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Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders are one of the most popular items on the menu and for good reason! They are tender, flavorful, slightly sweet, with a fresh citrus flavor. This copycat recipe lets you make them at home with only four ingredients!

Chicken tenders in a cast iron pan.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Only Four Ingredients – Simple ingredients that you can find anywhere!
  • Cooks in Under 10 Minutes – Thanks to their size, these copycat cracker barrel chicken tenders cook up super quickly!
  • Tender and Flavorful – Marinated chicken tenders are tender and moist, with a slightly sweet flavor.

Ingredients For Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders

You only need four simple ingredients to make super flavorful and tender chicken tenders.

  • Chicken Tenderloins – alternatively you can use chicken breasts that have been cut into strips
  • Italian Dressing – Just grab your favorite bottle – I’m partial to Paul Newman.
  • Lime Juice – fresh lime juice is best but you can use the kind in a bottle as well
  • Honey

How To Make Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

All it takes is a quick marinate in the fridge and less than 10 minutes to cook – this Cracker Barrel grilled chicken couldn’t be easier to make!

  1. Make Dressing – Whisk up the Italian dressing, lime juice, and honey in a small bowl.
  2. Marinate Chicken – Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels and place into a resealable plastic bag. Pour in the dressing, seal the bag, and squeeze out excess air. Gently massage the dressing into the chicken and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
  3. Cook Chicken – Heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about half of the marinated chicken tenders. They should be in a single layer and not touching. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 2-3 minutes. You want them to get nice and browned on both sides. Discard any excess marinade.
  4. Serve – Serve the chicken immediately and garnish with fresh parsley.
Collage of images depicting the steps for making cracker barrel's chicken tenders.


Why are my chicken tenders tough?

If your chicken is tough then you likely overcooked them. Cook the tenders until they are just 165 degrees F.

What is the difference between a chicken tenderloin and breast?

The chicken tenderloin is a long strip underneath the breast of the chicken. Compared to breasts, the chicken tenderloin is more tender. But in many recipes you can substitute a chicken breast cut into strips for chicken tenders.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this recipe with so many sides! We love pairing them with a roasted veggie like roasted broccolini or roasted asparagus

You can also turn the leftovers into a new meal! Try chopping up the leftovers and topping a salad or rolling up in a wrap.

Chicken tenders on a white plate with a fork and knife.


  • Bake in the Oven – Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
  • Cook on the Grill – Fire up the grill to medium heat and grill for just a few minutes on each side. 
  • Spicy  – To add a kick you can use hot honey instead or add red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the marinade.


Storage – Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheating – For best results, reheat them in a pan on the stove for a couple of minutes per side. You can also microwave for 30-60 seconds.

  • Don’t Crowd the Pan – When cooking the chicken in a skillet, you want to leave a little space between each so you can get nice browning.
  • Don’t Marinate for Too Long – Due to the lime juice, you don’t want to marinate the chicken for more than an hour.
  • Let the chicken brown before flipping – To get the best browning or grill marks, let the chicken tenders cook for a few minutes before touching and flipping.
White plate and a fork, stack of chicken tenders.

More Chicken Recipes


Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders

5 from 11 votes
Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders are tangy and slightly sweet, with a fresh citrus flavor. Make this copycat recipe at home with 4 ingredients!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 pounds chicken tenders 12-14 tenders
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
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  • In a small bowl, whisk dressing, lime juice and honey together until combined. Set aside.
  • Pat chicken tenders dry with paper towels (do not rinse) and place into a resealable plastic bag. Pour dressing mixture over the chicken and seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Gently massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add half of the chicken tenders in a single layer, not touching. Discard any leftover marinade.
  • Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes without moving them so they will get nice and browned, then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, untouched.
  • Serve immediately, garnishing with fresh minced parsley if desired.


  • Storage – Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheating – For best results, reheat them in a pan on the stove for a couple of minutes per side. You can also microwave for 30-60 seconds.
  • Leftovers are also delicious cold on a salad or in a tortilla wrap!
Keyword Chicken Tenders, cracker barrel chicken tenders


Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 32gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 565mgPotassium: 604mgFiber: 0.04gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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