This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Air-fried to guilt-free goodness, these Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders redefine comfort food! Cooked to perfection without a hint of oil, they are tender and juicy on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. Served with a tasty honey barbecue sauce, this quick and easy recipe is a keeper!
Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders – finger licking good!
These Honey BBQ chicken tenders truly capture the essence of this beloved comfort food with a contemporary twist. They’re just the healthy, low-fat chicken tender recipe you’ve been longing for – offering all the flavor and crispy crunch of fried chicken, minus the added fat. The secret lies in properly breading the chicken and then letting the air fryer perform its magic.
But let’s not forget the sauce! I’ve created a finger-licking good honey BBQ sauce to go with these beauties that will blow your mind. Made with just store-bought BBQ sauce and a few other pantry staples, you can whip up this sauce and the air fryer chicken tenders together in under 30 minutes! Talk about kid-friendly weeknight wonder the whole family will love!
Why You’ll Love These Honey BBQ Chicken Tenders
- Quick and Easy! This recipe is all about minimal effort and maximum rewards. Thanks to modern cooking you can whip up a batch of homemade chicken tenders with just a handful of ingredients in under 30 minutes!
- Healthy Fried Chicken! The allure of delicious fried chicken doesn’t have to come with a side of guilt. This oil-free air fryer technique significantly slashes calories and fat without compromising on taste.
- Family Favorite! Watch these honey BBQ chicken tenders vanish before your very eyes! Whether you’re feeding picky eaters or those with hearty appetites this is a recipe the whole family will love!
- Chicken: I used chicken tenders. But you can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips.
- All-Purpose Flour: Used to dredge the chicken and create the foundation of the crispy crust.
- Eggs: The binding agent that helps the coating stick to the chicken.
- Breadcrumbs: Gives the chicken tenders that irresistible crispy outer layer. You can go with classic or panko breadcrumbs for an even crunchier texture.
- Seasonings: Salt and black pepper perfectly season the flour mixture.
- Spices: A blend of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika adds layers of flavor. The smoked paprika especially enhances the BBQ taste.
- BBQ Sauce: Adds the BBQ element to the honey BBQ chicken tenders! Feel free to use store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce.
- Honey: Gives the barbecue sauce an added touch of sweetness.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: A splash of vinegar brings a touch of acidity that cuts through the richness and sweetness of the sauce.
- Spices: Garlic powder and onion powder are mixed into the BBQ sauce to add even more flavor!
With the help of your handy air fryer, this crispy chicken dish is easy to make and nearly mess free! In under an hour, you can prepare a kid-friendly dish to pair with other favorites like mac and cheese and french fries!
Before you begin, preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C). This step is crucial to achieving the desired crispy texture. Not all models need to be preheated, so you’ll need to check your manufacturer’s guide.
First, you need 3 shallow bowls. Then combine the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika in one of the bowls. Now, beat the eggs in the second bowl and place the breadcrumbs in the third bowl. When you are done you should have a breading assembly line.
Next, coat each chicken tender in the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour. Now, dip it into the beaten eggs and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. You need to gently press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to make sure they stick.
Let’s get frying! Place the breaded tenders in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch each other. If you have a smaller air fryer, you may need to cook the chicken in batches.
Next, lightly spray the tenders with nonstick cooking spray. Then put the chicken into the air fryer and let it cook for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping it over halfway through the cooking time.
While the tenders are air frying, prepare the honey BBQ sauce. Start by whisking together the BBQ sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small saucepan. Then cook the mixture over low heat, while stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes or until it slightly thickens.
When the chicken is ready, use tongs to remove it from the air fryer basket. Then toss the tenders in the honey BBQ Sauce or serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why aren’t my chicken tenders crispy?
Achieving the perfect crispiness is dependent on a few factors. First, you have to remember to preheat your air fryer if you have a model that requires it. Also, it’s important not to overcrowd the air fryer basket and to flip the tenders over halfway through cooking. Skipping any of these steps can impact the final outcome.
Can I bake the tenders?
Yes! Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Then place the tenders on a wire rack over a baking sheet and bake the chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
How can I make this recipe gluten-free?
To make it gluten-free, simply replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative and use gluten-free breadcrumbs. Just make sure to check that your BBQ sauce is also gluten-free.
- The spacing matters. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. It’s important to arrange the chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket to allow for even cooking.
- Don’t skip the cooking spray. Spraying the chicken with cooking spray before air frying helps to achieve a beautiful golden-brown color and crispy texture.
- Customize the sauce. You can easily adjust the sweetness of your BBQ sauce or make it spicy with a touch of hot sauce.
- Make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the tenders reaches at least 165°F (74°C).
You can store leftover honey BBQ chicken tenders in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag.
To reheat, simply place them in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for about 7 minutes for them to get crispy again, or microwave them on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. However, if frozen, the oven is the best option. Just place the tenders on a baking sheet and warm them at 350°F (177°C) for around 20 minutes or until heated through.
Discover Other Chicken Recipes
- Honey Beer BBQ Chicken Skewers
- Hot Honey Chicken
- Bang Bang Chicken
- Jerk Chicken
- BBQ Chicken
- Pesto Chicken And Veggies
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third shallow dish, place the breadcrumbs.
- Dredge each chicken tender in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then, dip it into the beaten eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs gently to ensure they adhere.
- Place the breaded chicken tenders in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring that they don't touch each other. You may need to cook the tenders in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Lightly spray the tenders with cooking spray.
- Cook the chicken tenders at 400°F (200°C) for 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time.
- While the chicken tenders are cooking, prepare the Honey BBQ Sauce by whisking together BBQ sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook the sauce for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly.
- Remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer when they are cooked through and golden brown.
- Toss the cooked chicken tenders in the Honey BBQ Sauce or serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
- Breadcrumb Substitution: If you’re out of breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or cornflakes make for great alternatives.
- Gluten-Free Option: To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour and breadcrumbs.
- Spice Level: For those who like it spicy, feel free to add a dash of cayenne pepper to your flour mixture for an extra kick.
- Storage: These tenders store well in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer for a few minutes to regain that delightful crunch.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.