Grilled Chicken Tenders

published Jun 17, 2023
Grilled Lemon-Oregano Chicken Tenders Recipe

Juicy unbreaded chicken tenders come together with an easy marinade and a few minutes on the grill.


Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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close up overhead shot of grilled chicken tenders on a white plate
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Chicken tenders, the actual cut of chicken and not the breaded kid favorite, are underappreciated and deserve their time in the spotlight. Unlike chicken breasts, their thin, even thickness helps them cook way faster than their thicker counterparts. 

Chicken tenders are a great option for the grill — especially when they’re marinated in an easy garlic-lemon-oregano dressing. They cook up in mere minutes and stay moist and juicy — no risk of dry chicken here!

What Are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken tenderloins, are the little boneless strips of white meat that cling to the underside of a chicken breast. They taste exactly like chicken breast and are sometimes sold separately from the breast. If you can’t find chicken tenders but still want to make this recipe, just slice a boneless, skinless chicken breast lengthwise into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick strips.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Grilled Chicken Tenders

These chicken tenders get flavor from an easy marinade. You’ll need the following:

  • Chicken tenders: There are usually about 10 chicken tenders in a pound.
  • Olive oil: An inexpensive olive oil will work here; skip the fancy extra-virgin olive oil and save that for salad dressing.
  • Garlic: Mince two garlic cloves or finely grate them.
  • Lemon: Use a combination of fresh lemon zest and juice for zingy flavor.
  • Spices: Dried oregano works wonderfully with lemon and garlic. You can also add some red pepper flakes for some heat.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

How to Make Grilled Chicken Tenders

  • Make the marinade. Start by whisking olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, dried oregano, and salt together. Add the chicken tenders and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to eight hours.
  • Fire up the grill. Heat an outdoor grill for direct, medium-high heat. Because chicken tenders are thin cuts of meat, they’ll cook fast — so you want a hot grill that will make nice, flavorful grill marks quickly. The chicken tenders only need about four minutes per side in order to be perfectly cooked. Serve them warm or at room temperature, or use in salads or sandwiches.

Grilled Lemon-Oregano Chicken Tenders Recipe

Juicy unbreaded chicken tenders come together with an easy marinade and a few minutes on the grill.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 cloves


  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil, plus more for the grill

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 pound

    chicken tenders (8 to 10)


  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl or large zip top bag as you complete it: Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons). Juice the lemon until you have 2 tablespoons. Finely grate 2 garlic cloves. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if desired. Stir or whisk to combine.

  2. Pat 1 pound chicken tenders dry with paper towels. Add to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours. If marinating at room temperature, heat the grill.

  3. Heat an outdoor grill for medium-high, direct heat (about 425ºF). If the chicken has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature while the grill heats.

  4. Scrape the grill grates clean if needed. Oil the grill grates with a paper towel dipped in olive oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, let the excess marinade drip off, and place on the grill with a little bit of space between each one.

  5. Cover and grill until dark grill marks form and the chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Chicken breast: 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used in place of chicken tenders. Cut them lengthwise into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick pieces before marinating.

Make ahead: The chicken can be marinated up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.