Shortcut Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Tenders and Spicy Peanut Sauce both start with bottled marinade! The skewers of chicken strips are sweet and tangy and the sauce has just enough spiciness to measure up to any bowl of chicken wings for summer barbecues or game days.
Not looking for a snack or appetizer? Serve these grilled chicken tenderloins over rice or noodles and slather them with the creamy peanut sauce and you have an easy weeknight meal.
In this shortcut grilled chicken tenders recipe, Southern peanuts and grilled chicken meets up with Teriyaki and Thai flavors. In my opinion, these are the best grilled chicken tenders, partly because they are so easy and flavorful at the same time.
Want to keep it all Southern flavors? Make grilled bbq chicken tenders, similar in flavor to my Air Fryer Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, by sprinkling 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 recipe and the peanut dipping sauce recipe.
This one ingredient makes this a pantry-friendly chicken finger 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 tenders in half of it and stirring the rest into creamy peanut butter to make the peanut sauce.
- The second shortcut is simply cooking 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 as a marinade for this chicken tenders 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 grill chicken tenders
- The chicken tenders marinate 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.
How long to cook chicken tenders on grill: Grill the tenderloins on a charcoal or gas grill about 11 minutes, turning once, or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees.
The size of the chicken tenders will determine how many minutes to grill them.
If your tenderloins are large, or maybe you just want to thread them on longer skewers so they cook faster, cut them in half lengthwise with a sharp knife to before marinating them.
Pro Tip: When grilling chicken tenders, keep the grill lid down and only turn once. This will create an oven-like atmosphere and turning the marinated tenderloins too often will only tear the chicken.
Dip the cooked chicken tenders in the spicy peanut sauce as an appetizer or spread the peanut sauce over the tenderloins and serve over rice as a main dish.
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.)
Watch the video of me making this dish with a WBRC anchor live on the Good Day Alabama morning show. Click on the image to watch!
Substitutions & Variations
- Marinades for chicken tenderloins- Most any Teriyaki marinade or sauce will work but avoid salad dressings, especially if water is one of the top 2 or 3 ingredients like fat-free vinaigrettes. Marinades for chicken strips can also be dry rubs. You don't have to make your own. Check out the grilling section of the spice aisle in your grocery store.
- 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 chicken tenders in air fryer?
Yes, these skewered chicken tenders can be cooked in an air fryer. As long as you have an oven-style or large basket-style air fryer that has enough room for the length of your skewers, it will work. 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 tenders register 165F degrees.
What to serve with Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Tenders
In addition to the Spicy Peanut Sauce as an appetizer, serving the tenderloins over rice or noodles for a main dish. Here are some salad suggestions to serve alongside them for dinner.
- Charcoal or propane or pellet grill
- Wooden or bamboo skewers
To store Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Tenders and Spicy Peanut Sauce let cool completely. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Other appetizers or game day recipes you will love
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.
Nutrition analysis on GritsAndGouda.com recipes are mostly calculated on an online nutrition calculator. I am not a dietitian and nutritional information is an estimate and can vary based on products used.
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