Chicken Recipes




Chicken Tenders vs. Chicken Breast: Flavors, Versatily, and Nutrients of the Two

Chicken Tenders vs. Chicken Breast: Flavors, Versatily, and Nutrients of the Two

Are you wondering what the difference between chicken tenders and chicken breast is? When it comes to chicken, there is no denying it. This delicious meat contains excellent nutritional benefits in many ways. For starters, it contains protein that your body relies on. Chicken also is filled with iron, B12, and zinc. So, chicken is the way to go if you are looking for healthy food or meat to substitute for red meat. However, there are many different forms of chicken.

One of the two most popular types of chicken are chicken tenders and chicken breast. They are basically the same thing, right? Actually, they have some fundamental differences that we will cover in this post. One of the main differences between the two is where each one is cut from the chicken. Chicken tenderloin is cut from the underside of the chicken breast and is a long thin muscle that is often cut away from the breast. There are a few more differences that this post will cover below. 

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Chicken Tenders vs. Chicken Breast: What are the Differences?

Chicken breasts are exactly what they sound like. They are the cuts of meat that come from the breast of a chicken. Chicken tenders, on the other hand, are cut from the chicken breast. They are long, thin muscle that runs below the breast. Typically, they are cut off from the breast and sold separately. 

When shopping in a store, you will notice a couple more differences. Chicken tenders are more petite than chicken breasts. The price is also different. Chicken tenders are pricier than chicken breasts. The price difference could be because more chicken breast meat is within a bag than chicken tenders. Both chicken tenders and chicken breasts are tender, juicy, and white. They are excellent sources of vital nutrients and are a great alternative to any meal if you want to make it a bit healthier. 

Another main difference between chicken tenders and chicken breasts is in the preparation method. Chicken tenders typically have a crispy outer layer made by adding a breading, whereas one of the most common ways to prepare chicken breast is by marinating it or adding oil and seasoning. 

classic tortilla wrap with grilled chicken
Chicken is an excellent source of protein, nutrients, and more. The versatility means it's easy to dress chicken up or down and make a pleasing meal that your whole family will enjoy!

©Mateusz Gzik/Shutterstock.com

Cooking Methods

When it comes to cooking methods, there are many ways to cook chicken breasts and chicken tenders. Baking is one of the favorite ways to cook these two different cuts. Another way is pan frying, air frying, or even grilling. Chicken tenders do not take as long to cook as a chicken breast does. Tenders will usually be done baking within 20 minutes, whereas chicken breasts can take anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast. You will want to cook your chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Chicken tenders usually cook in various ways, but the prominent characteristic of this type of chicken lies within the breading. To make breaded chicken tenders, you must dip them in flour, an egg mixture, and then in the breading. Afterward, they can take well to air-frying, pan-frying, or baking from there. 

Chicken Tenders vs. Chicken Breast Nutritional Value

Regarding the nutritional value of these two types of chickens, they contain excellent nutrients and minerals. Chicken tenders are higher in calories and carbohydrates simply because of their coating. However, they are both excellent protein sources, vitamin B12, and more. Take a look below at the comparisons of the two. 

Chicken Tenders vs Chicken Breast nutritional information chart
Chicken Tenders vs Chicken Breast nutritional information chart


What is Chicken Anyway?

Chicken is one of the go-to meats that you will find in many weeknight recipes. It is also at the top of most health recipes. There's no denying this meat is both versatile and healthy. However, what exactly is chicken? Well, a chicken is a bird. It is classified as a bird because it has feathers, not fur or hair. Chickens also have wings! It cannot fly very well though this fact doesn't stop chickens from trying.

Many people will keep chickens for a variety of reasons. While we like to buy chicken cuts from the grocery store, using meat is not the main reason people keep chickens. First, they typically will provide eggs, which also include a variety of nutrients, including protein, vitamin D, and much more. Chickens are also excellent at keeping bugs off of your garden or lawn. This marvelous characteristic makes them excellent pest control. Another fun fact, many people like to enter chickens into show competitions, adding a fun spin on watching these gorgeous birds. Along with all these incredible facts is the knowledge that chicken provides excellent white meat for our dinners. That leads us to the difference between chicken tenders and chicken breasts. 

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What Are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders can be an excellent way to get children to eat chicken. They are small enough for little hands, take well to being dipped, and are versatile! 

Chicken tenders are the cut of meat from the bottom of a chicken breast. Therefore, because they are long and thin, they are perfect for breading and baking with an outer crispy crust, similar to fried chicken, but without all the added oils. While you can bake chicken tenders, others enjoy deep frying them. The breading will get you close to the chicken fried taste, yet with a smaller chicken. 

This type of meat is a white meat. Tenders are very tender and juicy when they are not overcooked. The crispy outer layer creates a delicious crunch that makes children everywhere giddy. 

Fried Breaded chicken tender strips with french fries and tomato ketchup on a plate. Dark backgrund. Top view.
Chicken tenders are typically a kid's favorite because they are crunchy, tasty, and easy to dip into many different sauces, including BBQ sauce and honey mustard!

©Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock.com

 What is Chicken Breast?

Chicken breast is what it sounds like. The meat comes from the breastbone of a chicken. Chickens have one breast bone with two halves. The meat is white, juicy, and very versatile. It has an earthy and mild taste. Sometimes, the taste of chicken can be a bit bland. However, it is versatile, meaning it takes well to marinade for an extended time and is generously seasoned. 

Many people enjoy chicken breast with a side of vegetables or fruit. Others will wrap it in a tortilla or toss it on a salad. Chicken breast takes well to grilling, baking, or even frying. The versatility is impressive! 

Raw chicken breasts and spices on wooden cutting board, close up view
Chicken breasts are very versatile and can be used in various dishes. A few of these meals include chicken wraps, chicken noodle soup, and chicken and dumplings.


Can You Substitute Chicken Tenders for Chicken Breast?

The short answer is yes, chicken breast and chicken tenders are essentially from the same place on a chicken. They taste very similar and, when cooked correctly, are both juicy and tender. Therefore, if you want to substitute one for the other, it is entirely possible. Likewise, if you want to omit the breading that many people enjoy on chicken tenders and use them like you would use chicken breast, it is absolutely possible! 

It is important, though, to pay attention to the cook times and cooking methods of the two. Chicken tenders are smaller than chicken breasts. The small size means they will cook faster. Therefore, keep a close eye on your dish so you can cook your chicken sparingly. Chicken, when it is overcooked, will have a very rubbery and tough taste that can be hard to chew! When watching your chicken, check the internal temperature often; it should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter, and you risk the chicken overcooking. 

What are Substitutes for Chicken Tenders?

If you enjoy the crunch of chicken tenders but want to try something new, you can try a few different substitutes. For example, fried chicken offers the same crunch as chicken tenders, yet more meat is available. You could also try breaded chicken cutlets, fingers, or chicken schnitzel. 

If you prefer to try vegan and omit the meat altogether, there are still some fantastic substitutes. For example, you could try tofu, jackfruit, soy curls, or chickpeas. These alternatives have excellent nutrients, vitamins, and a melt-in-your-mouth flavor, much like chicken tenders. There are even options for breaded tofu that can replace chicken tenders! 

What are Substitutes for Chicken Breast?

One of the reasons people enjoy chicken breast is because of its versatility, price, and health benefits. However, if you are growing tired of eating chicken or simply want to try an alternative, there are a few that you can try today instead of chicken breast. If you enjoy meat yet are looking for the benefits that chicken offers in a different form, there are a few healthy meats out there to try. Sometimes turkey breasts, ground turkey, or lean beef make excellent substitutes. 

If you are looking for a substitute that goes the other direction and eliminates meat altogether, you could try tofu, beans, soy products, or even tempeh. 

There are many options when it comes to substitutes and alternatives for chicken. Feel free to experiment and figure out what exactly you like! Many foods offer the same benefits as chicken and have similar tastes! 

In Conclusion

Infographic comparing chicken tenders and chicken breast.
Both of these chicken cuts are incredibly popular with families.
  • Chicken tenders do actually come from the breast of the chicken, but they are a specific cut from that breast. A chicken tender is cut from a long, thin muscle under the breast.
  • Chicken breast tends to be more affordable than chicken tenders.
  • Many people bread chicken tenders before cooking, giving them a crispy exterior. Chicken breast is often marinated or seasoned, and then prepared on a grill or skillet.
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When it comes to chicken, there's no denying that the health benefits that we garner from eating this meat are high! Chicken is filled with protein, minerals and is also low in calories. In addition, one of the best characteristics of chicken is that fact that it is so versatile. This is why creating various ways to eat this meat has become so easy. Whether you enjoy grilled chicken for its low-calorie content and smokey flavor, fried chicken for the crunch and comfort feeling, or even chicken tenders that make it easy to dip in your favorite sauces, there are plenty of choices for chicken

If you are trying to decide between chicken tenders and chicken breast, it really comes down to personal preference. Chicken tenders and chicken breast usually cook similarly; baked, grilled, pan-fried, or air frying are all options! Chicken tenders are typically breaded. The breading creates a crunch that is equal to fried chicken. However, it is entirely possible to omit the breading altogether. Regardless of which one you enjoy, both types of chicken are delicious, flavorful, tender, and versatile! It is hard to go wrong with either one. 

Chicken Breast Posts

Chicken Tenders Recipes

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Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Yield: Serves 4


Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup broken reduced-fat shredded wheat crackers
½ cup broken honey wheat pretzel rods
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
¼ cup fat-free milk
1½ pounds chicken breast tenderloins
⅓ cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup buffalo sauce
Celery sticks


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Set pan aside.

3. Place crackers in a food processor, cover and process until coarsely ground.

4. Add pretzels to food processor, cover and process until pretzels are coarsely ground.

5. Transfer pretzel mixture to a shallow dish; stir in cayenne pepper.

6. In another shallow dish whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons milk.

7. Dip chicken into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dip chicken into crumb mixture, turning to coat. Arrange chicken in prepared pan.

8. Lightly coat breaded chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink.

9. Meanwhile, for blue cheese dip, in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, blue cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons milk, and the garlic. Serve chicken tenderloins with blue cheese dip, buffalo sauce, and celery sticks.


  • Serving Size: Per serving
  • Calories: 265
  • Sodium: 444mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 31g
  • Cholesterol: 145mg
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