These Air Fryer Cheddar Bacon Chicken Tenders are nothing short of amazing! Crispy panko, smoky bacon, and cheddar cheese come together to form the most flavorful, easy to make chicken tender recipe ever! This family-friendly weeknight dinner is ready in just 12-minutes in the air fryer.
We love our new Power Air Fryer and anything with bacon and cheese and these reminded me of loaded baked potato skins. These tenders may very well be our new favorite way to eat chicken tenders! How can I tell? My daughter ate them for lunch 3 days in a row!
No doubt, this recipe is a keeper.
These chicken tenders are very filling and take weeknight chicken dinners to a whole new level! I dipped mine in my favorite sour cream ranch dip (another nod to my favorite loaded potato skins) and it was awesome! My husband and daughter dunked theirs into my Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce. Both sauces tasted delicious with these tenders.
Cheddar Bacon Chicken Tenders
- 8 chicken tenders , about 2 oz each
- 2 eggs , beaten
- 2 Tbsp water
- 4-6 slices of bacon , cooked and crumbled [See Notes 1, 2]
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- canola oil spray
- Panko Dredge:
- 1-1/2 to 2 cup panko bread crumbs [See Note 1]
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- Preheat Air Fryer according to manufacturer instructions.
- Set up a two-stage dredging station. Whisk the eggs and water together in a bowl.
- Combine the panko, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a zip-top plastic bag or brown paper lunch bag.
- Dip the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time, into the egg mixture, then toss them in the seasoned panko, shaking to coat all sides. Repeat this procedure until all the tenders are coated.
- Place chicken into the air fryer taking care not to over-crowd the pan.
- Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with canola oil to encourage even browning.
- Air-fry the chicken in two batches at 360ºF for 10 minutes, flipping the pieces over halfway through the cooking process.
- Divide the cheese and bacon evenly among the chicken tenders sprinkling each evenly. Return pan into air fryer and fry for an additional 2 minutes.
- Serve with honey mustard or sour cream ranch dipping sauce.
- For Gluten-Free, be sure to use gluten free panko breadcrumbs and gluten-free bacon.
- May substitute Real bacon bits bacon crumbles - about 3 ounces.