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What are Chicken Tenderloins Recipe

How to cook chicken tenderloins and what are they? Here is a recipe in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, Oven Baked Chicken Tenders No Breading or on stove in a skillet. Best tender meat with a sauce or a crispy breading.

What are Chicken Tenderloins

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 to cook frozen chicken tenderloins

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.

What is a better alternative to chicken breasts?

Tenderloins are the tenderest part of the bird, and much smaller so they take less time to cook. You can bread them for a crispy snack you can pick up or slow cook with sauce for a healthy meal with no breading at all.

Do chicken breast tenderloins contain tendons?

While chicken breast tenderloins are generally free of large tendons, they may still contain small connective tissues or gristle along the edges. These are thin, fibrous strands that are usually not as noticeable or tough as larger ones found in other parts of poultry but should be cut off.

How Long to Cook Chicken Tenderloins

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. Overall How Long to Boil Chicken Tenders is much faster but if you want to set it and forget it this is a great option.

What is Chicken Tenderloin

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.
Chicken Tenderloin Nutrition

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What are Chicken Tenderloins
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5 from 4 votes

How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins

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.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue, bbq, chicken tenderloins, chicken tenders, crockpot, slow cooker
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 222kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Slow cooker chicken tenderloins – 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.
  • Instant Pot chicken tenderloins – Separate tenders if frozen. Pour 1 cup broth into pot and lower down a trivet. Put tenders on trivet or in vegetable steamer basket and seal lid and steam valve. Set to steam function for 7 minutes and natural release pressure at the end. Remove, plate and pour bbq sauce over the top to coat.
  • Or if you want to bake them follow our Oven Baked Chicken Tenders No Breading


Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 222 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 688mg30%
Potassium 549mg16%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 228IU5%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
how to cook chicken tenderloins
5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating

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Monday 29th of April 2024

Tried the instant pot version of cooked tenderloins and they were perfect!

Sara Welch

Monday 29th of April 2024

These were some great tips for a quick and easy dinner! Turned out tender, juicy and delicious; my whole family loved them!


Monday 29th of April 2024

I tried making your slow cooker chicken tenders recipe and it was perfect! My kids loved them!


Monday 29th of April 2024

Thanks for the tips! I always like to remove the cartilage from chicken tenders using a fork before cooking.


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

The printed recipe doesn't include IP directions, only crockpot directions.

The Typical Mom

Thursday 18th of January 2024

There's a link in the post with those specifics but will add

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