7 Insights on Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast: Taste, Cost & More

Chicken breast and tenderloin differ in size, flavor, calories, price, location, texture, and nutritional content, with breasts being larger, less flavorful, lower in calories, and higher in nutrients than tenderloins.

differences between chicken breast and chicken tenderloin

Chicken is a highly consumed meat product in the United States, with a per capita consumption of 98 pounds in 2021. According to the National Chicken Council, this amount is 1.5 pounds more per capita than the consumption of red meat. 

So what are the differences between chicken breast and chicken tenderloin? Continue reading to learn more about the differences between these two cuts of chicken meats: 

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1. Size and Shape

Chicken Breast vs Chicken Tenderloin 7 Insights on Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast: Taste, Cost & More

Chicken breasts are much larger and thicker than chicken tenderloins. The breasts are a large pendant shape, while the tenderloins are thinner, elongated strips. 

2. Flavor and Flavor Absorption

Chicken tenderloin is far tastier than chicken breasts, which often tend to be bland. On the other hand, chicken breasts provide more flavor absorption, making it possible to add flavors to help the meat become more flavorful. 

3. Calories

Foodies counting calories may opt for chicken breasts because they have fewer calories than tenderloins. 

4. Price

When shopping at the grocery store or getting your chicken meat from a butcher, chicken tenderloins tend to be more expensive than breasts. 

5. Location

Chicken Cuts 7 Insights on Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast: Taste, Cost & More

The tenderloin is the part of the chicken’s inner pectoral muscle, whereas the breast is the outer muscle. 

6. Texture

For people who focus on the texture of their food, opting for chicken tenderloin is the best choice. The tenderloin is perfectly tender, and chicken breasts are often drier, coarser, and less tender. 

When the meat is uncooked, tenderloin is not as plump as chicken breasts. 

7. Nutritional Content

Chicken breast may be lower in calories; however, it contains a higher amount of magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, Vitamin B-6, and vitamin D than tenderloins. 

8. Sodium Content

Chicken tenderloins have a higher sodium content, which is one reason it is so must tastier than chicken breasts. 

Is chicken breast a tenderloin? 

The tenderloin is the long muscle strip beneath the breast and is relatively small. The breast is the outer muscle part attached to the chicken’s ribs. 

Can I use chicken breast instead of tenderloin?

Chicken tenderloins can be used interchangeably in recipes; however, since tenderloins are smaller, it might be necessary to reduce the temperature and length of cooking time. 

Are chicken tenders or breasts better?

When comparing nutritional value, chicken breasts are the healthier option. Chicken breasts are more beneficial because they contain fewer calories and fat and are higher in protein than tenderloin.

What is the difference in nutritional value between chicken breast and tenderloin? 

Many people believe the nutritional value between breasts and tenderloins is similar; however, their nutritional value varies greatly. Below is a chart with the differences in nutritional value based on four oz. portions of both breasts and tenderloins: 

Chicken BreastChicken Tenderloins
Total Fat3g20.1g
Vitamin B-60.9mg<0.5mg

FAQs about Chicken Breasts & Tenderloin

What is chicken tenderloin? 

Chicken tenderloin also referred to as chicken tenders, is the part underside of the chicken’s breast. They are very small and easily missed because they can only be seen when the bone is separated from the breast. 

What is chicken breast? 

Chicken breast is the part of the chicken located under the pectoral muscle and is a popular meat used in many dishes due to its versatility and nutritional value. Chicken breast is a rich source of protein and can be cooked in many ways, including backing, grilling, frying, and boiling. 

Additionally, chicken breasts are one of the more expensive chicken parts to purchase. 

Do you cook chicken breasts and tenderloins differently? 

Chicken tenderloin is smaller than chicken breasts and cooks a lot faster. When using tenderloins instead of breasts, keep a watchful eye on the chicken, checking the internal temperature and ensuring the meat is fully cooked. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the ideal internal temperature for chicken (breast and tenderloin) is 165 °F.

How do you cook healthy chicken tenderloin? 

Prepare the tenderloins by marinating them to help ensure the meat retains as much moisture during cooking. Savory marinades for tenderloins include lemon or lime juice and a mix of seasonings. Soak meat for at least one hour in the marinade, but it can also be left in the liquid in the refrigerator overnight. 

After marinating the tenderloin, the healthiest cooking methods are steaming, poaching, or baking the chicken. 

How do you cook healthy chicken breasts? 

A significant protein source, chicken, can be cooked in various ways. The most beneficial ways to cook chicken breasts include grilling and baking. Marinating and adding seasonings a few hours before cooking can help add flavor to the chicken meat. Marinating the chicken for 24 hours is possible if stored in the refrigerator. 

What goes well with chicken breast and chicken tenderloin? 

What you serve with your chicken breast or tenderloin dinner depends greatly upon your personal food preferences. Some of the best side dish options when cooking chicken may include: 

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Salad
  • Rice
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables

What is the difference between chicken tenderloin and chicken strips?

Chicken tenders are often called chicken strips; however, in most cases, strips refer to any part of the chicken cut into the form of strips. Chicken strips are typically made from chicken breasts. Chicken tenders are made from the tenderloin, the muscle area of the chicken below the breast (sometimes referred to as rib meat). 

How to remove tenderloins from chicken breasts? 

The tenderloin is the delicious part of the white meat in a chicken, and some people overlook the tenderloin when cutting up a chicken. To remove the tenderloin from the breast, it is best to place the breast on a cutting board and look for the tenderloin, which is the muscle running across the breastbone. 

Once you identify the tenderloin, you need to cut across the breastbone to cut off the tendon holding the tenderloin in place. After the tendons are cut, you should be able to remove the tenderloin from the breast easily. 

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