It's time to fire up the grill and watch some football! Shortcut Teriyaki Chicken Tenders with Spicy Peanut Sauce both start with bottled marinade! The skewers of chicken are sweet and tangy and the sauce has just enough spiciness to measure up to any game-day bowl of chicken wings.
Not looking for a snack or appetizer? Serve these flavorful chicken tenderloins over rice or noodles and slather them with the Thai-inspired peanut sauce and you have an easy weeknight meal. I didn't forget the shortcuts!
In this shortcut recipe, Southern peanuts and grilled chicken meets up with Teriyaki and Thai flavors. If you want to keep it all Southern flavors, similar to my Air Fryer Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, just sprinkle the chicken with a simple dry rub and grill the chicken. Then, brush with your favorite good ole BBQ sauce.
I call this recipe a "two-fer". I used one main ingredient (Teriyaki sauce/marinade) in both the chicken tenderloins and the peanut dipping sauce. This one ingredient makes this a pantry-friendly recipe and eliminates up to 15 spices and seasoning ingredients like chili garlic paste, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, ginger root and more!
- The main shortcut for this recipe is dividing store-bought teriyaki marinade and marinating the chicken in half and stirring the rest into creamy peanut butter to make the peanut sauce.
- The second shortcut is using chicken tenderloins instead of cutting chicken breasts or thighs into strips.
Scroll down to printable recipe for ingredient quantities.
- Chicken tenders (tenderloins)
- Bottled Teriyaki sauce (See Tip below)
- Creamy peanut butter
- Unsweetened canned coconut milk
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Green onion and cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
Avoid salad dressings for this recipe, especially lite or low-fat ones.
Although I love Ken's Steakhouse Asian Sesame salad dressing for salads, it did not work well in this peanut sauce because of the high water content. Water was the second ingredient. It also didn't give the chicken a deep, rich color and hardly any grill marks, again, due to the water content.
How to make the grilled chicken tenders
- Marinate chicken tenders in Teriyaki Sauce 8 hours for maximum flavor. In a pinch, 1 hour will do.
- At least thirty minutes before ready to grill, soak the wooden or bamboo skewers in water to help prevent them from burning up on the grill. It won't hurt to soak them longer if you just want to get that step out of the way. Metal skewers will also work with no soaking.
Hint: Marinate the chicken in a large sealable plastic bag or airtight container. If using a plastic bag, be sure to double check the seal!
- Thread the marinated chicken tenders onto the soaked wooden skewers or metal skewers.
- Tip: If your tenderloins are huge or maybe you just want to thread them on longer skewers so they cook faster, cut them in half lengthwise with a sharp knife before marinating them.
- Grill on charcoal or gas grill about 11 minutes, turning once or until done. (See detailed directions in printable recipe below.)
How to make the peanut sauce
Whisk together a portion of the Teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, coconut milk, and pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld. Overnight is great for a make ahead step. (See recipe below for specific amounts.)
Substitutions & Variations
- As I mentioned above in the Pro Tip, most any Teriyaki marinade or sauce will work but avoid salad dressings, especially if water is one of the top 2 or 3 ingredients.
- You can cut chicken breasts and even thighs into strips in place of the tenderloins.
- If you want to make your own homemade Teriyaki marinade, this one from Shockingly Delicious looks good.
Can I cook these in the air fryer?
Yes, as long as you have an oven-style or large basket-style air fryer that has enough room for the length of your skewers. Just preheat the air fryer 3 minutes and "air fry" at 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes (depending on size) on one side, then 4 to 5 minutes on the other side or until chicken registers 165F degrees.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you make this recipe I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media with #gritsandgouda or @gritsandgouda. Leave a comment below the printable recipe if you have questions or tell me how you liked the recipe. Don't forget to rate it 5 stars if you love it!
Shortcut Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Grill, 10-inch skewers
- 12 chicken tenders (tenderloins) about 2 pounds
- 1 cup Teriyaki sauce or marinade, divided, plus more for brushing (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk canned but not sweetened
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 12 wooden or metal skewers
- Chopped green onions, fresh cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts (optional)
- Place the chicken tenderloins in a large plastic zip-top bag or in a shallow casserole. Add 2/3 cup of the teriyaki sauce to the chicken and squeeze the bag to coat the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate at least 8 hours up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
- Thirty minutes before ready to grill the chicken, if using wooden skewers, soak them in water in a zip-top bag or casserole dish. This will help prevent the skewers from burning while grilling.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Whisk together 1/3 cup sauce, peanut butter, coconut milk and crushed red pepper flakes. For a thinner sauce, add more teriyaki sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to meld flavors.
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer’s directions to achieve medium-high heat (about 375F to 400F degrees).
- Remove the chicken from the zip-top bag and thread each one onto a skewer and place on a large plate; discard this marinade.
- Coat the grill grates with vegetable oil and immediately place the chicken skewers on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 6 minutes or until grill marks appear on the underside of the chicken. Turn chicken over with tongs and grill 5 minutes or until chicken registers 165F degrees with an instant read thermometer. If desired, brush with additional teriyaki sauce just before removing from the grill.
- Place the chicken skewers on a clean plate and serve with Spicy Peanut Sauce or over rice. Garnish with green onions, fresh cilantro, and chopped peanuts, if desired.