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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders No Breading

This tender air fryer chicken tenders no breading recipe is my kids’ favorite meal! Barbecue strips of chicken breast cooked to perfection in no time. If you have only made crispy frozen air fryer chicken tenders this is a healthy game changer.


We made this air fryer chicken tenders no breading recipe to see if it was as delicious as the frozen ones we bought for years. OH MY were they so much better! If you too are looking for an easy air fryer recipe that’s egg free without breadcrumbs, this is it. (affiliate links present)

Marinated Chicken Tenderloins in Air Fryer

You may have already tried air fryer frozen chicken nuggets for your kids. I mean that is fine but homemade is so much better. You can get the same great flavors and a bit of crisp without all of the extra carbs on the outside and we will show you how right here. 😉

You’re probably looking for more flavor and healthier choices too huh? Well if you want an entire air fryer fried chicken breast you can, but finger foods are kinda’ fun and this one needs no flour!

Let’s talk about a few specifics, and the kitchen appliances we have at home;

You only need a few items to make these homemade chicken strips cooked in hot air like this or for our Oven Baked Chicken Tenders No Breading too. Super quick and easy meal that is family friendly.

chicken tenders

Ingredients to make chicken tenders in air fryer

As far as the sauce goes that is up to you though this is a simple combination you can mix together. Teriyaki works well too.

  1. Olive oil cooking spray
    1. oil spray will help it not stick to your air fryer basket
  2. Fresh chicken tenders
    1. if yours are frozen follow our Instant Pot frozen chicken tenders recipe
  3. Brown sugar
  4. 1/2 cup Ketchup
  5. Onion powder
  6. Paprika
  7. Salt and pepper

Or you can use this teriyaki air fryer marinated chicken recipe instead of this bbq sauce. This is just one of our many air fryer chicken recipes no breading. Once you fall in love with this one try one of our others.

Ninja Foodi Chicken Tenders No Breading

If you just wanted to use a bottled sauce instead of making your own homemade barbecue sauce we share below you could use that too. With just 6 ingredients I am sure you have in your cupboard already though, it’s kinda’ a no brainer.

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders No Breading

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders No Breading Time and Temp

Yes we have breaded chicken similar to this and made bacon wrapped Ninja Foodi chicken tenders before. Those were good for the fry food taste we were looking for, this is a gluten free version though since we’re skipping the breadcrumbs.

  • NO flour, Panko, or almond flour are used in these.
  • That makes them really quick to throw together and are a much healthier air frying recipe to boot.
  • All in just 10 – 12 minutes time too!!

I will tell you that my girls loved these maybe more than the laborious process of whisking an egg, dipping into several different shallow bowls to coat the outside, and then cooking. I would try them both and see which you prefer. Then you’ll be ready to air fry everything like us! My oven is crying now, I hardly use it anymore except for cakes!

Ok here is how we made these air fryer chicken breasts pieces. Yes you can just slice breasts thinly if you cannot find “tenders” in your meat section.

chicken strips air fryer

Can I eat chicken tenders on keto?

This is not necessarily a Keto chicken tenders recipe but you could make it as such.  You would need to omit the sugar and maybe just use seasonings as we did with our frozen chicken breast in air fryer recipe here.

  • Just use timing here and seasonings from the other to make it low carb. That one only has ONE carb per serving!
  • You can find even more low carb air fryer recipes here too, bookmark that while you’re at it. 😉

I bet you’re thinking “man The Typical Mom blog has a lot of Ninja Foodi chicken recipes!” You would be correct.

It used to be the only meat my girls would eat. Now that we live in Idaho and buy half a cow every year we tend to eat a lot more beef, but air fryer fried chicken legs (and other parts) still remain a fave.

Grilled Chicken Strips in Air Fryer

low carb chicken tenders

Air fryer chicken tenders no egg

Let’s jump to the recipe shall we?

