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Air Fryer Chicken Tender Battle! Round 1

Old chips in the pantry? Smash them to bits!

We are coating chicken tenders in Doritos, Ruffles and Cheez-It Puff’d then air frying them until crispy. This recipe is also great for dry fried chicken tenders, you could substitute chips for bread crumbs or really anything crunchy.

Who will reign supreme amongst the smashed-up chips!? Watch the video for the full recipe and results.


1lb raw chicken tenders

3 bags of smashed-up chips (3 cups total)

*We used Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili, Ruffles, and Cheez-It’s Puff’d white cheddar.


1.5 cups buttermilk (or 1.5 cups milk mixed with 1.5 teaspoons white vinegar

1/3 packet of Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Seasoning

2 tablespoons HLM BBQ Back Rub Seasoning


  1. Mixed together, marinade ingredients and place chicken tenders in the marinade. Wrap with cling wrap in place in the fridge for at least four hours or up to overnight.

  2. Select your chips, and smash them in the bag, you can leave them chunky or like a fine powder. Make sure there are no holes in the bag. If so, transfer them to a plastic zipping bag.

  3. Remove one chicken tender at a time, let the excess buttermilk drip off and place the chicken tender in the chip bag. Gently shake the tender inside the chip bag and press the chips and the tender with your hand, grabbing the outside of the bag and squeezing gently.

  4. Place the chicken tender on parchment paper and continue with the remaining chicken tenders.

  5. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F, spray it with cooking oil, and cook the chicken tenders for 15 minutes flipping over halfway through. The internal temp of the tender should be at least 165F but will likely be closer to 200F to achieve the crispy outside

  6. Serve with a side of ranch.


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