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Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders

The new year is here and if you would like to welcome it with healthy and low-carb meals then you are going to love this air fryer naked chicken tenders recipe!

Chicken tenders that are perfectly seasoned and cooked until they are nice and juicy. This is an easy to make recipe that is super versatile and can be enjoyed by adults as well as kids.

And don’t worry if you don’t have chicken tenders on hand. You can also use pieces of chicken breast in place of the chicken tenders.

Simply slice a few chicken breasts in multiple strips and make your own tenders. It is a great way to feed the family or to meal prep for the busy week ahead!

air fryer naked chicken tenders
You can eat the chicken tenders as the main dish or add them to a salad for a high protein meal filled with veggies!

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders Recipe

Chicken tenders are one of the easiest recipes to prepare in your air fryer. And they are also one of the most delicious!

The chicken tenders are slightly crispy on the outside because they are seasoned with a mixture of common spices. In fact, you will most likely already have the spice in your kitchen.

Not to mention, they are still one of the best and most versatile low carb recipes that you can make in your air fryer.


  • Chicken tenders
  • Olive oil


  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper


Step 1: The first step in making chicken tenders in the air fryer is to preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Even if the brand of your air fryer does not require you to preheat, you should allow it to run empty for approximately 5 minutes at this temperature. 

Step 2: Add the chicken tenders to a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Be sure to coat both sides of the tenders with the oil. Then set the bowl aside while you make the dry rub.

Step 3: In a small bowl, add the dry rub ingredients and mix until well combined. Then sprinkle the oil coated chicken tenders with the dry rub. Be sure to evenly coat the seasoning on all sides. 

Step 4: Remove the basket of the air fryer and spray or brush olive oil on the bottom surface. Then place the chicken pieces in the basket, in a single layer. Ensure that there is space between each tender to allow for even cooking. 

Step 5: Cook for 10 minutes. Although, be sure to flip the tenders halfway through the cooking time. 

Step 6: When the cook time is up, check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer. Although my NuWave air fryer comes with a digital temperature probe, you can also use a standard instant read digital food thermometer. Once the temperature has reached 165°F, when placed in the thickest portion of the chicken tenders, they are done.

chicken tenders
If you don’t have chicken tenders, you can slice a couple of chicken breasts into strips to make this recipe

Helpful tips

When you want to prepare the best and most delicious air fryer chicken tenders in your kitchen, I highly recommend following the tips below.

1. Although you may want to skip preheating the air fryer, it must be done to get the crispy exterior on the chicken tenders. It only takes 5 minutes to preheat, so definitely take the extra time do this step.

2. Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels before adding the oil to remove any extra moisture. Removal of the moisture will allow the exterior surface of the tenders to be crispy and more evenly brown once cooked.

3. Once the basket of your fryer is preheated, use olive oil or another high heat oil to coat the bottom of the basket to prevent the chicken tenders from sticking to the surface. However, you can also use other oils such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil as they both have a high smoke point.

4. Unlike other air fryer chicken tender recipes, these chicken tenders do not require the spray of cooking oil on the chicken itself. In fact, if you spray the surface of the chicken it can turn the outer flesh leathery and dry.

5. Although you can season the chicken with the dry rub right before adding them to the air fryer, I find it best to let them sit with the seasoning rubbed on the exterior for at least an hour. You can even let the chicken sit in the dry rub a day or two in advance of cooking.

Freezer Meal Instructions

If you like to make freezer meals, go ahead and add the oil and seasoning to the chicken tenders and place in a air-tight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.

chicken meal prep
If you like to make freezer meals, go ahead and season the chicken tenders with oil and the dry rub. Then seal in a food saver bag for an easy to prepare meal whenever you need one!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can chicken breast be used in place of the chicken tenders?

While chicken tenders are more tender than the breasts themselves, you can substitute chicken breasts in case tenders are not available. Simply cut the breast into thin strips and proceed with the recipe as instructed.

Is preheating of the air fryer necessary?

Preheating the air fryer is crucial for the best results when making these chicken tenders. The hot environment will allow the seasonings to crisp up nicely and allow the tenders to become nice and juicy when cooked.

Can I cook them on the stove or in the oven rather than cook them in an air fryer?

If you do not want to cook the recipe on an air fryer or do not own one, you can pan fry the chicken tenders in a skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil. You can also bake them in a preheated oven set at 375°F in a greased baking dish for 20-25 minutes.

Can I freeze the cooked chicken tenders?

Yes, you can freeze leftover chicken tenders for up to 6 months in a sealed container or an airtight bag. The frozen air fryer chicken tenders can then be used for a quick snack and meal whenever you need one.

Reheat the frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer for approximately 10 minutes at 360°F. Then eat with your favorite dipping sauce or add on top of a salad, in tacos, or with your favorite low-carb side dish!

air fryer naked chicken tenders
Be sure to let the chicken tenders cool completely before storing any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Storing Instructions

How to store the leftovers in the refrigerator?

If you have leftovers that you want to use in the next few days you can store them in the refrigerator. However, be sure that the tenders completely cool before placing them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 3-4 days.

Reheating instructions: place the refrigerated chicken tenders in the air fryer set at 375°F. Then cook for 5-6 minutes or until heated through.

You can also reheat them in the microwave. However, I would recommend adding a splash of water to the microwave safe plate when reheating. This will help the tenders turn out nice and moist.

Air fryer naked chicken tenders are a delicious and easy to make recipe. They contain lots of protein and one that will keep you feeling full for hours.

It is one of the healthiest recipes available out there. Not to mention they are low in carbohydrates. This will help you achieve your weight loss and weight maintenance goals throughout the year.

For more delicious recipes that can be made in the air fryer visit the Air Fryer Recipe Page under the Recipes tab at the top of this article. Although not all the recipes are low-carb, I am sure you will find several to meet your dietary needs. And you will definitely love the Keto Mozzarella Sticks recipe!

Enjoy! Mary

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Yield: 4 servings

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders

air fryer naked chicken tender

How to make naked chicken tenders in the air fryer so that they turn out nice and juicy every time!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F/200°C. Even if the brand of your air fryer doesn't require you to preheat, let it run empty for 5 minutes at this temperature.
  2. Add the chicken tenders to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Coat both sides of the tenders with the oil. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the dry rub ingredients and mix until well combined. Then sprinkle the oil coated chicken tenders with the dry rub. Be sure to evenly coat the seasoning on all sides. Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking olive oil spray and place the chicken pieces in a single layer, leaving a little room between each one.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes in the preheated air fryer and flip the tenders halfway through the cooking time. Check to make sure the internal temperature has reached 165°F (74°C) when an instant read digital thermometer is placed in the thickest portion of the chicken tender.

Serve warm


Storing Instructions: Let the chicken tenders cool and then place in a closed container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Or place in an air-tight container and freezer for up to 6 months.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1075mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 22g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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