Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders

Craving a delicious, healthy meal that’s simple to prepare? Indulge in these naked chicken tenders, packed with flavor and cooked to perfection in your air fryer.

Naked chicken tenders garnished with parsley.

Welcome to the world of Naked Chicken Tenders, where flavor and simplicity come together to create a delightful, family-friendly meal. If you’ve been on the lookout for an easy-to-prepare dish that doesn’t compromise on taste, you’ve come to the right place. These Naked Chicken Tenders are air-fried to perfection, using less oil but still delivering that crispy texture we all love. The secret lies in the blend of mouthwatering spices that add a burst of flavor to each tender bite. So, gather your loved ones and get ready to treat yourselves to a scrumptious meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights or a cozy weekend dinner. Enjoy!

A Brief History of Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or chicken strips, are believed to have originated in the United States in the 20th century. As a popular appetizer and fast-food option, these juicy cuts of chicken are typically breaded and deep-fried. Our naked chicken tenders recipe offers a healthier, less greasy alternative to the traditional dish by using an air fryer and skipping the breading.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken breast instead of tenders?

Yes, you can substitute chicken tenders with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Simply cut them into strips to resemble tenders. Be aware that cooking times may vary slightly depending on the thickness of the strips.

What if I don’t have an air fryer? Can I bake these in the oven?

Absolutely! If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake the naked chicken tenders in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Check that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

Can I make naked chicken tenders spicy?

To add some heat, try incorporating cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or a spicy seasoning blend into the spice mix. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.

Can I use a different seasoning blend?

Definitely! Feel free to experiment with different seasoning blends, such as Italian, Mexican, or Caribbean flavors, to create a unique taste experience. Just make sure to maintain the same overall quantity of seasoning to ensure proper coverage and flavor balance.

Serving Suggestions

Serve naked chicken tenders with a side of your favorite dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing. Pair with a fresh salad, roasted vegetables, or a light, tangy coleslaw for a complete meal.

Overhead view of naked chicken tenders in an air fryer.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Store leftover naked chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

To reheat, simply place the tenders in your air fryer for a few minutes or heat them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through.

Related Recipes

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chicken recipes:

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders

4 servings

Naked chicken tenders garnished with parsley.

Craving a delicious, healthy meal that’s simple to prepare? Indulge in these naked chicken tenders, packed with flavor and cooked to perfection in your air fryer.

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

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 5 minutes.
  • Place chicken tenders in a large dish.
  • Drizzle the chicken with olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, stir together paprika, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto the tenders and toss to coat.
  • Air fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sauce and Seasoning Variations:

Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove minced garlic


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.
  2. Stir in water, soy sauce, honey, and garlic.
  3. Marinate the chicken in the mixture for 2-3 hours and air fry as directed above.

Simple BBQ Sauce:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 3 minced garlic cloves


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, smoked paprika.
  2. Whisk in tomato sauce, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and garlic.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken, and baste with barbecue sauce.
  5. Air fry as directed above, basting halfway through with more barbecue sauce.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 181mg | Sodium: 621mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 589IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

Air Fryer Naked Chicken Tenders