Cajun Air Fryer Chicken Strips

Crispy Cajun Air Fryer Chicken Strips made in the air fryer or oven! The crust is made of cornflakes and cornmeal for extra crispiness and is infused with Cajun spices for a little kick. Served with remoulade for dipping.

Chicken tenders on a plate with dipping sauce

I am not usually one to buy the latest and greatest kitchen gadget because let’s face it – most of us don’t have endless kitchen storage for these things. But I’ll be honest – the air fryer is pretty legit. Especially if you’re making these Cajun air fryer chicken strips.

They really are just as crispy as their deep-fried counterpart, so at this point it seems silly not to have an air fryer. Even if it’s just to make this one recipe.

But if you just don’t want one or don’t have the space for it, don’t fret – I’ve included instructions for making them in the oven as well. I got chu.

Read on for the deets.

How to make the best air fryer chicken strips

My husband and I have been using the air fryer to make tots, fries, chicken and fish A LOT lately, so I decided it was time to make my own homemade chicken strip/chicken tender recipe to share with you all.

I am a big fan of cornflake crust on chicken, so I went that route and was NOT disappointed. I am so in love with the crispy, crunchy and super flavorful batter on these babes, so here’s how to make them.

  • Make the remoulade. This requires a bowl and a fork or spoon to mix together mayonnaise, dill pickle relish, whole grain mustard, hot sauce and garlic. You can adjust the amount of hot sauce you put in the remoulade based on how spicy you like things. Put a lid on the bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to dip.
  • Preheat the air fryer. I went with 400 degrees on this particular recipe because I wanted the crust to be super crispy, and it totally worked. So set the air fryer to 400 and let it heat up for a few minutes.
  • In the meantime, set up your breading bowls following the standard breading procedure. If you’re not familiar with the standard breading procedure, it goes like this: one bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten egg and Dijon mustard and one bowl of breadcrumbs. In this case the breadcrumbs is a mix of cornmeal and crushed cornflakes. You’ll want to give the cornflakes a run through the food processor to make them into crumbs.
  • Prep the chicken. If you’re using chicken tenders, they’re already ready to go. If you’re using chicken breast, slice them into tender/strip shapes and trim any excess fat.
  • Season each ingredient. Each bowl – and the chicken tenders – should get a dose of seasoning. At the very least, the seasoning should include salt and black pepper, and in this case it includes Cajun seasoning as well. If you don’t have any Cajun seasoning, you can make your own (see below for details!). Also, be aware that some Cajun seasoning has salt in it and if that’s the case, you’ll want to adjust the amount of salt you add according to your taste.
  • Get dippin’! Start by dipping the chicken into the flour, then the egg, then thse cornflake crumb mixture. Be sure the chicken is fully coated in flour, then egg, then cornflake in order to get the perfect crust on each tender.
  • Coat each tender in cooking spray. This will help the crust get crispy and crunchy while they cook in the air fryer. Also coat the air fryer basket in coking spray so they don’t stick to the bottom.
  • Cook the tenders. I do this in batches so there is space around every tender in the air fryer basket. I flip them halfway through the cooking process (at about 4-5 minutes) and coat them with more cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining tenders. Be sure they’re fully cooked by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the center of the tenders – they should reach 165 degrees.
  • Serve! They’re cooked and ready to dip! Make sure to enjoy them fresh outta the fryer (but don’t burn yourself)!
Raw breaded chicken tenders on a plate

What equipment do you need?

An air fryer. You can use any air fryer. If you have a smaller one, place fewer chicken strips in it and cook them in batches. Be sure there is about an inch of space around each tender so each one gets evenly crispy. If you don’t have an air fryer but are interested in purchasing one, here are the two air fryers I can vouch for: Cosori Air Fryer or Ninja Air Fryer (affiliate links).

Or, an oven if you don’t have an air fryer. You can absolutely make these chicken strips in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer. I find the best way to do this is by fitting a wire rack (like a cooling rack) inside of a baking sheet. Coat the baking sheet with cooking spray, then line the tenders on the wire rack at least an inch apart. This allows the air to circulate around the tender, making a crispy crust. The cooking time may differ slightly from the air fryer, depending on your oven. Your best bet is to use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness.

You’ll also need mixing bowls, a fork or whisk, measuring cups and spoons and the ingredients, of course!

How to make your own Cajun seasoning

If you want to control what ingredients go in to your Cajun seasoning, or if you find yourself without any Cajun seasoning on hand, but you have a cabinet full of other spices and herbs, you can make your own! It’s super easy – simply measure the ingredients and mix them together!

