What are chicken tenderloins and how to cook them in a slow cooker, Instant Pot or on stove in a skillet. Best tender meat with a sauce.
I will share how to cook chicken tenderloins a few different ways here. In a Crockpot is excellent with very little prep time. A pressure cooker is fast and even if they are frozen to begin with it is no problem at all. Let me explain all the things. (affiliate links present)
Chicken Tenderloins in Crockpot
In the recipe card below we will explain this method. I will say that if you love your slow cooker this is a great one to try out. You can use your favorite sauce like teriyaki or barbecue sauce and that is literally it. The pot will do all the work for you to get it melt in your mouth fork tender.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenderloins
Now what if you’re forgetful, is dinner ruined? Nope! You can use them with basically the same cook time with the instructions below. I have another version to get the outside crispy with this air fryer frozen chicken tenderloins here.
If you want them as moist as possible, give our Instant Pot frozen chicken tenders a whirl instead.
How Long to Cook Chicken Tenderloins
That is going to depend on your method of choice. Honestly there isn’t a lot of difference between frozen and fresh or thawed out to begin with. Surprising but true. I mean it is always suggested that you defrost chicken first because then it will soak up the sauce more and it will be more moist overall when done.
Under high pressure plain or teriyaki chicken like this will take about 7 minutes. Air fried is 12-15 depending their size. The longest, but will get the most tender is below.
- Low and slow with meat is just the best, but will take 4-5 hours from start to finish. Great if you are home and can sit them in right after lunchtime for dinner.
Chicken Tenderloin vs. Breast
The tenderloin is right near the larger breast but is a piece all unto itself. The most tender but smallest piece of white meat on the bird means you would need a few of these for your meal. They will be more expensive because there are only 2 on each and quite small. Because of their size they are quicker to cook and best for our air fryer cheese It chicken tenders.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tenderloins
If you were to cook Crockpot frozen chicken breasts in one pot and these in another it would take about half the time. You could do a “cheater way” by slicing your larger boneless skinless pieces into strips on a cutting board around the same size to cut down the time too. They aren’t technically tenderloins but as close as you’d get.
- For this one we used 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
- 1.5 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes are optional for some heat
Chicken Tenderloins Recipe
This is better than baking chicken on a baking sheet just because it steams to the perfect texture. Since they are small you could use to make something like Instant Pot chicken marsala or saute with your favorite sauce. Low and slow you would;
- Spray inside of slow cooker with non stick olive oil spray, or rub with melted butter.
- Lay pieces of meat inside, spread out.
- Pour sauce over the top, brush so they are all coated.
- (you can top with diced chives, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and/or red pepper flakes if you like)
- Close lid and cook chicken meat on low heat for 4-5 hours until meat is tender and reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 F.
They are healthier than traditional breaded chicken strips for sure and take like 5 minutes of meal prepping, that is it.
Chicken Tenderloin Nutrition
There is a nutrition card included below but that will vary. Depending on the fat content on your sliced chicken breast or tenderloin pieces and the type of sauce you use too you should refer to those packages. For the most part though this will be very high in protein, low fat with a ton of flavor.
If your kids just love frozen chicken fingers but you don’t like all the preservatives in them this is something I bet they will love. You can change it up with a bottle of sticky sweet teriyaki sauce sometime. Served with a side salad it is a fun keto choice.
Have two pots?? Make some slow cooker white rice to serve with it too, that is our favorite chicken recipe duo of the week. If you do have leftovers they save quite well.
- Save the sauce so once they cook you can move into a freezer bag with several tbsp of sauce on top. Seal and refrigerate for a few days. Reheat in microwave for 1 minute to enjoy again.
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How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins
- 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
- 1.5 c bbq sauce
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional for heat
- Spray inside of slow cooker with non stick spray and lay chicken inside, spread out. Pour sauce over the top, brush so they are all coated. (you can top with diced chives and/or red pepper flakes if you like)
- Close lid and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours until meat is tender but not overcooked.