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Chicken Tenderloin Recipes

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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 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.

The easy chicken recipes shared below have many variations for cooking chicken tenderloins.

Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast

What is the difference between a tenderloin and the breast? If you’re unfamiliar with chicken anatomy, you may not know where to find the tenderloin.

Tenderloins are part of the overall breast. They’re long, 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.

two trays of chicken tenderloin strips, one in an egg dip

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 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.

  1. Just take the whole breast, find the piece hanging off the side, and pull it from the breast. Now you have a tenderloin!
  2. 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!

chicken tenderloins on a white platter over a green and white napkin
Air fryer chicken tenders by The Feathered Nester

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 easily substituted for boneless chicken breasts or thighs in most recipes. Simply shorten the cooking time to 3-5 minutes for the tenderloins.

Since chicken tenders cook so quickly, use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. When the center of boneless chicken is 165º Fahrenheit, it’s fully cooked.

Did you know you can get a reliable digital instant-read thermometer for under $15? This is our favorite budget-friendly digital thermometer from Amazon (we use it when grilling).

Get over 20 simple chicken tenderloin recipes for easy meals below. Great recipes include Baked Chicken Tenderloins, 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.

Nashville chicken tenders dipped in blue cheese dressing
Dipping a Nashville Chicken Tender into blue cheese dressing

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

Are chicken tenderloins and chicken strips the same thing?

Chicken tenderloins are actually a thin strip that’s under the breast. You can make your own chicken strips or fingers by slicing chicken breasts into strips. Recipes that use chicken tenders are the same as chicken strips and chicken tenderloin.

Why are chicken tenderloins so tender?

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

a plate of Instant Pot Chicken Tenders with honey mustard and barbecue dipping sauces
Keto-friendly, low carb chicken tenders from The Feathered Nester
Instant Pot Chicken Tenders (from fresh or frozen tenderloins)
Pressure-cooked chicken tenders are quick, easy, and super family-friendly. These chicken strips are ready in less than 30 minutes!
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Tenders (from fresh or frozen tenderloins)
Shake and Bake Chicken Tenders
Make Shake N Bake (just like mom did) right in the oven or air fryer with this easy chicken tenderloin recipe! With this blend of seasonings and panko breading you won't need storebought mixes to make delicious oven baked chicken tenders.
Check out this recipe
shake and bake chicken tenders placed on a parchment paper on top of a wood serving plate
Blackened Chicken Tenders
Bring some excitement to your healthy weeknight dinner routine with this blackened chicken strips recipe! Cajun blackened chicken tenders have big, bold flavor in every bite – but are easy to make in under 30 minutes.
Check out this recipe
a plate of chicken tenders ready to serve
Bisquick Chicken Tenders – The Feathered Nester
Crispy, crunchy Bisquick chicken tenders are a classic kid-friendly dish the whole family loves! Homemade chicken fingers can be oven baked or made in the air fryer in only 20 minutes.
Check out this recipe
Bisquick Chicken Tenders - The Feathered Nester
Keto Chicken Tenders | Low Carb Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!
These Keto Chicken Tenders are the absolute best low carb breaded chicken tenders out there! They’re so good and so easy to make in your air fryer!
Check out this recipe
Keto Chicken Tenders | Low Carb Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!
a plate of garlic butter chicken tenders
Garlic Butter Chicken Tenders from Little Sunny Kitchen
Garlic Butter Chicken Tenders
Healthier chicken tenders cooked in a simple delicious garlic butter sauce. The chicken tenderloins turn out so tender, juicy, succulent, and flavorful. A weeknight dinner ready in just 15 minutes! This one of the easiest
Check out this recipe
a plate of garlic butter chicken tenders
Mustard Baked Chicken Tenders
This Mustard Baked Chicken Tenders recipe is super simple and deliciously spicy. The mustard sauce is perfect over rice or a salad.
Check out this recipe
Mustard Baked Chicken Tenders
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe (EASY!) | Good Life Eats
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken — chicken tenderloins are baked in a sweet and savory honey mustard sauce with sprigs of fresh rosemary. So good!
Check out this recipe
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe (EASY!) | Good Life Eats
Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Breasts – Kristine’s Kitchen
Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Breasts are always moist, tender and flavorful! Cook from fresh or frozen in minutes in your pressure cooker!
Check out this recipe
Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Breasts - Kristine’s Kitchen
Air Fryer Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenderloins
Air Fryer Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenderloins tastes just like the real deal! Using an air fryer helps keep them super moist – and so good!
Check out this recipe
a white platter of cracker barrel chicken tenders
Blackened Chicken Tenders Recipe
Love Popeyes blackened chicken tenders? Make this tasty and easy blackened chicken tenders recipe at home for dinner.
Check out this recipe
Blackened Chicken Tenders Recipe
Mushroom Chicken (with homemade cream of mushroom)
These creamy mushroom chicken tenderloins are inspired by a dinner craze from way back in the day. Made with an easy homemade cream of mushroom sauce.
Check out this recipe
Mushroom Chicken (with homemade cream of mushroom)

