These copycat Cracker Barrel grilled chicken tenders are just as good as the real thing, maybe even better! The secret is in the Italian dressing, honey, and lime marinade that keeps the chicken juicy and tender while adding lots of flavor. Cracker Barrel Grilled chicken tenders are an easy way to feed the whole family and they are always a hit with kids and adults alike!
Prepare the marinade: Add the Italian dressing, honey, and lime juice to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
½ cup Italian dressing, 1 ½ teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lime juice
Add your chicken tenderloins to the marinade and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour up to 8 hours.
1 lb chicken tenderloins
15 minutes prior to cooking, remove the tenders from the fridge so they can warm up slightly.
Heat a pan or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the marinated chicken tenderloins on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until done (they should be lightly golden, but not dry, with an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
Any cut of chicken can be used, just adjust the cooking time as necessary.
It's rumored that Cracker Barrel specifically uses T. Marzetti's Creamy Italian dressing if you want the closest copycat recipe, however, any Italian dressing will work (even zesty)!
I think adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to the marinade makes these tenders extra tasty! Though it is not technically part of the Cracker Barrel recipe.
A grill pan is easiest because the tenderloins are so small. If you prefer an actual grill, be sure to cook them over indirect heat so they do not dry out. Roughly 10-12 minutes on the grill (5-6 minutes per side) should do it.
Alternatively, you may bake your tenders at 400°F (205°C) for 15 minutes.