Here’s how to make perfect chicken tenders in a skillet with your favorite seasoning for a healthy entree or delicious protein for salad.
Chicken tenders are quick, easy & delicious.
Nothing is quicker or easier than chicken tenders. They are super easy to make for an entree with vegetable sides or to put on top of a salad. I often meal prep at the beginning of the week by making chicken tenders and boiled eggs to use for salads during the week. Chicken tenders stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days and are perfect to pack for school or work.
What is the best way to cook chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders are one of the easiest forms of chicken to cook quickly and easily. They are perfect for healthy diets, as they are pan-fried or seared in a small amount of oil but still get huge flavor from the seasoning. Once you sear the chicken tenders on both sides, you can finish one of two ways. First, you can put a lid on the skillet and keep the chicken tenders covered until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees. Second, you can put the skillet in a 350-degree oven to finish cooking to the same internal temp. I like the first method, as it yields more moist chicken since the lid encases the tenders with a bit of moisture. If you want a crust that is dry and crisper, the oven option (no lid) is best.
How do you make chicken tenders flavorful?
Boneless, skinless chicken tenders definitely need something to make them flavorful. There are two ways that you can get flavor infused into otherwise bland chicken tenders. First, the high-quality extra virgin olive oil used in the pan with high heat will impart a healthy, flavorful fat. When the seasoned tenders hit the pan and hot oil, magic happens. The heat, fat, and salt/seasonings form a yummy golden crust that encases the chicken and allows the inside to be tender.
How do you keep chicken tenders moist?
Once the tenders get the flavorful crust, covering the skillet with a lid will finish cooking them with a gentle heat that has just enough moisture to cook without drying. The skillet is off of the heat but still traps enough heat under the lid to continue cooking until the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F.
Can I use butter to cook chicken tenders?
Absolutely! In fact, my preferred blackening method includes butter. I dip the chicken in butter before dredging in the blackened seasoning. Then I finish the tenders in a skillet with a tad of EVOO. This is not necessary; it just tastes great! For most of my chicken tenders, I use the EVOO spray for a healthier option.
What are the best seasonings for chicken tenders?
The sky is the limit when choosing seasonings for chicken tenders! There are so many options~both homemade and store-bought. Below, I share my recipe for homemade blackened seasoning. I also took a photo of some of my favorite seasonings for skillet tenders. Although I did not include them in the photo, I often use Dak’s spices along with my regular seasonings to reduce the sodium. You can read about Dak’s in my post~My Pick for the Best No-Salt Seasoning Ever.
2 TB paprika
1 TB smoked paprika
1 TB onion powder
1 TB garlic powder
1 TB cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper
What is the best skillet to use for cooking chicken tenders?
I link to several skillet options that I recommend. My picks include a cast iron, traditional non-stick, ceramic non-stick, and carbon steel options. I based my choices on recommendations from Cook’s Illustrated equipment reviews and my personal preference. Since this chicken tenders technique calls for using a lid or covering the skillet during the last part of cooking, I link to lids for some skillets that sell them separately
How else can you cook chicken in a skillet?
A skillet is my most often used method for cooking chicken~whether it be tenders, thighs or a whole bird. Below are links to my favorite chicken recipes cooked in a skillet.
How I cook chicken breasts for white meat.
If you want a lot of white meat for dishes like casseroles, chicken salad, soups, or stews, chicken tenders would be quite expensive. In my blog post, How to easily cook perfect all white meat chicken in the oven, I share the simple, inexpensive method that I love! You can also watch how I do breasts in the video below.
I hope you found this helpful! I love feedback, so feel free to leave comments below. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!!
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As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!
- 8-10 chicken tenders (fresh or frozen) uncooked and no breading
- 2 TB extra virgin olive oil (for skillet)
- EVOO spray or butter (to coat tenders before adding seasoning)
- 2-3 TB seasoning (or to taste)
- Place EVOO in skillet.
- Spray or brush tenders with EVOO. *
- Sprinkle seasoning generously on all sides.
- Allow tenders to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Heat skillet until hot (high).
- Place tenders on skillet; allow to sit untouched for 4-5 minutes or until golden crust forms.
- Turn tenders; cook 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off heat; place lid or cover on the skillet.
- Allow tenders to sit for 10 minutes. For larger tenders, wait 30 minutes to allow more time to cook.
- Check the internal temp of tenders; make sure it is 165 F or higher.
- Serve tenders with sauce as an entree or as topper for a salad.
* I spray my fish and chicken with Trader Joe's extra virgin olive oil spray. You could also brush the tenders with butter. Just put something on it to add fat that will keep the seasoning on the surface of the meat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 523mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g