Here is the recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like spicy)

Store the Cajun seasoning in an airtight container and in a dry, cool spot for up to 1 year.

Close up of chicken tender on a white plate

What recipe substitutions and alterations can you make?

  • To make them gluten free: Use gluten free all-purpose flour instead of regular all-purpose flour and use gluten free cornflakes (check the package to be sure they are gluten free). If you buy store-bought Cajun seasoning, be sure it is gluten free.
  • To make them dairy free: These strips are naturally dairy free. Just be sure to check the nutrition labels of all ingredients to ensure they are dairy free.
  • For a lower sodium version: Make your own Cajun seasoning and adjust the amount of salt you add to make them work for you!
  • Instead of cornflakes: If you don’t want to use corn flakes or don’t have them on hand, you can use Panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs instead of cornflakes. You’ll need about 1 cup breadcrumbs + 1/2 cup cornmeal or 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs.
  • Instead of store-bought Cajun seasoning: Follow my recipe above to make your own!
  • Instead of chicken tenders: You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips.
  • Instead of remoulade: If you don’t have the ingredients to make the remoulade, or want something different, these tenders are delicious dipped in Dijon or whole grain mustard mixed with honey or maple syrup (your own sweet and sour sauce!) or ranch dressing. Yum!
Chicken tenders on a white plate

How to store and reheat air fryer chicken strips

In the refrigerator: Store the chicken strips in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

In the freezer: Store the chicken strips in an airtight container in the freezer up to 4 months.

To reheat in the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees, coat the leftover chicken strips in cooking spray and cook them in the air fryer to 2-3 minutes or until heated through and the exterior is crispy again.

To reheat in the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken strips on a baking sheet or aluminum foil, coat with cooking spray and cook 4-6 minutes or until the chicken tenders are heated through and the exterior is crispy again. You can also broil them for a minute or two per side to get them extra crispy (keep watch and be careful not to burn them!).

Side view of chicken tenders on a white plate

Now let’s get dippin’!

Print

Cajun Air Fryer Chicken Strips

Chicken tenders on a plate with dipping sauce

Crispy Cajun chicken strips made in the air fryer or oven with a cornflake crust. Served with spicy remoulade for dipping.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: 7-17 mins
  • Total Time: 22-27 mins
  • Yield: 12 chicken strips 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Appetizer
  • Method: Air Fryer, Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

Remoulade:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 12 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill pickles
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

Chicken Strips:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups cornflakes, crushed into a coarse meal
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided + more for serving
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 12 strips

Instructions

To make in the air fryer:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the remoulade ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Coat the basket with cooking spray.
  3. Set up 3 shallow bowls, one with the flour, one with the eggs and Dijon mustard and one with the crushed cornflakes and cornmeal.
  4. Distribute the Cajun seasoning, salt and black pepper into each bowl and thoroughly whisk each to combine.
  5. Dip each chicken tender into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the cornflake mixture, thoroughly dredging on all sides, and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken tenders.
  6. Coat each tender with cooking spray. Cook in batches in the air fryer for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway and coating with more cooking spray if needed, until the internal temperature of each strip reads 165 degrees.
  7. Dust the chicken strips with more salt, if desired. Serve immediately with remoulade.

To make in the oven:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the remoulade ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fit a wire rack inside a baking sheet and coat the wire rack with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Set up 3 shallow bowls, one with the flour, one with the eggs and Dijon mustard and one with the crushed cornflakes and cornmeal.
  4. Distribute the Cajun seasoning, salt and black pepper into each bowl and thoroughly whisk each to combine.
  5. Dip each chicken tender into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the cornflake mixture, thoroughly dredging on all sides, and place on the prepared wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken tenders.
  6. Coat each tender with cooking spray. Bake 12- 17 minutes, flipping halfway and coating with more cooking spray if needed, until the internal temperature of each strip reads 165 degrees.
  7. Dust the chicken strips with more salt, if desired. Serve immediately with remoulade.

Notes

Cooking Tip: To reheat, simply place back in the air fryer or oven for a few minutes, until heated through.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 chicken strip
  • Calories: 197
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 252mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg

Keywords: chicken tenders, chicken, dinner, appetizer, air fryer, oven fried

Did you make this recipe?

Did you make this recipe? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram and Facebook @thegourmetRD. We can’t wait to see your creation!

You might also like...

Join the Discussion

Scroll to Top