More chicken tender recipes

Chicken Tater Tot Casserole with Broccoli
Chicken tater tot casserole (hotdish) is a one-pan dish made with layers of chicken tenderloins, broccoli, and cream of chicken soup – all topped with tater tots and shredded cheddar cheese. It's an easy recipe that's ready to serve as a complete meal in under an hour!
Check out this recipe
skillet of hot dish tater tot casserole baked and ready to serve
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken | Good Life Eats
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken is a perfect summer grillinh recipe. These chicken tenderloins are marinated in a sweet and savory honey mustard sauce with sprigs of fresh rosemary and lemon juice.
Check out this recipe
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken | Good Life Eats
Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders | Kitchen Dreaming
This easy Chicken Tender recipe is low in fat and calories. Don’t let that fool you, they are packed with flavor! Ready in just 12-minutes, this is one meal your entire family will love!
Check out this recipe
Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders | Kitchen Dreaming
Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet (One Pan Meal) | Good Life Eats
30 minute meal only takes 1 pan to make! Wow with this flavorful recipe for Italian Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms. Such an easy Chicken Skillet Recipe!
Check out this recipe
Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet (One Pan Meal) | Good Life Eats
Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken | Sprinkles and Sprouts
This easy and delicious recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken is a comforting meal that packs so much flavor into every bite! Everyone loves this.
Check out this recipe
Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken | Sprinkles and Sprouts
a skillet of honey garlic chicken tenderloins
Honey Garlic Chicken from The Gunny Sack
Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
This Honey Garlic Chicken recipe is so easy to prepare and will be a family favorite! Made with chicken breasts and a four ingredient honey garlic sauce.
Check out this recipe
a skillet of honey garlic chicken tenderloins
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Easy and flavorful air fryer chicken tenders. Ready in just 20 minutes, you will love how crispy and juicy these chicken tenders are.
Check out this recipe
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders
Check out this delicious recipe for flavorful chicken tenders. Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders offer a delicious hint of dill pickle flavor in each crispy bite
Check out this recipe
Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders
Easy Doritos Chicken Tenders – Dancing Through the Rain
This easy Doritos Chicken Tenders recipe is the perfect way to get your kids to eat dinner or lunch! Adults will love them too!
Check out this recipe
Easy Doritos Chicken Tenders - Dancing Through the Rain
Best Grilled Chicken Tenders Recipe – Little Sunny Kitchen
Succulent and juicy grilled chicken tenders made very quickly on the grill! The chicken tenders are marinated in a herb lemon and olive oil marinade.
Check out this recipe
Best Grilled Chicken Tenders Recipe - Little Sunny Kitchen
Baked Cornflake Chicken Tenders
Crispy Baked Cornflake Chicken Tenders are perfect low-calorie, quick and HEALTHY family meal. Served with homemade Honey Dijon Sauce, these tenders are delicious party, game day finger food too. It’s addictive and so good!
Check out this recipe
Baked Cornflake Chicken Tenders

Here’s Our Newest Chicken Tenders Recipe!

Nashville Chicken Tenders on a white serving platter
Nashville Chicken Tenders by The Feathered Nester
a white serving platter with Nashville Chicken Tenders with a basting brush and spicy hot butter sauce in the background
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Nashville Chicken Tenders

Everyone loves this Nashville Chicken Tenders recipe, inspired by KFC! We'll show you how to make them at home, using simple ingredients. They're so mild that kids love them, or add extra spice to make them hot & spicy.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword chicken strips, cajun chicken tenders, chicken tenders recipe, Chicken, easy chicken breasts, chicken tenders, chicken tenderloins, chicken recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 395kcal

Equipment

  • 11″ – 12″ cast iron skillet (or heavy skillet)
  • 2 shallow bowls or dipping trays
  • instant-read thermometer
  • small saucepan
  • basting brush

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds raw chicken tenderloins (or frozen and thawed) (to use chicken breasts see notes below)
  • cups canola oil or vegetable cooking oil

Seasoned flour batter

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Buttermilk batter

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Notes

Cut chicken breasts into tenders:
  • 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.
Variations:
You might notice that the ingredients do not include brown sugar. I designed this Nashville Chicken Tenders copycat recipe without sugar. However, if you prefer a sweeter spicy sauce add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the butter basting sauce at the end.
*Nutritional facts include a small portion of the cooking oil as most of it is discarded and not consumed*

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 1011mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

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