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Chicken tenders are the simplest and perfect evening meal for you and your family. They’re super easy to prepare and can be doused in a variety of flavors to make this simple treat a little more exciting. Wondering what to serve with your chicken tenders? Here are some mouth-watering sides you’ll definitely enjoy!
Table of Contents
- What is a Chicken Tender?
- How to Cook Tender Moist Chicken Tenders?
- Do You Need to Marinate Chicken Tenders?
- What to Serve with Crispy Chicken Tenders?
- Bottom Line
What is a Chicken Tender?
Chicken tenderloins are thin strips of white meat resting just beneath the chicken breast. Though they come from the same part of the chicken, they tend to be more tender when cooked thoroughly. Often they are referred to as chicken fingers, chicken strips, or chicken fillets.
How to Cook Tender Moist Chicken Tenders?
Chicken tenders are much thinner than chicken breast, which is why they can very easily become overcooked. A meat thermometer can help avoid this. Allow the chicken tenders to cook through to a temperature of 160°F, then remove them from the heat.
If you’re cooking on a skillet, it should only take about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on how hot the skillet is. The cooking time for chicken tenders will be half the time it takes for a regular-sized chicken breast to cook through.
Since these cuts of meat are quite thin, you won’t require a marinade or brine to achieve juicy chicken tenders.
Do You Need to Marinate Chicken Tenders?
Honestly, since chicken tenders are naturally tender due to their small size, it makes it all the more simple to cook them without completely drying them out, as chicken breasts tend to do.
While a delicious buttermilk marinade will surely make your chicken tender further juicy, this isn’t required for chicken tenders, so you can save some time and energy, focusing on getting your chicken tenders on the pan and off again in time to eat them.
Once you’ve decided on the chosen method of cooking them, the next part is finding out what delicious side dishes will pair perfectly with those tender, juicy chicken tenders. While many may associate chicken tenders with a quick, short weeknight dinner, they can also make a grand entrée to barbecues or family gatherings.
What to Serve with Crispy Chicken Tenders?
When it comes to serving chicken tenders, the options are limitless, depending on what you fancy. Whether you’re craving sweet, savory, or a simple dipping sauce to dip your delicious chicken tenders into, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what to serve with chicken tenders.
French fries, paired with chicken tenders, make the perfect classic comfort food, and there are plenty of ways to cook them. Whether you choose to air fry them, pop them into an instant pot or drop them into a pan of oil, there’s no doubt that they’ll emerge golden brown and beautifully crisp, ready to be devoured.
These French fries are a little different from your regular French fries, so as tempting as it may be to remove the skins from your potatoes, leave them on. They’ll amp up your meal with heavenly textures and taste even better when dipped in honey mustard or bbq ranch dressing.
Sweet Potato Fries
Amongst the many classic side dishes to have alongside your chicken tenders, potato fries are at the top of the bunch. A contrast in flavor from regular fries, these sweet potato fries provide your meal with a subtle sweetness to cancel out the savory flavors. You can top your potato fries with a slight sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese for a further interesting flavor.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
If you’re a fan of these fluffy, pillowy potatoes, then you’ll love the added dots of garlic powder. Garlic mashed potatoes will pair perfectly with chicken tenders, and you can even grab one chicken tender and dunk it into the thick creamy mountain before popping it in your mouth, and enjoy the warm, flavorful morsel and inevitably reaching for more.
If you’re craving a lighter, healthier version of pasta, then zucchini pasta is the one for you. With zucchini, you’ll get the flavorful crunch of regular pasta but a very light version that’ll taste great with your juicy chicken tenders. It has a wonderful combination of flavors from zucchini, basil, and parmesan cheese, along with a sprinkle of garlic powder.
Zucchini is a type of vegetable that is brimming with antioxidants, and vitamins, so not only is this vegetable incredibly delicious, but it happens to contribute to some of the key nutrients for your body; how about that?
You can easily make zucchini pasta at home by frying the slices in olive oil and adding a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you can take the heat)
Asparagus is incredibly versatile. You can boil, bake, roast, air fry, or grill them, depending on your preference. Not only is it a great accompaniment to salads and soups, but they are a healthier alternative to French fries, and you can create some impeccably savory asparagus fries with your choice of seasoning, making it a great choice for your meal.
Baking your potatoes happens to bring forth incredible flavors from a single potato. Take these potato wedges, for instance, glazed with Italian herbs and almost everyone’s favorite parmesan cheese! Serve these super simple potato wedges cooked in an air fryer alongside your chicken tenders, and they’ll taste so incredible that they’ll quickly become a staple in your household!
Whether you’re serving chicken tenders as a starter, potato wedges simply must follow suit.
A bowl of creamy cucumber salad can subtly lift the heaviness of the juicy chicken tenders and replace them with a refreshing finish.
The wonderful crunch of creamy cucumbers, coupled with the crispiness of the chicken tenders, gives your overall meal the perfect summertime sensation.
