy hot honey.
- There is NO OIL required in this recipe.
- You can make homemade chicken tenders or air fry frozen ones.
- Check out this spicy chicken bulgogi for another flavorful recipe!
What is hot honey?
Hot honey is honey infused with fresh or dried chili peppers, making it sweet, smooth, and slightly spicy. It is perfect for drizzling on crispy fried chicken, pizza, toast, and even ice cream. You can make your own hot honey or buy a pre-made one.
Ingredients and substitutions
These extra crispy chicken tenders are glazed in hot honey and call for 8 simple ingredients. You’ll need chicken breast, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, eggs, and a few other ingredients. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared. Just make sure to read the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post for exact measurements.
- Chicken: You can use pre-cut tenders or cut three chicken breasts into tenders.
- Flour: Next, you’ll need all-purpose flour to coat the chicken in before breading. You can use gluten-free flour or regular; both work!
- Salt & Pepper: For seasoning.
- Paprika: I love paprika; it adds the best flavor. You only need one teaspoon.
- Garlic Powder: Plus some garlic powder because garlic makes everything taste better.
- Eggs: You need 2 eggs to dip the chicken tenders into so the panko bread crumbs will stick to the outside and not fall off during cooking.
- Panko: Panko bread crumbs make for the perfect breading for these chicken tenders. When baked or air-fried, panko turns super crispy without oil!
- Hot Honey: I used Mike’s Classic Hot Honey, but any brand will work! This sauce is the perfect sweet & spicy glaze for the chicken tenders. You can even use it as a dipping sauce.
Kitchen tools required
You don’t need any fancy or special kitchen utensils for homemade chicken tenders. Here is a list:
- 3 Shallow Bowls
- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Knife
- Air Fryer (if air frying the chicken tenders)
- Baking Tray (if baking the chicken tenders)
- Parchment Paper
- Small Bowl
- Measuring Tools: 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make crispy hot honey chicken tenders
Homemade hot honey chicken tenders are easy to make. They take less than 15 minutes to cook in the air fryer or oven. Here are step-by-step directions:
First, decide if you are going to an air fryer or oven bake the chicken tenders. Then, preheat your oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or preheat your air fryer to 380°F.
Next, in a small shallow bowl, add the flour. In a second shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, add the panko, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
Then, trim off all fat and tendons from chicken tenders. Or, if using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch thick strips.
Make sure to pat them dry with a paper towel before breading.
Working one at a time, dip a chicken tender into flour, make sure to coat it, and then shake off excess flour. Then, dip it into the eggs, and then finally into panko breadcrumbs. Use your hands to coat the chicken with the panko so it is fully covered. Repeat this with the rest of the tenders.
Step 5: how to oven bake
If you are baking the chicken tenders in the oven, place the breaded chicken tenders onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, until golden, crispy, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
If you are air frying the chicken tenders, place the breaded chicken tenders into the preheated air fryer basket and lightly spray with cooking spray. Air fry at 380°F for 8 – 11 minutes until golden, crispy, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
Meanwhile, heat the hot honey in a microwave-safe dish for 20 – 30 seconds. Finally, when chicken is done cooking, drizzle or coat the tenders in the warmed hot honey and enjoy!
How to air fry homemade chicken tenders
Air frying chicken tenders is very easy; you can make homemade ones or air fry frozen ones! Simply place the breaded chicken tenders into the preheated air fryer basket and lightly spray with cooking spray. Then, air fry at 380°F for 8 – 11 minutes, until golden, crispy, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
What to serve with hot honey chicken tenders
Hot honey chicken tenders go well with so many dipping sauces! I love them with ranch or caesar dressing, but you can also serve them with ketchup, mustard, or mayo. These are my favorite side dishes to serve with them:
- Greek Spinach Salad
- Watermelon Basil Salad
- Air Fryer Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Summer Corn & Arugula Salad
Expert recipe tips
- Pat chicken tenders dry before dredging in flour. This removes any extra liquid and ensures that the panko breading will stick onto the chicken tenders as they bake or fry in the air fryer.
