Air Fryer Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Tenders

Updated: Mar 13

Chicken tenders are usually a super indulgent snack or meal. Not this time! These chicken tenders are gluten free, dairy free, and so delicious!

Chicken tenders are one of the more indulgent things I eat. I typically avoid fried foods, but I have been loving my air fryer! My oven has been on the fritz for the last 2 weeks, so the air fryer has been a life saver! Not only have I been able to cook for my family, but it has forced me to think outside the box when it comes to recipe development.

So, with that in mind, I started thinking about some ways I could take comfort foods to a new, “healthier” level. This is one of those foods that takes me back to certain moments of my childhood, mostly my teenage years, living in Rochester, NY. I was a member of the ski club, and we would go skiing every weekend during the winter. Skiing always made me SO HUNGRY, so I would head into the lodge and grab a plate of chicken tenders with delicious waffle fries. There was nothing healthy about this meal, but it certainly did fill my belly and give me energy to get back on the mountain.

To be honest, I was a terrible skier, and I was always so so slow. I really joined the ski club for the social aspect of riding the bus up with friends, and then spending the day hanging out with them. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy skiing, but as a southerner, it just didn’t come naturally to me. Most of my northern friends had been skiing their entire lives!

It’s funny to me, now, that those chicken tenders are one of the things I remember most from those weekends in NY.

So, what makes these chicken tenders so delicious?

  • Cornmeal - The cornmeal is so delicious and adds a nice crunch to these chicken tenders.

  • Cassava Flour - This makes an EXCELLENT gluten free breading option.

  • The seasonings - You must season your breading to add flavor to the chicken tenders.

How does this come together?

Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cassava flour, salt, pepper, paprika, mustard seed, and garlic powder.

Beat the eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the two eggs.

Preheat the air fryer. I have the Ninja Foodie Air Fryer/Grill combo. I preheat on the air fryer setting to 390°F, and I set the timer for 12 minutes.

While the air fryer is preheating, dredge the chicken breast strips in the eggs. Next, lightly coat with the cornmeal mixture and set aside. Brush the inside of the air fryer basket with avocado oil (NOTE: you may also use grapeseed oil or another high smoke point oil). Place chicken breast strips in the air fryer, leaving about ½-1 inch between pieces. Let cook for 6 minutes, and flip. Cook for 6 more minutes or until the meat reaches 165°F. Remove from the air fryer and repeat with remaining chicken, until all chicken is cooked.

Serve with my favorite Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. ENJOY! As always let me know what you think in the comments below and over on Instagram @sugarandsalt_co!