  1. Rinse and lay pieces on paper towels to remove excess moisture from outside. Set your meat aside and mix together other ingredients for your sauce in a bowl.
  2. If you’re using bottled bbq sauce you can skip the mixing that. Scoop out 1/4 cup of your sauce and set aside. Marinate your tenders in the rest of the sauce in a bowl for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees and spray inside of basket with non stick spray.
  4. Use tongs to remove chicken from sauce and place inside basket overlapping as little as possible. If you have a smaller unit you may need to make 2 batches.

Cook for 10 minutes, then flip each piece over on to the other side and continue cooking for 4-6 minutes until internal meat temperature is 165 degrees. Use pastry brush to add more sauce to the outside before serving!

How many pieces of chicken can you put in an air fryer?

2 full breasts work, smaller tenderloins can be closer to 12 depending on how large your basket is. 7 wings fit nicely without overlapping. You can fit 2 chicken cutlets in air fryer, 1 Ninja Foodi whole chicken. Keep them separated to get really crispy.

ninja foodi chicken wings

Do you flip chicken in air fryer?

Almost always the answer is yes. The only time I wouldn’t is if there is a type of breading that may fall off if moved around too much. I have yet to encounter that yet though.

  • The whole philosophy on why you do this is simple. This machine works to make food crunchy because of the hot air circulating around the food.
  • If you overlap each piece you’re impeding the air flow from hitting those areas, thus they won’t get crisp.
  • For chicken tenders with no breading however you won’t get that real crunch anyway so it isn’t all that important.

Can I use PAM in an air fryer?

Some say it could damage the coating of the basket, I have yet to see this. I personally prefer olive oil spray instead. Most times it is necessary to use something so the food doesn’t stick.

THIS my friends is how to cook chicken in an air fryer to perfection. 😉

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the typical mom
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders No Breading
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5 from 11 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders no Breading

Air fryer chicken tenders no breading recipe is my kids' favorite meal! Barbecue strips of chicken breast cooked to perfection in no time. #airfryer #airfryerchicken #chickentenders
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer, chicken strips, chicken tenders, healthy, keto, low carb
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 267kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Combine ketchup, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Set aside 1/4 cup of sauce for later. Add chicken tenders to the sauce making sure they are completely covered.
  • Allow to soak in marinade/sauce for 15 minutes. Place chicken tenders in a greased air fryer basket. Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes once they're marinated.
  • Spray inside of basket with olive oil spray. Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip tenders over and air fry for an additional 4-6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in the middle. (timing will depend on how thick your meat is)
  • Brush with remaining BBQ sauce prior to serving.


Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders no Breading
Amount Per Serving (3 oz)
Calories 267 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 97mg32%
Sodium 750mg33%
Potassium 654mg19%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 312IU6%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders No Breading
Recipe Rating

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Friday 22nd of April 2022

Thank you so much! This was a huge success with both an 8 yr old self-proclaimed foodie and a VERY picky 6 yr old. My husband and I enjoyed every bit of it too! Going forward, I think I'll prefer making this BBQ sauce over store-bought. It is definitely a front-runner for dinner time faves.

The Typical Mom

Friday 22nd of April 2022

Oh yay!!


Monday 9th of August 2021

Very good recipe. I always overcook chicken, and this turned out juicy and flavorful. Couldn't be easier! Thanks!

The Typical Mom

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Oh yay!!

Connie Pickard

Sunday 18th of July 2021

I was going to make breaded tenders for dinner, and realized that I didn't have the time for some of the long prep required. I found this recipe and managed to marinate for about 10 minutes in sugar-free Bbq sauce. They were the most incredibly tender pieces of chicken I've ever had. Looked like they had come off the grill. My husband loved them and he's not a big chicken fan. Thank you for an awesome recipe. I'm going to check out more here. I just got my Cosori about a month ago and have been using it nearly every day. Love it.

Dana Kirkwood

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

I found this recipe and made these today. The chicken was so tender and tasty. I used Kraft BBQ sauce and it did the trick. After taking them out of the fryer, I brushed a little hot sauce on the outside. Yummy!

The Typical Mom

Sunday 3rd of January 2021


Steve McGee

Tuesday 3rd of November 2020


The Typical Mom

Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

Glad they were a hit

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