Pan-fried chicken tenders are cooked on the stove top in about 8 minutes. Plus, there isn’t much preparation needed so you can have dinner on the table in record time.
And who doesn’t love homemade chicken tenders?! Add a couple of your favorite side dishes and you have a quick weeknight dinner.
You’ll definitely want to add this easy chicken tender recipe to your meal rotation.
Table of contents
- Why you’ll love this easy chicken tenders recipe
- What is a chicken tender?
- Is stove top chicken healthy?
- Ingredient Notes
- How to make juicy chicken tenders
- What causes chicken tenders to be tough?
- Favorite sides to go with chicken tenders
- Pan Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe ↓
- More dinner ideas
Why you’ll love this easy chicken tenders recipe
- This easy recipe doesn’t require much prep.
- Makes dinner a breeze on busy weeknights when you are wondering how you are even going to get dinner on the table.
- Chicken strips are usually a hit with the whole family, even picky eaters.
- Can be made for meal prep because they are great in wraps, on salads or to eat just they way they are for lunch the next day.
What is a chicken tender?
Chicken tender or chicken tenderloin is a piece of muscle that is loosely attached to the underside of the breast. You can buy a package of tenderloins.
Is stove top chicken healthy?
If cooked in oil that is healthful, such as olive oil or canola oil, pan fried chicken tenders can be part of a healthy meal. It is also important to not over salt your chicken because too much salt isn’t healthy.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
This is what we use on the recipe in this post, see below for some other flavor suggestions.
chicken tenderloins – found by the packaged chicken at the grocery store they are almost ready to go.
canola oil – virtually any fat can be used, vegetable oil, corn oil, or butter just to name a few. But the best options to keep this recipe healthy are canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
salt – regular table salt, kosher salt or sea salt.
black pepper – we like to buy restaurant style pepper because it is the closest to freshly ground.
paprika – this ingredient helps your chicken tenders to get brown while adding great flavor.
How to make juicy chicken tenders
- Trim the cartilage from each chicken tender. (I have found that the best way to do this is to hold the cartilage in one hand and cut it as close to the meat as possible with a sharp knife in the other hand.)
- Put the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it becomes hot and shimmery, you don’t want to let the oil begin to smoke.
- Season the smooth side of the chicken tenders and place them in the skillet seasoned side down, season the second side. Fry chicken tenders 4 minutes then turn them over, cover and cook for another 4 minutes.
What causes chicken tenders to be tough?
The most likely cause of tough chicken is overcooking it. Covering chicken tenders for part of the cooking process helps them remain plump and juicy.
- You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts, or even chicken thighs, cut into strips instead of chicken tenders.
- Cook the chicken in a single layer.
- You can use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken tender. The internal temperature of properly cooked chicken is 165°.
- If you need to cook more pieces of chicken than will fit in the skillet at one time you can keep the cooked chicken warm in a 200° oven while you cook more batches.
As a home cook when I make dishes like this I don’t measure the ingredients. I estimate about how much I use when posting a recipe such as this and then I test it to make sure it is accurate. For the ideas below you can just sprinkle on the desired amount of seasonings.
- lemon pepper – lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper OR there is Lemon & Pepper Seasoning at the grocery store.
- chili lime – lime juice and zest, chili powder and salt OR chili lime seasoning.
- Italian – Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- crispy fried chicken tenders – I have a recipe for chicken strips & country gravy where the chicken is breaded and cooked in hot oil. It was the very first way I cooked chicken tenders and has been a family favorite for many years.
Some other flavoring ideas you can use in the combination of your choice are:
- garlic powder
- garlic salt
- onion powder
- cayenne pepper
- hot sauce
- soy sauce
- Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Dipping Sauces Ideas
- bbq sauce
- honey mustard sauce
- Ranch dressing
- sweet and sour sauce
- buffalo sauce
Store leftover chicken tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. The FDA recommends only 3-4 days but we make chicken on Sunday for our lunch all week and have been doing this for many years with no ill effects. There are signs that chicken is no longer fit to eat, you can read more about that here.
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Pan Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe ↓
Pan Fried Chicken Tenders
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
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- Trim the cartilage from each chicken tender.1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- Put the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it becomes hot and shimmery, you don’t want to let the oil begin to smoke.1 tbsp canola oil
- Season the smooth side of the chicken tenders and place them in the skillet seasoned side down, season the second side. Fry chicken tenders 4 minutes then turn them over, cover and cook for another 4 minutes.1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
Bookmark this page to find it quickly when you are ready to make this recipe!
More dinner ideas
Easy enough for everyday but fancy enough for special occasions.
An easy one pan meal that’s ready in about 30 minutes.