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Chicken tenderloin recipes are quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. This recipe roundup of over 20+ recipes for chicken tenders is kid-approved and ready in under 30 minutes. The perfect chicken recipe is waiting for you, from keto-friendly chicken strips to oven-fried chicken tenders!
You can’t beat recipes with chicken tenders for quick and easy dinners. They’re perfect weeknight dinner recipes with a short cooking time – usually about 10 minutes of prep time and just 20 minutes of cooking time.
Whether oven-baked chicken, seasoned air fryer chicken fingers, or fried chicken strips, they’re all equally delicious.
What are Chicken Tenderloins?
Chicken tenderloins are juicy and delicious strips of chicken that come from the chicken breast. Because of their size, chicken tenders cook quickly. You might see them breaded and baked or fried.
But, you’ll find many recipes here without any breading that are low carb and keto-friendly. In fact, there are lots of variations for cooking chicken tenderloins in the easy chicken recipes shared below.
Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast
What is the difference between a tenderloin and the breast? If you’re not familiar with chicken anatomy, you may not know where to find the tenderloin.
Tenderloins are part of the overall breast. They’re long and thin and connected by a thin line of tissue to the breast. They come by their name, honestly. They really are juicy and tender white meat.
Each bird has two tenderloins because they have two breasts. Tenderloins are sold separately at the store. However, you can use the entire breast for any of these chicken tender recipes.
How to Make Chicken Tenders from Breasts
It’s easy to make chicken tenderloin recipes from breasts. There’s no need to buy them separately.
- Just take the whole breast and find the piece that hangs off the side and pull it from the breast. Now you have a tenderloin!
- Next, slice the rest of the breast from top to bottom with a sharp knife into 2-inch strips. If the breasts are very large, slice them in half by placing your hand flat against the top of the chicken and carefully slicing horizontally through the chicken.
This will allow you to make tasty chicken strips from the entire breast with no waste, and that’s always a plus!
What to Do with Chicken Tenderloins
These recipes for chicken tenders cover a wide and delicious range of how you can cook them.
Since chicken tenderloin or strips are thin, it’s easy to use frozen chicken tenders in many recipes without thawing them. Especially when pressure cooking, like with Instant Pot Chicken Tenderloins. They go straight into the pressure cooker without defrosting, then are pan-seared for that crispy golden exterior.
Use raw chicken tenderloins straight from the package to make air fry chicken tenders, cook chicken tenders in the Instant Pot, or make oven-baked chicken tenders in a preheated oven.
Meals to make with Chicken Tenderloins
As you can imagine, chicken tenders are very versatile. They cook quickly and are also easily substituted for boneless chicken breasts or even thighs in most recipes. Simply shorten the cooking time to 3-5 minutes for the tenderloins.
Since chicken tenders cook so quickly, use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. When the center of boneless chicken is 165º Fahrenheit, it’s fully cooked.
Did you know you can get a reliable digital instant-read thermometer for under $15? This is our favorite budget-friendly digital thermometer from Amazon (we use it when grilling).
Get over 20 simple chicken tenderloin recipes for easy meals below. Great recipes such as Keto Chicken Tenders, Blackened Chicken Tenders, Mushroom Chicken, Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken, Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken, and Pickle Fried Chicken Tenders.
What’s good with chicken tenders
There is such a wide variety of dishes below that many great sides and dips can pair well with them.
For the skillet recipes in a sauce, some great sides may be white or brown rice, a pasta salad, grilled or roasted vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts.
For the crispy chicken tenders, some great dips are in order. Some ideas are bbq, ketchup, ranch, tzatziki, gravy, cheese sauce, or sriracha mayo.
Frequently asked Questions
Yes, recipes using chicken tenders are the same as chicken strips. Actual chicken tenderloins come from the chicken breasts, which chicken strips or chicken tenders might be from slices of chicken breasts. The names come from the same meaning of long thin chicken pieces.
This piece of the chicken is connected to the breast, and when it’s cooked, it becomes very tender. Overcooking can make them touch, so check the temperature of chicken tenderloin frequently. It’s ready when the center of the chicken is 165º Fahrenheit.
20+ Easy Chicken Tenders Recipes
more chicken tender recipes…
Try this Easy IP Chicken Recipe That’s Keto Friendly and Gluten Free:
Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
- Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker)
- trivet or sling
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins (fresh or frozen) *for frozen, see notes below*
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Add 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pressure cooker. Press the sauté function button. While the pressure cooker is coming to pressure (this takes a few minutes) lightly brush the chicken tenderloins with 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Combine the seasonings together in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken strips into the seasonings, pressing gently all around to coat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken tenders to the pot. Sauté chicken strips for 1-2 minutes on each side, until light golden in color. Use tongs to remove the strips from the pot and transfer them to a plate.
- Add chicken broth to the pot, and add the metal trivet to the pot leaving the handles up. Place the chicken strips on the trivet. Press cancel and manually set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once pressure cooking is done, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for 3 minutes. Then manually perform a quick release of the pressure. Serve the chicken tenders warm with your favorite dipping sauces like ranch, BBQ, or honey mustard.
- Pressure cook the chicken first. Pour the chicken broth into the pressure cooker and add the metal trivet. Place the chicken tenderloins on the trivet, and seal the lid. Select manual high pressure cooking setting for 5 minutes. After the Instant Pot cooking is done, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release for 3 minutes. Then, initiate a quick release.
- Using tongs, remove chicken tenderloins from the pot. Press cancel. Use pot holders to drain the chicken broth from the pot.
- Press the sauté function button. Then add oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot and allow to heat. Lightly brush the chicken tenderloins with oil. Combine the seasonings together in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken strips into the seasonings, pressing gently all around to coat. Sauté chicken for 1-2 minutes per side until golden in color. Serve homemade chicken tenders warm, with your favorite dipping sauces.