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Maple and bacon pair wonderfully together to bring forth the rich flavors of brussels sprouts. These salty, sweet balls of terror that once chased many of us away from our meals can now be enjoyed as an accompaniment to your crispy chicken tenders.
The sugary essence of maple syrup allows the brussels sprouts to caramelize, providing them with a touch of sweetness with each bite.
Potato salad is a type of side dish that is almost a necessity. It’s got the potatoes, the element of creaminess, and it’s a filling salad. You certainly won’t find your stomach grumbling with hunger after this!
Plus, it’s a great little side dish to make for parties. Serve your chicken tenders alongside this creamy, tasty potato salad for an incredibly satisfying evening meal.
Pasta salad is an incredibly versatile dish that you’ll simply adore alongside your chicken tenders. You can use any of your favorite types of short pasta and toss in your chicken tenders along with other tasty veggies.
Thinly slice red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and any other vegetable you like. Store this in the fridge till you’re ready to eat. Ensure that your pasta is drained well enough so that your pasta salad doesn’t emerge sticky or watery.
Pesto Pasta Salad With Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Tender tubes of pasta with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves are all tossed together in a tasty pesto sauce, making this pasta salad paired with your chicken tenders a seriously delicious meal.
This pesto pasta recipe is also great for barbecues and small parties. Simply bring out this classic side dish and dig in! The great thing about side dishes is that you can never have too many. Why not make a bowl of pesto pasta with another sweeter and even more delicious side dish, consisting of the best-fried apples? There’s more below!
Slowly cooked in browned butter and brown sugar, then fried apples are the perfect side dish to have with your chicken tenders as more of an additional side dish. So if you’re having fries with your chicken tenders, why not pull out some previously fried apples to minimize the savory flavors, swapping them out for a sweeter alternative
The best end to every meal is when a sweet treat gets your taste buds tingling. And caramelized apples will quite literally melt in your mouth.
For this side dish recipe, try to use firm apples so that they impart their natural sweetness. Brown butter will pull the naturally sweet flavors from the bright red apples. Both sugar and water are your best friends here.
Of the many side dishes listed, this recipe happens to be a common favorite. The best way to incorporate a variety of flavors using finger foods is by adding fried pickles into the mix. A crunchy, tangy addition to the meaty, crunchy and juicy chicken tenders. Dip both of these in your favorite dipping sauce, and that’s a wrap!
Fresh pickles plucked from the deepest regions of pickle juice are the best side dish to have with chicken tenders or any type of fried food, for that matter. The contrast in textures means that your meal has become seriously delicious
Don’t have time to whip up something fancy for your side dish? Take a look inside your fridge! Cold pickles coupled with warm, tender chicken tenders are just mouth-wateringly good.
Whether you have pickled onions, pickled cucumbers, or pickled peppers, they’re just so tasty!
A traditional Italian sauce consisting of fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil is the perfect side dipping sauce to have with your juicy chicken tenders.
Often served with pasta, pesto sauce can be used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes such as soups, stews, and more. Moreover, pesto sauce seems to be a common favorite when paired alongside the chicken.
Creamy Mac & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese happen to be classic comfort food, though you can widen its uses by attempting to serve it with crisp chicken tenders for the combination we didn’t know we needed.
The creaminess of the sauce pairs beautifully with the crunchy, crumbling breading on tender boneless chicken, so make sure you serve these. It’ll go down a treat!
You can never go wrong with a warm plate of twice-baked potatoes. The best thing about these potatoes is that they can be cooked or baked in an air fryer. Try these air fryer twice-baked potato recipes for a delicious side dish to serve with your chicken tenders.
You’ve heard of baked beans on baked potatoes, but what about chicken tenders dipped in baked beans? These tangy, white baked beans are incredibly delicious when lightly sprinkled with red pepper flakes, masking the tomatoey flavors slightly. If you prefer the tangy tomato flavors, then by all means, knock yourself out!
Add a fried egg over your baked beans for some added deliciousness.
For many reasons, risotto is a great side dish for chicken tenders, and the best part is that you can cook it in a variety of ways.
Both mushroom and veggie risotto go perfectly well with the tender yet crunchy exterior of your chicken tenders.
Cornbread is the perfect type of bread to pair with any type of meat, and the best part is that you can make this at home with no hassle! Top your cornbread with some garlic sauce, breaking your chicken tenders and layering them over your bread to make the perfect little evening treat.
It’s a simple, super nutritious side dish, leaving you satiated for many hours.
Stir fries are very easy to make and pair wonderfully with chicken tenders, as well as other types of tender meat. You can easily make your stir fries from scratch if you have all the vegetables you intend to use, though frozen vegetables work just as well.
For an easier and more delicious recipe, slice your chicken tenders and pop them into your pan of stir-frying veggies
Mix them around for a minute or 2 on low heat. Then simply plate it up and enjoy!
Although waffles are typically enjoyed with strawberries and chocolate, they actually pair wonderfully with chicken tenders as well.
