Chicken Tenderloin – Everything About Hidden Muscle In Chicken

Chicken is considered to be the healthier version of white meat. It can be consumed by people who are trying to lose weight as it is high in proteins and low in saturated fat. Along with that, it is also high in minerals such as B6, B12, Iron, and zinc.

Packed with omega-6 fatty acids, the chicken meat is divided into a few types of cuts and they are the drumstick, wing, thigh, breast, and tenderloin. The chicken can also be used as a whole bird.

In this article we are specially going to talk about the chicken tenderloin.

What is chicken tenderloin?

What is chicken tenderloin?

Tenderloins also called chicken tender is a part of the chicken situated behind the breasts of the chicken. The Scientific term for it is pectoralis minor. They are only visible when the bone is separated from the breasts. The tenderloins are small in size and very tender and delicate in structure. Also called the Hanging tenders, chicken tenderloin is one and a half inches in size.

The white meat tastes exactly similar to the meat of chicken breasts. Chicken tenders bake at an average of 8 to 12 minutes maximum. Baked chicken tenders in oven take 10 minutes to cook. Some of the healthy chicken tenderloin recipes are butter garlic chicken tender with rice, marinated lemon chicken tenders with chickpeas.

Factors to consider before buying the chicken tenderloin

Appearance(color): Appearance is considered to be one of the most important factors as it is most of the time directly related to the freshness of the meat. The tenderloin meat is supposed to be pale pinkish in color when it is raw in nature.

Texture: Second most important is the texture of the meat. The texture decides the quality of the meat. The pieces must be tender in texture and the buyer should take note of it. Baked chicken tenders in oven are reliable as they keep the texture soft and moist.

Smell: The meat should be odorless. Aside from the meaty natural odor, the meat has there should be no other smell to it.

Safety Standards: In case of the packed meat, the buyer should check for the safety standards certificate.

Precautions to take while using the chicken tenders

The meat or the tenders should always be kept in a plastic bag, as keeping in a plastic bag will not let the juices leak or drip on the other food items. Keeping the meat in a plastic bag will prevent cross-contamination of the food.

In case of the raw meat bought from the butcher, it is advisable to keep the meat on ice if the distance from market to home is large. This method should be followed especially in summers

The ideal temperature of the refrigerator for raw meat is from 38 degrees to 40 degrees F. The raw meat should be kept at the bottom of the refrigerator precisely stored in a bowl. The raw chicken tenders can be stored for two days maximum.

As rinsing the meat does not help, it is advisable to boil the meat thoroughly in order to kill the germs and the bacteria. In case utensils are used for cutting the meat, sanitation is necessary and it is done by adding one teaspoon of bleach in warm water.

If you are going to use the packed pieces of the chicken tenders, it is advisable to check the expiry and the best before date. The cooked chicken can only be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days.

Nutritional facts about the chicken tenderloin

The chicken tenderloins are known to have the highest calories in all the parts of the chicken. Therefore, the chicken tenders should be avoided if you are on a diet.

Let’s get into the nutritional factors of the chicken tenders:

Here we are calculating the nutritional facts for 100gms of chicken tenderloin.

Calories  165
Total Fat3.6g  
Cholesterol85 mg
Sodium74 mg
Potassium256 mg
Total carbohydrate
– Dietary fiber
– Sugar
16 g
1.3 g
0.1 g
Protein31 g
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium1 %
Iron5 %
Vitamin D1 %
Vitamin B-630 %
Cobalamin5 %
Magnesium7 %

How to make Chicken tenderloins at home?

Often compared to the chicken breasts, the chicken tenderloin a lot of times is not available in the market. So, the DIY way of making the chicken tenderloins at home is by taking a skinless, boneless piece of chicken breast and cutting it. The chicken breast pieces should be cut with respect to the length and tentatively should be half inches in thickness. There are a few methods which are used to cook the chicken and they are grilling, baking, air frying, cooking in a pot, etc.

Comparison between chicken breasts and chicken tenderloins

chicken tenderloin vs chicken breast

Size: The chicken breasts are twice larger than the chicken tenderloin in size. This is one of the reasons why the tenderloins are hidden behind the breasts.

Calories: The chicken tenderloins have more calories than the chicken breasts and therefore they are avoided by people who are trying to lose weight.

Shape: Since they are smaller in size than the breasts, they are narrower and slimmer in shape.

Taste: The chicken breasts and tenderloin taste exactly the same and that is why the chicken breasts are often used as a substitute for the chicken tenders.

Difficulty level:  The chicken tenders are very delicate and tender in structure because of their location, they are quite difficult to cook as they get ruined quickly. While the chicken breasts are much easier to cook. The baked chicken breasts retain moisture while the baked chicken tenderloins lose moisture and dry off quickly.

How to separate the chicken tenderloin from the breasts?

In order to remove the tenderloin from the breasts, the chicken breasts should be placed on the cutting board. When the chicken breasts are placed on the board, the butcher can see the tenderloins underside the breasts.

To separate the attached muscle from the breasts the butcher needs to make a cut on the breast and slowly cut the tender muscle off.

What are different ways of cooking the chicken?

The chicken tenders are extremely delicate and can be ruined quickly, so the first step would be to prepare them thoroughly. One of the tastiest ways of cooking the chicken tender is by marinating it. Most chicken tenderloin recipes use this technique

When the meat is marinated, the moisture in the chicken tenders does not dry off. Along with that the flavours of the meat are enhanced because of the spices available in the marinating sauce. The marinated chicken tenderloins in the oven should be cooked for 8 to 12 minutes.

To prepare the marinating oil or sauce mix lemon juice and seasonings or spices together and apply it on the meat. For better application, it is advisable to make some cuts in the chicken tender pieces. The healthy way to prepare the chicken tenderloin is by steaming the chicken first. Steaming is beneficial as it kills the germs and bacteria from the meat and also retains moisture.

The other two ways for cooking the chicken tenders are by poaching and by using parchment paper. In poaching, the chicken tenders are cooked in simmering water which is salted. By this method the addition of unhealthy ingredients can be avoided. By using this method, the chicken is cooked quickly. The instant pot chicken tenderloin recipes use poaching to fasten the cooking process.

Lastly, the parchment paper is used only when the chicken is to be cooked without any oil. This method is mostly used for chicken thighs and chicken tenderloin recipes.

What goes well with the chicken tenderloin?

Since chicken tenderloin can be used in a lot of things like salads and snacks. There are a few things that go extremely well with the chicken tenderloin and they are potatoes, boiled or sautéed veggies, and Normal or garlic bread. If the chicken tenderloin is going to be used for making steak then it goes well with steamed white or brown rice. Sometimes the chicken is also served with coleslaw.  The baked chicken tenderloins sometimes are also served with Mac and cheese. Some healthy chicken tenderloin recipes are grilled chicken tenders, roasted tender chicken with boiled vegetables or rice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between chicken breast and chicken tenderloin?

The difference between the chicken breasts and the tenderloin is that the chicken breasts are full of vitamins and minerals while the chicken tenderloin has a lot of fat. The chicken tenderloin is known to have the highest calorie count in all parts of the chicken while the breasts are fat-free and low in calories. The chicken breast bone is called pectoralis major while the chicken tenderloin’s bone is called pectoralis minor.

There is not much difference in the taste between these two but they are different in shape and structure. The chicken tenderloin is narrow and thin in size while the breasts are a little bit wide and large. The chicken tenderloin is tender and delicate while the breasts are not that delicate. Some of the best chicken breast tenderloin recipes are grilled chicken tenders, grilled chicken with coconut lime slaw.

2. What are the chicken tenderloins used for?

The chicken tenderloins are used for making a lot of healthy dishes like roasted chicken with veggies. Other than that, they are also used for making snacks like fried tender chicken strips, chicken chips which are accompanied by fish, chicken fingers, and chicken patties. Some of the baked chicken tenderloin recipes are the Italian chicken tenders, Pan-fried chicken tenderloins, garlic butter chicken tenders, and breaded chicken tenders.

3. Is chicken tenderloin dark meat?

The chicken tenderloin is not dark meat it is white meat located behind the chicken breasts. White meat is considered to have low fat and calories and is considered healthy if eaten in a balanced quantity.

4. Are chicken tenderloins good for you?

The chicken tenderloin is known to have the highest calories in all parts of the chicken. This part of the chicken is suggested for people who are trying to gain weight as it is full of fats and proteins. The chicken tender is good for you if consumed in balanced quantities.

Chicken tenderloins in the oven are used as diet food as they consume less oil or butter. Also, chicken tenderloin in an air fryer is considered healthy and tasty as they simulate the same taste as the fried chicken without using much oil. Chicken tenders in crockpot are also healthy.

