Crispy, crunchy chicken tenders are a surefire crowd-pleaser for weeknight dinners and game day gatherings. Kids love them of course, but this grown up, air-fryer fried chicken recipe offers a couple of spicy surprises especially for adults.
The chicken strips are dusted with a touch of cayenne pepper and served with a sweet and spicy Sriracha honey mustard dipping sauce for a fiery zing. Even better, this chicken finger recipe can be prepared in an air fryer giving them a satisfying crunch with virtually no oil.
This delicious recipe comes together quickly by starting with store-bought chicken tenders. First, they are dusted in a mix of cornstarch, salt and cayenne pepper. Dust the mixture onto the chicken with a fine mesh sieve for even distribution.
Next, dip each tender in store-bought mayonnaise. Yep, you read that right. The mayo seals in moistness and provides a great coating for the breading to stick to. Dredge each tender in panko breadcrumbs and spray each one with a light, even coating of misted olive oil or cooking spray.
Now for the cooking. Although this chicken finger recipe can be prepared in an oven, an air fryer is the perfect device for achieving amazing crunch and golden coloring. If you haven’t worked with an air fryer before, its very simple to use. This model from Kalorik has a large basket and rack that can be filled with two layers of tenders. Just plug in the air fryer, arrange the chicken tenders in the basket, set the time and temperature.
Amazingly, that little spritz of oil added after dredging in panko is all that’s needed for crispy, golden results in the air fryer. We flipped our tenders halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning, but the tenders were completely cooked to a golden brown with a juicy crunch in just 16 minutes.
While the tenders are cooking, prepare the dipping sauce, which is a perfect blend of spicy, sweet, creamy and tangy thanks to the mustard, honey and Sriracha.
Prepare a double (or triple batch), these tenders are sure to spice up your night! For an awesome weeknight meal the whole family will love, incorporate these delicious tenders into my Citrus Chicken Salad with Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing and Pretzel Bread Croutons.
- 1 lb Chicken breast tenderloins
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Salt
- .5 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 cups Mayonnaise
- 8 oz Panko bread crumbs
- 2 Spritzes of oil mist or cooking spray
- For the Chicken Tenders: Arrange chicken tenderloins on a cutting board or tray and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine corn starch, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Use a fine mesh sieve to dust cornstarch mixture evenly over tenderloins. Flip tenderloins and repeat on second side.
- Pour mayonnaise and panko crumbs into two shallow bowls. Dip each tenderloin in the mayonnaise, using fingers to remove any excess, then dredge in breadcrumbs. Place breaded tenderloins on a platter and spray evenly with olive oil or cooking spray. Flip tenderloins and repeat on second side.
- Arrange tenderloins in an air fryer according to unit instructions. If available, divide tenders between bottom basket and rack insert. Set unit to bake at 360 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, carefully flip and rearrange chicken tenders for even baking. Bake for an additional 6 minutes.
- When baked, serve with Sriracha honey mustard.
- For the Sriracha Honey Mustard: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly mixed. Sauce can be stored for up to 1 week tightly covered in the refrigerator.
Craving fish? Check out these Air-Fried Beer-Battered Fish Tacos.