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Chicken tenderloin recipes are quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. This recipe roundup of over 20+ recipes for chicken tenders is kid-approved and ready in under 30 minutes. The perfect chicken recipe is waiting for you, from pan fried, keto-friendly chicken strips to oven-fried chicken tenders!
You can’t beat recipes with chicken tenders for quick and easy dinners!
Not only are they perfect weeknight dinner recipes. But, they have a short cooking time. Most have 10 minutes of prep time and just 20 minutes of cooking time.
Whether oven-baked chicken on a sheet pan, seasoned air fryer chicken fingers, or fried chicken strips, they’re all equally delicious.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS POST
- What are Chicken Tenderloins?
- Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast
- How to Make Chicken Tenders from Breasts
- What to Do with Chicken Tenderloins
- Meals to make with Chicken Tenderloins
- What’s good with chicken tenders
- Frequently asked Questions
- 20+ Easy Chicken Tenders Recipes
- More chicken tender recipes
- Here’s Our Newest Chicken Tenders Recipe!
What are Chicken Tenderloins?
Chicken tenderloins are juicy and delicious strips of chicken that come from an area under the chicken breast. Because of their size, chicken tenders cook quickly.
You might see them seasoned, breaded, and baked. Or used for deep frying.
But, you’ll find many recipes here without any breading that are low carb and keto-friendly.
Who needs breading when you have tasty seasonings like Italian seasoning or parmesan cheese to boost the flavor? Just don’t forget to add a pinch of salt and black pepper before you add the chicken.
There are lots of variations for cooking chicken tenderloins in the easy chicken recipes shared below.
Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast
What is the difference between a tenderloin and the breast? If you’re not familiar with chicken anatomy, you may not know where to find the tenderloin.
Tenderloins are part of the overall breast. They’re long and thin and connected by a thin line of tissue to the breast. They come by their name, honestly. They really are juicy and tender white meat.
Each bird has two tenderloins because they have two breasts.
Tenderloins are sold separately from chicken breasts at the store. However, you can use the entire breast for any of these chicken tender recipes.
How to Make Chicken Tenders from Breasts
It’s easy to make chicken tenderloin recipes from breasts. There’s no need to buy them separately.
- Just take the whole breast and find the piece that hangs off the side and pull it from the breast. Now you have a tenderloin!
- Next, slice the rest of the breast from top to bottom with a sharp knife into 2-inch strips. If the breasts are very large, slice them in half by placing your hand flat against the top of the chicken and carefully slicing horizontally through the chicken.
This will allow you to make tasty chicken strips from the entire breast with no waste, and that’s always a plus!
What to Do with Chicken Tenderloins
These recipes for chicken tenders cover a wide and delicious range of how you can cook them.
Since chicken tenderloin or strips are thin, it’s easy to use frozen chicken tenders in many recipes without thawing them. Especially when pressure cooking, like with Instant Pot Chicken Tenderloins. They go straight into the pressure cooker without defrosting, then are pan-seared for that crispy golden exterior.
Use raw chicken tenderloins straight from the package to make air fry chicken tenders, cook chicken tenders in the Instant Pot, or make oven-baked chicken tenders in a preheated oven.
Meals to make with Chicken Tenderloins
As you can imagine, chicken tenders are very versatile. They cook quickly and are also easily substituted for boneless chicken breasts or even thighs in most recipes. Simply shorten the cooking time to 3-5 minutes for the tenderloins.
Get over 20 simple chicken tenderloin recipes for easy meals below. Great recipes such as Keto Chicken Tenders, Blackened Chicken Tenders, Mushroom Chicken, Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken, Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken, and Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders.
What’s good with chicken tenders
There is such a wide variety of dishes below that many great sides and dips can pair well with them.
For the skillet recipes in a sauce, some great sides may be white or brown rice, a pasta salad, or grilled or roasted vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts.
For the crispy chicken tenders, some great dipping sauces are called for. Some dipping sauce ideas are BBQ sauce (our recipe has just 3 ingredients!), honey mustard, mango sweet chili sauce, ranch, tzatziki, gravy, cheese sauce, or sriracha mayo.
Frequently asked Questions
Chicken tenderloins are actually a thin strip that’s under the breast. You can make your own chicken strips or fingers, though by slicing chicken breasts into strips. Recipes that use chicken tenders are the same as chicken strips and chicken tenderloin.
Since this piece of the chicken is connected to the breast, it is just as tender as chicken breasts. Overcooking can make them touch, so check the temperature of chicken tenderloin frequently. It’s ready when the center of the chicken is 165º Fahrenheit.
20+ Easy Chicken Tenders Recipes
More chicken tender recipes
Here’s Our Newest Chicken Tenders Recipe!
Nashville Chicken Tenders
- 11″ – 12″ cast iron skillet (or heavy skillet)
- 2 shallow bowls or dipping trays
- instant-read thermometer
- small saucepan
- basting brush
- 1 1/2 pounds raw chicken tenderloins (or frozen and thawed) (to use chicken breasts see notes below)
- 2½ cups canola oil or vegetable cooking oil
Seasoned flour batter
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I prefer Frank's Red Hot or Louisiana Hot Sauce)
Spicy butter sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground red pepper
Prepare the batter and dip chicken
- In a shallow bowl or dipping tray, mix flour, garlic salt, and pepper with whisk. In another shallow bowl or dipping tray, mix the buttermilk and hot sauce together with a whisk.
- Dredge chicken tenders in the seasoned flour, then the buttermilk mixture, and back in the flour. Shake off excess buttermilk and flour.
Fry the chicken tenders
- Add the cooking oil to a large skillet, and heat oil over medium-high heat until hot (350°F).
- Fry the tenders in hot oil in batches of 4 – 5 tenders for about 6 minutes on each side. The chicken should be a deep golden brown before turning. Check the internal temperature of the chicken tenderloins (at least 165°F in the center) before removing them from the skillet. Place strips on a wire rack with paper towels underneath to soak upthe excess oil.
Brush on the spicy butter sauce
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in paprika, salt, and red pepper with a whisk. Use a basting brush to brush the fried chicken tenders with the spicy butter sauce.
- Take the chicken breast and find the piece that hangs off the side and pull it from the breast. That’s your first chicken tenderloin strip.
- Next, slice the breast from top to bottom with a sharp knife into 2-inch strips. If the breasts are very large, slice them in half by placing your hand flat against the top of the chicken and carefully slicing horizontally through the chicken away from you.