- Don’t skip out on the flour. Dredging your chicken tenders in flour before the egg wash is super important! It helps hold the breading together. If you don’t use it, the breadcrumbs won’t adhere as well and might fall off in the cooking process.
- Spray the chicken tenders with avocado or olive oil spray. Before air frying or baking, spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray so they get extra golden crispy.
- Heat the hot honey before glazing. Hot honey at room temperature is sticky and slow-moving. I recommend heating it in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds, so it softens up. Warm hot honey makes for the perfect glaze.
- Make your own hot honey. You can make your own hot honey by heating 1/2 cup of honey with 1 – 3 teaspoons of red chili flakes in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds.
- Hot honey chicken tenders are best enjoyed immediately. Since we are glazing these crispy chicken tenders in honey, if you let them sit for too long, they might get soggy. I always recommend serving them within 10 minutes of making. If not, serve the hot honey on the side.
Can I make my own hot honey?
Yes! If you don’t want to buy hot honey from your grocery store, you can also make a homemade version. Simply heat 1/2 cup of honey with 1 – 3 teaspoons of red chili flakes in a small sauce pot on medium-low or in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds. If you are heating it on the stove, whisk continuously for 1 – 2 minutes until the sauce is formed, and make sure not to burn the honey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they spicy?
The spicy level depends on what type of hot honey you use. Some brands are mild, and some are extra-spicy. If you are using homemade hot honey, you can control the spiciness level by how many teaspoons of red chili flakes you add. Start with 1 teaspoon and add more as desired.
Can I air fry frozen chicken tenders?
Yes, you can air fryer frozen chicken tenders. If you don’t want to make homemade ones, you can use store-bought frozen ones for this recipe. Follow the same instructions below!
What temperature should I air fry chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders should be air fried at 380°F.
What temperature should I bake chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders should be baked in the oven at 425°F.
Can I make them gluten free?
Make these hot honey chicken tenders gluten free by using gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten free panko.
Why are my chicken tenders dry?
If your chicken tenders are dry, you likely over-cooked them. Make sure to keep an eye on the clock and remove the chicken tenders when their internal temperature reaches 165°F.
How to store and reheat leftovers:
Storing: Store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I recommend storing leftovers without the hot honey. When you are ready to enjoy, heat the hot honey separately and glaze the chicken tenders.
Reheating: For best results, reheat unglazed chicken tenders in your air fryer at 350°F for 3 – 5 minutes or in your oven or toaster oven at 350°F for 5 – 8 minutes. Avoid the microwave because they will get soggy. Heat the hot honey separately and glaze after the chicken is warmed.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
- Air Fryer Chicken Sausages
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs (boneless & skinless)
- Healthy Crispy Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets
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!
Hot Honey Chicken Tenders
- 1.5 pounds chicken tenders (10 – 12 pieces) or 3 chicken breasts cut into tenders
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, regular or gluten-free if needed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ⅓ – ½ cup hot honey, I love Mike’s or make homemade (instrucitons in recipe notes)
- Preheat oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Or preheat your air fryer to 380°F.
- In a small shallow bowl add the flour. In a second shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, add the panko, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
- Trim off all fat and tendons from chicken tenders. Or, if using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch thick strips. Then, pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Working one at a time, dip a chicken tender into flour, make sure to coat it, and then shake off excess flour. Then, dip it into the eggs, and then finally into panko breadcrumbs. Use your hands to coat the chicken with the panko, so it is fully covered.
- Repeat step 4 with the rest of the tenders.
- Oven: Place the breaded chicken tenders onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, until golden, crispy, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- Air Fryer: Place the breaded chicken tenders into the preheated air fryer basket and lightly spray with cooking spray. Air fry at 380°F for 8 – 11 minutes, until golden, crispy, and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- Meanwhile, heat the hot honey in a microwave-safe dish for 20 – 30 seconds. When chicken is done cooking drizzle or coat the tenders in the warmed hot honey and enjoy!
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