Chicken tenders are a popular and delicious snack or meal that are enjoyed by many. While deep frying is the traditional way to cook chicken tenders, this method of cooking can result in greasy and unhealthy food. An alternative and healthier way to enjoy your favorite crispy blackened chicken tenders is by using an air fryer. In this article, we will explore the various benefits of using an air fryer to make blackened chicken tenders, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to make them in your air fryer.
Why air fryer is the best way to cook chicken tenders
Using an air fryer to cook chicken tenders offers several advantages over other cooking methods. Firstly, an air fryer requires little to no oil which makes it a healthier option as compared to deep-frying. Additionally, air fryers cook food by circulating hot air, so the food cooks quicker and more evenly as compared to traditional methods. Air fryers also have the added advantage of being versatile as they can be used to cook a range of dishes besides chicken tenders.
Another advantage of using an air fryer to cook chicken tenders is that it produces a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender. This is because the hot air circulates around the food, creating a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil. Additionally, air fryers are easy to clean and maintain, as most models come with removable parts that can be washed in a dishwasher or by hand.
Lastly, air fryers are a great option for those who are short on time. With an air fryer, you can cook chicken tenders in just a few minutes, making it a perfect option for busy weeknights or when you need to prepare a quick meal. Overall, using an air fryer to cook chicken tenders is a healthier, faster, and more convenient option than traditional cooking methods.
The secret to perfectly seasoned blackened chicken tenders
The key to perfectly seasoned blackened chicken tenders lies in the spices used for seasoning. To get the best results, we recommend using a combination of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Additionally, it's essential to marinate the chicken in the seasoning mix for at least an hour before cooking. This ensures that the spices penetrate the chicken properly, resulting in flavorful and delicious chicken tenders.
Another important factor in achieving perfectly seasoned blackened chicken tenders is the cooking method. It's best to cook the chicken in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. This will create a crispy crust on the outside while keeping the chicken tender and juicy on the inside. It's also important to use a high smoke point oil, such as canola or vegetable oil, to prevent the chicken from burning.
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different spice combinations to find your perfect blend. Some people prefer a spicier mix, while others may want a more mild flavor. You can also try adding other herbs and spices, such as thyme or oregano, to enhance the flavor even further. With a little bit of experimentation and practice, you'll be able to create perfectly seasoned blackened chicken tenders every time.
Air fryer cooking tips for crispy chicken tenders
To get crispy blackened chicken tenders in your air fryer, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Preheat the air fryer before cooking for even cooking and crispiness.
- Ensure that the chicken is evenly spaced out in the air fryer basket for proper air circulation.
- Cook the chicken in batches if you need to. Overcrowding the air fryer basket can result in uneven cooking and soggy chicken.
- Spray the chicken with a light coating of cooking spray to help it crisp up better.
Another important tip to keep in mind is to marinate the chicken tenders before cooking. This not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat, resulting in juicier chicken.
Additionally, it's important to flip the chicken tenders halfway through cooking to ensure that both sides are evenly cooked and crispy. Use tongs to carefully flip the chicken without damaging the coating.
How to choose the best chicken tenders for air frying
When choosing chicken tenders for air frying, opt for fresh and quality chicken. Look for tenders that are uniform in size and thickness to ensure even cooking. Additionally, avoid tenders that are pre-seasoned or pre-battered. These tenders may contain additional ingredients or additives that may affect the cooking process and result in uneven cooking.
Another important factor to consider when choosing chicken tenders for air frying is the fat content. Tenders with a higher fat content may result in excessive smoke and splattering during the cooking process. It is recommended to choose tenders with a lower fat content to ensure a cleaner and safer cooking experience. You can also trim any excess fat from the tenders before air frying them.
A healthier way to enjoy crispy blackened chicken tenders
Cooking blackened chicken tenders in an air fryer is a healthier way to indulge in this delicious snack or meal without compromising on taste or texture. Air fryers require little to no oil, which means that the chicken tenders are not loaded with excessive fats or calories. Moreover, air frying preserves most of the nutrients in the chicken tenders, making it a healthier option as compared to deep-frying.
Additionally, air frying blackened chicken tenders is a convenient and time-saving option. Unlike traditional frying methods, air frying requires minimal preparation time and does not involve the hassle of dealing with hot oil. This makes it a perfect option for busy individuals who want to enjoy a quick and healthy meal without compromising on taste or quality.
Step-by-step guide to making blackened chicken tenders in air fryer
Here's how you can make crispy blackened chicken tenders in your air fryer:
- In a bowl, mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to create a seasoning mix.
- Add the chicken tenders to the seasoning mix and toss to coat the chicken evenly.
- Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least an hour.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes.
- Place the chicken tenders in the air fryer basket and spray them with a light coating of cooking spray.
- Cook the chicken tenders for 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking process.
- Once cooked, check if the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F (74°C).
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Blackened chicken tenders are a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders. They are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or as a party appetizer.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your blackened chicken tenders, try adding some lemon juice or lime juice to the seasoning mix. This will give the chicken a tangy and refreshing taste that pairs well with the spicy seasoning.
Spice up your menu with blackened chicken tenders in air fryer
If you're looking for ways to spice up your menu, blackened chicken tenders in air fryer are a perfect addition. You can get creative and experiment with different seasoning mixes to suit your taste preferences. You can also serve these tenders as an appetizer or meal and pair them with your favorite side dishes.
One of the best things about cooking blackened chicken tenders in an air fryer is that they come out crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. This cooking method also reduces the amount of oil needed, making it a healthier option compared to deep-frying.
If you're serving these tenders as a meal, consider pairing them with a fresh salad or roasted vegetables. You can also use them as a protein source in a wrap or sandwich. The possibilities are endless, and you can easily customize this dish to fit your dietary needs and preferences.
Serving suggestions and dipping sauce ideas for blackened chicken tenders
Blackened chicken tenders go well with a range of dipping sauces. You can try out these dipping sauce ideas:
- BBQ sauce
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- Ranch Dressing
- Buffalo sauce
- Sriracha Mayo
You can also pair these chicken tenders with a side of sweet potato fries or a salad for a complete meal.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your blackened chicken tenders, you can try marinating them in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs before cooking. This will give the chicken a tangy and savory taste.
For a healthier option, you can serve the chicken tenders with a side of roasted vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. This will add some color and nutrients to your meal.
Frequently asked questions about cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer
Here are some commonly asked questions about cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer:
- Can I use frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer?
- How long should I cook chicken tenders in an air fryer?
- Do I have to preheat the air fryer before cooking?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken tenders in an air fryer, but ensure that they are fully thawed before cooking.
The cooking time for chicken tenders in an air fryer varies based on the air fryer's size and model. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can cook chicken tenders in an air fryer for 10-12 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
It's recommended that you preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking and crispiness.
In conclusion, blackened chicken tenders in air fryer are a tasty and healthier alternative to deep-fried chicken tenders. With the right seasoning mix, cooking techniques, and dipping sauce, you can enjoy these tenders as a snack or meal anytime. Try them out and take your taste buds on a flavorful journey!
However, it's important to note that air fryers can vary in their cooking times and temperatures, so it's always best to consult your air fryer's manual for specific instructions. Additionally, it's recommended that you flip the chicken tenders halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning on both sides.
Another tip for cooking chicken tenders in an air fryer is to lightly coat them in oil or cooking spray before placing them in the air fryer. This will help to ensure that they come out crispy and golden brown.