We are going to address the common question of what is the difference between Chicken Tenderloins vs Breast. They are both staples in many kitchens and are interchangeable in most recipes. While there are similarities between the two cuts of chicken, there are important differences as well.
Chicken is a versatile protein that is relatively easy to cook. As long as you're aware of the proper cooking techniques for chicken so that it's cooked all the way through and not dry, there isn't any reason that you shouldn't start adding more types of chicken recipes to your meal planning menus.
You've probably noticed that different recipes call for various cuts of chicken in them, and there is usually a reason for this. Some cuts of chicken are leaner than others or just a simpler cut of chicken to keep moist.
Below we'll go over the different cooking methods for chicken so that you can understand the difference between the two. You'll be an expert in chicken cooking in no time at all.
Be sure to check out my recipes for Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken, as well as Chicken Fajita Nachos, for some of my favorite ways to cook and serve chicken.
How to Cook Chicken Tenderloins
Cooking tenderloins isn't a complicated process, but the steps below are important to follow.
Step One: Season the tenderloins with oil, salt, and pepper.
Step Two: Cook using your chosen method for about 8-10 minutes or until 160 F on an internal thermometer.
How to Cook Chicken Breasts
For the best texture and flavor, follow the simple instructions below to cook chicken breasts.
Step One: Season the breasts with oil, salt, and pepper.
Step Two: Cook using your chosen method for about 12-14 minutes or until 160 F on an internal thermometer.
Chicken Tenderloins vs Breast: Is there a difference between chicken breast and chicken tenderloins?
There is a difference between chicken breasts and chicken tenderloins. Not only do they come from a different part of the chicken but they also tend to be different sizes and shapes as well.
Chicken tenderloins are actually muscles (pectoralis minor muscles) that are located underneath the breast of the chicken while the chicken breasts are the outer muscle part of the chicken (pectoralis major).
How many chicken tenderloins are equivalent to a chicken breast?
Chicken tenders are a smaller size when compared to the size of a chicken breast. Since they're located on the underside of the breast, it's just a smaller region to grow in comparison.
It will take two chicken tenderloins to be equal in size to a whole chicken breast. This is important to remember in case you ever need to substitute between the two based on an ingredient list.
Can I use chicken breast instead of tenderloins? Can I use chicken tenderloins instead of breasts?
You can absolutely mix and match and swap as you want. Just be aware that when substitutes are made, you'll need to adjust the baking time, the marinating time, as well as the frying time, and the cooking time, too.
Since a chicken tender is smaller, it will cook a lot faster than a large piece of chicken breast. This is true for cooking on the stovetop, the grill, or any other cooking method.
In my opinion, it's easier to make chicken strips or a chicken finger recipe using tenderloins since they're already smaller in size.
Chicken Tenderloins Calories
One chicken tender, weighing ~45 grams, will have 74 calories. The bigger the tenderloin, the increase in calories.
Chicken Tenderloins Nutrition
The nutrition facts for a tenderloin weighing 45 grams will also have
- 14 calories from fat
- 38mg of cholesterol (2%)
- 33 mg of sodium (1%)
- 115 mg of potassium (3%)
- ZERO carbohydrates
Chicken Breast Calories
For 4 ounces of chicken breast (without skin or bone), there will be 123 calories. Double that caloric count for an 8-ounce serving size.
Chicken Breast Nutrition
The nutrition facts for a 3.5-4 ounce chicken breast are as follows:
- 2.7 grams of fat
- 44 mg of sodium
- 0 grams of fiber
- 26 grams of protein
- ZERO carbs
What are some ways to change up the flavor of all cuts of cooked chicken?
No matter if you're cooking white meat or dark meat, chicken tends to take on the flavors of herbs and spices really well. This means that you can add thyme, oregano, rosemary, Italian seasonings, or even add some cayenne pepper to kick up the heat. Such as in this Italian Herb Chicken.
Chicken breast meat is really moist and forgiving in recipes so keep that in mind as you cook it as well. Anything that you add to chicken, like lemon juice or soy sauce, will enhance the flavors a lot.
It's important to keep in mind the size of the tenderloin and the size of the chicken breast when you're seasoning so that it doesn't take over and be too strong. If that happens, I recommend that you mix in some veggies and create a stir fry to pivot and make a delicious meal without an overpowering taste.
- 2 lb chicken tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt & pepper
- 2 lb chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt & pepper
- Season the tenderloins with oil, salt, and pepper. Cook using your chosen method for about 8-10 minutes or until 160 F on an internal thermometer.
- Season the breasts with oil, salt, and pepper. Cook using your chosen method for about 12-14 minutes or until 160 F on an internal thermometer.
Very helpful, thank you for all the info! I always forget about making chicken tenderloins so this post has inspired me to add them to my menu this week 🙂
Aimee Berrett says
These are such helpful tips on the differences and cooking times between these two cuts of meat! Saved me when I was cooking tenderloins for dinner today, when I usually don't!