It was test time in my kitchen again this week so I made Air Fryer Chicken Tenders and Fries. My goal was to see how my air fryer holds up with frozen foods and report right back to you. This meal is typically something the kids love to have for lunch because they are kids after all. What kid doesn’t love some chicken nuggets and fries?
As much as they love it, they only get to enjoy this favorite meal occasionally because it’s usually deep fried. On top of that, it can be high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Would making frozen chicken tenders and fries in the air fryer make a difference and still pass the kid test?
First, let’s start with the actual food. For my Air Fryer Chicken Tenders and Fries, I wanted to make sure the frozen food was a healthier option than usual. I found a healthy swap for chicken nuggets by using Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts. These have only 4 grams of fat per serving and 0.0 grams of saturated fat. I also bought Trader Joe’s Handsome Cut fries with only 5 grams of fat per serving. Not really bad for fries and chicken tenders!
Now, let’s talk about the air fryer. I recently purchased the Gormia Digital Air Fryer at Costco for $80, and I linked it here for you on Amazon to check out (affiliate links). I first tested it out by making a simple bacon and eggs recipe, and that turned out better than I expected. With the wonders of the air fryer, there is no additional oil and fat used in the cooking process, so I’m hoping that the Air Fryer Chicken Tenders and Fries will maintain their crispness. That is, after all, one of the main reasons that makes chicken tenders and fries so appealing!
But after trying it out in the air fryer, I must say I am impressed! Here are my cooking times:
- Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken at 375˚F for 14 minutes
- Trader Joe’s Handsome Cut Fries at 375˚F for 12 minutes
Since you can’t follow the cooking instructions on the bag, it is a little tough to guess the temperatures and cooking times.
I found that the most effective way to make them was by first placing the frozen chicken tenders on one side of air fryer bottom rack and cooking for 3 minutes. Then, pause the air fryer and place the fries on the other side of the rack and cook everything for another 12 minutes. Yes, the math is 15 minutes instead of 14 minutes for the chicken, but I’m adding the extra minute because opening the air fryer releases the heat and thus you have to reheat again.
All this testing paid off because the fries turned out crisp and the chicken was crunchy. It passed the test! The kids loved it, and mommy appreciated the ease of making this without any additional oils, or having to wait by the oven to flip everything over a few times and hope it turns out crunchy. Anything that is healthier and more convenient is a win for me!