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Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Tenders

After reading this post you will know how to make homemade blackened seasoning, remove the connective tissue from chicken tenderloins, and make awesome blackened chicken tenders in an air fryer, oven, or on the stovetop.

Homemade Blackened Seasoning

If you’re unfamiliar with blackened seasoning, it has origins in cajun and creole cooking. While you can buy premade blackened seasoning in most grocery stores, making your own is easy if you have a well stocked spice cabinet.

chicken tenderloins with blackened seasoning

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano, Basil, and Thyme

Other than the blackened seasoning, the only other things you’ll need are chicken tenderloins and olive oil. I’ll also mention you could use this seasoning with any cut of chicken. Like air fryer chicken nuggets or Traeger grilled chicken breast.

How to Remove Tendon from Chicken Tenderloin

You know the white connective tissue that makes for tough and chewy bites of homemade chicken tenderloins? It’s easy to remove it with a fork and paper towel. Simply place the tendon between the fork’s prongs, grip the tendon with the paper towel, and pull away from the chicken tenderloin.

Check out this video for a visual example.

How Long to Cook Chicken Tenderloins in an Air Fryer

blackened seasoned chicken tenderloins in an air fryer basket

Air fry chicken tenderloins for 10-12 minutes at 400ºF for most air fryers. Check the internal temperature along the way and cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165ºF. Cooking any longer will make the chicken tenders dry and tough.

blackened chicken tenders in an air fryer basket

There are continuous read food thermometers available now so you can constantly monitor the internal temperature of your chicken tenders while they cook. Check out the Meater thermometer I used to monitor the internal temperature of my smoked pot roast, for an example.

Making Oven Baked Blackened Chicken Tenders

Using my spicy baked chicken tenderloins recipe as an example, baking chicken tenderloins on a sheet pan or pan with a rack for 15-18 minutes in a 400ºF oven should perfectly cook them to a 165ºF internal temperature.

baked tenderloins on a wire rack

The Best Way to Cook Chicken Tenderloins on the Stovetop

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat before adding the seasoned chicken tenderloins to the pan. Cook for 4 minutes before, flip and cook an additional 2 minutes, and finally remove from the heat and cover for 6 minutes. The slow finish to cooking will allow the juices to settle and keep the chicken moist and tender.

Check out my pan fried chicken tenders post for more info and seasoning ideas.

What to Serve with Blackened Chicken Tenderloins

blackened chicken tenders in a bowl with mac and cheese and mashed potatoes

If you want to keep your meal on the healthier side, go with some of the following:

Have calories to spare?

blackened chicken on a plate with a bowl of waffle and sweet potato fries and honey mustard dip

As for a dipping sauce, I made a honey dijon sauce with 2 parts dijon mustard to 1 part honey and BBQ sauce. Classic honey mustard or blackened ranch dressing would both be great options as well.

Okay, regardless of how you serve your blackened chicken tenders, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this recipe. Come back and let me know in the comments or a recipe review. Those are always appreciated. I hope you enjoy!

seven blackened chicken tenders on a plate

Blackened Chicken Tenders

Yield: 7 Tenders
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Air fried chicken tenderloins with a homemade blackened seasoning.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (8g) Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Thyme

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry spices and herbs together in a small bowl.
  2. Toss the chicken tenderloins with the olive oil before adding the blackened seasoning and tossing everything together until evenly coated. (Optional: let the seasoned chicken rest at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before cooking.)
  3. Add the chicken to an air fryer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes at 400ºF or until the chicken tenders reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. You can also bake on a sheet pan for 15-18 minutes in a 400ºF oven.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1 chicken tender
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 161mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 20g

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