Our 15 Best Chicken Tender Recipes of All Time Prove They're Not Just for Kids

Air Fried Chicken Tenders sit on craft colored parchment along side mustard dipping sauce
Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

When you think of chicken tenders, you probably think about the crispy breaded chicken fingers you can order off the kids' menu. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with indulging in a fried chicken tender (we love those too), there are many more ways to enjoy them. You can use them to make baked chicken dishes, like chicken Parmesan; fried chicken dishes, like breaded tenders or chicken and waffles; and dishes where chicken is the topping, like Tuscan chicken. No matter which dish you choose, our top-rated chicken tender recipes are delicious, and we guarantee you'll be adding them to your dinner rotation in no time.

01 of 16

Pineapple Chicken Tenders

Serve these chicken tender skewers as an appetizer or use the flavorful chicken to top a salad. The four-ingredient recipe is best made on the grill, and the longer you marinate your chicken tenders in the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce mixture, the better the flavor.

02 of 16

Fried Chicken Tenders

Your family will beg you to make these crispy, juicy chicken tenders on repeat. Plus, the horseradish dipping sauce is a great way to elevate these chicken tenders to an adult meal thanks to the spice. "These were great fingers. Really good! They were crispy outside and juicy inside. And the dipping sauce was a wonderful complement," says Allrecipes Allstar Judy in Delaware.

03 of 16

Lucky's Quickie Chickie

With just a couple of seasonings and spices, plus 20 minutes, you'll have this easy meal ready to go. Reviewers say the sauce is so good that you should consider making extra so you can drench your chicken in it.

04 of 16

Sweet and Sour Chicken Tenders

Craving sweet and sour chicken? Try making it with chicken tenders. The breaded chicken tenders are topped with a delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce. You can make extra sauce to drizzle over the chicken and rice before you serve.

05 of 16

Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins (Air Fried)

Air Fried Chicken Tenders sit on craft colored parchment along side mustard dipping sauce
Allrecipes Magazine

This easy four-ingredient recipe gives you crispy chicken tenders, but without the guilt of frying. For extra flavor, you can use seasoned bread crumbs or season your chicken—plus serve them with your favorite dipping sauce. No matter how you make them, you'll never go back to frozen nuggets ever again.

06 of 16

Pollo Mediterranean

This Mediterranean-style chicken is topped with a parsley, sun-dried tomato, and green olive wine sauce. Recipe creator hike4diamonds recommends serving the chicken over a bed of pasta or rice and with a side of artichokes.

07 of 16

Lemon Thyme Chicken Tenders

Use this chicken as a zesty main dish or a tasty salad topper. The chicken tenders are lightly flavored with lemon and thyme, but the flavors aren't overpowering so even picky eaters will love this dish.

08 of 16

Quick and Easy Chicken Piquant

"I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was amazing. My entire family loved it and my husband asked me to please add it to one of the dishes that I cook on a regular basis. The layers of flavors were awesome and added so much to the dish," says home cook teresacaine.

09 of 16

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and waffles is guaranteed to be your new go-to brunch meal. The sweet and savory sandwich is topped with fried chicken, bacon, Cheddar cheese, and a maple mayonnaise that everyone will devour in minutes.

10 of 16

Mongolian Chicken

If you like Mongolian beef, try this easy, 30-minute chicken recipe that doesn't even require marinating. "Wow! This was amazing—deep flavor, quick cook, and very easy to make. I would opt for this over take out any day of the week. Didn't change a thing," says reviewer Annette Busateri.

11 of 16

My Chicken Parmesan


These chicken tenderloins are packed with flavor since they're seasoned with cayenne pepper and garlic powder before coated in seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Plus, the chicken stays nice and crispy because it's pan-fried before placed in a baking dish with marinara sauce and angel hair pasta and baked.

12 of 16

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken

Using the Instant Pot makes this recipe extra easy to prepare. The creamy chicken pasta is loaded with flavors that everyone will love. "Had a gaggle of picky eaters drop in unannounced for dinner today, had the ingredients on hand so just rolled with it. Long story short, dinner on the table in a half hour and even my pickiest eaters went in for seconds," says reviewer Gail.

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Buffalo Chicken Skillet

Spice lovers will go crazy for this simple skillet dinner. The breaded chicken tenders are doused in Buffalo sauce and covered in mozzarella cheese for a quick dish that will disappear just as quickly.

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Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders

"The perfect marriage of smoky and sweet flavors is what you'll get when you use the outdoor grill to cook up these chicken tenders! Use your favorite barbecue rub on the chicken," says Allrecipes Allstar France C.

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Chicken Tenders in Lemon-Mushroom Cream Sauce

The dill, lemon, and mushroom sauce is the real star of the show, but the pan-seared chicken tenders are just as flavorful. This dish is incredibly quick and easy to make, but it will look and taste fancy enough that people will think you spent all day in the kitchen.

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