Cooking air fryer BBQ chicken tenders makes for a quick and easy dinner that can be eaten as the main dish or added to a salad or bowl.
In less than 10 minutes of cooking time, you'll have perfectly cooked chicken tenderloins in the air fryer. It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
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BBQ Chicken Tenders in Air Fryer
Cooking with chicken tenderloins is an economical way to go. Not only are they a less expensive cut of poultry, they cook much faster than most chicken cuts too. We eat chicken tenders LOT, whether you're topping a salad with them or using them for meal prep for the week, our BBQ chicken tenders in air fryer recipe will become a staple.
Use the air fryer BBQ chicken tenders without breading to make our BBQ chicken sweet potato bowl or serve them alongside air fryer sweet potato cubes and broccolini.
And if you love to cook with chicken tenders, be sure to try our healthy air fryer chicken tenderloins or air fryer frozen chicken tenders too!
Why You'll Love This!
- Make BBQ air fryer chicken tenders quicker than any other cooking method!
- Our air fryer recipe will help you make perfect chicken tenderloins regardless of the air fryer brand you own.
- Get dinner on the table in under 20 minutes!
- Easy to adapt to a variety of health plans such as low carb, gluten-free, keto, paleo, or Whole30. We make the air fryer chicken tenders without breading, a recipe that works for most lifestyles.
- raw chicken tenders (7-8) - these come fresh at the grocery store already cut from the chicken breast. You can also find them in the freezer section and defrost them.
- avocado or olive oil
- homemade chicken rub - we make our own chicken rub but you can also use your favorite store-bought seasoning
- BBQ sauce - we love the Primal Kitchen Hawaiian BBQ sauce we get through Thrive Market that's gluten-free, low carb, and Whole30/paleo, but any favorite brand of yours will work too!
** Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact quantities **
An Air Fryer- We have a Cosori XL basket style air fryer, an Omni Plus oven style air fryer, and a small 3.2L Farberware basket style air fryer. The Cosori was used in this recipe.
- Whole30/paleo- use compliant BBQ sauce and chicken dry rub
- Keto/low carb- use BBQ sauce without added sugars and gluten, use chicken rub without sugar.
Step by Step Instructions
Cooking BBQ chicken tenders in air fryer is super simple, just season, air fry, brush on BBQ sauce and they're ready to eat.
Preheat the air fryer basket or oven to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Brush the chicken tenders with olive oil and then sprinkle chicken rub on both sides. We used our homemade chicken rub recipe but any store-bought brand will work. Press the rub into the meat with clean fingers, making sure to coat all sides of the chicken.
In total, the chicken will take about 7-9 minutes of cook time. Air fry the chicken tenders at 400 F for 4 minutes.
Brush the BBQ sauce on both sides of the chicken tenderloins and air fry them for 3-5 more minutes until they're cooked through and have an internal temperature of 165 F.
- For best results, we highly suggest you use a digital meat thermometer and check the temperature in the thickest part of the meat.
- You can also skip the BBQ sauce and just serve the chicken tenders simply seasoned with rub, your favorite grocery store seasoning, or salt and pepper.
- You can air fry frozen chicken tenders too! Follow the same instructions and just add a few minutes to the cooking time.
Air fryer BBQ chicken tenders are terrific paired with classic barbecue sides such as corn on the cob, baked beans, coleslaw, a simple green salad, potatoes, or steamed broccoli.
The cooked chicken tenderloin will last in the fridge up to 3-4 days. Store them in the freezer for up to a month.
Yes, you can air fry frozen chicken tenders to make air fryer BBQ chicken tenderloins, season as the recipe states and just add 2+ more minutes to the cooking time until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
More Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipes
Looking for more Air Fryer Chicken Tenders recipes?
- air fryer chicken tenders (no breading)
- Air fryer frozen chicken tenders (no breading)
- keto air fryer chicken tenders
- frozen chicken tenders in air fryer (breaded)
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