I have loved experimenting with my air fryer! While it “fries” up par-fried, store bought, frozen foods wonderfully, that is not what I’m really after (though it is incredibly convenient for when my sons drop in!). What I really want for everyday fare is to make something lower carb/more healthful AND low fat (if I choose—-with the option to slather something with healthy fats if I feel so inclined). The air fryer has not been disappointing!
And I love helping my readers learn to do the things I am learning to do! (Very teacherish of me, huh?)
It took some experimenting (all good things do!), but I figured out how to do white meat, boneless chicken tenders crispy and NOT DRY! In the air fryer or in the oven! So here you go!
1) If you want extra crispy, do everything listed—three dredging bowls rather than two; full oil in the breading mix; pat of butter on each one before cooking; oven rack in oven (not on cookie sheet where bottoms will not crisp); and even double dipping.
2) Season your breading if you are not using my breading mix. Consider using my Favorite Seasoning Mix. If you are using something already somewhat salty (from my 21 Ways to Crumb Low Carb article, like Parmesan or pork rinds, omit the salt in your seasoning.
3) Any flour may be used for the extra first step flour bowl—almond flour will be low carb but will add more fat; coconut flour will give a different flavor; sprouted white or sprouted wheat are not noticeable in their “different taste.”
4) For extra crispiness, use coarser products in your breading mix, such as cracker crumbs, cereal crumbs, etc.—even if you want to dilute their carb count with a low carb item. These will lend a crisper outside.
5) To double or triple the recipe, the oven time will need increased and the air fryer will need to be run two or three times. Do not stack or overlap.
6) It seems like an unnecessary step to only put in half of your ingredients then refill halfway through, but the egg mixture creates clumps and moisture in the final dredging bowl and makes it nearly impossible to coat chicken pieces well near the end—-so refill half way through!
7) If you do not want to use eggs, you could try yogurt or sour cream or something else somewhat thick. If you use milk in place of eggs, you will definitely need to double dip in order to get enough breading to stick. Eggs really work for skinless chicken breading (and in my upcoming fried cheese sticks!).
8) The oil in the crumbs also help with the coating of such smooth items as boneless chicken. I highly recommend using it.
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- AIR FRYER and OVEN Instructions
- If needed, preheat air fryer (400 degrees) or oven (425 degrees).
- Set up your dredging station in either of these two ways—using half of the ingredients called for as you will refill halfway through:
- a. Three dredgings: Bowl 1–flour, salt, and pepper; Bowl 2–whisked eggs; Bowl 3–seasoned breadcrumbs or breading mix
- b. Two dredgings: Bowl 1–whisked eggs; Bowl 2: seasoned breadcrumbs or breading mix
- Stir ½ to 1½ TBSp of oil into breading mix bowl (last bowl), depending on whether you want to use 1 TBSP or up to 3 TBSP oil total and half the paprika.
- If using the flour first, dredge the first tender in the flour, cover with flour, and coat thoroughly.
- Dredge the tender in the egg then the breading mix. If double dipping, dredge in egg and breading mix again. (Remember, you will need more egg and breading mix if double dipping.)
- Place tender on sprayed rack in air fryer or sprayed oven rack gingerly.
- Repeat for all tenders, stopping halfway through to refill all bowls.
- Optional for both cooking methods: Place small pat of real butter on each tender.
- Air fryer cooking: Be sure tenders are barely touching and are not overlapping at all. Fry at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until tenders reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally when your oven thermometer is placed through a couple of tenders stacked on top of each other.
- Oven cooking; Place oven rack over a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake in regular oven for 15-17 minutes (convection may be as little as 14 minutes). Check with meat thermometer as described above.