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. Your family will love these chicken tenders on the first bite. You are going to love this easy copycat recipe for Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders, it is simple to make, and has very easy-to-find ingredients. You can get restaurant taste at home.
What makes this chicken tenderloins recipe so good?
Who captures home cooking better than Cracker Barrel? To make this recipe all you need is some chicken tenderloins, Italian dressing, lime juice, a touch of honey, and a few minutes, and you can prepare a delicious homecooked dinner in no time at all. You will not need to hunt down for these simple ingredients in your grocery store.
Why you should try this recipe for Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders
This recipe is tried and true, sure there are a lot of copycat Cracker Barrel recipes out there, but this recipe has been around for over 20 years, and literally, thousands of people have made this recipe. I think this recipe is very versatile, you can use this as a main dish just as they are, and you can also use these grilled tenderloin pieces in your favorite salad. Take one bite, and I know this will become a favorite dish around your home.
This recipe is made with a simple 3-ingredient marinade.
- Chicken Tenders
- Italian Dressing
- Fresh Lime Juice
How to Make Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders
This recipe is super easy to make. The marinade is easy and well-balanced for chicken.
- Mix dressing, lime juice, and honey together.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken tenders, making sure all tenders are covered. (Want to do this step ahead of time? Pour the marinade and chicken tenderloins into a ziplock bag and toss this bag in the fridge for a few hours.)
- Cover the chicken and place it in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
- Discard marinade after the tenders are ready to be cooked.
- Cook the tenders in a non-stick skillet or grill in a grill pan until they are golden brown in color and done but not dry.
Why is 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 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.
What you can serve with this taste-alike recipe.
Of course, you may want to serve this with some green beans or carrots. I have more favorite recipes to share with you for possible side dishes: cooked cabbage, a huge garden salad, or even some seasoned rice.
Love Cracker Barrel? Try these copycat recipes
- How to Make Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Cake
- Brussel Sprouts and Kale Salad
- Egg In a Basket Breakfast
- Fully Loaded Hashbrowns
- Cracker Barrel Hashbrowns Casserole
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Katsu
- Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets
- Baked Chicken Leg Quarters Recipes
- Chili’s Chicken Crispers
- Berry Burst Chicken Salad
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
- Keto Chicken Divan
- Long John Silver’s Chicken Tenders
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.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Grilled Chicken Tenders
- 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.
I found this recipe years ago, and I made it quite a bit when my kids were younger (12 and 15 now). I never had lime juice, so I used orange. It was really good, but never quite the same as Cracker Barrell.
I just made it for the first time in years, and I did use lime juice. I made 1.6 pounds of chicken. It was exactly like Cracker Barrel and so extra delicious! My 15yo told me that he remembers I used to make it a lot and that this time was way better. I dont think my 12yo remembered it, but he was freaking out all through dinner because it was so great.
I made 4 sides to go with them, and we still managed to eat all of the chicken besides 2 little tenders! They just kept going back for more! Total win. So easy. Definitely need to make these a lot more often!! <3 Thank you SO MUCH!!
Thank you for this great recipe, my family loved it. We put these on a salad.
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!
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.
How do they make their green beans?
Here you go.
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 …
The recipe was great!! The video helped. Thank you so much. I hope you are still doing this site
I am still recreating recipes 😉
These sound great. I love chicken recipes. Thanks for sharing this. Simon
Candice - the non-cook
Please provide a brand of Italian Dressing – I’m assuming you mean the “clearish” version.
I prefer Wishbone Italian dressing or a store brand Italian dressing.
My daughter~in~law said this is very good. I can’t wait to try it for young guests next week!
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.
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!
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.
I have seen some really old cookbooks, and perhaps stoves that specified the heat for the stove top portion.
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 .
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!
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…..
I hope it turned out ok for you.
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!
Sara, I hope you had a chance to try more recipes!
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!
I wished there were more of them out there. They have good stuff.
I use to be a grill cook at Cracker Barrel, and We used Marzetti Italian Dressing and nothing else and marinate for 12 hours.
how much how do you make the hashbrown casserole
Yep I work there now and thats all they use… love those grilled tenders!!!
Is it just Italian? Or sweet Italian, or house Italian?
I asked at cb how they made them and they said exactly the same????
What is the brownish sauce on the plate with tenders?
It was some of the sauce that was in the pan after cooking.
@ Tonja – I wish your post wasn’t from so far back (2010) and you could tell me which Marzetti Italian Dressing they use – there are a few.
Plain marzetti italian dressing?
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!
I MADE THESE LAST NIGHT. THEY WERE AWESOME. I CUT SOME UP ON A SALAD AND ATE THE REST BY THEMSELVES. NEXT TIME I’M GOING TO TRY WITH MORE HONEY.
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!!