Easy Grilled Chicken Tenders are moist and tender and only need a few minutes of prep and 10 minutes on the grill. Kids and adults all love chicken tenders.
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Do you have one of "those" kids? You know, the picky ones who won't eat what you cook, and you end up changing dinner. Let's fix that—you can have steak, and they can have healthy grilled chicken tenders.
This solution is this easy chicken tenders recipe with minimal work and time—follow the step-by-step photo instructions. It is guaranteed to calm that 3-year-old dinner monster.
Check out our other chicken tender recipes like Baked Chicken Tenders and Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders. And don't miss these kid-friendly chicken recipes like Oven Baked Chicken Legs, Grilled Chicken Drumsticks, Baked Chicken Nuggets, and Baked Chicken Strips.
- Chicken tenders—known as chicken tenderloin, or cut chicken strips from chicken breasts
- Oil—olive oil or other vegetable oil
- Seasoning—salt and pepper or seasoning of your choice like my All-Purpose Seasoning. Or a marinade like Chicken Marinade with Lemon and Butter, Easy Chicken Marinade, Italian dressing, or Buttermilk Marinade for Chicken.
👨🍳How to Grill Chicken Tenders
- Clean and oil the grill grates well—preheat to a surface temperature of about 450°.
- Trim chicken tenders of any tendon and pat dry.
- Coat the tenders with oil and season to your taste.
- Place chicken tenders on the grill over direct heat—use a grill pan if you wish.
- Flip after 4-5 minutes, and the edge turns white.
- Grill for about 5 minutes on the second side until the internal temperature is 165° in the thickest parts.
⏲️How long to grill chicken tenders
It takes about 10 minutes to grill chicken tenders at a 450° grill surface temperature. It will vary some by the thickness of the tenders and the exact grill temperature.
According to the FDA, chicken is done at 165° internal temperature in the thickest part. A higher temperature will dry, and a lower temperature is unsafe. An instant-read thermometer is required to get this right.
You want a grill surface temperature of about 450°. When cooking tenders, a grill surface temperature that is slightly under is much better than a little over. On most gas grills, it will be medium-high heat.
A grill surface thermometer will help you become a better griller. Please see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill for more information on controlling your grill temperature.
Chicken tenders can be done quickly on a charcoal grill but not directly over the coals.
You can cut chicken breast strips to do this, but they will cook a bit slower. But you are cooking to a final internal temperature anyway, so it will be fine.
None is needed, but kids love to dip. Give them a little sauce to dip, like some ranch dressing, ketchup, BBQ sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Leftovers are great on a salad or used in chicken tacos or a fajita.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start with the number of tenders you need, olive oil, and seasoning of your choice.
Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°, medium-high on most gas grills and medium on a hot gas grill. Clean and oil the grill surface well.
Pat dry the chicken tenders. Trim the tendon off—it doesn't need to be perfect.
In a mixing bowl, mix chicken tenders with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and granular garlic powder (optional). Adjust spices and oil according to the number of tenders and your taste.
Place over direct heat on the grill grate.
Grill until the chicken turns pink to white along the edge (about 5 minutes). You will see the white moving up the sides. Flip and grill another approximately 4-5 minutes until the internal temperature is 165°.
Easy Grilled Chicken Tenders
- 6 Chicken tenders - or as many as needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon granular garlic powder - optional
- Start with the number of tenders you need, olive oil, and seasoning of your choice.
- Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°, medium-high on most gas grills and medium on a hot gas grill. Clean and oil the grill surface well.
- Pat dry the chicken tenders. Trim the tendon off—it doesn't need to be perfect.
- In a mixing bowl, mix chicken tenders with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and granular garlic powder (optional). Adjust spices and oil according to the number of tenders and your taste.
- Place chicken tenders over direct heat on the grill grate.
- Grill until the chicken turns pink to white along the edge (about 5 minutes). You will see the white moving up the sides. Flip and grill another approximately 4-5 minutes until the internal temperature is 165°.
Your Own Private Notes
- This recipe is easy to combine with grilling chicken or pork since the grill temperature is the same.
- If you do this with beef, you will need to turn down the heat on part of the grill.
- The recommended surface temperature is 450°. If you cook much hotter, they will dry.
- Use the seasoning of your choice.
- The final internal temperature of 165° is important for safety.
- You may cut chicken strips out of chicken breasts. They may take a few minutes longer but you are cooking to the final internal temperature.
- Kids love to dip so use a dip if you want. Just some Ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, or mayo is fine.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published May 30, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.