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Instant Pot Chicken Tenders

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Pressure cooked chicken tenders are quick, easy, and super family-friendly. These chicken strips are ready in less than 30 minutes! And, you can use frozen chicken tenderloins – no thawing necessary. Instant Pot chicken tenderloins are perfect as an appetizer or main meal any night of the week.

a platter of chicken with mustard and BBQ dipping sauces

The magic of the pressure cooker and garlic and herb seasoning mix ensure perfectly juicy and tender chicken strips every time!

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tenderloins

Chicken tenderloins – typically called chicken tenders – are strips of deliciously tender meat from under the breast of the chicken. They are also known as chicken strips or chicken fingers.

But, whatever you call them, the Instant Pot is going to make sure they’re cooked perfectly – even from frozen chicken tenderloin.

Adults and kids alike will love to enjoy these homemade chicken tenders with yummy dipping sauces. Serve them for an appetizer or snack, or pair them with your favorite side dishes as a nearly effortless and totally delicious dinner.

NEW TO THE INSTANT POT? Read How to Use the Instant Pot 101 first. And, my Tips & Hacks for the Instant Pot is terrific for new owners and seasoned IP-ers alike!

Instant pot next to chicken tenderloins and spice seasonings

Ingredients Needed to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tenders

There are just a few wholesome ingredients in this super easy recipe. Most of what you need are seasonings, and these can be omitted or swapped as you like.

Here are the ingredients you need to make our tasty Instant Pot chicken strips recipe:

  • Olive oil – or preferred high-heat cooking oil
  • Seasonings – paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, ground black pepper
  • Chicken tenders – fresh or frozen (see notes in recipe)
  • Chicken broth – I recommend low sodium
Sautéed tenderloins inside of pressure cooker

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Strips

Follow these 3 easy steps for cooking chicken tenders in the Instant Pot:

  1. First, add olive oil to the pressure cooker and turn on the sauté function. It will take a few moments to heat up. Meanwhile, lightly brush the chicken tenderloins with oil, and combine the seasonings together in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken strips into the seasonings, pressing gently all around to coat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken tenders to the pot. Sauté for a minute or two on each side until browned. Use tongs to remove the strips from the pot and transfer to a plate. Next, pour the chicken broth into the pressure cooker and add the metal trivet. Place the chicken tenderloins on the trivet, and seal the lid. Cancel the sauté function, and switch to manual pressure cooking function for 5 minutes.
  3. After the Instant Pot cooking is done, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release for 3 minutes before initiating a manual quick release. Serve the chicken tenders warm.

Keep reading for tips and steps for making this Instant Pot chicken tenderloins recipe with frozen chicken!

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

  1. Pressure cook the frozen chicken tenders 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 before initiating a manual quick release.
  2. Using tongs, remove chicken tenderloins to a plate. Press cancel, and using pot holders, drain chicken broth from the pot.
  3. Press sauté function button, add oil to bottom of the Instant Pot and allow to heat. Lightly brush the chicken tenderloins with oil, and 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.
cooked tenders on a platter with dipping sauces next to the pressure cooker

Storing Leftover Chicken Tenders

Put cooked and cooled chicken strips in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

They also freeze very well! Seal in an airtight bag or storage container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook the chicken strips in a pressure cooker without a trivet?

Yes, use an Instant Pot sling or anything that raises the chicken tenders above the broth.

How do I make Instant Pot chicken tenderloins with frozen chicken?

For frozen chicken tenderloins, simply reverse the process for perfectly sautéed chicken. Start the recipe by first pressure cooking the frozen chicken per the recipe below. Then once done, drain the broth from the Instant Pot and sauté the chicken strips in olive oil until browned. See directions in the “notes” section of the recipe.

What sides go well with Instant Pot chicken tenderloins?

This versatile main dish is delicious with just about any side, including fried wontons, loaded potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cilantro rice, Instant Pot rice, and fresh veggies like steamed green beans or broccoli.

Enjoy tender chicken strips with your choice of dipping sauces to compliment the meal. They are yummy with homemade buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, or ranch dressing.

How should leftovers be stored?

Put cooked and cooled chicken in a sealed container. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. They also freeze very well! Seal in an airtight bag or storage container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Platter of cooked tenderloin strips with rice and bowls of dipping sauces and instant pot

Here’s the Full Recipe for Making Chicken Tenders in a Pressure Cooker:

a plate of Instant Pot Chicken Tenders with honey mustard and barbecue dipping sauces
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4.93 from 13 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Tenders

Family-friendly Instant Pot chicken tenders are ready in under 30 minutes with our easy chicken strips recipe. You can even make this delicious appetizer or dinner with frozen chicken tenderloins!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack, Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot chicken tenders, pressure cooker chicken tenders, instant pot chicken strips, instant pot chicken tenderloins, frozen chicken tenders instant pot, how to cook frozen chicken in a pressure cooker
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Time to bring pot to pressure and NPR 10 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 166kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker)
  • trivet or sling

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

For frozen chicken tenderloin:
  1. 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.
  2. Using tongs, remove chicken tenderloins from the pot. Press cancel. Use pot holders to drain the chicken broth from the pot.
  3. 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.
Serve homemade chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauces.
Put cooked and cooled chicken strips in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. They also freeze very well! Seal in an airtight bag or storage container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

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6 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chicken Tenders”

  1. The included photo shows rice on the same plate – is that the cilantro rice others have commented on? It looks yummy!

    Reply
  2. I can’t stop thinking how good this is with cilantro rice. The chicken itself is flavorful and tastes even better with cilantro rice!

    Reply

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