Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders Recipe

This Homemade Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders recipe is low in fat and calories. Don’t let that fool you, they are packed with flavor! Ready in just 12-minutes, this is one meal your entire family will love!

A plate of air fried chicken tenders with a ranch dipping sauce.

I am so totally loving my new Power Air Fryer! I can’t even begin to tell you how often we use this appliance. It’s the best new gadget I’ve gotten in a long time.

This healthy Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders recipe is ready in just 12 minutes! It has a fraction of the fat and calories of traditional fried chicken tenders because these are air fryer chicken tenders!


I really do love my Power Air Fryer XL! Let me tell you why:

  •      1. Cooking in the Air Fryer XL is FAST! It takes only 12 minutes to cook these Air Baked chicken tenders
  •      2. It is EASY to use. Simply select your temp, add the cooking time, and it’s ready to go in seconds!
  •      3. Clean-up is SIMPLE. The Power Fryer XL has a nonstick surface, making it easy to clean. No more discarding the oil and cleaning the oil from the fryer!
  •      4. It’s a WORKHORSE in the kitchen. It turns out deliciously crunchy food but without the added fats and oils of frying.
A plate of air fried chicken tenders with a bowl of ranch dipping sauce.

Of course, Garlic Parmesan is one of our favorite recipes, especially for fried chicken strips. If you’re not watching your calories, these are also great with a little brown butter drizzle.

Chicken is a powerhouse food easily adapting to nearly any flavor combination you can imagine. It is a great source of protein and a relatively good source for niacin and iron. Skinless chicken breast meat has fewer calories than dark meat, making it a great food if you’re watching your weight.

We’ve substituted these breaded chicken tenders anywhere we would normally eat chicken wings for a lower-calorie and lower-fat diet. Using our air fryer helps us achieve these goals since we cook with far less oil.

A close-up photo of an air fried garlic Parmesan chicken tender being dunked into ranch dressing.

How Do I know When Chicken is Done?

  • Be sure to cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (73.9 °C). The meat should no longer pink and the juices run clear.
  • A digital kitchen thermometer [paid link] works great if you’re not sure or if you are new to the kitchen. I have one and it is my go-to tool in the kitchen anytime I’m cooking something new.

What’s in Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders?

Ingredients for homemade chicken strips:

  • Chicken tenders (chicken fingers of chicken nuggets), raw
  • Egg
  • Water
  • canola oil, olive oil, or non-fat cooking spray

For the dredge coating:

  • Panko Japanese bread crumbs: Panko is the “special ingredient” in these chicken tenders. I prefer panko to regular breadcrumbs because of it’s texture it creates a crispier tender as compared to traditional breadcrumbs. Especially when you are using the air fryer, panko makes a huge difference in the recipe!
  • Salt: I use fine Kosher salt but regular table salt may be substituted. If you prefer, you may substitute seasoned salt.
  • Ground black pepper: Freshly cracked has extraordinary flavor but ground works well, too.
  • Garlic powder: I prefer roasted garlic powder for its deep flavor but plain garlic powder may also be used.
  • Onion powder: May be omitted if you do not care for onion powder.
  • Parmesan cheese: I used freshly grated Parmesan cheese as it’s more flavorful but you may substitute shredded Parmesan.
  • Dipping Sauce: A sauce is optional. We love ranch or blue cheese dressing but these are also good with a drizzle of lemon juice.

How to Make Chicken Tenders?

  1. Create the Panko dredge station in a large shallow bowl or baking pan. In a second bowl or pan, create the egg wash station.
  2. Dip chicken tenders into the egg wash.
  3. Dip tenders into the panko bread crumbs mixture.
Create the Panko dredge station.Create the Panko dredge station.
Coat the chicken in the egg wash.Coat the chicken in the egg wash.
Coat the chicken in Panko.Coat the chicken in Panko.
    1. Place the coated chicken into the fry basket. Spray a light coat of non-fat cooking spray over the panko to encourage browning.
    2. Set the temperature to 400 degrees F.
    3. Cook for 12 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken tenders). This time could be longer or shorter.
    4. See the recipe card below for full instructions.
Spray the tenders with non-fat cooking spray.Spray the tenders with non-fat cooking spray.
Set the Temperature.Set the Temperature.
Adjust the time. Flip chicken halfway thru cook time.Adjust the time. Flip chicken halfway thru cook time.
A close up image of a crispy, golden-brown chicken tender showing the texture from the panko bread crumbs.
Air Fryer Ranch Chicken Tenders 11

