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18 Chicken Tenderloin Recipes—Like Copycat Olive Garden Scampi—That Go Beyond The Tenders

one pot shawarma chicken and orzo skillet
18 Chicken Tenderloin Recipes ANDREW BUI

Just because you're all grown-up doesn't mean you have to give up your beloved chicken tenders. Far from it! There's actually some perfectly delicious chicken tenderloin recipes that go so much further than just chicken tenders, like pasta, tacos, and hearty appetizers. Although, don't get us wrong, we do still find plenty of reasons to make these air fryer chicken tenders for dinner and think you should too!

What is chicken tenderloin, you might be wondering? Chicken tenderloin (AKA chicken tenders or chicken breast tenders) are attached to the chicken breast and, as you might expect, taste exactly the same. While maybe not as well known as beef tenderloin or pork tenderloin, chicken tenderloin is a super-quick-cooking protein that's great if you're not up to cooking a whole chicken breast. Tenders are usually sold along with the chicken breasts or on their own, so you can feel free to use these cuts interchangeably (just slice the chicken breast about 1/2" in thickness) to get the same result in your stir-fries or kebabs.

So if you've yet to swap chicken tenders in place of chicken breast for your weeknight standbys, it's time to jump on that. Chicken tenderloin is one of our favorite picks for dishes like slow-cooker chicken tinga tacos and one-pot meals (like our one-pot shawarma chicken and orzo skillet) since they cook up so much more quickly than larger cuts and are great for smaller groups.

One-Pot Shawarma Chicken and Orzo Skillet

This easy one-pot chicken dinner has got it all: protein, carbs, and fresh veggies all in one skillet for a complete dinner. The flavors in this recipe take their cues from shawarma, the popular Levantine dish that features thin cuts of seasoned meat. For an interactive dinner, serve this chicken shawarma with extra sauces on the side, like tzatziki, tahini sauce, or baba ghanoush.

Get the One-Pot Shawarma Chicken and Orzo Skillet recipe.

one pot shawarma chicken and orzo skillet
ANDREW BUI

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

Crispy chicken tenders without the deep fryer? YES! These air fryer chicken tenders only need 10 minutes to get golden and crispy. The honey mustard dipping sauce can be stirred together during that time to make this a fast and weeknight-friendly meal. If honey mustard isn't your thing, try making our homemade ranch dressing! It's another great use of the buttermilk 😉. If you don't have tenders, you can cut thin strips out chicken breasts for the same results.

Get the Air Fryer Chicken Tenders recipe.

air fryer chicken tenders
Erik Bernstein

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi

In a ranking of history’s best flavor trios, the ingredients that feature prominently in scampi (garlic, white wine, and butter) score way up there with Neapolitan ice cream. Olive Garden’s chicken scampi has been a favorite at the chain for decades, and we’re all for helping to bring it to your table. And don’t be afraid to undercook your angel hair just a tad, since overcooked noodles will break into choppy, sloppy threads when you toss them in that luscious sauce.

Get the Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi recipe.

copycat olive garden chicken scampi
ANDREW BUI

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga Tacos

These saucy chicken tacos (courtesy of our friend Kevin Curry) will make you wish every day was Taco Tuesday. We love them doused in the tangy avocado cream.

Get the Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga Tacos recipe.

chicken tinga tacos
FITMENCOOK™

Fried Chicken Strips

Ahh, fried chicken strips take us right back to our childhood. This homemade version makes the tenders so much better and what makes us feel better about eating them as an adult. Make some homemade fries to go along with!

Get the Fried Chicken Strips recipe.

chicken strips delishcom
Parker Feierbach

One-Pan Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus

This one-pan meal is one of our most frequented weeknight dinners. What's not to love? It's healthy, easy, and the sauce is a knockout. If you wanted to add a carb (and we’re often in favor of carbs), consider serving it over a bed of brown rice or with a loaf of crusty bread... you'll want something to soak up that sauce!

