How to Perfectly Fry Chicken Tenders in a Pan

If you’re looking for a simple and delicious meal that the whole family will love, look no further than these easy pan-fried chicken tenders. With no breading, they’re low carb, keto, paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free. Whether enjoyed as a main dish or added to your favorite recipes, these versatile chicken tenders are a healthy choice that won’t disappoint.

Pan fried chicken tenders in a non-stick skillet.

You don’t need to overcomplicate dinner to create a flavorful and satisfying meal. These pan-fried chicken tenders are crispy and golden brown on the outside, while remaining juicy on the inside. Plus, the seasoning is customizable, allowing you to tailor the flavors to your preferences.

What are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken strips, chicken fingers, or chicken tenderloins, can be purchased in a package at the grocery store. These tenderloins are located below the chicken breast and offer the same delicious flavor with a more tender texture. While sold separately, they can be more expensive than chicken breasts. But fear not! You can achieve the same results by cutting boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thin strips, providing a budget-friendly alternative.


To create the perfect pan-fried chicken tenders, you’ll need:

  • Paprika: Substitute smoked paprika for a smoky twist.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Garlic Powder: Add an earthy flavor to the chicken.
  • Chicken: Opt for chicken tenderloin strips or cut chicken breasts into strips.
  • Olive Oil: Use your favorite light, neutral-flavored oil.
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Ingredients needed for this recipe.

Check the recipe card below for precise quantities and instructions.


Here’s a helpful hint: Consider making a double batch of these pan-fried chicken tenders for easy lunches and meal prep throughout the week. They’re incredibly versatile, offering endless possibilities for future recipes.

Variations/ Substitutions

If you’re looking to switch up the flavors, here are a few ideas:

  • Extra Crispy: Coat the chicken in flour, salt, and pepper, then fry in olive oil.
  • Chili Lime: Combine lime zest with chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper.
  • Lemon Pepper: Mix lemon zest with salt and pepper.
  • Spicy: Add a bit of cayenne pepper to your favorite seasoning blend.
  • Herbs and Spices: Experiment with onion powder, lemon juice, garlic powder, hot sauce, or soy sauce.
  • Chicken Thighs: Slice boneless thighs into strips for a dark meat alternative.

Chicken tenders are cooked in a nonstick skillet.
Note: A non-stick skillet is perfect for cooking these chicken tenders.

Best Pan to Use for Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders

When it comes to choosing the right pan for pan-fried chicken tenders, a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet are excellent options. A non-stick pan will provide a nice sear on the chicken and is easy to clean. On the other hand, a cast iron skillet holds heat well, resulting in a crispy crust on the chicken tenders. Regardless of the pan you use, make sure it is preheated to a high temperature before adding the chicken for optimal results.

For larger quantities, consider using an extra-large skillet to prepare a bigger batch of chicken tenders that can be used for several meals.


If you have leftovers, store the chicken tenders in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just remember to label the package before freezing. To reheat, simply use the microwave or a skillet with a lid.

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Serving Suggestions

These sauteed chicken tenders are perfect for meal prep and can be used in a variety of recipes. Consider using them to create delicious Air Fryer Chicken Quesadillas, Buffalo Chicken Flatbread with Bacon, or a beautiful Rainbow Greek Salad.

Although they’re great for meal prep, there’s no need to wait. These pan-fried chicken tenders are tender and delicious straight out of the pan. Pair them with your favorite sides like Caprese Salad with Pesto, Air Fryer Frozen French Fries, Easy Mexican Street Corn, or Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash for a complete and satisfying meal. And don’t forget the dipping sauce! While store-bought options are convenient, you can also try making your own homemade dips like Tzatziki Sauce, Bang Bang Sauce, or Honey Mustard Sauce for an extra burst of flavor.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to perfectly fry chicken tenders in a pan, there’s no excuse not to whip up this simple and tasty meal. Enjoy the ease and versatility of these pan-fried chicken tenders that are sure to please your entire family. For more recipes and cooking tips, subscribe to Jersey Girl Cooks and follow along on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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