Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders

Hey, you know what I can’t stand more than dry tasteless chicken? Dry tasteless chicken. I just don’t get it. In fact, I get seriously sad when I order chicken at a restaurant and it comes out stringy, overcooked and bland. And if I’m eating with you, I won’t be able to concentrate on what you’re saying, because guaranteed, I’ll be thinking about my dry tasteless chicken. For that reason, I developed an easy lemony marinade that seems like it’s got a lot going on with the herbs and such, but honestly, check your pantry and fridge. You probably have all of that stuff just sitting in there. All you need is a Ziplock bag and a little patience. The longer you let these chicken tenders rest in the marinade, the more infused with flavor they’ll be.  

The herbs add taste, but the acid from the lemon ensures that the already tender pieces of chicken will be even more plumptious when cooked. (Yes that’s a word… just like juicylicious is). I’ve taught a couple peeps how to make these guys and they all agree that this recipe is pretty fool proof. The only part that you could POSSIBLY mess up is the cooking part… by being all paranoid and cooking them way too long, thus making them dry. Yes, I say it often and I’ll say it again: overcooking anything leads to dryness! So calm down Charlie Brown and follow these instructions.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

If you don’t have time to buy fresh thyme (heh), then use dried instead. If you have the fresh stuff, chop it up.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Tip of the day: Grab your dried oregano and crush it with your fingers to make it more aromatic and to release their full flavor. Do this when using any of your dried herbs. You’ll thank me.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Then squishy squish half of a lemon

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com
Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And add your salt, pepper and garlic powder. Don’t use fresh garlic, or it will burn when cooking your chicken. If you MUST use fresh garlic, then finely grate it on a microplane so there are absolutely no chunks.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Then squirt in the dijon mustard

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And measure out your olive oil

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Add everything to a Ziplock bag and invite your chicken tenders to the party.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Really get em in there and let them peacefully rest in the marinade in the fridge.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

One hour later, or the next day, pull them out and let some of the excess marinade drip off

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

Before letting them be gently kissed by the sizzling hot pan.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And you know better than to crowd the pan. Give them space to breathe so they can brown. Do it in batches if you have to. Don’t be an eager beaver and dump them all in there at once.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And they will brown…and smell heavenly, and you’ll want to eat them right away, but don’t! They’re still raw you crazy! Give them a flip.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And cover them with a lid to make sure they stay juicy juicy. The steam inside the pan will get trapped by the lid and keep everything plumptious. You don’t have a lid? Try covering with some aluminum foil and crimp around the pan.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

And of course, you’ll let them rest for a couple minutes before cutting into them so that you can allow the juices to redistribute nicely. And you will bite into the soft, juicy, flavorful chicken and be so proud of yourself.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders | ChefJulieYoon.com

You’ll be so happy that you made these tasty little tenders. Serve them with mashed or roasted potatoes, orzo salad with roasted tomatoes, or with a crunchy jicama salad for a light, hot weather meal.

Lemon and Herb Chicken Tenders
 
These chicken tenders will quickly become one of your go-to recipes
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (about ½ a big lemon squeezed)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins
Instructions
  1. Put the lemon juice, herbs, mustard, seasonings and oil in a large resealable plastic bag. Close the bag, then shake and smush to combine all the ingredients. Open the bag and drop in the chicken tenders. Close and shake the bag to coat evenly. Let it marinate 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Place a pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, let some of the excess marinade drip from the chicken and place on the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Lower the heat to medium-low if the chicken is browning too fast. Cover the pan with a lid while cooking to keep the chicken moist. Let them rest for a couple minutes. Enjoy.
    TIP: If you don't have fresh lemon, substitute with any vinegar of your choice. If you can't find chicken tenderloins, use this marinade for chicken breasts, chicken thighs and even pork!

 

Comments

Vicki
Reply

Very moist and tender. Everyone enjoyed. Will make again.

julie
Reply

YAY! Glad to hear you enjoyed some juicy chicken. Next time, you can even try to experiment with different spices and herb combinations.

Julie
Reply

Yum! I made these for dinner last night and my family (with young children) thought they smelled and tasted delicious. I had one measly tender leftover for my lunch today. It was even good reheated–not too dry. Thanks for the delicious and easy recipe–I’ll definitely make again!

julie
Reply

Hi fives to a fellow Julie. That’s great that your whole family enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for letting me know it was a success!

Sara
Reply

Tastes great with rosemary or if you ever have to substitute rosemary for thyme (I have both, but I use rosemary a lot).

julie
Reply

Nice tip! Rosemary would definitely taste great with the lemon and chicken. Yum!

Linda
Reply

Would this recipe work on the grill also? Or would the chicken be less moist? Thanks!

julie
Reply

Hi Linda.
It would work on the grill too but just use the grill cover to help trap the moisture and try not to cook the chicken too long so it gets dry.

Dora
Reply

This was soooo good! My picky eaters ate this and loved it!!!

julie
Reply

Hi Dora.
Nice to know this recipe was picky-eater approved! What did you serve them with?

Dora
Reply

My picky eaters love french cut green beans and rice pilaf so that is what I served with this delicious chicken.

julie
Reply

Hi Dora.
Sorry I missed your comment but yum… that sounds really good. Rice pilaf and green beans would be excellent sides for sure!

Deborah
Reply

I just put them in the fridge to marinate overnight! I even said to the tenders, “Come on, join the party!” as I was putting them in the bag. (DH laughed) Wondering how long to cook them after I put the lid on the pan.

julie
Reply

Hi Deborah.
I’m sorry I missed your comment so I’m sure I’m too late to respond now… but you just need to cook them for a couple minutes on each side, to ensure you don’t overcook them. I always let them rest, then cheat and split one open to check. Hope you enjoyed your chicken tenders!

Katherine
Reply

This recipe was so delicious! Thank you for posting it! I marinated the chicken for 2 hours before cooking it, and it was so flavorful and juicy. Will be making this again!

kevin wolak
Reply

Cooking now smells really good.

Arnie
Reply

Great recipe. A keeper for me and shared with friends. Photo instructions made this foolproof.

Served with mashed baby red potatoes and asparagus. Lemon rounds on plate for garnish and used to drizzle lemon juice in the tenders. Wonderful lemon flavor.

Leftovers the following day were tasty and still moist and tender.

Thank you.

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