What Is Chicken Tenderloin? (Chicken Breast VS Tenderloin)

Everyone loves chicken. Not only is it delicious and easy to prepare, but its versatility is pretty incredible. Chicken can be used in a variety of different ways: as a base for soup or casseroles, grilled with fresh herbs, served at your next party as an appetizer, and even as leftovers for breakfast.

So what makes one cut of chicken so special that it has such a wide appeal? And why should you prefer the more expensive tenderloins over other cuts of chicken? Read on to learn all about this popular meat.

What Is Chicken Tenderloin?

What is the Difference Between Chicken Breast and Tenderloin?

Chicken breast is often referred to as simply “chicken”, and tenderloins are called “tenders.” These terms apply to any part of the chicken that contains mostly white meat, which includes the breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks and whole legs.

The main difference between these types of chicken comes down to size, so if you’re looking for the best deal, try not to get them confused. The price will range based on how much meat falls under that definition.

For example, a large leg of chicken is usually $6-$8 per pound, while a 6-ounce piece of breast meat costs around $4. To make things easier, always check on the prices online when shopping.

You’ll see that even though a small portion of each cut may cost less than $3, they still weigh significantly more than their breast counterparts. The breast of the chicken is actually quite thick, weighing 5 ounces compared to the 3 ounce breast of the turkey.

All that additional weight adds up to a higher price tag.

Is It Worth Paying More For Tenderloin?

This is an important question because tenders have become very popular lately. Most people love the idea of having something special to go along with their steak dinner — however, choosing between tender and regular breasts can sometimes prove difficult.

They both contain the same number of calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates, yet certain portions of a tenderloin can be priced anywhere from 2 times to 7 times more than the equivalent of a standard chicken breast. This extra money goes towards paying for the larger size.

However, it’s significant to note that the price difference between the two cuts isn’t likely to be significant enough to drive most people away from buying tenderloins.

Chicken breast, on the other hand, is more expensive than some other chicken portions, such as thigh and drumstick. A 4 oz chicken breast will run you $3.50, while a 12 oz chicken breast can cost up to $5.50/lb.

Tenders might seem like an excellent gift option, but there’s just no way to justify spending as much as a full half of your paycheck on a single serving. If you do choose to give a tenderloin as a token of your appreciation, make sure that you purchase an equally sized piece of chicken breast too!

When Should I Buy Tenderloin? Do I Need One When Buying a Whole Bird?

In regard to purchasing a whole bird, the answer here is yes. There is simply no substitute for the flavor that comes from eating it from the bone, and since tenders aren’t available by themselves in most grocery stores, purchasing them individually doesn’t make much sense to begin with.

But don’t worry — once you’ve cooked one, you won’t regret going all out with your next order.

The only downside to this method is your time — cooking an entire chicken takes about the same amount of time as preparing 1 or 2 tenderloins. So unless you want to enjoy a different meal entirely, you’ll need to plan ahead! This isn’t to say it’s difficult, but it is simply time-consuming.

This might mean that it isn’t suitable for people with busy lives who would prefer something quick and easy to eat on the go.

Their Uses

Both chicken breast and tenderloin can be used for a couple of different things. Which one you buy will depend on your preferences and lifestyle, but it is definitely worth trying both of them at some point.

We will take a look at what these two items can be used for with regard to cooking.

What Can Chicken Breast Be Used For in Cooking?

The chicken breast can be used to make meals such as salads, sandwiches and soups; they are good at absorbing flavors. They can also be grilled, poached or braised. You may find that they are best when baked. In fact, many people use them to replace meatballs in lasagna and casseroles.

Additionally, chicken breast is great for frying. It has a high oil content, which makes it perfect for deep-frying. It can even be breaded and fried like fish sticks.

What Can Tenderloins Be Used For in Cooking?

What Can Tenderloins Be Used For in Cooking?

On the other hand, the tenderloin is a less often used cut, making it a little harder to prepare. It can be used for anything that the other part of the chicken can be used for.

From stir-fries to curries, nothing is impossible when using this cut. It can also be added to any recipe where you would normally add ham, bacon or jalapeños. The tenderloins are fantastic prepared for steaks, as well.

They can be sliced up into strips and marinated before being placed onto the grill. They are very versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

There are plenty of ways to serve the tenderloin. If you’re looking to impress someone, then the best thing to do is to slice it across the grain. Make sure it is done thoroughly so that it remains juicy inside.

Grilling tenderloin steaks is an excellent way to cook them, especially if you’re cooking outdoors. Alternatively, you could pan fry them if you live near an outdoor space. 

Chicken, especially boneless chicken, is a very popular choice for mealtime. This is because it cooks quickly and is relatively inexpensive. You will not have to spend hours in the kitchen, nor will you have to pay a large sum of money for your food. Not only that, but the flavor is consistently delicious.

This means that there are more than enough reasons why anyone should consider buying this type of chicken. It is certainly worth considering whether you want to purchase whole birds or separate pieces. If you consider fast food chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken, you can see the widespread love for this bird.

Looking at their menu, it also comes as no surprise that the boneless options are some of the most popular, since a lot of people so not like to eat meat off the bone. 

Is There Any Difference Between Chicken Breasts And Tenderloins? How Are Both Made?

This question is asked by many people because they do not know much about the difference between breasts and tenders. Well, I’m here to tell you all those differences without getting too deep.

A chicken tender is basically made from the loin section of the bird. It contains the breastbone section of the chicken. On the tenders, both the breast and legs were removed, leaving just the thighs, drumstick and back attached.

But on the breasts, the entire thigh and leg sections were left behind, giving us the breast. So, whenever we talk about different parts of the chickens, we usually mean the tenders.

But these days, most restaurants give out a free portion of breaded tender along with your regular order.

A Basic Chicken Tenders Recipe

If you have the time to make your own chicken tenders at home and would like to give it a shot, why not try out the below recipe? In the end, you’ll never go back to the pre-made ones again!


  • 2 lbs chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper


  1. First, preheat the oven to 400 deg F
  2. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl until coated evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. 
  4. Fry chicken pieces 2-3 at a time until golden brown, turning once during frying. 
  5. Remove from hot oil and place on a wire rack set atop a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  6. Once cool, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. 
  7. For optimal flavor, let rest overnight in fridge.

Chicken Breast Recipes

You can use chicken breast for many recipes, as we mentioned above. From sandwiches to stir fries, curries and casseroles – you can do just about anything. You can even crease chicken mincemeat and try making chicken meatballs, patties, and anything else you like.

For this reason, no chicken breast recipes will be included in this post, there are thousands online that you can try out any time!

Final Thoughts

So, to conclude, chicken breasts and tenderloins are different because they come from different sides of the bird. The tenders contain the breast section but leave away the thighs, while the breasts include them. We’ve also talked about what makes each of these types of cuts delicious.

But beyond all these details, choosing one chicken cut over another boils down to personal preference. That’s something which everyone has to decide for themselves.

Hopefully you found this post helpful and now feel like you know a little more about chicken breasts and tenderloins. Next time you feel like some chicken, which one will you pick?

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