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Easy balsamic chicken tenders require minimal effort and just a few pantry ingredients. Tender, juicy chicken in a tangy balsamic vinegar marinade is a simple and satisfying main course that cooks up quickly in a skillet on your stove top.
Perfectly Cooked Chicken
I used to cook with balsamic vinegar all the time. I loved it on chicken, on pasta, on bread (dipped with olive oil of course) and it’s been ages since I’ve cooked with it. I recently found a bottle in the back of my cupboard and that prompted me to whip up a dish I haven’t made since my pre-children days. Well guess what? They loved it to!
Let’s face it. White meat can be dry. It’s hard to cook chicken breasts without overcooking them. That’s why I have perfected a few different methods for cooking chicken breasts, like my incredibly tender and juicy oven baked chicken breasts, stove top chicken and even juicy slow cooker shredded chicken.
Chicken tenders can be really easy to overcook because they cook very quickly. My Balsamic Chicken Tenders have a tangy marinade that helps to keep them juicy, and they are cooked in a skillet on your stove top so you can easily control the cooking time for each piece. As with all types of chicken, watching the temperature is key to perfectly cooked chicken, and having an instant read digital meat thermometer handy is a must. Chicken should reach a temperature of 165 degrees F.
How to Make Balsamic Chicken Tenders
Balsamic Chicken is a super simple recipe to make. Just whisk the marinade together and pour it over the chicken. Allow it to sit for at least half an hour (but a couple of hours is best), then cook it up on the stove. You’ll get to watch it get all nice and brown and yummy. Save a couple of extra as leftovers and toss them in your salad for the lunch the next day!
- Balsamic Chicken Marinade: Whisk together chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and a little bit of olive oil. Pour over the chicken and let it marinate on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge for an hour or more.
- Chicken Tenders: I used chicken tenders for this recipes because they are small and thin and really soak in the marinade. You could also use full size chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Just adjust your cooking time accordingly.
- Cook. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the chicken tenders. Keep a little space between each piece and work in batches if you have to. Crowding the pan where the chicken is touching will result in steaming instead of frying. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side; check for doneness with a meat thermometer, then transfer to a plate and cover with foil to rest.
The tandy balsamic flavors in this balsamic chicken go really well with a lot of different sides. I’ll often just pair with a copycat Olive Garden Salad and some garlic bread, but roasted vegetables go really great and can be used for meal prepping as well. Another great side dish for balsamic chicken is caprese pasta salad or one pot caprese pasta. Here are a few other side dish ideas:
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Broccoli
- Baked Potatoes
- Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
- Corn on the Cob
- Vegetable Flatbread Pizza
Balsamic Chicken Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Balsamic Chicken Tenders are great for meal prep! Cook a double batch and save half for your meals during the week. Top veggies and brown rice or add to salads.
- If you’d rather bake these chicken tenders in the oven, preheat to 400 degrees F and cook for 12-15 minutes. Depending on the size of your tenders the cooking time can vary.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container or resealable bag for 4-5 days. Or freeze for up to 6 months.
- The marinade is really what helps to keep these chicken tenders juicy and flavorful. You want to marinate for at least 30 minutes and you can do that right on the kitchen counter. If you want to do longer (recommended, but not necessary) put the bag in the fridge.
Balsamic Chicken Tenders
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1.5 pounds chicken tenders about 10-12 pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt to taste
- Whisk together chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Place chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag with the marinade. Massage and shake to coat. Let sit on the counter for no more than 30 minutes or marinate in the fridge for an hour or up to 12 hours.
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet.
- Season chicken with salt and place in the skillet with space between each piece. Work in batches if you have to. Cook the chicken over medium high heat until browned on both sides; about 3-5 minutes per side.
- Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Rest 5 minutes before serving.