Your whole family is going to LOVE these Pickle Brined Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. They’re crispy, juicy, and oh-so-tasty.

Green plate with chicken tenders and ranch dip on it next to a sheet pan of chicken tenders.

Chicken Tenders Just Got Kicked up a Thousand Notches

These gems take the proverbial cake. Seriously.

Not only are these air fryer chicken tenders crisped to golden perfection, but they’re brined in dill pickle juice for hours to ensure maximum tenderness and flavor. You’ll never throw away your pickle juice again, friends.

Best of all, they’re so easy to make! Pop them into pickle juice to brine for the day, then whip them up for dinner in less than 30 minutes.

BAM. Best chicken tenders ever.

How Long to Cook Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

Because chicken tenders are smaller, they take much less time. With the air fryer preheated to 390º F, these air fryer chicken cutlets run for 5 minutes a side, so I gave these chicken tenders a little less time. Just 3 minutes per side at 390º F and they came out perfectly.

Always have a meat thermometer on hand so you can ensure the internal temperature is good. With chicken, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 165º F.

Crispy chicken tenders on a sheet pan with small dipping bowl of ranch.

How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

If you made a large batch of these chicken tenders and frozen some, simply preheat the air fryer to 390º F and run them for 6 minutes a side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F.

What to Serve With These Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

  • For dipping, I’m going to direct you right to this Dill Pickle Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It’s my favorite when it comes to dipping these tenders. Another fantastic option: homemade ketchup.
  • Everyone loves fries with their chicken tenders, but these crispy roasted potatoes will also do the trick.
  • Skillet mac and cheese is another great contender, and a winner with the kids!
  • They’d also work swimmingly in a Buffalo Chicken Wrap!
  • Last but not least, they’re great cut up on tossed into a healthful salad. That’s what I usually do with my leftovers.

Bowl of salad with cut up chicken tenders and dill pickle ranch dressing.

Ingredients

  • Chicken tenders
  • Dill pickle juice (right from a jar of pickles)
  • All purpose flour
  • Eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs (this is my preference but you can use Italian breadcrumbs also!)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Panko vs Italian Breadcrumbs

I tried both! And both are delicious. Panko breadcrumbs, however, give you way more crunch on the exterior thanks to their heft.

If you decide to use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, you don’t have to season the breadcrumbs as called for when using the panko. If you use unseasoned regular breadcrumbs, go ahead and season them.

Here’s the Gist on How to Make Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

With this recipe, it’s important to brine your tenders in pickle juice. This is not a step you want to skip as it creates the most tender and juicy chicken you’ll ever consume. With that, let’s go:

  1. Pour the pickle juice into a shallow pan and gently place the chicken tenders into the same pan, ensuring every one of them is submerged. Cover and pop them into the fridge to brine for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  2. When it’s go time, preheat the air fryer to 390º F.
  3. Prepare three shallow dishes for dredging the chicken tenders: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  4. Dredge each tender in the flour, eggs, and then in the seasoned breadcrumbs, ensuring full coverage on the tender; set the tenders on a plate.
  5. Give the air fryer basket a quick spray with cooking oil—I like to use this avocado oil—and place the tenders in one at a time. Give the tops of the tenders a quick spritz with the cooking oil as well. Don’t overcrowd the basket; do this in batches if you must.
  6. Cook the chicken tenders for 3 minutes, flip, spritz with oil, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  7. Remove the tenders and set them aside. Repeat until all of your tenders are cooked.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce—my favorites are this dill pickle buttermilk ranch or my homemade ketchup!

Useful Tools for This Recipe

Green plate with chicken tenders and ranch dip on it next to a sheet pan of chicken tenders.

Have You Made This Recipe?

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More Weeknight-Friendly Air Fryer Dinners:

Green plate with chicken tenders and ranch dip on it next to a sheet pan of chicken tenders.

Pickle Brined Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Your whole family is going to LOVE these Pickle Brined Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. They're crispy, juicy, and oh-so-tasty.
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Brining time: 6 hours
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Dana Sandonato

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1.5 lbs chicken tenders
  • 2 cups pickle juice from a jar of pickles
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs You can also use Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Olive or avocado oil spray

Instructions

Brining in pickle juice:

  • Pour the pickle juice into a shallow pan. Carefully transfer the chicken tenders to the pickle juice. Make sure all of the chicken is submerged for even brining, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to 24.

To cook the chicken tenders:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 390º F.
  • Set up three shallow dishes for dredging the chicken tenders: one dish with flour; one with eggs, lightly beaten; and one with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Dredge each tender through flour, then the eggs, and finally, the seasoned breadcrumbs. Make sure the tenders are evenly coated.
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil and place the tenders into the basket one at a time. Lightly spray the tops of the tenders with the cooking oil also. Be sure to not overcrowd the basket—cook the tenders in batches if necessary.
  • Cook the chicken tenders for 3 minutes, then carefully flip them with tongs and spritz them with oil. Cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove the tenders and set them aside. Repeat until all of the tenders are cooked.
  • Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce—like this dill pickle buttermilk ranch or homemade ketchup!

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken finger | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 472mg | Fiber: 1g