What is the easiest way to cook frozen chicken tenders? Well, I would say using an air fryer is the easiest and simplest way. Air fryer frozen chicken tenders are unarguably the fastest, easiest, and best recipe among all other recipes for chicken tenders. There is no need for an oven or skillet, and the result will be much better than that of cooking in the oven or skillet.
In my family, both adults and toddlers love chicken tenders. Thus, I have to prepare frozen chicken tenders at least once a week. This way, over the years, I have tried several different versions of frozen chicken tenders. I cooked them on a skillet, in the oven, and finally on my air fryer. Based on my experience, I can confidently say that nothing beats the test and texture of the chicken tenders cooked in an air fryer.
These chicken tenders are surprisingly much crispier on the outside, while the inside is superbly juicy! Ah, hard to not crave them! So, let’s try the best version of this recipe with the best kitchen hacks right here.
Why air fryer frozen chicken tenders?
There is no single reason not to try this dish at home right now. The benefits of this fantastic dish include:
- There is no added sugar.
- There is no heavily processed chicken. So, equally healthy for both adults and kids.
- Breading chicken tenders are as good as those without breading. The breading is made of seeds, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
- A minimal or very low amount of added oils.
- You have options to pick chicken strips with nutrient-dense ingredients. For instance, chicken strips with secret nutrient-dense, veggies.
- You can even pick low sodium chicken strips. There are numerous brands out there.
- Much better than the deep-fried chicken tenders, as the air fryer cuts the amount of fat.
- You are getting whole grain chicken tenders.
- It offers, in every 7 breaded chicken sticks, a minimum of 210 calories.
- There is also hidden pureed cauliflower and other veggies in these frozen chicken strips.
Now try out more fast and easy air fryer recipes now: Air fry chicken nuggets and air fryer cheese sticks.
- Frozen chicken strips (1 bag)
- Cooking spray or oil (optional)
- Dipping sauce of your choice (optional)
- Leave enough room so that the strips don’t touch and stick to each other.
- Then maintain the same temperature and cook the chicken strips for 11-12 minutes. It’s better to turn the strips over midway so that the opposite side is thoroughly cooked.
- After the base time of 11-12 minutes, you can shake the chicken strips and keep cooking for an additional 1.5-2 minutes. Doing so will ensure the desired level of crispiness.
- If you think the desired level of crispiness is not achieved or the tenders are not thoroughly cooked, move up the air fryer temperature to 400-degree Fahrenheit and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid any burn.
Now, as you have finished cooking, enjoy your air fryer frozen chicken tenders with your favorite sauce (which is also an optional step). The dipping sauce includes mustard, ketchup, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, etc.
If you don’t have any sauce in place, you can enjoy the tenders without dressing up.
If you are using cooking spray, spray the chicken strips lightly using the spray before placing them in the air fryer.
Although it is an optional step, the cooking spray will prevent the chicken strips from sticking to each other whole air frying. More specifically, it is highly recommended for cooking a big batch of tenders. (If you aren’t using a cooking spray, move to step 3 directly.)
Pre-Heating the Air Fryer
As I have directed, preheating the air fryer is very essential. However, you don’t need to preheat the air fryer, if you don’t like to. In that case, you will have to add additional 4-5 minutes to the cooking total cooking time.
So, keep checking the crispiness of the tenders as you keep cooking. If the tenders don’t feel right, increase the cooking time gradually. Then, when you get the desired crispiness, remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer.
- The level of crispiness always depends on the size of the chickens’ trips. The small and thin slices will get hot easily and will become crispier. On the contrary, the big and thicker ones will not get much hot and will fall short of desired crispiness.
- Air fryer size and brand are also important to determine the exact cooking time and temperature. So run the first batch as a test, then set the cooking time and temperature based on the situation.
- There is no need for olive oil spray. The circulating hot air suffices to make the tenders crunchy.
- If you use uncooked yet breaded chicken strips, you may need to add 2 minutes to the cooking time until the strips cook thoroughly.
- If you don’t prefer the high carb version, you can cut the amount of carb by using non-breaded chicken strips.
- You can utilize wrapped bacon in this recipe along with breadcrumbs. The cooking time will be 13-15 minutes at maximum.
- The air fryer chicken legs and air fryer corn dogs also resemble this recipe. So, you can use any of them as a variation of this recipe.
Tips and Tricks
- You can leave the chicken tenders inside the air fryer for a few more minutes after turning the air fryer off. Doing so will ensure that the tenders get warm in the middle and warm all the way.
- As we are using a preheated air fryer, it is wise to reduce the temperature a bit for the successive batches of tenders. A reduced cooking time is also recommended if need be.
What goes with air fryer frozen chicken tenders?
The dipping sauce, as stated earlier, is the main serving option for this dish. But there are many more ingredients that work as side dishes with this dish.
For instance, a veggie that is eatable raw goes fine with chicken tenders and works as finger food. Keep the veggies in the fridge overnight. Then serve the veggies and dip sauce with chicken tenders.
The finger foods are:
- Sticks of carrot
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Cucumber strips
- Sticks of Jicama
- Sticks of celery
- Sweet bell peppers stick
- Cauliflower or broccoli florets
- Sugar snap or snow peas
Interestingly, these chicken tenders are fine to serve with cooked vegetable sides as well. Here are some cooked vegetable sides that go fine with frozen chicken tenders:
- Air fryer carrots
- Air fryer sage squash and brown butter
- Cilantro-lime dip sauce with jicama air fryer fries
Very easy formula and fast cook time have made the air fryer frozen chicken tenders recipe my favorite one out of other air fryer recipes. It is one of those snacks or appetizers that I even eat for lunch! Ironic but the truth is truth, right? I just cannot resist myself!
You will know what I’m talking about when you will try this recipe yourself. Just stick to the directions, notes, and tricks from the first to last.