How to cook Perdue gluten free chicken tenders in Air Fryer?

Air fryers have become increasingly popular kitchen appliances for their ability to make foods crispy and delicious using little to no oil. They are especially great for cooking frozen foods like chicken tenders quickly and easily. Gluten free Perdue chicken tenders can be cooked to crispy, golden brown perfection in an air fryer in just minutes.

Benefits of Cooking Gluten Free Chicken Tenders in an Air Fryer

There are many benefits to using an air fryer to cook gluten free chicken tenders:

  • Air fryers cook food quickly, the tenders will be ready in 10-15 minutes
  • The chicken comes out incredibly crispy with a crunchy exterior
  • Using little to no oil results in a healthier cooking method than deep frying
  • Frozen tenders do not need to be thawed before cooking
  • Easy cleanup, air fryer baskets go right in the dishwasher
  • Consistent, even cooking with hot air circulating around food

For those maintaining a gluten free diet or who just enjoy a crunchy, crisp exterior on chicken, air frying is the perfect quick and easy cooking method.

Choosing an Air Fryer

When selecting an air fryer for cooking gluten free chicken tenders, consider the following features:

  • Capacity – Choose an air fryer that can hold at least 2 pounds of food, enough for a batch of chicken tenders.
  • Temperature range – An air fryer with a temperature range of 200°F to 400°F will provide enough heat to crisp the tenders.
  • Functions – Look for options like preset cooking programs and adjustable timers to get the tenders cooked just right.
  • Size – Consider the dimensions to ensure the fryer will fit conveniently on your kitchen counter.
  • Wattage – Higher wattage around 1,500 to 1,800 watts enables the air fryer to heat up more quickly.

Brands like Ninja, Philips, Cosori, and Instant make quality air fryers that work well for gluten free Perdue chicken tenders.


To cook Perdue gluten free chicken tenders in an air fryer you will need:

  • 1 bag Perdue gluten free chicken tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil spray

Prep the Tenders

Before cooking, the raw chicken tenders need to be prepped with a quick marinade and breading:

  1. Pat the tenders dry with paper towels to remove any ice crystals or moisture. Let thaw slightly if still frozen.
  2. In a shallow dish, pour the buttermilk. Add the raw tenders and turn to coat them completely in the buttermilk. This tenderizes the meat and helps the coating stick.
  3. In another shallow dish, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, and salt until combined.
  4. Working one at a time, remove each tender from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off, then press into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat all sides.
  5. Transfer the breaded tenders to a plate as each one is finished, gently pressing the coating onto the surface of the chicken to help it adhere.

The tenders are now ready to be air fried to crispy perfection!

Cooking the Tenders in the Air Fryer

Once you have finished breading all of the raw chicken tenders, follow these steps to cook them in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Spray the air fryer basket lightly with cooking oil spray to prevent sticking. The breading on the tenders has enough oil to crisp up, so no additional oil is needed.
  3. Place half of the breaded tenders in the air fryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd them. Work in batches to ensure even cooking.
  4. Set the air fryer to cook at 400°F for 5 minutes.
  5. After 5 minutes, carefully flip each tender over and return to the air fryer.
  6. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes until the tenders are golden brown and crispy. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.
  7. Transfer the finished cooked tenders to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  8. Repeat steps 3-6 with the remaining raw tenders.

The total cooking time is approximately 10-12 minutes per batch. Watch closely near the end of the cooking time to avoid overbrowning.

Tender Tips

Follow these tips for the perfect gluten free air fried chicken tenders every time:

  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. Cook in batches for even crispness.
  • Flip the tenders halfway during cooking to ensure both sides get evenly browned.
  • Use panko gluten free breadcrumbs for an extra crunchy texture.
  • Let raw tenders sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking for more even heating.
  • For juicier meat, marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight in the refrigerator before breading.
  • If the breading is getting too brown before the chicken is cooked through, lower the air fryer temperature 25°F.
  • Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tender to verify doneness.

Serving Suggestions

Perfectly cooked gluten free Perdue chicken tenders right out of the air fryer can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some delicious serving suggestions:

  • Toss tenders in your favorite wing sauce or barbeque sauce for added flavor.
  • Serve on a lettuce wrap with ranch dressing and buffalo sauce for a healthier option.
  • Pair with celery and carrot sticks and ranch or blue cheese dressing for an easy appetizer.
  • Pile high on toasted gluten free buns for chicken tender sandwiches.
  • Chop up tenders and place on top of a fresh salad.
  • Served with roasted potatoes or rice and sautéed vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Dip in condiments like honey mustard, ranch, or barbeque sauce.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

To extend the shelf life of cooked gluten free Perdue chicken tenders:

  • Let cool completely then transfer any uneaten tenders to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • For longer storage, place in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • To reheat, place desired number of tenders on a microwave safe plate and microwave on High, flipping halfway through, until warmed through 1-2 minutes.
  • Alternatively, place frozen tenders directly into the air fryer and cook at 400°F for 4-5 minutes until hot and crispy.

More Gluten Free Air Fryer Recipes

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking gluten free food in the air fryer. Try out these other delicious recipes:

Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Make homemade chicken nuggets with ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings for a quick gluten free meal the whole family will love.

Gluten Free Egg Rolls

Enjoy all of your favorite Asian flavors with these crispy vegetable and chicken egg rolls made with rice paper wrappers.

Gluten Free French Fries

Crisp up starchy potatoes into perfect gluten free fries in just 20 minutes in the air fryer without having to deep fry.

Gluten Free Falafel

Chickpea based falafel patties come out beautifully browned and full of Mediterranean flavor when air fried.

Gluten Free Fish Sticks

Breaded gluten free fish sticks cook up extra crunchy and delicious thanks to the circulating hot air of the air fryer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature should I cook the tenders at?

Cook the gluten free tenders at 400°F in the air fryer for best results. This high heat will crisp up the breading and cook the chicken all the way through.

How long does it take to cook tenders in an air fryer?

Each batch of tenders will take 10-12 minutes to cook in a 400°F air fryer. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, then cook an additional 5-7 minutes more until browned and crispy.

Can I air fry frozen chicken tenders?

Yes, you can cook frozen gluten free chicken tenders directly in the air fryer! There is no need to defrost them first. Just add a couple extra minutes to the cooking time.

Do I need to flip the tenders during cooking?

Flipping the tenders halfway during air frying is highly recommended for evenly cooked and browned tenders. The flip ensures both sides get direct heat exposure.

Do the tenders need oil to cook in an air fryer?

A light spray of oil helps prevent sticking, but the breadcrumb coating has enough fat and oil to crisp up perfectly in the air fryer without adding any additional oil to the tenders themselves.

Can I reheat leftover tenders in the air fryer?

Yes, leftover gluten free air fried tenders reheat wonderfully in the air fryer. Place them in the air fryer basket and cook at 400°F for 3-5 minutes until hot and crispy.


Cooking gluten free Perdue chicken tenders in the air fryer is a quick and easy way to get crispy, crunchy results the whole family can enjoy. Thanks to hot circulating air and little to no oil, you can enjoy your favorite breaded chicken without the gluten or the grease that comes with deep frying. Prep the tenders with a simple marinade and breadcrumb coating, then pop them in a preheated 400°F air fryer for approximately 10-12 minutes flipping halfway through. Serve the crispy gluten free tenders on sandwiches, salads, or with delicious dipping sauces. The air fryer does all the work for making gluten free chicken tenders that are tender on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside.

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