Chicken Tenderloin Vs Breast – Where Do They Come From

If you are one of those who eat the chicken without knowing the parts, then you will order even the wrong piece for the different meals.

You see, some meals specifically require you to use the chicken tenderloin, and others require chicken breast. So unless you know the parts well, then you will be mixing them up.  

Well, today we are only interested in two parts, the chicken tenderloin, and the breasts?

I like the chicken breasts since I believe it’s the one that will deliver the best and yet delicate parts. So, what about the chicken tenderloin? Let’s find out.

Do you know what chicken tenderloin is?

The chicken tenderloin and breast are almost the same. It’s a bit hard to tell them apart if you don’t know them. Guess what! Most people can’t literary tell them apart.

They will often confuse them. But I’m going to make you understand it. The chicken tenderloin is literary the very thin muscle that you will find alongside the chicken breast. Now note that it’s not the chicken breast, though.

chicken tenderloin

Naturally, though, it’s attached to the breast, which is why people confuse it a lot with the chicken breast.

So I want you to know that the chicken tenderloin is the minor muscle you find on the breast bone.

Do you know other chicken parts? Notice that the tenderloin is the muscle you will find behind the major pectoralis minor.

However, they gave it the name tenderloin because it has the white meat you find on it, and it’s tender.

You will only see it correctly when you separate the breast meat from the bone.

You see, this is the reason why most people will not even know that it’s a distinct part of the chicken.

The tenderloins you have on the chicken come at a size of ½ inch wide and 5-inch long. Of course, we have described the part where you find the chicken tenderloin but keep reading for more.

Do you know where you will find the beef and pork tenderloin? If you do, then you shouldn’t have a problem locating the chicken one too.

The chicken breast

There’s a difference when it comes to the chicken breast because it’s much easier to identify. Anytime you make a recipe that requires you to use lean chicken, you will know where to find it.

Remember, you won’t go for the thighs; instead, you always go for the breast. This one never has many bones, and you can expect it to have two breast parts.

chicken breast

Before we even go on to other points, I must mention that the breasts to many people are the most preferred part.

It’s what they consider the most delicious part. The difference then is that when you’re cooking it, you should not overcome it as that will render it being chewy.

Understanding the differences

Of course, when you break the two, then you will quickly tell the difference between them. Notice that we already mentioned that you would take the chicken parts from almost the same parts, but they vary in size, calories, and how you can cook them.

chicken cuts

So here’s a breakdown of the differences you ought to know

The size

Of course, we already said the chicken tenderloin is a specific part you will find once you remove the breast. It, therefore, goes without saying that the tenderloin is smaller than the chicken breast. Also, they will be thinner than regular chicken breasts.

Notice then that the chicken tenderloin is going to be almost half of the chicken breast. Again remember the chicken breast will be more comprehensive on one end, and then it starts to taper towards another end.

Regardless it’s one of the essential parts of the meat as it’s wider and with many juicy and tasty parts of the meat.

In a nutshell,

The chicken tender is about 4-5 times smaller than the regular chicken breast. Besides, the chicken tenderloin comes in twos, yet it’s minimal.

The chicken breast, though, is larger, and a single side will feed two people comfortably. But if you have kids, then better give them the tenders.

The calories

The chicken tenderloin has more fat than the chicken breasts. But the chicken breast is the best preferred by those who want to lose some weight. The tenderloin, though tender, contains more calories than the chicken breasts.

Regardless if you are an athlete, then the tenderloin works better than the chicken breasts. Remember, they are often looking for more calories, but it’s not for those who want to shed weight.

So, if you are looking for lean meat, you have it in this meat. If you are looking for diet reasons too, you can choose the breast with a less caloric count.

Nutritional count

Of course, this is one thing people are often concerned about. So although you will have the chicken breast being low in calories, it has excellent nutritional values.

It further contains zinc, vitamin B-6, Vitamin D, and calcium. If you, however, will eat the tenderloin, you can expect it to have the same nutrients but in bits.

The sodium content

When you’re buying the tenderloin, you should know that it contains higher sodium, and this is amazingly the perfect distinction.

If you, therefore, have hypertension, you should know that tenderloin may not be the best choice of meat for you.

If you also have heart-related issues, you should make it your intention to stay off a lot of sodium. Again if you want to stay on a low salt diet, then you shouldn’t take the chicken tenderloin; make sure you eat the chicken breast.

Flavor and texture

Remember that flavor and the texture of the chicken tenderloin and the chicken breast will almost be the same.

