Copycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

Enjoy one of Cracker Barrel’s most popular menu items with our version of their grilled chicken tenders recipe. Cracker Barrel is known for making delicious home-cooked food. We all loved the family favorites we had when we were growing up.

grilled chicken tenders

Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders

Who captures them better than Cracker Barrel? This taste-alike recipe gives you the restaurant taste without having to leave home.

You can pick up chicken tenders at the grocery store or at most warehouse clubs, and with a couple of extra ingredients, we will show you how to get the restaurant taste in your kitchen.

Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders are Simply Scrumptious

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is known for making delicious home-cooked food. We all loved the family favorites we had there when we were growing up.

Now you can enjoy one of Cracker Barrel’s most popular menu items with our version of their chicken tenderloin recipe. And, best of all, this taste-alike copycat chicken recipe gives you the Cracker Barrel taste without having to leave home.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken Tenders
  • Honey
  • Italian Dressing
  • Fresh Lime Juice
ingredients for cracker barrel grilled chicken tenders , lime, honey, italian dressing, and honey

How to Make Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

This recipe is super easy to make. The marinade is easy and well-balanced for chicken.

  1. Mix dressing, lime juice, and honey together.
  2. Pour the marinade over chicken tenders, making sure all tenders are covered.
  3. Cover the chicken and place it in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  4. Discard marinade after the tenders are ready to be cooked.
  5. Cook the tenders in a non-stick skillet or grill them until lightly golden in color and done but not dry.
grilled chicken tenders on a plate

Why a Chicken Breast Isn’t the Same as a Chicken Tenderloin

A chicken tenderloin is that part of the muscle that runs along the inside of each chicken breast half and is closest to the bone. Because it’s not a working muscle, it’s more tender than the breast and cooks more quickly.

If a recipe calls for marinating your chicken tenders, you are marinating for flavor, not tenderness, because they are already extremely tender.

If you want to substitute chicken tenders for boneless, skinless breast halves, allow two or three tenders per serving, depending on their size.

For dishes that require you to pound the meat flat, tenders are easier to work with than breasts. Since chicken tenders are stickier than breast meat, coatings stick to them really well. This makes tenders perfect for breading or wrapping with prosciutto.

Tips for How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins

  • Before going ahead with your recipe, cut off the small gristly white nob that you will see protruding from the top end of the tenderloin.
  • Cook whole chicken tenders for approximately half the time as chicken breast halves.
  • Chicken tenders are more porous than chicken breasts, so over marinating will cause them to take on too much liquid. If the marinade is a salty one (like many Asian marinades), don’t marinate for more than fifteen minutes or the salt will draw moisture out of the chicken.
  • For stir-fry recipes, cut the tenders into one-inch pieces rather than thin slices, so that the meat doesn’t dry out.
  • Add bite-size pieces (1-inch) of raw chicken tenders to soups close to the very end of cooking time. If you boil the tenders, they will toughen up. Gently simmer them until they are just cooked through – about three minutes.
  • If baking whole tenders of different sizes, place the smaller ones at the front of your baking sheet. This makes it easier to remove the smaller ones from the oven a minute or so earlier than the larger ones.
chicken tenders cooked on a grill

Love Cracker Barrel? Try these copycat recipes

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Be sure to check out more copycat restaurant favorites and easy chicken recipes.

Can’t get enough Copycat recipes? Be sure to subscribe to the mailing list. Drop me a comment down below on what you serve with your grilled chicken.

grilled chicken tenders

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Grilled Chicken Tenders

It’s easy to make these tasty Cracker Barrel chicken tenders at home with this copykat chicken tenderloin recipe.
4.56 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Recipes, Cracker Barrel Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 201kcal


  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey


  • Mix dressing, lime juice, and honey together. Pour over chicken tenders, making sure all tenders are covered; marinate for 1 hour. 
  • Discard marinade after the chicken tenders are ready to be cooked. Braise tenders in a non-stick pan or grill to lightly golden in color but not dry.



Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 444mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Cindy.

    These are really delicious with Olive Garden Italian dressing. Also, if you flatten your chicken tenders a little they’re better.

    This is a very easy recipe that my family loves, never any leftovers!

  2. sandra mcpherson

    I worked for C.B. and I have made all of their recipes. All you need is chicken and italian dressing. Cover the tenders with the italian dressing, place in a covered container and merinade overnight. It is that easy.

  3. GB

    4 stars
    the video and written recipe is different? in the video you say one half of a 16 ounce bottle – that 8 oz/1 cup – not 1/2 cup? as to the honey, in the video you say 1 tablespoon but the written recipe says 1.5 teaspoon; and same with lime, 1 tsp vs a whole lime?
    new cook – so I’m confused! but will try anyway.
    thank you – as I LOVE CB’s grilled chicken tenders! yum …

  4. Candice - the non-cook

    Please provide a brand of Italian Dressing – I’m assuming you mean the “clearish” version.

  5. Dianne Champagne

    My daughter~in~law said this is very good. I can’t wait to try it for young guests next week!

  6. Ann

    Hi Stephanie,
    Cracker Barrel had for a short time fried chicken tenders with a delicious honey pepper dipping sauce, it was so good…but they no longer have it on the menu. Have you by any chance eaten it and know how it
    was made. It was sweet & sour tasting with a bit of heat from the pepper. Thanking you in advance for
    your help. I so enjoy the recipes you share with all of us. As of now I have not been disappointed in a
    single recipe that I have tried. Keep up the delicious work.

    • SouthernGirl55

      I am also looking for the honey/black pepper dipping sauce. I had it with the buttermilk fried chicken. It was a perfect blend. I noticed yesterday the buttermilk chicken is back but not the sauce. I would love to have the recipe!

  7. fantasy01

    At my age I have used a number of stoves. The problem I have with recipes is that they will tell you to cook at medium or medium hight heat yet I have never seen a stove with those particular settings.

    • stephaniemanley

      I have seen some really old cookbooks, and perhaps stoves that specified the heat for the stove top portion.

  8. fantasy01

    You didn’t mention what the internal temp has to be for chicken which should be 160 – 165 F. I know you can remove it from the hear source at 155 F as it will continue to cook as it rests .

    • stephaniemanley

      Great point. I will see what I can do to mention in the recipe what temperature to cook the chicken too. I appreciate your comments!

  9. Meg B.

    Going to try this tonight. I have never seen a recipe where u drained the seasoning from dressing so I made my own dressing and just didn’t add the seasonings. We’ll see how it turns out…..

  10. Sara Wright

    Hello, I just made the Cracker Barrel chicken and it is GREAT! I am going to try a little more honey next time but other than that it was right on! I think this is going to be a family favorite! Thank you so much for this recipie and for all of the others. I can’t wait to try more! I have told everyone about your site! THANKS AGAIN!

  11. JJ

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE their Grilled Chicken Tenderloin Sandwich- I will make these and recreate the sandwich from memory. We have no CB in CA, so I miss it!

  12. sunnidayrain

    I didnt have time to marinate so I just put all the ingredients in the pan and sauteed it with it and it turned out awesome!! Put green chilies and montrey jack cheese on it for their green chili chicken made with these strips! Yummmy!

  13. SELENE


  14. Sarah M. White

    My hubby and I made this today and it is GREAT! The only things we did differently then the recipie says is…We used lemon juice instead of lime (but we plan to buy some lime and try it next time). And we did NOT drain the Italian dressing. The kids loved it too!!

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