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Cracker Barrel Sweet and Smoky Glazed Chicken Tenders Recipe

Looking for a delicious homemade take on Cracker Barrel’s Sweet and Smoky Glazed Tenders? You’ve come to the right place!

Marinating the chicken in a blend of honey, Italian dressing, and lime juice adds a fantastic burst of flavor.

The glaze’s sweet and smoky taste is the perfect balance that will make every bite irresistible!

One helpful tip: Make sure the chicken has marinated for at least an hour; it makes all the difference in tenderness.

I love this recipe because it’s versatile – you can easily cook these tenders on the grill or in a skillet.

How to Make Cracker Barrel Sweet and Smoky Glazed Tenders

cracker barrel sweet and smoky glazed tenders

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken Tenders
  • 1/2 cup Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1:

Mix the Italian dressing, lime juice, honey, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper in a bowl.

Mix until everything is well combined.

Step 2:

Place the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag.

Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Seal the bag and ensure the marinade coats all the chicken pieces.

Step 3:

Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

You can leave it overnight for more intense flavors.

Step 4:

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Spray the skillet with cooking spray.

Step 5:

Remove the chicken from the marinade.

Let any excess marinade drip off before placing the tenders in the skillet.

Step 6:

Cook the tenders in the skillet, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides.

Ensure the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Step 7:

Serve hot with sides of your choice.

These glazed tenders go perfectly with vegetables or a fresh salad.

Tips and Tricks for Making This Recipe

Marinate Longer for More Flavor

The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will be.

I recommend at least one hour, but overnight works best.

Use a Grill for Extra Smokiness

If you have a grill, use it instead of a skillet.

It adds an extra smoky flavor to the tenders.

Adjust Spice Levels

If you enjoy spicier food, add a bit more black pepper or even a pinch of red pepper flakes to the marinade.

This can give the dish an extra kick.

Don’t Overcrowd the Skillet

Cook the tenders in batches if necessary.

This ensures they brown properly and cook evenly.

Alternative Sweeteners

Try maple syrup instead of honey for a different flavor twist.

It pairs wonderfully with the smoky notes.

Happy cooking!

What to Serve with Cracker Barrel Sweet and Smoky Glazed Tenders

sweet and smoky glazed tenders sides

Mashed Potatoes

A classic pairing that never fails to bring comfort and satisfaction to your meal.

Smooth and creamy mashed potatoes perfectly complement the sweet and smoky flavors of the chicken tenders.

Coleslaw

You might enjoy the fresh and tangy crunch of coleslaw alongside your tenders.

It helps balance the richness of the glaze while adding a different texture to your plate.

Quinoa Salad

For a lighter and healthier side, try serving a quinoa salad with your meal.

Packed with fresh vegetables and a zesty lemon vinaigrette, this salad is a refreshing contrast to the tenders.

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus brings a slightly smoky flavor that enhances the overall dish.

Plus, it’s easy to cook and adds a touch of elegance to your meal.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries offer a fun and tasty twist as a side dish.

They complement the maple glaze beautifully and add a bit of crunch to the tender meal experience.

Variations and Substitutions

You can swap out the lime juice for fresh lemon juice if you fancy a different citrus kick.

Try using honey mustard instead of honey for a sweet-tangy twist.

Different Protein Options

You can substitute chicken tenders with turkey strips for a leaner option.

For a vegetarian spin, marinate and grill tofu slices using the same marinade ingredients!

Alternative Sweeteners

Agave syrup works well when replacing honey.

If you prefer a more neutral option, use a bit of maple syrup.

Enhancing the Marinade

Add a pinch of smoked paprika to get an extra smoky flavor.

Garlic powder or minced garlic always adds a delicious, savory layer.

Feel free to experiment and find your favorite combination!

Enjoy your cooking!

How to Store Leftover Cracker Barrel Sweet and Smoky Glazed Tenders

Refrigeration

Place the leftover tenders in an airtight container.

Store them in the refrigerator.

These should be safe to eat for up to four days.

Freezing

If you want to keep them longer, freeze the tenders.

Wrap them individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Place them in a resealable freezer bag or container.

Frozen tenders can last up to three months.

Labeling

Always label your containers or bags with the date.

This helps you keep track of freshness.

Using a marker, write the date on the container or bag.

Enjoy your leftovers without worries!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Rushing the Marination Process

One common mistake is not letting the chicken marinate long enough.

Make sure to let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 1 to 3 hours.

This will help the flavors to fully permeate the meat, resulting in juicier tenders.

Overcrowding the Pan

Don’t crowd the pan when cooking the chicken tenders.

Overcrowding causes them to steam rather than brown nicely.

Cook in batches if necessary to ensure each piece gets that delicious golden finish.

Getting the Temperature Wrong

Make sure your internal temperature is spot on.

Using a meat thermometer, check that the tenders reach 165°F to ensure they’re cooked through.

Undercooking can be unsafe, and overcooking will make them dry.

cracker barrel sweet and smoky glazed tenders

Cracker Barrel Sweet and Smoky Glazed Tenders Recipe

Marinating the chicken in a blend of honey, Italian dressing, and lime juice adds a fantastic burst of flavor.
The glaze's sweet and smoky taste is the perfect balance that will make every bite irresistible!
One helpful tip: Make sure the chicken has marinated for at least an hour; it makes all the difference in tenderness.
I love this recipe because it's versatile – you can easily cook these tenders on the grill or in a skillet.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner
Servings 4
Ingredients
  
  • 1 lb Chicken Tenders
  • 1/2 cup Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Instructions
 
  • Mix the Italian dressing, lime juice, honey, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper in a bowl.
  • Mix until everything is well combined.
  • Place the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken.
  • Seal the bag and ensure the marinade coats all the chicken pieces.
  • Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • You can leave it overnight for more intense flavors.
  • Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Spray the skillet with cooking spray.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade.
  • Let any excess marinade drip off before placing the tenders in the skillet.
  • Cook the tenders in the skillet, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides.
  • Ensure the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Serve hot with sides of your choice.
  • These glazed tenders go perfectly with vegetables or a fresh salad.

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Passionate chef, in love with everything related to food and cooking it to perfection!
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