When you are cooking or have cooked them, then it’s hard to tell them apart. Just remember to cook it a little longer to have it cooking perfectly.

Also, if you overcook the chicken, then chances are that it’s going to be dry. All you should do is to make sure you cook it just perfectly.

So then another significant difference is that the chicken tenderloin is darker in color.

How does the uncooked chicken look like?

When the tenderloin is uncooked, it will not be as plump as the chicken breast. Remember the chicken breast we said is the usually thicker one.

Of course, you may think this is essential, but it’s just as important, especially when buying chicken in the supermarket. Even without help, you should know the difference just from the shapes and the sizes.

The tenderloin then will have a tendon that runs down the tenderloin part. This part then they will often remove when cooking it.

How do you cook them?

Of course, they are different parts, and therefore you will cook them differently.

Chicken tenderloin

Notice that the way you cook both of them may vary. So below are the best ways you can use to cook your chicken tenderloin.

You can bake it

One of the healthiest methods you can use to cook this part is to bake it. So, of course, if you will bake the tenderloin, you should marinate it first.

I like to use lemon juice, herbs, and spices. You can then cover it for about 30 minutes to make sure it marinates right. Next, you can line your baking trays with the paper parchment and have it cook suitable.

So then you want to bake it at a high temperature of 400°F. Keep baking until it’s cooked, and the temperature of the chicken should be 165°F.

You can poach it

This is another one of the healthiest yet best methods to use in cooking it. So, you won’t need to add oil to this tenderloin if you’re going to poach it. Again it’s the easiest method to use in the cooking of chicken.

You always need to add water to the chicken, then you can add on the garlic, turmeric but with the aromatic veggies. Next, you should allow it to cook slowly and preferably simmer it. This way, you’re sure to have it cook for about 45 minutes.


This is another method that will cook the tenderloin right. Remember, you don’t need to add more oil to the meat. When you use this method, then you are sure to attain the flavorful yet juicy chicken tenderloin. The secret is to add the rosemary, thyme but with the oregano, then bring it to boil.

This then means you can steam the chicken for 10 minutes or until it’s perfectly done, and then you can go out. We have suggested the methods above because we know the tenderloin is already fatty and with some rich salt. So when you want to make it work, it’s better to cook without adding the oil.

Cooking the chicken breast

And this one has lesser fat—also, it’s generally the healthier option. However, when cooking the chicken breast, you should be careful that you don’t make it too unhealthy. Again, you don’t want to overcook it, so whichever method you decide to use, you should be careful.

Grill it

If you want it to work, then you will need to grill it. Of all the methods we have, the grilling of the chicken breast is one of the best methods you can use to cook it. With this then you can cook it with or without oil. So the meat tenderizer will help to make the meat tender. In the process, you can also add some rich spices of your choice to make it juicy, delicious, and succulent.

Bake it

Another common way of making this chicken breast is by baking it. There are various methods you could use when it comes to baking to make it juicy and delicious. You need to check on YouTube for ideas on who to make it as delicious as you need it to be.

Always remember that we need for you to cook it into a moist and tender breast. It’s also one of the softest pats that also absorbs the perfect flavors. Even if you bake it, then remember that it takes the much shortest time to bake.

The cooking tips

If you’re health-conscious, you should know the parts to eat. While we say the chicken breast is healthy, it will only be healthy if you remember to remove the skin.

If you don’t, then you are still consuming a lot of calories. I know what you may think, but the skin is the most delicious part of the chicken for some reason. And yes, it is a lot faster than you need.

So the first thing you will need to do is to marinate the chicken if you intend to bake or grill it. Remember, this will always enhance the flavor profile. I like to add my marinades, and then I set them in the fridge for about four hours.

Alternatively, leave it out. Remember you have thick meat, and when you then give it time, it will absorb the marinade into the meat.

Of course, if this is what way you will cook your chicken, then you should use the baking, grilling, or poaching method to cook it.

How do you tell the difference in an instant?

How about saving the best for the last? I know you want to tell the difference at a glance. You don’t want to fall for the traps by some of the grocery stores.

They set the breast and package them as tenderloins, so you should always know the difference. Don’t worry; this is why we are here to make sure you understand it, and therefore you can go to the shop identifying it quickly.

Just know this, the tenderloin has a distinct shape, and once you then master the shape, no one will lie to you. The tenderloin maintains a distinct shape that not even the butchery chef will mimic easily. This is why it’s easy to tell the ones that they are mimicking.

