Grilled Chicken Tenders


5 from 23 votes
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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!

grilled chicken tenders.

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.
grilled chicken tenderloins.

Ingredients needed

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.

marinade for chicken tenders.

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. 

chicken tenders in marinade.

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. 

chicken tenders on grill.

Season with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

how long to grill chicken tenders.

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.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • 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.

Flavor variations

There are no wrong answers when it comes to making your grilled chicken tenders. Here are some suggestions for switching up the recipe:

Storage instructions

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. 

grilling chicken tenders.

More healthy ways to cook chicken

More chicken recipes

Frequently asked questions

How long do you cook raw chicken tenders on the grill?

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.

Should you cover chicken when grilling?

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. 

Should you pat dry chicken before grilling?

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 recipe.

Grilled Chicken Tenders

5 from 23 votes
This grilled chicken tenders recipe combines features juicy, moist, and perfectly seasoned chicken that cooks up in under 10 minutes!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 9 minutes


  • 8 chicken tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


  • 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.
    chicken tenders in marinade.
  • 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.
    chicken tenders on grill.
  • Serve immediately.
    how long to grill chicken tenders.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 168kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 21gFat: 7gSodium: 407mgPotassium: 399mgFiber: 0.3gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 2g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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  1. if i were to adapt the recipe for chicken breast instead how would you recommend cooking it? oven or pan fry and for how long approx? Thanks!