Give those picky kids what they want. Kids love chicken tenders, but adults will love them too. In only 10 minutes of grill time, serve these easy moist chicken tenders along with your main dish, and everybody will be happy.
Do you have one of "those" kids? You know, the one who won't eat what you cook and you end up doing something separate and almost always unhealthy. Let's fix that and give them a healthy meal.
This solution is minimal work and time and is guaranteed to calm that 3-year-old dinner monster. You have steak, and they have healthy chicken tenders.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- 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 5 minutes, and the edge is turning white.
- Grill for about 5 minutes more on the second side until the internal temperature is 165° in the thickest parts.
Chicken tenders are chicken tenderloins, the equivalent of a beef or pork tenderloin. So moist and tender if done right.
I like to cut the tendon that is attached to the meat off. You can't chew it, and the kids tend not to like it there.
If frozen, thaw completely before grilling.
A nice coat of olive oil will add some flavor, help keep the surface from drying and prevent sticking.
Just a good sprinkle of salt and pepper will do, but we like to use All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:1 and 7:2:2, which will add some garlic.
You can easily complement the flavors with chicken marinade.
You want a grill surface temperature of about 450°. With tenders, a little under is much better than a little over on the temperature. 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 easily on a charcoal grill but not directly over the coals.
You can cut chicken breast strips to do this if you want, but they will cook a bit slower. But you are cooking to a final internal temperature anyway, so that it will be fine.
None is needed, but kids love to dip. Give them a little sauce to dip, like some ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Side dishes like green salad, vegetables, pasta, rice, or potatoes.
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.
📖Kid-Friendly Chicken Recipes
Oven Baked Chicken Legs — Quick and Easy
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks — Quick and Easy
Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Spicy Baked Chicken Strips
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️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°, which is 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 from a pink color to white along the edge (about 5 minutes). You will see the white moving up the sides. Flip and grill another approximate 4-5 minutes until the internal temperature is 165°. Time will vary with the size and thickness of the tender and your exact grill temperature.
Quick & Easy Grilled Chicken Tenders on a Gas Grill
- 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°, which is 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 from a pink color to white along the edge (about 5 minutes). You will see the white moving up the sides. Flip and grill another approximate 4-5 minutes until the internal temperature is 165°. Time will vary with the size and thickness of the tender and your exact grill temperature.
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.
Do you close the cover of the gas grill for the 2 five minute grilling times or leave it open to watch.
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
It is generally better closed since you can control the temperature better but you can do it open as long as you adjusted the grill to a 450° temp when with the hood staying open. But remember you are cooking to a final internal temperature of 165° internal temp and not by time.
Superb!! One of the best things about grilling is very often the best recipes are amazingly simple. This easy chicken tender prep and grill is a great example. Simple=Zen grillin’ Thanks!!
I've been doing these for years, but out of practice and found this post for time guidelines. A good grill pan like an Isla cast iron will make it look amazing too. I prefer to brush both sides with a dot of harissa paste (north African chili and herb pase from a tube, champ du bon is my favorite).
Thanks for the comment and your experience.
I've been using your chicken recipes for awhile now. My daughter 3 and husband love the chicken I make. Thanks for sharing!
It is one of those you know you can do it but a quick tutorial is helpful. This is so easy to do separately for the kids and keep everyone happy.
Thanks for the comment.
I have fed my kids lots of grilled chicken over the years, but they gobbled this up better than any I have made. I did sub Herbamare for the half of the salt. Easy and soooo good. Thanks for this quick lunch idea.
Great idea and not just because it is healthy, but because it sounds like it tastes great.