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
This easy Chicken Tender recipe is low in fat and calories. Don’t let that fool you, they are packed with flavor! Ready in just 12-minutes, this is one meal your entire family will love!
4.92 from 23 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 220 kcal


  • 8 chicken tenders , raw
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • canola or non-fat cooking spray

For the dredge coating:

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp  ground black pepper , more or less to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley , crushed
  • 1 tsp  garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp  onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Pictured here served with Homemade Ranch Dressing.

Optional Sauce:

  • 1 cup Your Favorite DIpping sauce – like Ranch Dressing, Honey mustard, Blue Cheese, or even BBQ!


  • Combine the dredge coating ingredients in a shallow bowl or baking pan large enough to fit the chicken pieces.
  • In a second shallow bowl or baking pan, place egg and water and whisk [paid link] to combine.
  • Dip chicken tenders into the egg wash and then into the panko dredge mixture.
  • Place the breaded tenders into the fry basket. Repeat with remaining tenders.
  • Spray a light coat of canola oil or non-fat cooking spray over the panko.
  • Set the temperature to 400 degrees and fry for 12 minutes. Check the chicken halfway through the cooking time and turn the chicken over to brown the other side.
  • Note: The cooking time may be more or less depending on the size and thickness of your chicken tenders, finers or nuggets, and the quantity of chicken in the basket.


  1. For best results, do not skip coating the chicken with your favorite cooking spray or turning them halfway through cooking.
  2. Dipping sauce calories not included in the recipe calorie count.


Serving: 2TENDERSCalories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 27gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 582mgPotassium: 429mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 138IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 113mgFolate: 25µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

50 thoughts on “Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders Recipe”

  1. Love this recipe, especially the fact that I can use my wonderful air fryer. However, is that parsley I see in the seasonings mix? It is not mentioned in the recipe. Thanks.

  2. So good and crispy yet tender. I grated more parmesan on top before serving like the photos and it was a very solid recipe.

  3. My air fryer has bake, air fry and both has heating temperatures. All air fry recipes give heating temperatures but don’t state air fry or bake? I used to bake my breaded pork chops in my oven. Is this recipe bake or air fry setting?

    • Hi Rita,
      It’s an air fryer recipe. The air fryer being described in the body of the post does not have any other setting other than air fry. It’s not one of the new multi-functional models. Sorry for any confusion this caused you.

  4. This was the first recipe we used with our new air fryer, and it is a keeper! We had breadcrumbs instead of Panko, and chicken breast instead of tenders. Cut the breast into tender-sized pieces and it worked out perfectly. So much flavor and a slightly crispy outside (will have to try panko next time) – the whole family loved this recipe!

    • Hi Jen,

      I’m so glad you liked it. You can use either type of breadcrumb, but my family prefers the texted we get from the Panko.
      We also will slice chicken breast into pieces or tenders – my daughter loves these too!
      Thanks for taking the time to stop back by and share your experience with us!!

  5. These were so good. The only change I made was seasoning the thawed tenders with Goya “Sazonador Total” and pepper and letting them set for seven minutes and then prepared exactly as written. Also, I have the 10 quart Instant Pot Vortex and I’m finding I have to add a minute or two to most recipes.

    This is a truly amazing recipe.

    • Hi Jeff,
      I can see how excited you are over the dipping sauce, but there are no mysteries here – you can use any dipping sauce you like! Ranch Dressing is what is pictured but feel free to try your favorites like blue cheese, honey mustard, or even BBQ sauce. Remember though, the sauce isn’t included in the calorie count for the recipe, which is why it was not included on the recipe card.

  6. Made this tonight. It was amazing!! The
    Kids and husband all loved it. We will definitely be making this again. I was shocked at how well the breading came out w the air fryer. Usually the breading ends up a little soggy or not sticking well but this was crisp and full of flavor!

  7. I just purchased my first air fryer and this was the first recipe I tried. My husband and I thought it was delicious! It was so crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks for sharing!

  8. where is the nutrient info?! the calories and other nutrient info needs to be with recipe – very frustrating. i for one will not make a dish without it.

