Dear Crissy

Copycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins

My husband has been telling me that I need to find a copycat Cracker Barrel grilled chicken tenderloins recipe. It’s his favorite Cracker Barrel menu item, and the dish he always order we visit a Cracker Barrel (usually on family vacations). I have to admit that the Cracker Barrel’s chicken tenders are super delicious. They have such a wonderfully sweet flavor, and I was excited at the prospect of recreating this recipe at home.

After scouring the internet for copycat Cracker Barrel grilled chicken tenderloins recipes, I’ve found that they all contain a few key ingredients. I decided to do a little experimenting in the kitchen with the suggested combinations of Italian dressing, lime juice, and honey. I’ve finally landed on this recipe that my family really loves.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins

Psst… I don’t actually grill them!

Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenderloins Recipe - If you're a fan of Cracker Barrel's sweet chicken tenders, you're going to love this quick and easy copycat recipe! These chicken tenderloins are juicy and extremely flavorful!

We usually make our knock-off Cracker Barrel chicken tenders in a non-stick skillet, but you could also use this marinade and take them to the grill. In fact, I love to cut the chicken into smaller chunks and put them on a skewer along with some fresh vegetables. It’s a great alternative to burgers and hotdogs when you’re grilling out with friends and family.

These yummy copycat Cracker Barrel grilled chicken tenderloins are sweet, with just a little tang, and the chicken ends up being so juicy and flavorful. You are going to absolutely love this chicken tenders recipe. My kids are pretty picky when it comes to eating meat of any kind, and they even enjoy it when I make this for dinner.

The last time I made these chicken tenders for my family, I served them with my easy roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. My entire family loved the meal, and this chicken tenderloins recipe is one that we eat again and again.

There is just something comforting about family meals at Cracker Barrel. This isn’t a commercial for the restaurant chain, just my own observations. We usually visit Cracker Barrel while we’re on family vacations, so the food is very much wrapped up with those warm memories for me. Plus, who doesn’t love playing that classic peg gameCopycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins while waiting for their meal, or shopping in the Cracker Barrel gift shop afterward?

If you’re a fan of Cracker Barrel’s chicken tenders, you’re going to love this quick and easy copycat recipe. Grab the recipe below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for even more recipe ideas.

Grilled Chicken Tenders Recipe

Copycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins


  • 1 lb chicken tenders or cut chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice


  1. Place chicken tenderloins into a large plastic bag with wet ingredients. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  2. Add chicken and liquid to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced and chicken is golden in color, but not dry. Be sure to turn chicken throughout the cooking process.

    46 Comments on “Copycat Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins”

  1. This ticked all the boxes – easy, delicious and my entire family loved it! The grilled chicken tenderloin sandwich from Cracker Barrel is my absolute favorite and I am so excited to recreate it at home. Great recipe!

  2. Looked at ingredients an said “yup, simple I can do this before game starts!” Used tenderloins an cut into chunks. Eye balled measurements (like all us home Masterchefs)  smile’s an not much convo at the family table. Paired with rice pilaf, waxed beans, and cottage cheese.  Survey said 
    1. Yes again 2. Corn instead of waxed beans 3. Biscuit or cornbread!   Thanks👍🏼👍🏼

  3. Added lemon juice for the lime and some ginger to the recipe. Started at medium high and flipped the tenders every five minutes. The marinade thickened the same time the chicken was done. Paired the chicken with mashed potatoes and whole green beans. Quick and easy dinner. Will definitely make again.

  4. I am going to try grilling chicken first to get some grill marks on it and then put it in the simmering marinade.

  5. Can you try this in the air fryer?

  6. Do you have a calorie and nutrition guide for this?

  7. I really want to make this tonight but only have chicken cutlets on hand (a result of my husband going to the store).  Do you think this would work??

  8. Such a winner!!  My family loved it!!

  9. Good with some tweeks. The sauce did come together at the 30 minute point but chicken tenders were dry. I am wondering if cooking the sauce first for about 15-20 mins and then adding the chicken in the last 10 mins would work.

    • You can probably cook the chicken with the sauce, and remove chicken from skillet once chicken is done to allow the sauce to reduce

  10. Can you cook in crockpot?

    • This doesn’t appear to be a crockpot recipe. The liquid has to evaporate, leaving a lovely sauce. A crockpot won’t allow for that.

  11. Love this recipe my go to for a quick marinade! They are delicious! Thank you for sharing!! 

  12. This was so good! I didn’t have Italian dressing on hand so just used rice vinegar and it worked great. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Can these be made the night before and warmed in crock for an office party?

    • Hey Christina, I would not recommend making this particular recipe ahead of time. The sauce is not going to re-warm properly and really works as a glaze that’s best enjoyed shortly after cooking. Thanks!

