Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins Air Fried: A Healthy and Delicious Recipe with Perfect Sides

Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins Air Fried: A Healthy and Delicious Recipe with Perfect Sides

Air frying crumbed chicken tenderloins brings health benefits compared to traditional frying. Traditional frying methods often involve submerging food in hot oil, leading to increased caloric content and unhealthy fats. In contrast, air frying employs rapid air circulation to cook the chicken tenderloins while retaining the crispy exterior often associated with frying. This method reduces the fat content of the meal by up to 75%, according to the Mayo Clinic. Consuming less fat can improve cardiovascular health and aid in weight management.

Additionally, air frying minimizes the formation of harmful compounds like acrylamides, which can form when high-starch foods are fried in oil at high temperatures. Studies, including those from the FDA, suggest that air frying may reduce acrylamide formation by up to 90%. Thus, switching to air-fried crumbed chicken tenderloins can significantly decrease your risk of exposure to these problematic chemicals, offering a safer and healthier option without compromising flavor or texture.

Growing Trend in Quick Meals

Crumbed chicken tenderloins air fried have become increasingly popular as a quick meal option. Modern lifestyles often demand fast, convenient meals without sacrificing nutritional value. Air fryers, with their rapid cooking capabilities, align perfectly with this demand, cooking chicken tenderloins in around 15 minutes. This efficiency makes them ideal for busy weeknight dinners or spontaneous snacks.

The simplicity of using an air fryer also contributes to its growing trend. Pre-seasoned or pre-crumbed chicken tenderloins can go directly into the air fryer, eliminating the need for extensive preparation or cooking expertise. This user-friendly approach appeals to a broad spectrum of individuals, from college students to working professionals. Considering the rising health consciousness among consumers, air frying provides a method that fulfills the desire for minimal prep, quick cooking times, and healthier eating practices.

The Best Ingredients for Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins

Choosing the Right Chicken

Using high-quality chicken tenderloins ensures the best flavor and texture. Opt for fresh, organic tenderloins if possible, as these are free from hormones and antibiotics. Ensure they’re uniform in size for even cooking. Frozen options work well too, but thaw completely before proceeding.

Selecting Your Breadcrumbs and Spices

Breadcrumbs contribute significantly to the final texture and taste. Choose panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch, or Italian-style breadcrumbs for added flavor. Combine breadcrumbs with spices like paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper. Freshly grated Parmesan can be added for a savory twist. This mix ensures a flavorful, crispy coating for your tenderloins.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins in an Air Fryer

Preparing the Chicken

First, ensure your chicken tenderloins are fresh and trimmed properly. Remove any excess fat and pat the tenderloins dry with a paper towel. Dry chicken ensures the breading adheres well and results in a crisp finish. Use around 1 pound of tenderloins for a typical batch.

The Breading Process

Set up a breading station with three bowls. The first bowl contains flour mixed with a pinch of salt and pepper. The second bowl holds beaten eggs (use 2 large eggs). The third bowl has seasoned breadcrumbs or panko mixed with your preferred spices like paprika, garlic powder, and parsley.

  • Dredge each tenderloin in the flour mixture, ensuring it’s fully coated.
  • Dip the floured tenderloin into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess egg to drip off.
  • Roll the tenderloin in the breadcrumb mix, pressing lightly to ensure an even coat.

Cooking Times and Temperatures

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 3 minutes. Place the breaded chicken tenderloins in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t touch to allow even cooking. You may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.

Cook the tenderloins at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through for optimal crispiness. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, which you can check using a meat thermometer. Adjust the time slightly if necessary based on the thickness of your tenderloins.

Pairing Suggestions for Air Fried Chicken Tenderloins

Side Dishes

Pairing air fried chicken tenderloins with the right side dishes adds balance and enhances the meal. Consider these options:

  1. Roasted Vegetables: Carrots, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers provide a colorful, nutrient-dense accompaniment.
  2. Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes complement the crispy texture of the chicken.
  3. Side Salad: Mix greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers with a light vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
  4. Rice Pilaf: Flavorful rice pilaf adds a hearty element, balancing the meal with grains.
  5. Steamed Broccoli: Lightly steamed broccoli offers a healthy, vitamin-rich side.
  1. Honey Mustard: Sweet and tangy honey mustard pairs perfectly with the savory chicken.
  2. Ranch Dressing: Classic ranch dressing provides a creamy, herbaceous option.
  3. Barbecue Sauce: Rich barbecue sauce adds a smoky, sweet flavor.
  4. Buffalo Sauce: Spicy buffalo sauce offers a kick for those who enjoy heat.
  5. Garlic Aioli: Garlic aioli delivers a garlicky, creamy complement to the crunchy chicken.


Air frying crumbed chicken tenderloins offers a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional deep frying. You can enjoy the crispy texture and juicy flavor without the extra fat and harmful compounds. Pair these tenderloins with your favorite side dishes and sauces to create a well-rounded meal that’s both satisfying and nutritious. Whether you’re cooking for family or friends, air fried chicken tenderloins are sure to be a hit at any table. So go ahead and try this easy and tasty recipe—you won’t be disappointed!

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