Chicken Breast Vs Chicken Tenderloin: What’s Different?

There are many distinctions between chicken breast and chicken tenderloin. Still, once you’re not a professional cook or don’t know of the existence of the tender, it would be so easy to mix up between those two parts. 

So, what are the differences between chicken breast vs chicken tenderloin? Let’s take a quick comparison before going into details. 

Related: Here are the most popular meat types you can eat today

Quick Facts

Chicken breasts

  • Size: bigger
  • Price: cheaper
  • Texture: tougher and denser
  • Flavor: less tasty
  • Nutrition: a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals + low in calories and fat

Chicken tenderloin

  • Size: smaller
  • Price: twice as expensive
  • Texture: tender
  • Flavor: juicier
  • Nutrition: a great source of sodium and iron + high in calories and fat

Are They The Same?

Chicken breast is not the same as tenderloin, although they are both located on the chicken’s ribs and have a similar flavor.

The tenderloin is a strip of muscle underside the breast attached to the breastbone. Or in other words, the tender is the part between the breast and the bone. 

The Key Differences 

Size

The tenderloin is far smaller, typically 3 to 4 times smaller. Each chicken comes with two tenderloins that make up a minor percentage of the weight, while the breast comprises a significant part that can feed two people at once.

Price

The tenderloin is more expensive, typically at double the price. This is because the tenderloin has a lower supply, plus it is tastier, as many have reviewed. 

Texture

The tenderloin is softer. As it is hidden under a thick layer of meat, it doesn’t move much compared to the breast, thus having a tender texture and taking less time to cook. Meanwhile, the breast is tougher and denser, quickly gets dry out after boiling. 

Flavor

The tenderloin is considered tender and juicy, while the breast is rated as dry and bland. Still, a big bonus is that the latter can quickly absorb the flavor of seasonings or other ingredients to reduce its initial tasteless nature during cooking.

Nutrition

Both come with high protein levels, but the breast provides more nutrition than the tenderloin. 

It offers a significant source of vitamins like B6, D, cobalamin, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Meanwhile, the tender provides a higher amount of sodium and iron.

Also, it comes with far fewer calories and fat compared to the same amount of the tender. Take 100 grams of each; the breast provides about 135 calories and 3.6 grams of fat, while the metrics are 263 and 17 to the tenderloin.

How Many Tenders Equal A Breast?

It depends on the size. But typically, you would need 3 to 4 medium tenders in this case.

How Do You Cook Chicken Tenderloins?

The best ways to cook chicken tenderloin on its own are boiling, steaming, and grilling in parchment paper. Here are some tips and notes.

  • Quick-marinating: you can stir some olive oil, lime juice, and proper seasonings and marinate it quickly.
  • Quick-cooking: As the tender can get mushy quickly, use a smaller amount of time than cooking the breast.
  • Reduce seasoning: The tenderloin is high in calorie and sodium content, so avoid packaging sauce containing too much seasoning.

Also, the tender goes well with other ingredients in various recipes. You can use it in almost all recipes that call for chicken breast and thigh.

How To Cook Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is considered an excellent component for many healthy diets, provides a great source of protein, and mainly helps in weight loss. The best ways to cook chicken breast are grilling and baking. 

Besides, you can combine the breast with good ingredients to make your diet less boring. Here are some recommendations.

  • Salad recipes from grilled chicken breast and fresh veggies.
  • Stir-fried recipes from fresh chicken breast and veggies.   

Can They Substitute Each Other?

You can use both interchangeably in almost all recipes. Still, since they are different in some aspects, there are some notes as below.

  • The tender requires less time to marinate and cook. Notices that over-marinating and cooking can turn it mushy and falling apart. 
  • Using the tender is costly, generally at a double price.
  • As the breast has a rougher texture, it will be better for recipes that call for shredded chicken, such as “chicken strips.”

Are Chicken Tenderloins More Tender?

Chicken tenderloin is smoother for sure. This is because it is a minor muscle located behind the large breast and is rarely trained during the chicken’s life. 

Meanwhile, the breast muscle is used frequently, thus becomes firm and dense. People tend to have it due to its high nutrition content but not the flavor and texture. 

What Is The White Thing In Chicken Tenders?

The white thing in the chicken tenders is a tendon, which can be eaten but be more pleasant if removed. You can easily trim it off with a knife or kitchen shears. 

Still, discarding the entire tendon can make the tender fall apart during cooking. Ideally, you should trim off the big, rough pieces and retain the delicate ones. 

How Do You Remove Tenderloin From Boneless Chicken Breast?

The tenders are often missed when people cut up a chicken with a small size and hidden location. However, they are pretty easy to remove. Here are the steps.

  • Identify the tenderloin: The tender is a narrow strip of meat running right underneath the breast bone. Also, there is a space between the tender and the breast as they don’t attach entirely. 
  • Place the breast on a cutting board and use a knife to cut alongside the bone. Then you can take the tenderloin out easily.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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