Cooking chicken tenderloins in the air fryer has never been easier! Dunked in a simple, flavorful marinade, then air fried, this gluten-free chicken tenders recipe is healthy, tasty, and the perfect quick and easy lunch or dinner for the whole family! 

nine air fryer chicken tenderloins  on a white speckled plate.

What Makes This Recipe Great

In one of my Costco runs recently, I grabbed these already-cooked grilled naked chicken tenders to have as a protein-packed, easy lunch. They were delicious and it made me realize I could totally recreate these delicious chicken strips at home, with a delicious marinade and my air fryer!

I set out to make crispy air fryer chicken tenders without any breading, flour, or bread crumbs and I am so happy with the results! It’s such an easy recipe that the whole family will love. 

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and 36 grams of protein, these chicken tenderloins in the air fryer are so easy, so healthy, and make the perfect snack, lunch, or dinner. They’re even kid-friendly! Serve them with a dipping sauce, use them for meal prep, or add some fries, and enjoy! 

The air fryer is seriously the best way to make quick and easy meals. If you’re looking for more air fryer chicken recipes, try these Chicken Nuggets too! 

Ingredient Notes

recipe ingredients in small bowls and labeled
  • chicken tenderloins: You can use fresh or frozen chicken tenderloins. For frozen instructions, see the tips & tricks section below. 
  • olive oil: Or an alternative cooking oil that you prefer. 
  • coconut aminos
  • minced garlic: If you don’t have minced garlic, you can substitute garlic powder in a pinch. 
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • hot sauce: I like Frank’s Red Hot. Feel free to use your favorite. To add even more spice, add in a little cayenne pepper if desired. 
  • dijon mustard
  • crushed red pepper: Use more or less to taste. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

numbered step by step photos showing how to make this recipe
  1. Pat dry your chicken tenderloins with paper towels. 
  2. Add marinade ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well to combine. 
  3. Add chicken tenderloins and let them sit for a minimum of 15 minutes up to overnight.
  4. Spray the air fryer basket and preheat it to 390 degrees. 
  5. Remove chicken tenderloins from the marinade and add them in a single layer in the basket (in batches if needed). Air fry the chicken tenders until they are golden brown, about 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through. 
  6. Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce! This Copycat Chick Fil A sauce is great!
strips of chicken resting in an air fryer basket

Expert Tips

  • Oven Method: To bake chicken tenderloins in the oven, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the marinated chicken tenderloins out in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Frozen Chicken Tenders: To make frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 390. Spray the basket with oil. Add frozen chicken tenderloins to the basket and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the tenderloins and place them in the marinade for a few minutes. Place them back into the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through until they are crispy chicken tenders. 
  • Chicken Breasts: You can also cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into strips instead of using chicken tenderloins.
  • Cooking Time: The cook time will vary a bit depending on the thickness of your chicken tenders. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and check with an instant-read meat thermometer. 

Serving Tips

a baking sheet filled with crinkle cut fries and chicken tenderloins with a small container of ketchup

Storage Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the air fryer at 350F for 3-4 minutes. 
  • To freeze, store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the air fryer. 
  • It’s best to discard the marinade after removing the chicken. Make another batch when you’re ready to make another batch of chicken tenderloins in the air fryer. 

Recipe FAQs

How do you cook chicken tenderloins in the air fryer?

It’s easy! Add the chicken tenderloins in a single layer in the air fryer basket (in batches if needed). Air fry the chicken tenders until they are golden brown, about 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

What is chicken tenderloin?

The chicken tenderloin is a thin muscle found along the breast, but it is different than chicken breast! They are quite tender compared to other parts of the chicken.

a hand dipping a chicken tenderloin into a silver container of ketchup

Gluten Free Air Fryer Chicken Tenderloins (No Breading)

Cooking chicken tenderloins in the air fryer has never been easier! Dunked in a simple, flavorful marinade, then air fried, this gluten free chicken tenders recipe is healthy, tasty, and the perfect quick and easy lunch or dinner for the whole family! 
5 from 12 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce, I like Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper

Equipment

  • Air Fryer alternative oven baked method below!

Instructions
 

  • Add marinade ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well to combine.
  • Add chicken tenderloins and let them sit for minimum 15 minutes up to overnight.
  • Spray the air fryer basket and preheat to 390 degrees.
  • Remove chicken tenderloins from marinade and add them in a single layer in the basket (in batches if needed). Cook for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce! This Copycat Chick Fil A sauce is great!

Notes

Expert Tips

  • Oven Method: To bake chicken tenderloins in the oven, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the marinated chicken tenderloins out in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Frozen Chicken Tenders: To make frozen chicken tenders in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 390. Spray the basket with oil. Add frozen chicken tenderloins to the basket and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the tenderloins and place them in the marinade for a few minutes. Place them back into the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through until they are crispy chicken tenders. 
  • Chicken Breasts: You can also cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into strips instead of using chicken tenderloins.
  • Cooking Time: The cook time will vary a bit depending on the thickness of your chicken tenders. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and check with an instant-read meat thermometer. 

Serving Tips

Storage Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the air fryer at 350F for 3-4 minutes. 
  • To freeze, store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the air fryer. 
  • It’s best to discard the marinade after removing the chicken. Make another batch when you’re ready to make another batch of chicken tenderloins in the air fryer. 

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 1165mg, Potassium: 656mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 133IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg