These grilled chicken tenders take just minutes to make, and the results are perfectly tender, juicy, smoky tenders that everyone is guaranteed to love. In addition to being super healthy, they couldn’t be easier to customize!
If you’ve been here for a while, you know I love to cook chicken. Honestly, it’s probably my protein of choice because it’s cheap, versatile, and easy to cook.
There are plenty of ways to cook chicken, like in the air fryer, fryer, or sous vide, but if you’re looking for a recipe that makes use of your grill, then you can’t go wrong with these tasty grilled chicken tenders. Not to mention, these tenders make for the perfect meal prep!
Grilled chicken tenders in 8 minutes
If you’re anything like our family, then you’re always on the lookout for how to turn budget-friendly foods into really tasty dinners.
Grilled chicken is so simple, yet the results are a guaranteed people-pleaser every day of the week. Whenever we want a break from air frying tenderloins, we grill them!
- Super healthy. These chicken tenders are grilled with minimal oil, so you get all the protein with almost no added fat.
- Flexible and budget-friendly. Similar to grilled chicken drumsticks, chicken tenders are affordable and easy to find, yet if prepared right, the results are every bit as good as more expensive cuts of chicken.
- Easy to customize. Like grilled tenderloin, switch up the spices or serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Perfect for the kiddos. Just like chicken nuggets, adults and kids alike will love them.
The ingredient list for these grilled chicken tenders is super straightforward. Considering most of the items needed are all pantry staples, you probably have most of them on hand already.
So, here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken. Look for boneless skinless chicken tenderloins. If you can’t find them, use chicken breasts sliced into the size of tenders.
- Oil. Olive oil is best as it has the most flavor and nutritional value, but any cooking oil will work.
- Garlic. Fresh and minced is preferred for added flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest. For added acidity.
- Salt and pepper. Added to taste.
- Italian seasonings. To impart flavor. Also known as Italian dried herbs.
- Smoked paprika. For added smoky and slightly sweet flavor. This can be swapped for regular paprika if needed.
- Parsley and lemon wedges. For garnishing.
How to make grilled chicken tenders
Now it’s time for the fun part! Simple is the name of the game when it comes to making these tasty tenders. Even if you’re new to the grill, I assure you you’ll have no trouble making these easy grilled tenders!
Step 1- Coat the chicken tenders
Grab a mixing bowl and add all of the ingredients minus the chicken.
Toss to combine, then add the tenders and coat them fully in the spice blend. Cover the bowl and let everything sit for 20 minutes.
Step 2- Preheat the grill
While the chicken is marinating, preheat and grease a grill or barbeque to medium heat. Alternatively, if you have a pan with grates, you can place that directly on the grill instead.
Step 3- Grill the chicken tenders
Once the 20 minutes is up, add the seasoned chicken tenderloins to the grill and cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Season with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Can I bake the chicken tenders instead?
Yes! If you’d prefer to bake your chicken as opposed to grilling, then you certainly can with one simple twist.
Coat your chicken in the spice mixture, then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 177C/350F for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 74C/165F.
- Serve them with dipping sauce. Honey mustard, ketchup, or this spicy mayo are all perfect dipping sauces for serving alongside your grilled chicken tenders.
- Shake off the excess spices before grilling. To avoid clumping when grilling your tenders.
- Don’t overlap the tenders. So they all get equal access to the heat, try to keep them in an even layer as much as possible.
- Look for an internal temperature of 165°F. To test for doneness, slice one tender in half and make sure there is no pink in the middle.
There are no wrong answers when it comes to making your grilled chicken tenders. Here are some suggestions for switching up the recipe:
- Use this blackened seasoning, taco seasoning, or this lemon pepper blend.
- Soak the chicken in this 4-ingredient chicken marinade before grilling.
- Add parmesan cheese to your spice mixture.
- Coat them in BBQ sauce before grilling.
- Slice the tenders and add them to Greek or salad wraps, tacos, or quesadillas.
To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat: Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 180C/350F for 10-12 minutes. Alternatively, you can also reheat them in an air fryer at 350°F for 5-6 minutes.
To freeze: Allow the chicken tenders to cool completely, then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and store them for 6 months.
The exact time to cook raw chicken tenders on the grill will vary depending on how hot the grill is. That said, about 3-4 minutes per side should do the trick.
While it’s not necessary, covering your chicken when grilling can help to make sure it cooks more evenly. Grilling with the cover on will also help to impart a nice smoky flavor to the cooked chicken.
Patting dry chicken before grilling is a good way to help soak up excess moisture, which will in turn make for chicken with a crispier skin.
Grilled Chicken Tenders
- In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well. Cover the bowl and let everything sit for 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes.
- Preheat and grease a grill or barbecue to medium heat. Alternatively, you can use a grill pan with grates on it.
- Add the chicken tenders to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Serve immediately.
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