Marinated Baked Chicken Tenderloins: lean, tender, easy to cook and always so tasty. The chicken marinade ingredients are simple with the minimal prep. Serve these with Rice, Mashed Potatoes and a salad on a side to turn this simple recipe into a fancy meal!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Chicken tenderloins need minimal prep before cooking since they have little to no fat to trim off. I like to purchase these at Trader Joe’s. They come in smaller packs and fit nicely into freezer. I make sure I always have different types of chicken in the freezer at all times. No one really has all that extra time to go grocery shopping every day.
Just like all meat before baking or grilling, I like to toss these tenderloins into simple marinade and marinate for few hours or usually overnight before baking. You can also marinate these 2 days in advance before baking, making this easy recipe the perfect meat dish for big parties that need days of prepping.
For this chicken tenders recipe, I like to purchase the actual chicken tenderloins. They are slightly pricier (at least in our area) than other chicken meat, but so worth it. You can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them into similar size to chicken tenderloins. Although, I never do that since the actual tenderloins always turn out more tender and moist. Just the way we like these!
Do I Need to Marinate Chicken Tenderloins?
Yes! I always do and highly recommend it! Meats that had been marinated before baking provide better results. I really dislike when I can smell that chicken aroma in dishes. Marinating the meat will remove the excess chicken smell. It will also make the chicken more flavorful as it absorbs the marinade flavors and the meat will turn out moist and tender.
You can use this exact same recipe and marinate to grill the chicken tenderloins instead of baking. We do it all the time and they turn out just as satisfying. It’s our staple marinade for chicken.
Ingredients for Marinated Baked Chicken Tenderloins:
- Chicken tenderloins – will turn out moist and tender
- Coffee rub – gives color and flavor
- Real Mayonnaise – will make chicken tender
- McCormick Montreal steak seasoning – for flavoring
- Fine salt
One of my favorite coffee rubs is the one from Trader Joe’s. I tried couple other brands, but they are either more salty or just not the same.
Every late spring and during summer, these coffee rub spices appear on the shelves of Trader Joe’s. As soon as autumn kicks in, they no longer sell them until next year. I purchase 6-8 bottles to last until next year and they don’t expire at least for a year. We use it on most chicken meats, whether it’s for baking or grilling.
You can purchase Montreal steak seasoning either in Costco or a smaller bottle at any grocery store. I add a slight amount of salt into the marinade, but remember that the coffee rub, the Montreal seasoning and mayo all contain salt in their ingredients as well.
How to Make Baked Chicken Tenders:
- Make Chicken Marinade: In a medium bowl combine the marinade ingredients: coffee rub, real mayonnaise, Montreal steak seasoning and fine salt.
- Marinate the Chicken: Add chicken tenderloins into the large bowl with marinade, give a nice stir or toss to evenly coat the chicken. Cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate to marinate for 4-6 hours or ideally overnight.
- Bake Chicken Tenderloins: Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Thread chicken tenderloins onto bamboo skewers and transfer onto baking sheet. Bake at 400°F until chicken tenders are golden (about 30 minutes).
How Long to Bake Chicken Tenderloins:
Chicken tenderloins are very easy to bake. However, keep an eye on them since they are so gentle. It is very easy to overcook them and the meat will become dry.
To be sure the chicken is fully baked, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer or about 25-30 minutes, as directed in the recipe.
How to Serve Baked Chicken Tenders?
My kids love these and I make them very often, so they are definitely kid-friendly. I like to thread these onto bamboo skewers making it fun for kids.
They like to enjoy these with a simple rice dish or homemade mashed potatoes – such a delicious combo. Let’s not forget about a salad on a side, like our favorites – Cabbage Carrot Pepper Salad or Cucumber Radish Salad! These chicken tenderloins will turn this simple recipe into a fancy meal.
Explore Our Family Favorites:
- Crepes With Cheese (nalisniki) – thin and delicate dessert, filled with easy-to-make homemade farmer’s cheese
- Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken – fall-apart tender, juicy and slightly sweet
- Sweet BBQ Pork Ribs in Slow Cooker – fall-apart, tender on the inside, crispy on the outside; family favorite of all time
- Ukrainian Oven Roasted Cabbage with Pork – easy, inexpensive, juicy, sweet and sour
- Ukrainian Pork Meatballs (kotlety) with Pasta – freezer friendly; favorite of all time and always in demand
Marinated Baked Chicken Tenderloins
Marinated and Baked Chicken Tenderloins: lean, tender, easy to cook and so tasty. The chicken marinade ingredients are simple with the minimal prep. The longer you marinate these, the better (at least 4 hours or ideally overnight). Serve these with Rice, Mashed Potatoes and a salad on a side to turn this simple recipe into a fancy meal!
- 16-20 chicken tenderloins (2 lbs)
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 1/2 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 teaspoon coffee rub seasoning (I use Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Rinse chicken in cold water and paper towel pat dry. Trim off any excess skin or fat.
In a medium bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients: 1/2 cup real mayonnaise, 1/2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning, 1 tsp coffee rub seasoning and 1/4 tsp fine salt. Stir until well blended.
Transfer chicken into bowl with marinade and toss or give a nice stir to evenly coat the chicken. Cover with plastic food wrap and marinate 4-6 hours or overnight.
Prep: soak bamboo skewers for 15-20 minutes in cold water to keep them from burning in the oven.
Preheat the oven to a 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Thread chicken tenderloins onto wet skewers (1 tenderloin per skewer), then transfer onto prepared baking sheet, placing them 1” apart.
Bake for 30 minutes in the center of the oven or until chicken is cooked through (at least 165°F) and golden. You don’t need to turn these halfway – I don’t do it.
- Chicken tenderloins can be marinated as far as 2 days in advance before cooking.
- This recipe for chicken marinade can also be used to grill chicken tenderloins or thighs.