Chicken Tenders Recipe

4.17 from 6 votes
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Chicken Tenders Recipe – these chicken tenders are super easy to make and turn out super tender, juicy and so full of flavor! If you have had Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders, you are going to love these!

When I was in high school Cracker Barrel was one of our go-to restaurants. And I always ordered the same thing….the chicken tenders!

I am pretty sure the reason I liked going there so much is because you got a Buttermilk Biscuit with just about everything you ordered. And I am a sucker for biscuits any time of day! Fast forward 20 years and I can’t remember the last time I was at a Cracker Barrel, but I can still make my favorite chicken tenders at home.

looking down on a cast iron skillet on with chicken tenders


Chicken Tenders Recipe

This is such a simple dinner you can get on the table in just minutes any night of the week. It involves a simple marinade with just 4 ingredients and then you can cook the chicken pretty much however you want! I like to use a skillet, so they can be made all year round.

But you can use the oven, the grill, or even your air fryer to cook these in no time! Plus, you can make as much or as little as you want. The leftovers are great for lots of different recipes.

Chicken Tender Uses

You can always throw in salads or use in a sandwich for lunch the next day, or here are a few great ways to use grilled chicken tenders.

italian schicken tenders on a plate

Chicken Tenders Ingredients

  • Chicken Tenders
  • Italian Dressing
  • Lime Juice
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

How To Make Chicken Tenders

  1. Start by mixing together the Italian dressing, lime juice, honey, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl or a plastic food storage bag.
  2. Add the chicken and toss everything together until it is well coated.
  3. Then you just let it sit. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, but the longer you let it sit the better. I like to set it sit in the fridge all day and then take it out to cook it for dinner that night.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  5. Cook in a hot skillet or grill for about 6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through, and reaches an internal temperature of 165º F.

I use the Thermapen Mk4 to check the temperature of the meat throughout the cooking process. It is the most accurate thermometer I have found and have been using it for years!

chicken tenders in a skillet

Recipe Tips

  • You can use any cut of chicken you want for this recipe. I really like to use chicken tenderloins because they cook so quickly. But you can use chicken breasts, you can use bone-in chicken or even chicken drumsticks. Just make sure the chicken is cooked through and it will taste amazing.
  • Cook the chicken using any method you want. A large skillet over medium high heat works great, or you can grill it, bake it in the oven, or even cook it in the air fryer. It doesn’t matter, just do want you know and are comfortable with.
  • Don’t over cook the chicken tenders. This is the number one thing that happens and people thing chicken is dry and not a good meat. Use a thermometer to know when the chicken is done. As soon as it reaches 165º F it is done. Remove it from the heat and serve it immediately. Cooking further will just dry out the chicken.

Got Leftovers?

Store the chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

chicken tenders cooking in a skillet

What To Serve With Chicken Tenders

This Chicken Tenders Recipe is such and easy one you can make even on your busiest night. I love that you can prep it in the morning with the marinade, and then just spend 15 minutes cooking it when it is time for dinner.

It is even something the kids can help with! If your kids are old enough, they can measure the 4 ingredients for the marinade and get it in the fridge after school. Such an easy recipe the whole family will love!

close up chicken tenders

More Easy Dinner Recipes

  • Potato Tacos
  • Crunchwrap Supreme
  • Pasta Milano
  • Greek Meatballs
  • Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
  • Instant Pot Turkey Chili
  • Chicken Lo Mein
  • Chicken Taquitos
easy chicken tenders on a white plate
4.17 from 6 votes

Chicken Tenders Recipe

By Erin
Chicken Tenders Recipe – these chicken tenders are super easy to make and turn out super tender, juicy and so full of flavor! If you have had Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders, you are going to love these!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 5


  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • Salt and Pepper


  • In a large bowl or a gallon sized plastic food storage bag combine zesty Italian dressing, honey, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Add chicken tenders and mix together to coat evenly with marinade.
  • Let chicken marinade for at least 10 minutes or put in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.
  • Heat a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a large non-stick skillet on medium high.
  • Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken
    is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165º F.



Can cook the chicken in the oven, on the grill, in the air fryer or a skillet. Just place the chicken on a hot surface and cook until it is cooked through.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 628mg | Sugar: 19g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5
Calories: 394
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. Hi,
    This recipe looks amazing. I have a question. I just had knee surgery and I can’t stand very long. Do you think that using this marinade that I could bake these in the oven and have success? I love your recipes and all the beautiful pictures that make everything look so appetizing. Any help you could give on this recipe would be so helpful.

    1. Thank you! Yep, you could definitely bake them. They won’t be exactly the same, but will still have good flavor from the marinade, so it is worth doing if you can’t stand long.

      1. Thanks so much for your reply. I will bake them and next time when I can stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time I will make the recipe as intended. This just sounds so good I can’t wait!

  2. Not sure if anyone else questioned this or not but under the ingredients you call for lime juice but in the directions you say lemon. I didn’t notice the difference until I’d already added my lime juice. It was very good, actually excellent, I cooked it on my Blackstone flat top grill outside! I could, however, taste the lime. Will lemon juice change up that flavor?

    1. It just be lime, I am not sure how I typed it wrong, but I will get it corrected. Both would be good, just a little different!

  3. Easy to make and my family loved it. Got many compliments and even some the next day. Going to make this again and again. Yum