A dinner with chicken tenders doesn’t have to be boring. Need some help jazzing up your weeknight favorite, here are some ideas of what to serve with chicken tenders that will make everyone asking for this dinner on repeat.
If you’re like most families, your kids love chicken tenders and want them on the rotation for weeknight dinners. While I like crispy chicken tenders, it’s the sides that you serve with them that make the whole family happy.
You can go with a classic side dishes like regular french fries. sweet potato fries or potato salad, but next time, try serving some of these delicious side dishes with those crispy chicken tenders and they will become a family favorite, and not just with the kids!
To start with you need a recipe for delicious chicken tenders. The best way to get them super crispy is to cook them in a skillet in just a little butter and olive oil. Coat them in panko and parmesan cheese for flavor and crunch. Parmesan crusted chicken tenders can be made in just 10 minutes giving you plenty of time to make the best side dishes.
What is a chicken tender
Chicken tenderloins are the small strips of white meat just beneath each chicken breast. There are two on each chicken and while they taste the same as the breast, they tend to be more tender when properly cooked. Sometimes they are called chicken finger, chicken strips or chicken fillets.
How to cook tender moist chicken tenders
Since chicken tenders are thinner then a chicken breast they can easily be overcooked. Use a meat thermometer and let them come to 160º then remove from the heat and they will continue to cook for a few minutes.
If cooking on a skillet, it will only take about 2-3 minutes per side depending on how hot the skillet is. The general rule of thumb is that the cooking time will be half of what you would cook a regular sized chicken breast.
Since they are so thin, you don’t need a marinade or brine for juicy chicken tenders. Save those for the chicken breasts.
FAQ’s and tips
A chicken tender is attached to the underside of the breast. While it tastes the same, it is not the same as the breast.
Chicken breasts and tenders should be cooked to 165º.
While a buttermilk marinade will make chicken tender and juicy, this is not needed for chicken tenders. They are naturally more tender and their small size make it easier to cook them without drying them out.
Once you’ve decided on how you’re going to cook them, the fun part is what delicious side dish to serve with chicken tenders. While you might think of chicken tenders as a quick weeknight meal, they can also be the star of a bbq or cookout or family gathering when paired with a perfect side dish.
If I’m making a weeknight meal, I’ll stick with just one tasty side dish, but if there’s a larger gathering, start with an appetizer, choose a starchier side and a green salad ,and end with an easy make ahead dessert. Of course around here, I can’t resist throwing in a batch of buttermilk biscuits.
1. Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
This Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese recipe from Poole’s Diner is a Southern classic with a creamy base and crusty cheese topping. No bells and whistles, just pasta, cream and cheese. Comfort food at its BEST.
2. Biscuits From Scratch
It’s hard to beat a warm, tender buttermilk biscuit straight from the oven. Learn how to make homemade biscuits from scratch that will become a family favorite you’ll turn to again and again.
3. Broccoli Salad
You’re going to love this HEALTHY broccoli salad recipe served with a yogurt dressing that’s sweetened with honey. Red onions and dried cranberries add a sweet and savory touch to an old fashioned salad you’ll be making all year long.
4. Oven Roasted Crunchy Potatoes
If you love your potatoes extra crispy, then you’re going to agree that these are the best Oven Roasted Crispy Potatoes. With just one added step, you get the crispiest roasted potatoes that go great with any dinner. So much better than french fries!
5. Veggie Packs
Veggie Packs are an EASY, QUICK, and HEALTHY addition to any meal, and a great way to use up a variety of vegetables that may be hanging around your fridge.
6. Peach Coleslaw
Sweeten up your coleslaw with peaches for a fresh, healthy and delicious variation on a summer salad. Peach Coleslaw will be great for your next cook-out. Don’t forget the Texas Pete for a little kick.
7. Fried Apples
Slowly cooked in browned butter and sugar, fried apples are an incredible Southern side that’s easy enough to make on a weeknight. This Cracker Barrel copycat recipe for caramelized apples will melt in your mouth.
8. Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberries and fresh spinach make a great salad, but it’s even better when you add pickled onions and romaine to the mix. This strawberry spinach salad will be your new favorite.
9. Southern Fried Corn
Fresh corn on the cob is shucked, scraped and fried in a cast iron skillet with flavorful bacon drippings and sugar for the most delicious side to serve all summer (from Grandbaby Cakes)!!
10. Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Tender pasta, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil all tossed in a “short-cut” pesto sauce make a salad that is seriously delicious! This easy pasta salad recipe (from A Southern Soul) is perfect for parties, cookouts, potlucks, and a must-make when you’re feeding a crowd.
11. Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts (from Spicy Southern Kitchen) are a salty-sweet side that’s perfect for any weeknight dinner. The brussels sprouts get wonderfully caramelized from the roasting process. They are like candy!
12. Tomato and Pimento Cheese Fritters
The crisp cornbread exterior of these Fritters are fried to golden perfection and the inside is filled with creamy, melty pimento cheese, sweet onions, garlic, and tangy tomatoes (from Southern Bite).
13. Tex-Mex Onion Dip
Homemade Tex-Mex Onion Dip (from Sweet Life Bake) is better than anything you can buy at the store. Caramelized Texas sweet onions, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder and cumin combine to create the creamiest Tex-Mex onion dip.
14. Peach Salsa
Fresh peaches, tomatoes and corn are combined for a fresh and healthy salsa. Peach Salsa is easy to make and a perfect summer appetizer for your next gathering.
15. Baked Zucchini Fries
Crunchy and bursting with flavors, these parmesan-crusted baked zucchini fries (from Southern Plate) are there to satisfy your crunchy cravings.
16. Quick and Easy Banana Pudding
This quick and easy Banana Pudding (from The Seasoned Mom) just might be the perfect dessert! The no-bake treat requires only 5 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep for a cool, creamy, sweet treat that you can assemble in advance. With Nilla wafers, Jello instant pudding, ripe bananas, and Cool Whip, this semi homemade banana pudding recipe is ideal for those days when you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen!
17. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
A classic chocolate chip cookie (from Joy the Baker) baked into a 9-inch cake, lined with yellow buttercream and rainbow sprinkles.