This easy blackened chicken tenderloin recipe is packed with flavor, obviously great for your macros, and so quick and easy to make on even the busiest of nights.
You guys know of my deep and abiding love for chicken tenderloins. They’re so easy, quick, and juicy. Like the name suggests, they are tender every single time you make them. Never bouncy like breasts can be, where you’re not sure if you overcooked or undercooked. Yikes. Just trust me.
These blackened chicken tenderloins don’t even need to be marinated. This is the kind of recipe you can throw together on even the busiest of nights. It takes minutes to make, but is packed with flavor and ready to go into all of your meals.
Blackened Chicken Dry Rub
The magic of this recipe comes from the dry rub. This rub is easy to throw together, and it packs a flavor punch! Huge flavor that doesn’t really affect your macros? I’m always in. You could even double the rub recipe and store the unused leftover dry rub in an airtight container to have on hand for the future.
Here’s what you’ll need for the dry rub:
- Chili powder
- Brown sugar
- Onion salt
- Ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
Mix all of these ingredients in a small bowl, and your rub is ready to go.
How to Make Blackened Chicken
You can make this chicken a few different ways, either on the grill (my preference!), or an indoor grill pan, or just a large cast iron (or other pan that gets nice and hot!) on the stove top. I love the grill, especially in the summer when it feels too hot to turn on the stove in the kitchen. But a nice hot pan will do the job!
I know you hate the gross tendon. We all hate the gross tendon. But it’s really not so bad! Just use a sharp knife to trip out the obvious part, no need to go all the way through the tender. It takes a minutes! And yes there’s a cook trick going around using a paper towel and a fork… if that works for you, go for it! I prefer a knife. I’m old school. Ha.
Spray your pan or your grill with a light mist of olive oil and then let it get nice and hot. While your pan or grill is heating, liberally sprinkle one side of your chicken tenderloins with the dry rub. Don’t skimp on the rub. If you’re following the recipe, you should use it all up!
When your pan or grill is hot, place the chicken tenderloins seasoned side down into the pan or on the grill. Then, generously sprinkle the other side of the chicken with the remaining rub. Let your chicken cook on the first side for about 2 minutes. Then, flip the chicken and let it cook for about another minute on the other side.
The spices are going to darken in color. That’s where the name blackened chicken comes from– and that’s a good thing! Color equals flavor. When the blackened chicken tenderloins are done, turn off the heat and place them on a plate tented with foil to rest. Let them rest for about 5 minutes before thoroughly enjoying.
Here are a few easy macro-friendly side dishes that would be delicious with this blackened chicken.
- Sautéed Summer Herb Salad
- Spring Asparagus and Grain Salad
- Sweet Summer Corn and Cucumber Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salsa
More Chicken Recipes
Here are a few more quick and simple chicken recipes you might enjoy:
- Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken
- Air Fryer Cilantro Lime Chicken Tenders
- Lemon Basil Honey Grilled Chicken
If you make this blackened chicken, be sure to tag me on Instagram @lillieeatsandtells! I love drooling over your food pictures!
Easy Blackened Chicken Tenderloins
Disclaimer: the grams I’ve listed manually after each ingredient are accurate for a single recipe, but they will not multiply if you choose the 2x or 3x option. Please make sure and multiply on your own!
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenderloins
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Trim tenderloins of any weird stuff and pat dry. Combine all spices in a small bowl.
- Heat a large cast iron pan (or grill) over high heat. Spray with a mist of olive oil and let it get nice and hot. Sprinkle the rub liberally over the tops of the tenderloins and place in a single layer in the hot pan, seasoned side down. Let them sit, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Sprinkle remaining seasoning over the unseasoned side. It should be a liberal coating of spices!
- Flip chicken and cook for just one minute or until done. Turn off the heat and remove chicken and place on a plate tented with foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy!