Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

Jump to RecipeLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Enjoy your delicious and easy pan-fried chicken tenders with the flavorful lemon and garlic aioli dipping sauce. You can serve them with side dishes, like a fresh salad, polenta fries, or roasted vegetables, for a complete weeknight meal.

cooked tenders in a cast iron skillet. Seasoned with a little parsley and lemon wedges.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Why you’ll love these easy chicken tenders

  • Flavorful and Juicy Chicken Tenders: This recipe results in tender and juicy chicken tenders with a delightful combination of herbs and seasoning. The absence of breading allows the natural flavor of the chicken to shine through.
  • Quick and Easy Recipe: The recipe is straightforward and can be prepared in a relatively short amount of time, making it a great option for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Versatile Seasoning: You can easily customize the seasoning to suit your taste. Whether you prefer different herbs or spices, this recipe is adaptable to your flavor preferences.
  • Lemon and Garlic Aioli: The lemon and garlic aioli add a zesty and creamy element that pairs perfectly with the chicken. It’s a homemade sauce that’s simple to make but adds a burst of flavor to your meal.
  • No Need for Deep Frying: This recipe doesn’t require deep frying, which makes it a healthier option compared to breaded and fried chicken tenders. Great for meal prep as well.

A recipe the whole family will love! You will also love baked chicken thighs.

pan-fried chicken tenders on a plate with dipping sauce and lemon wedges.

Simple Ingredients

ingredients for the easy pan fried chicken tenders.

Chicken Tenders:

  • Chicken tenders or chicken strips (about 10-12)
  • Salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder 
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried oregano 
  • Black pepper 
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
dipping sauce ingredients for the chicken tenders.

For the Lemon and Garlic Aioli:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Garlic, minced
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders

It’s a great way to serve chicken fingers or chicken strips. The dipping sauce takes these pan-fried chicken tenders to another level!

How to make the dipping sauce

how to make the aioli for dipping sauce- ingredients in a small bowl.

Prepare the Lemon and Garlic Aioli: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

how to make the aioli for dipping sauce- ingredients in a small bowl.

Stir until well combined—season with salt and black pepper to taste.

how to make the aioli for dipping sauce- mixing all the ingredients in the bowl.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the aioli while you prepare the chicken tenders to allow the flavors to meld.

How to fry chicken tenders

how to make easy pan-fried chicken tenders step-by-step: marinating the chicken tenders.

Cook the Chicken Tenders: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the chicken tenders with salt, black pepper, and dried seasonings. You can use other preferred herbs or seasonings as well.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.

how to make easy pan-fried chicken tenders step-by-step: frying the tenders.

Once the pan is hot, add the seasoned chicken tenders to the skillet.

how to make easy pan-fried chicken tenders step-by-step: cooking tenders in cast iron skillet on both sides.

Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until they are no longer pink in the center and have a golden brown color. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the tenders. Make sure to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

cooked tenders in a cast iron skillet. Seasoned with a little parsley and lemon wedges.

Serve: Once the chicken tenders are cooked, remove them from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve the pan-fried chicken tenders with the lemon and garlic aioli as a dipping sauce on the side.

You’ll love this recipe for its simplicity, delicious flavors, and the flexibility it offers for personalizing the seasonings and sides to match your preferences. It’s a tasty and satisfying dish that’s easy to prepare.

Substitutions

Here are some common recipe substitutions for pan-fried chicken tenders without breading:

  • Protein Substitutions:
    • Instead of chicken tenders, you can use turkey tenders, pork tenderloin, or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips.
  • Seasoning Substitutions:
    • You can use various herbs and seasonings based on your preference, such as paprika, cumin, chili powder, or Italian seasoning.
  • Cooking Oil Substitutions:
    • If you prefer a different oil, you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, or even coconut oil for pan-frying.
  • Dipping Sauce Substitutions:
    • Swap out the lemon and garlic aioli for other dipping sauces like ketchup, ranch dressing, honey mustard, or teriyaki sauce.
  • Gluten-Free Substitutions:
    • If you need a gluten-free option, ensure that the seasonings and sauces you use are gluten-free. Also, consider using almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs for a breading alternative.
chicken tenders on a plate with fresh green salad.

Variations

1. Smoky BBQ Chicken Tenders:

  • Season the chicken tenders with a smoky bbq or seasoning blend before pan-frying. Serve with your favorite bbq sauce for dipping.

2. Mediterranean-Inspired Chicken Tenders:

  • Season the chicken tenders with Mediterranean herbs like Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, or lemon pepper. Serve with a side of tzatziki sauce and pita bread, or your favorite sides.

3. Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Tenders:

  • Drizzle honey mustard sauce over the cooked chicken tenders or use it as a dipping sauce.

Equipment

Storage

Store leftover pan-fried chicken tenders in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. This healthy meal makes great leftovers to toss in a salad the next day.

Top tips for best results

Helpful tips for the best homemade chicken tenders.

  • Proper Seasoning: Season the chicken well with salt and other preferred seasonings to enhance the flavor.
  • Even Cooking: Use chicken tenders of similar thickness to ensure even cooking.
  • Hot Pan: Preheat the pan and oil until they’re hot before adding the chicken for a crispy exterior.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Avoid overcrowding the pan to allow the chicken to sear properly.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Check the chicken’s internal temperature to ensure it’s fully cooked (165°F or 74°C).
  • Customize: Experiment with different herbs, seasonings, and dipping sauces to create varied flavors.
  • Rest Before Serving: Let the cooked chicken rest for a few minutes to retain its juiciness.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
  • Reheating: Reheat gently to prevent the chicken from becoming dry.

FAQ

How long to cook chicken tenderloins on the stove?

Cook chicken tenderloins on the stove for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Make sure the cooking oil or butter is hot when the chicken hits the pan for a good sear. Cooking time may vary depending on thickness and heat level.

Can I use frozen chicken tenderloins?

Yes, you can cook frozen chicken tenders on the stove, but it will take longer than fresh ones. Thawing is recommended for even cooking, but if cooking from frozen, allow extra time and ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

What are chicken tenders?

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or chicken strips, are small strips of boneless, skinless chicken meat, typically cut from the tenderloin or breast. They are often used in various recipes, including pan-fried chicken tenders.

dipping the chicken tenders in the sauce.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

Serving Suggestions

These are my favorite dishes to serve with chicken tenders:

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
cover image.

Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

Enjoy your delicious and easy pan-fried chicken tenders with the flavorful lemon and garlic aioli dipping sauce. You can serve them with side dishes, like a fresh salad, polenta fries, or roasted vegetables.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Chicken Tenders:

  • 1 pound chicken tenders (about 10-12)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the Lemon and Garlic Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Lemon and Garlic Aioli: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir until well combined—season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the aioli while you prepare the chicken tenders to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Cook the Chicken Tenders: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the chicken tenders with salt, black pepper, and dried seasonings. You can use other preferred herbs or seasonings as well.
  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  5. Once the pan is hot, add the seasoned chicken tenders to the skillet.
  6. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until they are no longer pink in the center and have a golden brown color. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the tenders. Make sure to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  7. Serve: Once the chicken tenders are cooked, remove them from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve the pan-fried chicken tenders with the lemon and garlic aioli as a dipping sauce on the side.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, add some more butter and oil to a skillet, slice the tenders into bite-size pieces, and pan-fry until crispy and heated through.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: American

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

3 Comments