  14. We made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! We had it with Brussel sprouts and macaroni ?

  15. I made this tonight for dinner and it was wonderful.  I didn’t have Italian dressing but did have White Balsamic Citrus Basil (dressing from COSTCO) and thought that this was pretty close and it was a wise choice.  We loved the tiny bit more citrus taste too.  it was the best and quickest evening meal.  I marinated the chicken for the hour.  It was easy and quick.  I made a side dish of Yakisobi Noodles (frozen from Costco) and it was the perfect accompaniment to this meal.  Then entire cooking process was about 15 minutes….(we needed a quick meal tonight) and this was perfect.  It took a few minutes for the marinade to cook down, but when it did, it produced this wonderful glaze and I constantly turned the pieces to coat with this delicious brown citrus sauce.  This is definitely a keeper.  Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Made this tonight. My husband and 2 girls LOVED it and it’s so easy to prepare! Will definitely make it again…been a while since my husband openly said how good it was without me asking if he liked it. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I always order these at Cracker Barrel.

  17. This is very quick and easy but far too sweet for our tastes in Australia. I would use 1/4 of the honey next time. Tasty and looks good 

  18. Quick, easy and very tender. I used chicken tenders, cooked on medium and browned on medium high for about 3 mins. Will use leftovers on a salad. So many options.

  19. Amazing!!! Made the chicken tenderloins for dinner and my family couldn’t get enough. Extremely easy and delish!! Thank you. 

  20. Great ideas.

  21. Omg these are SO delicious! Thank you, thank you!

  22. Can you grill with This? Instead of cool top?

  23. Making these right now – hopefully they turn out right! 

  24. Very tasty!

  25. These sound great. I love chicken recipes. Thanks for sharing this. Simon

  26. Made this tonight. Tasted good, however it took about an hour or so to cook. Some pieces were a little dry. I expected a little more glaze to be left, but the chicken just caramelized and the rest burned to the pan. Would definitely make again with some tweaking

  27. I made this tonight .  I had to simmer it for over 2 hours for the sauce to thicken and get brown and it still didn’t look like the photo and the chicken was dry.  What did I do wrong?

  28. Could I do this recipe with drumsticks or any other part of the chicken as well? Just as long as I make them about the same size as tenders, right?

  29. Marinating now. I’ll update later!

  30. I made this for dinner and it was yummy! I didn’t have honey so I substituted orange marmalade. You really have to wait the full thirty minutes to let the magic happen!

  31. Wow! Made these tonight. Absolutely delishious! Didn’t t have lime juice so used fresh lemon juice instead. You do have to be patient, they do take just about 30 minutes for the liquid to reduce and the chicken to carmelize. Oh, but so worth the wait. Served mine with a roasted sweet potatoe and roasted asparagus. Great meal. Thanks!!

  32. I’m trying this recipe tonight; however, since i don’t have the right dressing I’m using chipotle ranch dressing instead. I’m hoping it will work well with the lime juice and honey.

  33. Hi, I would like to try this, but unsure of one of the ingredients?
    Please can you give more deals about the Italian dressing? Is it a shop bought or home made, and f possible a brand name so I can look for a UK alternative?

    • Hello Ann, This message is almost 7 years late, but I am making this recipe for the second time in a couple of weeks because it it so good. I just found it a couple of weeks ago.
      The Italian dressing she refers to in the recipe is salad dressing. Here in Canada I mostly use Kraft brand. It is an oil and vinegar dressing with garlic, red bell peppers and lemon juice. I really do not know what else is in it as I have never made it – I am just delivering the label. I hope you have found it in your grocery aisle by now and have made this recipe because it is so delicious! Mine is simmering on the stove right now and I am drooling. Enjoy! Tammy

  34. Made these delicious chicken tenders tonight after finding the recipe through Pinterest. VERY good! I used 1 1/2 pounds chicken and think there is enough sauce to probably use 2 pounds of chicken. I was very skeptical after 15 minutes of simmering on medium heat because it just looked like pale chicken simmering in way too much liquid. But by 30 minutes the magic was happening and just a few more minutes is all it took to completely carmelize the chicken. What you are left with in the end is not a sauce, though. Its the oil from the Italian dressing. I drained it off my chicken. Will definitely make again. Thank you, Crissy, for posting this!

  35. I was looking for an easy chicken tender recipe that wasn’t breaded, and found this on Pinterest. Made it a few weeks ago and loved it! Definitely a keeper!!

  36. I love chicken and it’s my protien of choice, usually eat it 5-6 x week this sounds so good, but better yet, simple! thanks for sharing

  37. Are you supposed to cover the skillet while cooking?

  38. I love recipes like this, simple yet delicious. Im going to have to make these for my chicken loving family.

  39. I wish I had italian dressing in my kitchen today, because I would definitely try this for dinner. But tomorrow is another day! This is such a simple recipe I can’t help but try it. Thanks!

  40. Great recipe!! Thanks for sharing!!

  41. It looks delicious I think Im going to make this one today I have some chicken tenders already tawed in my fridge . thanks for this recipe yum!

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