Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders

Published January 25, 2016. Updated May 14, 2019

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These Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders are incredibly easy to make and come together in 30 minutes! These chicken tenders can be served with your choice of rice, noodles, salad, steamed veggies and more! 

Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders garnished with parsley

Easy Citrus Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders with bright citrus flavors! Who doesn’t love a quick and easy skillet chicken recipe? Skillet chicken has become a go-to dinner option for me because we eat a lot of lean chicken around here and it’s one of the quickest ways to cook it.

No waiting for a grill or oven to preheat, no long cooking times, just a delicious, flavorful chicken dinner that’s ready in no time!

This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, the only thing I did differently from what they did is swap out the vegetable oil for olive oil since it’s a healthier alternative (you could also cut the butter back to 1 Tbsp at the end and it would still be delicious).

You could easily make this gluten-free by using 1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch instead of the 1 Tbsp flour, but rather than making a roux with the flour simply mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the broth before adding.

Make good use of all those navel oranges that are in season and try this soon. This is a chicken tenderloin recipe you don’t want to miss out on!

You’ll love these vibrant citrus flavors paired with that buttery, garlicky sauce and you’ll love that it’s simple yet utterly delicious!

Citrus Chicken Ingredients

For this easy chicken tenderloin recipe, you’ll need:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken broth
  • Orange zest and juice
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Fresh parsley

Citrus Chicken Tenders in skillet with lemon and orange slices

How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins

  • Heat oil in skillet, then season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Cook chicken in skillet for 2 to 3 minutes per side over medium-high heat.
  • Remove cooked chicken from skillet and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Melt butter in skillet, then sauté garlic. Slowly pour in broth, orange juice and lemon juice.
  • Let mixture reduce slightly, then stir in orange and lemon zest. Return chicken to skillet and toss to coat in sauce.

What Should I Serve With This?

I think this citrus chicken would pair nicely with couscous, orzo or rice. The citrus flavors also go well with steamed broccoli and asparagus!

How Do I Know When Chicken Tenderloins Are Done?

Chicken tenderloins cook quite quickly, and you don’t want to over cook them or else they’ll become tough and rubbery. You’ll know when the chicken tenderloins are finished cooking once they’re no longer pink in the center.

Tips for the Best Citrus Chicken

  • If you don’t have chicken tenderloins on hand, you can slice chicken breasts up instead.
  • Make sure to wash the lemon and orange under warm water before zesting them.
  • I prefer using low-sodium chicken broth in this recipe so that I can control how much salt goes into this dish.

close up of Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders 

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4.75 from 4 votes

Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders

These quick pan seared chicken tenders are a breeze to make and deliciously tasty! This bright citrusy sauce is bursting with so fresh flavor! Use chicken tenders or slice chicken breasts into strips to make your own.
Servings: 5
Prep15 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes



  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Season both sides of chicken tenders with salt and pepper and add half of them to skillet and cook about 2 - 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and golden brown. 
  • Transfer chicken to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and repeat process with remaining half of the chicken tenders. Remove remaining chicken from skillet and transfer to plate also.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter in now empty skillet then add garlic and saute 15 seconds then add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
  • Slowly pour in chicken broth, orange juice and lemon juice while scrapping up browned bits from bottom of pan and stirring constantly. 
  • Allow mixture to simmer, stirring frequently about 3 minutes, or until reduced and thickened slightly. Stir remaining 2 Tbsp butter, in orange zest and lemon zest. 
  • Return chicken to skillet, toss with sauce and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.


  • If you don't have chicken tenderloins on hand, you can slice chicken breasts up instead. 
  • Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated.
Nutrition Facts
Skillet Citrus Chicken Tenders
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 119mg40%
Sodium 260mg11%
Potassium 670mg19%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 415IU8%
Vitamin C 16.7mg20%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.