Dig out your favorite saute pan because today you’re learning how to pan fry chicken tenders in just a few minutes! These keto chicken tenders are a great way to enjoy the crisp of traditional chicken tenders without all of the carbs.
Made without breading, these pan fried chicken tenders are juicy and crisp without weighing you down. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a quick and healthy lunch.
And because there is absolutely no flour or breading, these pan fried chicken tenders are low carb, keto, paleo, gluten-free, and even Whole30! No matter which eating plan you are following, these chicken tenders are going to make a wonderful addition to your weekly meal plan. They are that quick, easy, and healthy!
Serve your pan fried chicken tenders with this bacon curry coleslaw or this roasted beetroot salad with candied pecans for an amazing, complete low-carb dinner! Or take these pan seared chicken tenders up a notch by including them in a green chili chicken casserole or this pressure cooker chick noodle soup! And of course, you can always opt to top your flourless chicken tenders with this low-carb alfredo sauce.
So many options! 🙂
A printable recipe card is at the bottom of the post
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Best Way to Cook Chicken Tenderloins
First things first, chicken tenders and chicken tenderloin refer to the same type of cut from the chicken breast. You can use the terms interchangeably whether we’re talkin’ pan fried chicken tenderloins or pan fried chicken tenders.
The BEST way to cook chicken tenderloins is in a skillet! By using a high heat and a little seasoning, you can have perfect pan seared chicken tenders in just 6 minutes. Crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
Cooking chicken tenderloins in a skillet is the FASTEST way to cook chicken when you need it to top pasta, add cooked chicken to a salad, or just need to quickly cook some chicken pieces. We LOVE to cook with chicken tenders because they’re cheap and cook up so quickly.
If you have an instant pot, did you know you can easily cook chicken tenders from frozen? Be sure to check out that recipe too if you need quick chicken and don’t necessarily need it to be pan fried chicken tenders with a crispy crust like this recipe.
Pan Fried Chicken Tenders (No Breading)
Due to the fact that chicken tends to be pretty inexpensive most of the time, we do tend to eat a lot of it. Luckily, it’s a pretty versatile food, that can be flavored up in a variety of ways.
Even if we eat chicken three or four days a week, I can always come up with a different way to season, prepare, and serve it. Whether it’s pan seared, baked, slow cooked, or even grilled, chicken is a super versatile meat.
But sometimes, it’s the simplicity of a recipe that gives it the success – just like this one. With a simple blend of flavors, a piping hot skillet, and some good cooking oil, I can create these chicken tenders in just a few short minutes. This works perfectly for those nights I just don’t feel like cooking (hey, it happens to us all), or when I’m simply short on ideas. And my husband loves these pan fried chicken tenders because even though the chicken always tastes the same, by simply changing out how I serve it (on a salad, with sauce, shredded in a casserole, etc.), it doesn’t feel like we are eating the same thing too often.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s super simple! With basic ingredients, pan fried chicken tenders give you a great base to build an amazing meal on in no time.
- It’s super customizable! Depending on what your final product is going to look like you can either cook these tenders as-is or start adding in some of the flavor notes you are looking for.
- These chicken tenders work great as leftovers! Make up a large batch over the weekend and have chicken available all week for easy portable lunches or a pre-cooked dinner starter.
Ingredients for Sauted Chicken Tenders
With all recipes, the ingredients can make or break your final product. So even though this recipe calls for just a few basic items, be sure to opt for the best ones you can find.
- 1 lb chicken tenders, fresh
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 ground black pepper
Tip: If you are planning on using your pan fried chicken tenders as part of a dish, feel free to include extra herbs and spices that will help bring out the flavors. If you are planning on a BBQ dish, add in some paprika and chili powder or your favorite spice mix. If you are planning on going Italian, consider either Italian seasoning or some basil and parsley. And if Mexican is your final destination, some cumin and cayenne will really add a flavor-punch to your dish!
How to Pan Fry Chicken Tenders
In order to pan fry chicken tenders, you only need a few essentials and just a few minutes. However, each step is vital to your success and the success of your final dish. Take your time, follow the steps exactly, and watch how easily these breadless chicken tenders come together!
To start, dry your chicken on both sides and cut off any extra fat if it’s needed.
Sprinkle one side with half of the seasoning.
Heat your pan to medium high and add the oil. Make sure you swirl the oil to distribute it evenly around the whole pan. Allow both the pan and the oil to heat up really well (this is crucial to your overall success, so don’t rush this step!).
Once your pan is hot, add the chicken tender. Cook your chicken 3 minutes on one side or until chicken starts to turn white on the edge and pulls away from the pan.
Tip (and a word of caution!): Don’t flip or check your chicken early because it’ll prevent searing magic!
Once your chicken is ready, flip it over. Your pan seared chicken tenders should be golden brown on the side you just cooked.
Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning on the chicken while the second side cooks.
Cook 3 more minutes or until your chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should be 165F.
Pan Seared Chicken Tenders Recipe Tips
- Be sure your pan in pipping hot before you add the chicken tenders! This will make or break the crispiness of the final product.
- While I only use a couple of tablespoons of oil, feel free to add more oil to get more of that “fried” effect.
- As tempting as it may be to check on the progress of your pan fried chicken tenders, early flipping will cause them to lose the sear and the crisp of this cooking method. Be patient, and your patience will be rewarded.
- The drippings from the pan will be ridiculously flavorful! Take advantage of them by using a little chicken stock after cooking to scrape the bottom of the pan.
What Can I Do With Pan Fry Chicken Tenders?
If you have gotten this far and still are unsure what to do with your pan fried chicken tenders let’s go over a few options!
- Eat as is! These tenders are ready to go as soon as they come out of the pan.
- Add some dip! Just be sure whatever you create follows your eating plan.
- Add to a salad! Pan fried chicken tenders are a great way to add some protein to a variety of salads.
- Try it in a wrap! Cut or shred your tenders, and add to a lettuce wrap. Include additional items like cheese, tomatoes, bacon, avocado, peppers, cucumbers, and pepperoni. Top with your favorite sauce.
- Make ahead for easy weeknight meals! Make up a double or even triple batch of these tenders and store them in your fridge. Your future self will thank you. 😉
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Green Chili Chicken Recipe
- Simple Pressure Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- Keto Alfredo Sauce (Great with Zoodles!)
And be sure to pin the recipe for later on Pinterest so you can easily get back to it!
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- 1 lb chicken tenders, fresh
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 ground black pepper
- optional-extra seasoning like rub mix, Italian seasoning, etc
- Dry the chicken on both sides, cut off any extra fat if it's needed
- Sprinkle one side with half of the seasoning
- Heat a large skillet to medium high and add the olive oil
- Cook the chicken 3 mins on one side or until chicken starts to turn white on the edge and pull away from the pan
- Don’t flip or check the chicken until it's cooked 3 minutes
- Flip over, the pan seared chicken tenders should be golden brown on the side you just flipped
- Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning
- Cook 3 more mins or until cooked through, the internal temperature should be 165F.
- After the chicken is cool enough to handle, slice, chop or shred to add to your favorite recipe
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