Kids love the crispy cheesy cracker coating and juicy and tender chicken inside. Make this delicious and easy air fryer dinner recipe in minutes. Everyone loves Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders!
Weeknight meals have never been easier with this crispy chicken tenders air fryer recipe for the whole family to enjoy! It’s made with simple ingredients and ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
I love an easy dinner recipe and bonus points that it’s in the air fryer. The air fryer is quickly becoming my favorite kitchen appliance. It’s incredibly versatile and makes food taste delicious.
These breaded chicken tenders have a fun and a bit unconventional ingredient: Cheez It crackers! Chicken tenderloins are coated in mayonnaise and shredded cheese and then coated in crushed Cheez It crackers. The air fryer makes them perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce for a quick dinner.
Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders
- Kids love them
- Better and cheaper than hitting the fast food drive thru for dinner
- Perfect recipe for the whole family
- Dinner is served in less than 30 minutes
- The air fryer cooks the chicken perfectly with a crispy outside and juicy inside
- Make extra to freeze for later
- Chicken tenderloins
- Mayonnaise – Helps to keep the chicken super moist!
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Cheez It crackers
- Garlic salt
- Oil spray
How to Make Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders
- Step One: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and cheddar cheese.
- Step Two: Add the chicken tenderloins to the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat.
- Step Three: Step Three: In another mixing bowl, combine the Cheez-It crackers, garlic salt and paprika.
- Step Four: Prepare the air fryer by either spraying the air fryer basket with an oil spray or place down a piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with oil.
- Step Five: Coat the chicken tenders, one at a time, with the Cheez-It cracker crumbs and place in the air fryer. Do not crowd the air fryer. You may need to work in batches.
- Step Six: Spray the top of the chicken tenders with oil spray.
- Step Seven: Cook at 400°F for 9 to 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 165°F. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders, if required.
This post contains affiliate links.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Tenderloins
- French fries
- Sweet potato fries
- Onion rings
- Potato wedges
Variations and Substitutions
- Add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the crumbs mixture for a spicy kick.
- Drizzle melted butter over the top of the chicken instead of using the oil spray.
- Substitute sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise.
- Use chicken breasts cut into strips instead of chicken tenderloins.
- Add ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese instead of OR in addition to the cheddar cheese.
- Use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder instead of garlic salt. However, I recommend also adding ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Use another type of cracker crumbs or even panko bread crumbs instead of the Cheez Its.
- Try adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and/or ½ teaspoon of onion powder to the crumb mixture.
Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can I Freeze?
Yes! You can freeze them raw or already cooked.
Place the chicken tenders on a baking sheet. Note: if you’ve cooked them, make sure they have cooled completely. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 3 hours until they are frozen.
Then once frozen, transfer the chicken tenders to freezer bags. Don’t forget to label with the name of the recipe and date. You can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Serve these crispy chicken strips with a variety of dipping sauces.
- Ranch dressing – Make your own with ranch seasoning mix.
- BBQ sauce
- Honey mustard
- Buffalo sauce
- Cheese dip – Try my chicken queso dip.
- Sweet and sour sauce
Tips and Tricks
- Don’t use the pre-shredded cheese in the bag. Shred your own. It will melt better and doesn’t have the extra additives.
- Add the Cheez It crackers to large ziptop bag. Crush them with a rolling pin. You can also use a food processor if you have one.
- Don’t use aerosol cooking spray in your air fryer. It can damage the coating on the air fryer basket. Use an oil sprayer that you fill with your own oil. I like to use a high heat oil like grapeseed oil.
- Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
- All air fryer models are different so cook time can vary. Monitor the first batch carefully to know when they are finished cooking in your air fryer. Using a meat thermometer helps to test doneness when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Can I Make Into Chicken Nuggets?
Yes! Use chicken breasts that you’ve cut into 1 inch bite sized pieces. Follow the recipe for breading. Air fryer at 400°F for about 8 minutes.
Can I Make in the Oven?
Yes, you can make these delicious chicken tenders in the oven. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes.
Air Fryer Dinner Recipes
Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders
- 1 ½ lb chicken tenderloins
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 3 cups Cheez-It crackers crushed
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- Spray oil
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and cheddar cheese.
- Add the chicken tenderloins to the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the Cheez-It crackers, garlic salt and paprika.
- Prepare the air fryer by either spraying the air fryer basket with an oil spray or place down a piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with oil.
- Coat the chicken tenders, one at a time, with the Cheez-It cracker crumbs and place in the air fryer. Do not crowd the air fryer. You may need to work in batches.
- Spray the top of the chicken tenders with oil spray.
- Cook at 400°F for 9 to 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 165°F. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders, if required.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Patti Gardner says
Is there a way to make this more healthy?
Stacie Vaughan says
You can use a different cracker or just regular breadcrumbs.