Chicken, Main Dish

Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders is full of easy, cheesy goodness! This recipe has few ingredients, is easy to make, with minimal clean up, and is healthy(ish)! These are the best air fryer chicken tenders! Most importantly, these Cheez It chicken tenders are crispy, juicy and packed with flavor! Say hello to your new family favorite!

Wondering what to serve with chicken tenders? You’ll find plenty of delicious side dishes HERE! And if you’re looking for more easy air fryer recipes try Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer or crispy and tender Air Fryer Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs.

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Three Air Fryer Cheez It chicken tenders on a plate with a bowl of cheez it crackers on the side.
Cheez It Crusted Chicken Tenders (Air Fryer Recipe)

Cheez Its are one of those foods that I can’t keep in the house. I could eat an entire box without even realizing it. Instead of just sitting and munching on Cheez Its, I wanted to create a recipe a Cheez It crust – enter these Cheez It crusted chicken tenders! These air fry chicken tenders without breadcrumbs are deliciously cheesy!

Bonus: you can snack on Cheez Its while you cook!

I love using my air fryer to make these air fryer chicken tenderloins because I can get crispy fried chicken without using excess oil. You can also trying baking these in the oven for another healthier option.

What You Will Need:

  • Cheez Its – I prefer using the Original flavor Cheez-Its, but other flavors are fun to play around with too!
  • Chicken Tenders – use the entire tenderloin whole or cut it into bite-sized pieces to make cheez it chicken nuggets
  • Buttermilk – In order to get the juiciest fried chicken, soak them in buttermilk for at least 2 hours.
  • Ranch Seasoning Packet
  • Air Fryer – You can also fry these in a skillet on the stove or bake them in the oven. In my opinion, the air fryer gives the best results while still being healthy.
A box of Cheez Its and a ziplock bag full of crushed Cheez It crackers.

Let’s Make Cheez It Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer!

First, to make these air fryer chicken tenderloins, mix buttermilk and ranch seasoning mix together in a baking dish. Marinate, or soak, the chicken tenders in the buttermilk and ranch seasoning mixture for at least two hours.

This is an important step! Soaking the chicken tenders in buttermilk will tenderize the meat and allow it to stay juicy. If you want to cook juicy chicken tenders, marinate them in this buttermilk mixture first.

After you have soaked the chicken for at least two hours, it’s time to prepare the Cheez It crust. Put Cheez It crackers in a Ziplock bag, close it tight, and roll it with a rolling pin until the Cheez-Its have turned into crumbs. Pro tip: if you’re like me and can’t find a rolling pin, use a wine bottle.

Next, add a few pieces of chicken to the Ziplock bag with the Cheez-It cracker crumbs. Shake the bag to coat the chicken tenders on all sides. It’s best to do this in batches and not put all the chicken tenders in the bag all at once.

Finally, air fry chicken tenders to juicy perfection with a crispy Cheez It crust. Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil and preheat it to 380°F. Air fry chicken tenderloins in batches so you don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Cook chicken tenders for 7 minutes then flip and cook for another 8 minutes. Make sure the chicken is at a safe internal temperate of 165°F before eating.

A dog sitting next to a table with Cheez It Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a plate.
Behind the scenes with Donnie! The lighting in my house is not that great, so sometimes I take pictures outside.

More Air Fryer Recipes to Try:

Three Cheez-It Crusted Chicken Tenders on a plate with a bowl of Cheez-It crackers on the side.

Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Cheez It Chicken Tenders are full of easy, cheesy goodness! Air fry chicken tenders to juicy perfection with a crispy Cheez It crust.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 chicken tenders
Calories 300 kcal


  • Air Fryer


  • 8-10 chicken tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ranch seasoning packet
  • 2 cups Cheez-Its, crushed into crumbs


  • Mix buttermilk and ranch seasoning packet in a baking dish.
  • Add chicken tenders to buttermilk mixture and let .
  • Put Cheez-It crackers into a Ziplock bag and close. Using a rolling pin, crush crackers into small crumbs.
  • Put Cheez-It crumbs and chicken tenders in a dish (or keep in the Ziplock bag). Coat chicken on all sides with the crushed cracker crumbs.
  • Spray air fryer insert with olive oil and preheat air fryer to 380°F.
  • Once the air fryer has preheated, add in the coated chicken tenders. You may need to bake the chicken in batches so you don’t overcrowd the air fryer.
  • Cook chicken tenders for 7 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 8 minutes. Chicken is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165°F.


  • You can fry these chicken tenders in a skillet on the stove or bake them in the oven.
Keyword air fryer, chicken


  1. 5 stars
    I would totally make these and they would get devoured very quickly! What a fun idea!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this idea! Cheese on anything makes it better! 🙂 Excited to try this Thanks for sharing!

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