Naked Chicken Tenders

5 from 12 votes
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Naked Chicken Tenders made in the air fryer or the oven. These tenders are EASY to make, healthy and addictively good. Whip them up in about 20 minutes.

White bowl with Naked Chicken Tenders and seasoning.
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Why Make Naked Chicken Tenders

These chicken tenders are healthy! They aren’t greasy from deep frying, and they don’t have a batter on them adding excessive calories. They are full of flavor from a one of a kind seasoning blend and they get a nice crisp coating from the dash of corn starch.

These are made in the air fryer or oven, so there isn’t a greasy mess to after and they can be made in under 20 minutes. If you are looking for a healthy battered tender, try my boneless chicken wings, they have a batter to them.

This naked chicken tender pairs with so many great items like my Spicy Mac & Cheese. The whole family will love these, it’s my husbands favorite quick dinner.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make this dish on small plates.

Chicken Breast. Use your favorite chicken breast brand. Pat dry before battering with seasoning. This helps things stick to the breast.

Corn Starch. This helps to add a batter like texture to the tenders without a heavy greasy batter.

Seasoning. Onion, garlic, salt, white pepper, paprika, cayenne, mustard powder, Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.

Recipe Variations

Chicken Breasts. You can use pre cut chicken tenders or you can use chicken thighs. Please note if using thighs the texture may vary a bit.

Corn Starch. Arrow root powder will also work well.

Seasonings. This is my favorite blend on seasoning for these tenders but you can swap out or skip one or two if needed or don’t have it on hand. The Everything But The Bagel Seasoning add a little”crunch” to the chicken that I just love. Whip up Spicy Honey Mustard for the best dunking sauce.

How To Make This Recipe

Steps to make this recipe in a class bowl with chicken.

Step 1. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Cut into tender sized pieces, about 2 inches in length and width typically. In a medium bowl add cornstarch and seasoning, whisk well.

Step 2. Add oil and chicken breasts to the bowl and mix really well so the chicken breasts are evenly coated.

Naked Chicken Tenders on an air fryer tray

Step 3. Place a small piece of parchment paper in the air fryer (optional). Spritz the air fryer tray or parchment with spray, lay the chicken tenders flat across the tray. Don’t overlap the chicken tenders. Air fry on 350º for about 13-14 minutes or until the chicken is 165º internally.

*for the oven, place parchment on a cookie sheet and lay tenders flat. Bake on 375º for about 10 minutes, turn the tenders and bake on the other side for another 5-6 minutes.

Step 4. Let them cool a bit and serve with dipping sauce of choice (BBQ, ketchup, honey mustard, ranch and so on) I highly recommend dipping them in my Pesto Dressing if you want an elevated meal!

Naked Chicken Tenders up close with seasoning and ranch dip.

FAQs & Expert Tips.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, chicken thighs will work, they will just have a slightly different texture and may cook a bit quicker.

I don’t have an air fryer, will this recipe work?

Yes! I have stovetop and oven instructions as well. However the best texture is always the air fryer since they aren’t fried.

Recipe Tips

Don’t overcook the chicken tenders! Just be sure to check them around the times I mentioned with a thermometer. All chicken and sizes will vary.

Dunk in your favorite dipping sauce. I like to have a variety of sauces to enjoy these with, you can really dunk in anything savory.

Recipe Pairings

These naked chicken tenders are great on their own as a snack or you can pair them with my Kale Caesar Salad or my Roasted Red Pepper Kale Salad. If you want to really go all out, try these with my Spicy Mac & Cheese.

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

White ceramic bowl with chicken tenders and dipping sauce.
5 from 12 votes

Naked Chicken Tenders

Naked Chicken Tenders made in the air fryer or the oven. These tenders are EASY to make, healthy and addictively good. Whip them up in about 20 minutes. 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 

  • 1-1.25 lb chicken breast , *see notes
  • Tbsp corn starch, *see notes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, *see notes
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp Everything But The Bagel Seasoning , *see notes
  • ¼ tbs olive oil , *see notes

Instructions 

  • Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Cut into tender sized pieces, about 2 inches in length and width typically. In a medium bowl add cornstarch and seasoning, whisk well. 
  • Add oil and chicken breasts to the bowl and mix really well so the chicken breasts are evenly coated. 
  • Place a small piece of parchment paper in the air fryer (optional). Spritz the air fryer tray or parchment with spray, lay the chicken tenders flat across the tray. Don't overlap the chicken tenders. Air fry on 350º for about 13-14 minutes or until the chicken is 165º internally. 
    *for the oven, place parchment on a cookie sheet and lay tenders flat. Bake on 375º for about 10 minutes, turn the tenders and bake on the other side for another 5-6 minutes.
  • Let them cool a bit and serve with dipping sauce of choice (BBQ, ketchup, honey mustard, ranch and so on. 

Notes

*You can also use precut chicken tenders
*arrowroot will also work. If you want a crispier exterior add 1/3 corn starch for a vary light crispiness (my favorite way to have these).
*cayenne pepper has spice to it, if you are sensitive to heat or making for children, please skip this spice. 
*use more as needed. 
*avocado oil will also work. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or you can freeze for up to two months. Defrost before heating up in the air fryer or oven. 

Nutrition

Serving: 5tenders | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 846mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
Calories: 288
Keyword: 20 minute, Chicken Tenders
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15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love these! Such a great healthy alternative to deep fried chicken tenders!

  2. 5 stars
    BAILEY! OMG these were sooooo so good! Great idea.

  3. 5 stars
    Just made these after seeing on Instagram. Really really good. Made the honey mustard too paired perfect.

    1. 5 stars
      The combo of these spices on the chicken are incredible! Highly recommend you give them a try!

  4. 5 stars
    These are SO good!! Such a great idea. Great for a weeknight dinner… Delicious!!

    1. Glad you enjoyed them! We eat them often, they are a fave.

  5. In your Notes you say for a crispier texture ad “1/3 cornstarch”. What does that mean? Thanks – this looks delicious.

    1. Hi Ellen!
      Sorry for the confusion, I use 1/4 – 1/3 cup of cornstarch instead of the listed amount, then make the tenders the same way. They end up with a crispier, thicker batter on them.

  6. They were delicious
    Can I freeze them?
    Any side suggestions?

    1. Hi Fareha! So glad you enjoyed these. Yes you can freeze these for up to 2 months in an airtight ziplock. You will need to be careful not to overcook them when reheating. I typically do it in the air fryer on 350º for about 5 minutes. As for sides, you can find my suggestions within post under “Recipe Pairings” My favorite is a kale salad or spicy mac & cheese. Enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    These tenders are absolutely amazing, I have now made them like 5 times ! SIMPLE, quick and delicious, what more can you ask for. I tell everyone I know to try them.

    1. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed these! They are one of our absolute favorites so it means a lot 🙂 xo0xo – Bailey