5. Are chicken tenderloins healthier than breast?

The chicken breasts are suitable for people who are trying to lose weight as they are fat-free and low in calories. The chicken breasts have the right quantity of minerals, proteins, and vitamins.

The chicken tenderloin is full of calories and high in sodium so the chicken tenders are advised for people who are trying to put on weight and people who suffer from thyroid and low blood pressure issues. So, they are both healthy and delicious.

6. Are chicken tenderloins more tender than breast?

Yes, because of where the chicken tenderloin is located.

7. Which piece of chicken is healthiest?

The chicken breasts are the healthiest in all parts of the chicken. The reason they are considered to be the healthiest is that they are low in calories and fats and high in proteins. Along with that, they are also stuffed with vitamins and minerals. The chicken breasts are also very popular as they are easily available and can be cooked conveniently.

8. How long should you grill chicken tenderloins?

grill chicken tenderloins

Chicken tenders bake from a time duration of 8 to 12 minutes. Chicken tenderloins in the oven take a maximum of 10 minutes to cook. While chicken tenders in the crockpot take more than 12 minutes to cook.

9. How do you boil chicken tenderloins?

boil chicken tenderloins

As the chicken tender is low in fat it dries out quickly so it is very important to boil it properly. Below are the steps for boiling the chicken tenderloins.

• Take a large pot and add a considerable amount of water to it. The quantity of the water should be dependent on the amount of chicken you want to boil. The flame should be on medium heat.
• The next step is to add seasonings to the water. The seasonings should be salt, pepper, or any other spices.
• Start boiling the water by increasing the flame from medium to high. Let the boneless skinless chicken simmer from 8 to 12 minutes approximately.
• After you think the chicken is boiled sufficiently turn the flame off and let the chicken cool down.
• Take the chicken out gently from the pot and shred a few pieces of it to check whether it is boiled or not.

10. What is fried chicken tender?

Fried tender chicken is made from chicken tenderloins. The chicken is then seasoned, marinated, and deep fried. Fried tender chicken goes well with fries, different types of dips, white or brown rice, and burgers. Famous companies like KFC, burger king produce the best fried chicken tender. The chicken tenderloin in an air fryer is a simulation of the fried tender chicken and a lot of food chain companies have started manufacturing it.

11. How to remove the tenderloins from boneless chicken breasts?

In order to remove the tenderloin from the boneless chicken breasts, flip the breasts so that the breastbones are visible. Then with the help of a knife or a finger make a cut right across the breastbones. The breastbones are attached by a tendon, so in order to get the tenderloin cut the tendon out.

12. Do you need to wash or clean the chicken tenderloins?

According to the experts, washing or cleaning the tenderloins does not remove the bacteria or the germs. Instead, it is advisable to boil the chicken properly to make it edible.

13. What are some of the ways to keep the chicken tenderloin moist?

As the tenderloin is known to dry out quickly, here are a few ways by which you can keep your tender chicken full of moisture.

Using a marinade: The use of marinade has proven to be useful as it adds taste and retains moisture. Typically, the marinade is kept on the chicken for three to four hours but the best results are obtained if the chicken is marinated overnight. The good options for the marinade are buttermilk, egg white, or seasoned yogurt. The marinated chicken tenderloins in the over or the griller will remain moist with the help of this technique.

Pounding: Pounding the chicken is nothing but beating it until it completely flattens out. Pounding the meat is beneficial for grilling, frying, or roasting the chicken. Pounding also helps in retaining the moisture and the taste of the meat. It also makes cooking the chicken easier. The breaded chicken tenders are made with this method.

Foil: Foiling or covering the chicken after it has been cooked has proven to be beneficial as it does not let the moisture dry out. Foiling the chicken will keep it soft and tender. Some of the best chicken breast tenderloin recipes use this method.

Basking: This method is only suitable when the chicken is going to be baked or roasted. Basking is pouring oil or butter on the chicken when it is still cooking. Basking needs to be done every 20 to 30 minutes, this process will keep the moisture and taste of the delicate chicken tenderloin. Baked chicken tenderloin recipes use basking to keep the moisture.

Utensil: Using the correct utensil is also very important. If a wrong utensil is used then the texture of the meat can be ruined. The time duration for cooking also depends on the utensils, for example, it will take a lot of time to cook the white meat in a pot. Some of the best instant pot chicken tenderloin recipes are Mongolian chicken, grilled tender chicken in a pot.

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