    • Hi Karle Maye,
      The nutritional information has been added to the bottom of the recipe card. It’s actually a very low-cal recipe. This was missed when I upgraded to a new recipe card.
      Thanks for stopping in and pointing that out.

      • Not really sure why people demand nutritional info as though they are entitled to it on a blog. If you “for one, won’t make the recipe without it” – then don’t. Maybe asking politely might have come across better than the “?!”. Kudos to you for your kind reply.

        • Hi Missy – Thank you for your understanding. When I started my website, nutritional information wasn’t the norm, in fact, most recipe cards didn’t even support it. When the standards changed, I purchased a new recipe card template and had to swap all the recipes over into the new card and create the nutritional values. Unlike business websites that have teams of people at their disposal, I’m only one person. I’m the recipe developer, photographer, content writer, IT dept, social media influencer, and marketing – all rolled into one. It’s impossible to juggle it all and not drop a ball (or two) sometimes. People do not always realize how much behind-the-scenes stuff goes into a single post or how much work goes into the FREE content I provide. With internet anonymity, it’s easy for people to be keyboard warriors and bullies. So I truly do appreciate your kindness and understanding. I am doing the best I can do.

          • Yes and whatever else you do if you have a family, another job, or just chores. Though the requester was just asking what she is probably accustomed to and no doubt has her own stress.
            For her and others, there are apps we can use if a post does not have the nutritional value.
            I must say you are getting me interested to but an air fryer. My mom had mad moist yet crispy chicken breasts and pork chops. I am only good at cooking ground meat.

  9. I finally got around to making this tonight. I knew it was going to be a busy day with a ton of homework that needed to get done so I needed something quick and easy. I forgot panko so used regular breadcrumbs and it was still moist on the inside and crisp on the outside. I can only how much better it would be better with the panko. I served with some simple sides and a leftover salad. Started at 7pm and dinner was done with a clean kitchen by 8. Both the boys thanked me for the meal so definitely enjoyed. Thank you!

  10. The chicken turned out perfectly! Crisp on the outside, moist on the inside. In my opinion, the garlic-Parmesan crust stands on its own and does not need any sort of dipping sauce… but it’s a matter of taste!

    Thanks for sharing… So good!!

  11. Can you cook the chicken with additional strips layered on top? Wondering if they would still be crispy or if I should do batches of one layer.

    • Hi Dana,
      I have tried this and they don’t come out as crispy since the strips are touching but if you use a small round rack with legs inside the base to separate the layers this works better. Personally, I fry them in two batches.

  12. I had been curious about the air fryers for awhile and when I was able to get one from Amazon for about $30 cheaper than anywhere else and I decided to try it. I love it! The food I have cooked in it tastes so much better then when cooked in the oven or deep fat fryer. It’s crispy and moist. I am very happy with it! There are a couple of things I would change on it though, one is the temperature dial. You really need a magnifying glass to see it! And the latch. It seems so flimsy compared to the rest of the unit. Fingers crossed it doesn’t break.

    • Hi Sue,
      I have not personally worked with any other air fryers to answer that for you – but I do imagine that the cook times would be similar. I wish I could be of more help on this topic for you. Maybe someone else with your brand will chime in and reply. What brand do you have?
      I can say if it were me, I would follow the instructions and check it a couple minutes ahead since just as ovens and microwaves can vary, air fryers may also vary in time and temperature.

      • I am trying this recipe tonight with a Go Wise USA air fryer. I followed your instructions and I’m using the same cooking time. We’ll see how it turns out. So far all the recipes I’ve followed have turned out according to the cook times (give or take a few minutes) and temperatures given regardless of the type of air fryer. It smells delicious as it’s cooking! Ok . . so it did have to cook a little longer. Because mine has two racks, I also rotate the racks from top to bottom. All in all, I would say it was about 20 minutes rather than 12. They were absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly! Both my boys loved them, so that is also a plus! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I will be making these again!

        • Hi Jamie,
          I’m glad everyone enjoyed them. I cooked some chicken breast halves from frozen for chicken parm that took about 20 in my machine this evening – my fresh tenders cook in 12 every time but I do usually cook in a single layer and make another batch which puts me around your same cooking time for two racks. I’ll have to check out that fryer you have!


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