Get the One-Pan Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus recipe.

one pan balsamic chicken and asparagus
PHOTO: ERIK BERNSTEIN; FOOD STYLING: SPENCER RICHARDS

BBQ Lime Chicken

This chicken is coated in the type of delectable, outrageous sauce that will have you licking your fingers all Football Sunday long. Make this once and we guarantee it will become your tailgate's must-have. Think serving these delicious morsels on there own isn't enough? Try our sweet BBQ lime chicken tacos or cheesy BBQ lime dip.

Get the BBQ Lime Chicken recipe.

bbq lime chicken
Ethan Calabrese

Keto Crispy Chicken & Waffles

Crunchy pork-rind coated chicken tenders top gluten-free waffles made of cheesy eggs in these crazy delicious low-carb chicken and waffles.

Get the Keto Crispy Chicken & Waffles recipe.

crispy chicken and waffles
Bryce Johnson

Mini Cheesy Chicken Calzones

These pizza pockets are filled with gooey, cheesy goodness and don't even require making a dough by hand. Just pick up a tube of pre-made French bread dough, and you'll be on your way to calzone heaven.

Get the Mini Cheesy Chicken Calzones recipe.

cheesy spinach calzones
Ethan Calabrese

Chicken Parm Egg Rolls

Making homemade egg rolls is far from complicated, we promise. But to make things even easier on yourself, start with baked (previously frozen) chicken tenders. If you have leftover homemade chicken Parm, that's even better!

Get the Chicken Parm Egg Rolls recipe.

chicken parm egg rolls delishcom
Brad Holland

Hot Chicken Tenders

Raise your hand if hot chicken from Nashville is on your bucket list of things to eat. You're not alone. But if a roundtrip ticket to Tennessee isn't in the works for you, these homemade hot chicken tenders are the next best thing.

Get the Hot Chicken Tenders recipe.

hot chicken tenders
Jonathan Boulton

Chicken Cordon Bleu Dip

When it comes to planning a party—whether it's someone's birthday or just a Netflix binge-watching sesh—you've got enough things to worry about. You don't need to spend hours dredging, breading and stuffing chicken for every single guest, especially when people wind up snacking all night more than actually sitting down and eating a meal. That's what makes this chicken cordon bleu dip a game-changer. If you can heat up frozen chicken nuggets, you can conquer this, because it requires just about the same level of skill and attentiveness.

Get the Chicken Cordon Bleu Dip recipe.

chicken cordon bleu dip
Ethan Calabrese

Mongolian Chicken Stir-Fry

These easy lettuce wraps prove that you (yes, YOU!) have the power to make tastier (and healthier) food than your local takeout restaurant. Save some bucks and give these lettuce wraps a try.

Get the Mongolian Chicken Stir-Fry recipe.

mongolian chicken stir fry
Brandon bales

Crispy Ranch Chicken Strips with Lemony Yogurt and Cucumber Salad

Think you're too grown up for chicken tenders? This adult version of your childhood fave will have you rethinking that tenders are just for kids.

Get the Crispy Ranch Chicken Strips with Lemony Yogurt and Cucumber Salad recipe.

crispy ranch chicken strips with lemony yogurt and cucumber salad
Hearst Owned

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Ever just wish there was more chicken on a wing? These tender (literal) tenders are just that. And best of all, they're gluten-free!

Get the Buffalo Chicken Tenders recipe.

buffalo chicken tenders
Chelsea Lupkin

Skillet Chicken Parmesan Dip

Warning: This hearty appetizer could easily become a meal, because you won't want to stop snacking. For a slightly lighter take, you could use chopped rotisserie chicken instead of store-bought or frozen chicken tenders too.

Get the Skillet Chicken Parmesan Dip recipe.

chicken parm skillet dip
Ethan Calabrese

Loaded Boneless Wings

Apply your nacho-building skills to boneless wings for a killer snack. Why didn't we think of this sooner?!

Get the Loaded Boneless Wings recipe.

loaded boneless wings
Chelsea Lupkin

Trash Chicken

What is trash chicken, you ask? Well, it's sort of a catch-all of all our favorite things; a lemony, ranch coating with crunchy potato chips. The result? Some truly hard-to-put-down chicken tenders.

Get the Trash Chicken recipe.

trash chicken
John Komar

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