You can add cream cheese to your waffles or even sprinkle a light dusting of maple syrup to enhance the flavors of your meal. Waffles and chicken tenders are a great combination, especially when you’re searching for the perfect yet adventurous side dish.
You may have heard of grilled cheese sandwiches, and while they might be delicious, have you ever tried to fry cheese?
The best type of cheese to fry is mozzarella, but you can experiment with any type of cheese you like, as long as you choose the correct kind of cheese, promising a gooey textured finish.
Fry cheese in a mix of bread crumbs, eggs, or flour, and add your favorite seasoning for that ultimate gooey finish. Garlic happens to go perfectly with fried cheese, and beside your chicken tenders, it will taste impeccable!
Hummus is the perfect dip to have with chicken tenders. This Middle Eastern spread is made from mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini – a sesame seed paste – and lemon juice. It’s also incredibly healthy, making it a great alternative to mayonnaise or other fatty spreads that can weigh down your meal.
Hummus has a creamy texture that works incredibly well as a dip for your chicken tender platter.
Alternatively, you can dip all types of vegetables in hummus, such as carrots and celery sticks, baby carrots, or bell peppers.
If you are looking for a side dish that is light yet filling and delicious, fluffy biscuits will do the trick. They go well with almost any main course, from chicken tenders to fried fish or even steak.
Fluffy biscuits will surely provide a sweet and savory flavor profile to blend with the salty, tender, and crisp chicken tenders. You can even add a little gravy atop your biscuits as an additional topping, layering some more flavors to suit your cravings.
Sautéed Green Beans
Sautéed green beans are the perfect lightly oiled veggie side dish to have with your chicken tenders. You’ll need to add a small onion to the mix and perhaps a sprinkle of garlic powder to really lock in those fragrant flavors.
Green beans are an incredibly nutritious vegetable, promoting healthy vision and contributing to a healthier immune system. Remember to use fresh green beans because frozen green beans tend to release a lot of water, and you may end up with a sloppy side dish! Add a splash of Dijon mustard to the mix (only if you want to) feel free to add chopped bacon for extra flavor.
Additionally, you can break your chicken tenders into little bite-sized pieces and drop them into your pan of sautéed green beans. Enjoy this wonderfully combined meal.
Coleslaw is another fun side dish to have with chicken tenders. It’s an incredibly efficient way to use up leftover cabbage. Moreover, it can add extra flavor and texture to your meal. What’s not to love?
You can serve coleslaw as soon as it’s done, but if you’re making it in advance, let it sit for at least an hour or two before serving so that the flavors have time to meld together.
Grilled veggies are a great side dish to serve with chicken tenders, mainly because they’re so easy to make, incredibly delicious, healthy, and very easy to make. Plus, they’re easy to clean up after you’re done cooking them.
The best part about grilling vegetables is that you can store any leftovers in your refrigerator for up to five days. You can make anything you like out of them. From stir-fries to adding them to fried rice, you’ll love everything about them!
Tangy salsa is a great side dish to serve with chicken tenders. It can be made in less than one minute, and it’s incredibly healthy, flavourful, and versatile. Salsa is also pretty easy to make increasingly healthier by adding more vegetables to the mix or using less oil. If you want your salsa to impart a spicier flavor, simply add a sprinkle of chili powder.
Salsa also happens to pair well with just about anything; however, it does taste best with tortilla chips or rice cakes. To store your homemade salsa for later use, simply place it in an airtight container after cooling down completely and keep it refrigerated until ready to eat (up to two weeks).
Whether you’re serving them as an appetizer or a main course, chicken tenders are delicious all by themselves. However, if you want to kick things up a notch, pair them with these wonderful steamed vegetables.
This is one of my favorite ways to serve vegetables because it’s super quick and easy and looks pretty on the plate. Simply throw them in a pot of boiling water, cover it tight and steam away until they’re soft enough to eat (usually five minutes). If you have any leftover veggies after this meal – which we doubt you will – save them for lunch tomorrow!
Chicken tenders are honestly an incredibly delicious evening meal to have. Whether you intend to snack on them right before dinner or make a fun and vibrant side dish consisting of complementary flavors that’ll have you licking your fingers one by one, eager to lap up the remnants of decadent and flavourful pesto pasta, baked beans, or hummus. Serve some delicious chicken tenders with any of these side dishes listed above for a truly unforgettable meal.
Are Chicken Tenders Healthy?
Fried chicken tenders are an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. If you avoid the excessive use of oil or sodium ingredients, these cuts of chicken are healthy enough to eat on a regular basis.
Should I Tenderise Chicken Tenders?
Tenderising your chicken breast will provide you with a piece of meat that is tender and juicier, meaning that it’ll taste great
Does Soaking Chicken in Milk Make it Tender?
Milk is known to break down and tenderize chicken due to its calcium content. Marinating your chicken in milk produces a unique texture and flavor.