These super easy cooking instructions for How to Air Fry Chicken Mini Fillets give you perfectly cooked and seasoned chicken tenders in around 10 minutes. Ideal for dipping as an appetiser, adding to salads, curries or lunch boxes or simply served with fries, you cannot go wrong with this simple and versatile recipe.
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As much as I love a bit of breaded chicken, I more often than not like to cook raw chicken nice and simply without any coating. The air fryer is an ideal way to cook smaller portions without needing to turn on the oven. And these mini fillets are ready in just 10 minutes.
I’ve seasoned mine with garlic salt and paprika – I wanted to be able to keep them quite simple so I could dip them in a variety of sauces. But I often use different seasoning mixes for different uses.
I’ve left this “recipe” really open for you to flavour the tenders however you want – the air fryer cooking instructions are going to remain the same.
How to Serve
Chicken mini fillets are equally great served hot or cold.
Eaten cold they can be added to lunch boxes, salads, buffets and picnics. They are also ideal for using in wraps and sandwiches.
Talking of wraps, chicken mini fillets are perfect for making easy fajitas. Use a tex-mex seasoning mix and wrap with your favourite toppings – these are some of mine:
- Shredded lettuce
- Sour cream
- Peach Salsa
- 5 Minute Pickled Red Onions
Chicken Mini Fillets
Usually called chicken tenders in the US, this name is becoming more and more common in the UK where they are usually called mini fillets. The tenders are the inner part of a chicken breast.
Don’t be put off by the white tendon running through each fillet. There is no need to remove it as is will disappear during cooking. You’ve never noticed it in a cooked roast chicken have you?!
The mini fillets that I tested this recipe with were around 40g to 50g each. If you are using much larger or smaller tenders, you may need to increase or decrease the cooking time accordingly.
I used vegetable oil. You can use any standard cooking oil which works with your seasoning flavours.
The trick is to oil the meat and not the air fryer. This prevents any being wasted and creating unnecessary smoke.
Please don’t skimp on the oil. Chicken mini fillets are incredibly lean and can very easily be very dry – cooking with some oil will help with this. It also ensures that the seasoning distributes evenly and sticks to the tenders.
As long as you include salt, the world is your oyster with how your choose to flavour the chicken tenders. Or keep it super simple and only use salt. You can add sauces or add to other food after cooking.
I used a 50/50 mix of garlic salt and paprika.
This air fried chicken mini fillets recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How to Air Fry Chicken Mini Fillets from Frozen
I can’t fathom the science behind what I’m about to write because it makes no sense to me. But I have tested this multiple time and you can cook the tenders from frozen in exactly the same time as you can from fresh. At exactly the same temperature.
This can make cooking chicken like this super convenient. Especially if you add oil and seasoning before freezing. Or if you are using ready flavoured tenders.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Cooked chicken tenders can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. They can also be well wrapped and frozen.
To reheat in the air fryer, I use the rule of cooking for around 1/3 of the cooking time at the same temperature. So the tenders will reheat in around 3 minutes at 200c/390f. Check that they are piping hot all the way through and cook for longer if needed.
You can also reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
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What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I use a Corsori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry Chicken Mini Fillets
- 6 Chicken Tenders (Mini Fillets)
- 1 tsp Oil - – see notes
- ½ tsp Seasoning - – see notes
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, Start this setting now.
- Thoroughly dry 6 Chicken Tenders.
- Drizzle over 1 tsp Oil and ½ tsp Seasoning and toss to thoroughly coat the chicken.
- Place the tenders into the air fryer basket. Leave a little space between each so the air can circulate.
- Cook for 10 minutes at 200c/390f.
- If you want to turn them after 5 minutes, you can do – I don't need to using the rack in my air fryer.
- Check the chicken is cooked through, you can see this by making a cut and checking that the meat is white in the centre of the thickest part. If there is any pink showing, Continue cooking for 2 minutes at a time.
To Air Fry From Frozen
- Cook for 10 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Check that the chicken is cooked through in exactly the same way as if you are cooking from fresh.
- Oil – Choose your oil to match your flavouring. For example use garlic, salt and rosemary with olive oil or for a more neutral flavour, sea salt and black pepper with vegetable oil.
- Seasoning – Choose any seasoning mix, spices or dried/fresh herbs. Make sure that salt is included in the mix. You can also add a little citrus juice.
- I used vegetable oil with a 50/50 mix of garlic salt and paprika.
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Corsori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can easily fit 6 chicken tenders in the basket at a time. This gives plenty of room to allow air to circulate – I could probably squeeze in a couple more.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.
Wow, the chicken filets came out so nice and juicy. I cooked them for 10 minutes at 190C and used rapseed oil and salt & fajita seasoning. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Such a versatile and easy recipe that can be used for so many different meals!
These are brilliant and so quick to make in the air fryer.