Air fryer chicken tenders is an often requested recipe for the Instant Pot Vortex. Kids love them, and they are easy to make. This Instant Pot Vortex chicken tender recipe is a bit unique from other recipes in that it uses Panko breadcrumbs and adds Parmesan cheese and a bit of Italian seasoning for flavor so that it does not need dipping. But then I dipped the chicken strips in ranch anyway. Becasue I do love a dipped chicken tender!
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tenders in the Instant Pot Vortex
Chicken tenders, also known as chicken strips or chicken fingers, are cuts of meat from the side of the breast of the chicken (learn more about chicken cuts here). They are white meat and tend to be easy to cook either in an air fryer, oven, or regular fryer. By using the air fryer, you use less oil, which cuts the calories some and makes them more healthy.
For my Instant Pot Vortex chicken tenders, I started by coating the tenders with milk. You can also use Buttermilk, which I prefer and really helps keep things moist (see also my Instant Pot Vortex Rotisserie Chicken recipe). Then, I dipped each tender in flour, followed by egg, and then followed by a mix of Panko bread crumbs and seasoning. You can use other things in place of Panko if you like such as crushed cornflakes or regular breadcrumbs. You can also make these without Parmesan if you want a more basic air fryer chicken tender recipe.
For an example of a recipe using Corn Flakes, check out my Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee recipe.
The key to getting your chicken tenders crispy in the air fryer is to give them a good spray with oil before putting them in. Hold your spray mister or can fairly high so that the pressure does not move the flour coating off of the chicken strips.
Be sure to give the tray a good coating too. I like to place a paper towel under mine when I spray it so that the counter does not get super oily. I like to use Avocado oil, which has a high heat point and I like brands that are pure so that there are no ingredients that can damage cookware. This is one of my favorites.
Cooking Chicken Tenders in the Vortex Air Fryer
I did my chicken tenders on two trays, so I had to do some rotating of trays. For cook time, I set the Vortex to 400 and air fried for about 5 minutes before turning the chicken strips over and switching trays. After another five minutes I turned them all over again and switched trays. Then I did a final turn and switch after about three minutes and cooked for another 3 minutes.
Your cook time is going to vary based on the number of chicken tenders, if you are using two trays, and general thickness of your chicken strips. So, monitor things and turn the chicken and/or flip around trays as needed.
Serving Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
I served my Vortex air fired chicken tenders with Teriyaki vegetables that were also made in the Vortex (recipe to come). I made those in the rotisserie basket before I made the chicken strips.
I dipped my chicken tenders in ranch dressing, but the breaded chicken tenders are also good with BBQ sauce, honey mustard, or really any dipping sauce of choice.
- 1 pound skinless, chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs or other breadcrumbs of choice
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk or Buttermilk (preferred)
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking oil spray (I use avocado oil)
- Preheat air fryer to 400.
- Place the chicken tenders in a ziplock bag or bowl and coat with milk
- Mix the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and seasoning in a shallow bowl
- Place the egg in another bowl and flour in a separate bowl.
- Dredge the tenders through the flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, then dredge through the breadcrumb mix.
- Spray the air fryer trays or basket with oil and place the tenders on the tray. Do not crowd or overlap the the tenders.
- Spray the chicken tenders with oil.
- Air fry for 5 minutes, then turn the tenders over and spray them again with oil. Switch tray positions if using multiple trays.
- Air fry for another 5 minutes and again flip the tenders and switch trays if necessary.
- Air fry for another 6 minutes or until the chicken tenders are golden brown and internal temperature is at least 165, flipping the tenders or switching trays as necessary.
You can make these air fryer chicken tenders with cornflakes instead of breadcrumbs. The Parmesan can also be removed and additional breadcrumbs added if desired.
Cooking times will sometimes vary. Monitor the chicken strips and turn them and/or switch tray positions as needed.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 158mg Sodium: 464mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 37g