Grilled Chicken Tenders are easy, healthy, and delicious.
This is one of those recipes I threw together when we only had a few ingredients left in the fridge and it became one of our favorites. I probably make this at-least twice a month, basically whenever we feel like we need a reset.
Juicy chicken tenders are marinated in simple flavors such as freshly-squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasonings, and thyme. They always turn out tasty and well-seasoned, yet versatile enough to serve with most dipping sauces. I always whip up a batch of Homemade Honey Mustard.Jump to Recipe
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How to Marinate Chicken Tenders:
- Rinse chicken tenders. Be sure to remove the tendon that goes down the length of the chicken tender. You can do this by gripping the tendon through the tines of a fork and holding onto it with a paper towel. Pull the tendon out while pressing the fork against the chicken tender to prevent it from moving.
- Place in a gallon bag.
- Add in freshly-squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasonings, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and (optional) a dash of seasoned salt.
- Allow to marinate for at-least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
The longer you let the chicken marinate, the more flavor it will have. That being said, I'm pretty busy and I usually only remember early enough to let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes. Note that if you let the chicken marinate overnight, it may develop a strong enough flavor to not go quite as well with some dipping sauces such as hot sauce or sweet chili sauce. That's just a heads up though, as I haven't tried it myself.
How to Cook Grilled Chicken Tenders:
- After the chicken tenders have marinated, heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sear chicken tenders until golden on both sides and the internal temperature reaches 165 F. I like to use my grill pan because it can also go in the oven. If the chicken tenders aren't quite cooked through yet, I will bake them at 350 F. for around 5-8 minutes. You can also grill the chicken tenders outside and they will develop even more flavor.
It's that easy. You can't get a better weeknight dinner than this.
- If you're on a tight schedule, you can marinate the chicken for as little as 30 minutes. If you want to get a head start for the next day, you can marinate all night long.
- You can turn this into a ready-to-cook freezer meal by freezing the raw chicken in the marinade. Simply thaw and cook when ready to make. De-frost and cook within 3 months for the best results. If chicken tenders are on sale, I like to buy several packs and freeze them. It's a great option to have in the freezer for those days you either just don't feel like cooking, or can't.
- These chicken tenders would also be great served over pasta for something like chicken fettuccini.
- This is a super basic recipe using pantry-staple ingredients. You can easily switch up the flavors by playing around with different seasoning combinations. You could even switch up the citruses, such as swapping lemon for lime or orange.
- If you're in a pinch and don't have chicken tenders, I've also made these using chicken breasts cut up into long, thin strips.
Grilled Chicken Tenders - Super Easy Go-To Weeknight Dinner
- 1 pack of chicken tenders (about 10-12 tenders)
- One recipe Homemade Honey Mustard for dipping sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- dash of seasoned salt optional
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Remove the tendon from each chicken tender by gripping the tendon through the tines of a fork and holding onto it with a paper towel. Pull the tendon out while pressing the fork against the chicken tender to prevent it from moving.
- Place chicken in a gallon bag along with all of the marinade ingredients. Seal the bag and move the chicken around to coat all sides in the marinade. Lay the bag flat in the refrigerator on a plate and allow it to marinade for 30 minutes to overnight.
- Heat a grill pan (or grill) over medium-high heat. I like to use a grill pan that can go in the oven.
- Lay chicken in a single layer on the pan and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. If the middle is not cooked through to 165 F, place the grill pan in the oven at 350 F for 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Serve with Homemade Honey Mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.