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Chicken Tenderloin Recipes

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Chicken tenderloin recipes are a quick and easy solution for an absolutely delicious meal. We have more than 10 easy recipes for chicken tenders, and they are all kid-approved meals! Best of all, these recipes are quick, so you can make a scrumptious weeknight dinner in 30 minutes or less!

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a collage with chicken tenderloin recipes.

You can’t beat chicken tenders for making quick and easy dinners! They are a perfect weeknight dinner idea, thanks to a short cooking time.

Most of the chicken tenderloin recipes in this collection require no more than 10 minutes of prep time, and just 20 minutes to cook.

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. They can be seasoned, breaded, and baked. Or used for deep frying. 

You can find more information on this versatile cut of poultry (and delicious ways to prepare it!) in my “What is a Chicken Tenderloin” post.

However, you’ll find many recipes here without any breading, so they are low carb and keto-friendly.

When you have tasty seasonings like Italian seasoning or parmesan cheese to boost the flavor, you don’t necessarily need to use a breadcrumb coating. Although it isn’t necessary to tenderize boneless chicken, marinades are sometimes in chicken tenderloin recipes to add flavor to the dish.

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

Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast

What is the difference between a tenderloin and the chicken 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 attached to the breast by a thin line of connective tissue. They come by their name, honestly. They really are juicy and tender white meat.

two breading trays of raw chicken strips, one in a tray with whisked eggs.

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.

Incidentally, turkey breasts also have tenderloins, and turkey tenderloins are also incredibly versatile!

How to Make Chicken Tenders from Breasts

It’s easy to make chicken tenderloin recipes using chicken breasts. There’s no need to buy them separately.

  1. Remove the tenderloin from the breast.

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

  1. Slice the breast into strips/tenders.

Next, use a sharp kitchen knife to cut vertical (top to bottom) strips, about 2 inches wide. If the breasts are very large, slice the strips in half by placing your hand flat against the top of the chicken and carefully slicing horizontally through the strips.

Doing this allows 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

Our recipes for chicken tenders offer a wide range of delicious ways to 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 a crispy, golden exterior.

Use raw chicken tenderloins straight from the package to air fry chicken tenders, to cook chicken tenders in the Instant Pot, or make oven-baked chicken tenders.

This part of the bird is very versatile, so there are plenty of great meals to make with chicken tenderloins!

They cook quickly and are a great substitute for boneless chicken breasts or thighs in most recipes. Simply shorten the cooking time by 3-5 minutes for tenderloin meat.

Pro Tip for Making Chicken Tenderloin Recipes

To avoid over cooking , use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Chicken tenderloins, strips, tenders, and any other boneless chicken pieces are safe to eat when the thickest portion of the meat reaches 165º Fahrenheit.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chicken tenderloins and chicken strips the same thing?

Not exactly the same, but the two are similar. Chicken tenderloins are a strip of chicken meat located under the breast of the bird.

In comparison, chicken strips (or fingers) come by slicing boneless chicken breasts into thin strips. Recipes that call for chicken tenders are the same as chicken strips, and chicken tenderloins are a great substitute for them.

Why are chicken tenderloins so tender?

Since this piece of the chicken is connected to the breast, it is just as lean and juicy as chicken breast meat is. Overcooking can make them tough and dry, so check the internal temperature of chicken tenderloins frequently, and avoid cooking to an internal temperature over 165º Fahrenheit.

What’s good with chicken tenders?

Chicken tenderloins are very versatile, so there are actually many great sides and dipping sauces that pair well with them.

Any sides that you would typically serve with a turkey are fabulous with chicken tenders!

For chicken skillet recipes that include a sauce, great side dishes are white or brown rice, pasta or noodles, or a vegetable like asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts.

When serving crispy chicken tenders, be sure to include a variety of dipping sauces. Easy dipping sauce ideas for breaded chicken tenderloin recipes are:

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

All-Time Favorite Chicken Tenderloin Recipes

Because tenders are so versatile, there are many ways to cook them. Some of our favorite recipes for them are shown below, broken out by cooking method.

Recipes for Chicken Tenderloins in Oven

Oven Baked Marinated Chicken Tenders
Make healthy baked chicken tenders in the oven with this easy, two-ingredient recipe! Add potatoes and green beans or asparagus to your baking sheet for a complete dinner.
Check out this recipe
oven baked marinated chicken tenders with asparagus and potatoes beside it.
Baked Chicken Tenderloins (No Breading)
Make healthy baked chicken tenders in the oven or air fryer with this easy chicken tenderloin recipe! Add green beans, bell pepper, broccoli, potatoes, or asparagus to make this an easy one-pan dinner.
Check out this recipe
a plate of healthy baked chicken and asparagus
Perfect Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken
Learn how to bake juicy, extra crispy, breaded Shake and Bake chicken in the oven or air fryer for panko chicken tenders in 25 minutes!
Check out this recipe
shake and bake chicken tenders placed on a parchment paper on top of a wood serving plate
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
Bisquick Chicken Tenders
Bisquick chicken tenders are a classic, kid-friendly dinner everyone loves. This Bisquick ultimate chicken fingers recipe takes only 20 minutes from start to finish. Prepare them easily in the oven or air fryer.
Check out this recipe
a platter of bisquick chicken tenders with a baking sheet of them in the background

Instant Pot Chicken Tender Recipes

Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
Family-friendly Instant Pot chicken tenders are ready in under 30 minutes with our easy chicken strips recipe. You can even make this delicious appetizer or dinner with frozen chicken tenderloins!
Check out this recipe
a plate of Instant Pot Chicken Tenders with honey mustard and barbecue dipping sauces
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup is an incredibly tasty and creamy recipe that is perfect for a hot summer or a cold winter day!
Check out this recipe
a square photo of a green bowl with Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup with a striped yellow cloth, Instant Pot, and a golden spoon at the side.

Stove Top Chicken Tenderloin recipes

Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Bowls
These chicken pineapple bowls make a fantastic impression! And they are as easy as making pineapple boats from your fresh pineapple, adding our chicken fried rice to them, and drizzling a teriyaki glaze over the top.
Check out this recipe
a Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple bowl on a white plate with a drizzle of teriyaki glaze over it with bowls of chicken and pineapple, fried rice, and sliced green onions in the background
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
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.
Check out this recipe
a white serving platter with Nashville Chicken Tenders with a basting brush and spicy hot butter sauce in the background
Blackstone Chicken Fried Rice
Why go out for teppanyaki chicken fried rice when you can make it right at home on your flat top griddle? Follow these simple steps for the absolute best hibachi fried rice cooked right on your Blackstone for a fraction of the cost!
Check out this recipe
a green bowl of Blackstone Chicken Fried Rice
Blackstone Fajitas
Everyone will love these Blackstone Fajitas! Thanks to the marinade, these chicken fajitas are grilled to perfection and oh so tender and flavorful!. Serve them with tortillas, rice, and beans for a complete Mexican-inspired meal.
Check out this recipe
a plate of three Blackstone chicken fajitas on flour tortilla on a white plate with a sprig of cilantro atop a red and white napkin

No matter how you decide to prepare them, we hope you have found at least one new and delicious way to use chicken tenderloins!

Please leave a comment below to let us know which of our chicken tenderloin recipes sounds like a winner winner, chicken dinner for your family!


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