One thing standing out is that it’s smaller than the normal breasts. Also, they are usually narrower too than the breasts. Don’t expect the meat to be plump, either.

Remember, it was found close to the bone and a little hidden, but it’s slightly darker than the breast. Precisely it takes the peachy hue.

Notice that the tenderloin also has a broader muscle on one end. But the stand out is that it tapers to the broader points.

When you have the more giant tenderloins, they will mostly have a bulbous head. This then means that the smaller part will connect to the thin and white tendon.

Notice that the tendon makes it easy to show the difference between the tenderloin from the breasts. Where it connects is where we have the tenderloin. It will usually run on the entire length. Its flat part then will often protrude in the broader end of the chicken breast.

Notice that when you are going to cook it, you will have the tendon become hard, and that’s why most of the best chefs remove it first.

Can I substitute the chicken breast for the tenderloin and vice versa?

In this article, our primary interest is to make sure you get and understand the two parts. When you have the best cooks or chefs, they can switch the two without losing their value in the recipe. We are saying that you can substitute it if you know who to blend it into the recipes.

Do not forget that they don’t cook at the same time. Tenderloin will often cook faster than the breast. But don’t worry, you will know when it’s ready from the way they taste and the change of the color.

The same tenderloin will be ready in a much shorter time, too, if you’re going to marinate it. This is why you don’t want to leave it over a long time. If you do, then, unfortunately, your tenderloin is going to be mushy. Please don’t leave it in the marinade for four hours.

Other differences

The chicken tenderloin cooks faster.

You want to know that when you set the two to cook the tenderloin, since its much tender will cook faster. You will mostly like its juiciness, pack of flavors, and deliciousness as well. When all you want to make is juicy meat that doesn’t take too much time to make, then the tenderloin is the best.

On the other hand, the chicken breasts will take longer to cook, but it’s not as juicy because it dries up faster.

Chicken breast is often cheaper.

I mean, it beats the logic; remember, the chicken breast is much easier to access, and that’s why it even cheaper. The other reason is that the tenders are often tender and juicy and considered even better in flavors.

For this reason, it’s often costlier. They say the chicken breast is the least tastier and even blander, which is why it’s affordable.

If you always wonder why you buy them separately, then the tenderloins can double the price, now you know. Besides, this one requires the butcher to be careful in the boning to make sure they get the right parts.

This is also why I always say you should check out that you don’t buy the breasts as tenderloins. Sometimes they may even cut the breast to a narrow size, but if you know the shape and everything about it, it will be easy to tell the difference.

Chicken breast is tougher and denser.

This feature makes the whole difference. You will find that the chicken breast has a lot more flesh, and therefore it’s denser. This one is going to be tougher but also stringier. Also, for the tenderloins, the name already suggests that it’s tender.

Regardless, the two are mostly similar, and it’s not easy to tell the differences unless you are keen to check out.


I want to make the crispy chicken strips; which one should I use?

I mean, you could use either part, but if you have the freedom of choice, always choose the chicken tenders. After all, anyone will love them; they are tender, juicy, flavorful, and perfect to use. I like that it will deliver the perfect crispy exterior and the juicy inside.

So it’s important to say the tenders are costlier, so if the chicken breast is all you can have, then go on and use it.

How can I remove the tenderloin from the breast?

Of course, assuming I bought a whole chicken myself, how you separate them will depend on a few things you may already know. So get the breast part and lay it flat on the chopping board.

It would help if you had the flat side being down. When you have it nicely flat, you will mostly see the tenderloin. They are mostly connected to the breast, and they use the tendon too.

You will then need to set your hand firmly on the chicken breasts. So then cut across the breast, and then this will help in the removal of the tenderloin.

How can I store the chicken breast or tenderloins?

Of course, this is a question we ask because we know the parts are more than fragile, you know. Of course, you should set them in safe containers before you toss them in the freezer.

When you are going to store the tenderloins, though, you should wrap them with aluminum foil. Next, you will need to store it in the freezer.

Just remember to wrap them right if you need to avoid the freezer burn. You will also learn that when you store it this way, you are sure it will retain the moisture within.

How can you keep it moist when cooking?

Regardless of the parts, you should know that you will lose all the moisture if you aren’t careful. So remember to cook it under the perfect heat. Marinate it right but also don’t overcook it.

Which one is better?

Whether it’s the tenderloin or the chicken breasts, which one is better? I would say, in a way, the tenderloin is better for different recipes.

You will like it for its softness and juiciness but also the pack of flavors. Some people aren’t different, and if this is you, then that’s good.

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