This recipe for easy chicken tenders with honey-mustard sauce is probably the fastest dinner that you can put on the table on a busy weeknight. With a little planning the night before, all you need to do is assemble a big salad to go with the chicken and dinner is ready.
Chicken tenders and chicken cutlets are a very lean protein and they tend to dry out in the oven or on the grill. One simple step can really change that: brining the chicken in buttermilk overnight, or, even for a couple of hours before assembly, will guarantee moist, succulent chicken. The buttermilk really adds moisture to the chicken and makes it flavorful, tender and very tasty. A simple coating of panko bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese, and a quick sauté in olive oil, and the tenders are ready.
To go with the chicken, a honey-mustard dipping sauce is a great accompaniment and one that you can make several days ahead and set aside.
Serve this dish with a lemony arugula salad on the side, or, cooked rice, quinoa, or mashed potatoes. You might want to double the recipe because these chicken tenders are so good (and make great sandwiches the next day)!
- For the chicken tenders:
- 8 chicken tenders
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- --- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 6 TBSP. olive oil or sunflower oil
- For the Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 2 TBSP. Dijon mustard
- 1 TBSP. white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1½ TBSP. honey
- 2 TBSP. light mayonnaise
- --- pinch of salt
- Trim the tenders, pat them dry and place them in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, the minced (or grated) garlic, salt and pepper. Turn chicken a couple of times, until everything is well incorporated and the chicken tenders are coated in the buttermilk mixture. Transfer to a large zipper-lock bag, press out the air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese. Transfer this mixture to a large shallow bowl or a pie plate.
- In another small bowl, mix all ingredients for the mustard-honey dipping sauce. Taste and adjust by adding more acidity (to make it sharper) or more mayo (to make it milder).
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove it from the bag, let the excess liquid drip off, and place it on the plate with the panko-Parmesan mixture. Season lightly with some salt and pepper. Turn to coat, piling crumbs on top and pressing down firmly so that a thick layer adheres to the chicken. Transfer coated chicken to a wire rack set over a pan and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
- Heat olive oil in a large, non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot. Working in batches, carefully add chicken by lowering the tenders away from you into the oil. Add as many as will fit in one layer (and do not crowd).
- Cook, swirling pan gently and using a thin flexible metal spatula to loosen chicken if it sticks, until chicken is golden-brown and crisp on bottom side, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tenders. Using a thin metal spatula and a fork, carefully flip chicken and cook until golden brown on second side. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 3 minutes.
- To the platter, add some lemon wedges, the honey-mustard sauce and serve at once.
Here are more chicken recipes from the blog’s archives:
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