Chicken Breast vs Tenderloin: What’s The Difference?

Chicken Breast vs Tenderloin

Isn’t it true that most of us love chicken dishes?

We consume anything we can get our hands on, from roasted chicken to chicken gravy but have you ever considered which part of the chicken you are eating?

The chicken breast and tenderloin are two of the most confusing portions of the chicken.

So what’s the difference between chicken breast and tenderloin? The size of the two is the first noticeable difference. Chicken breasts are almost twice the size of tenderloins.

We will discuss many more differences in this article. So, read on to know more!

What is Chicken Breast?

Stuffed chicken breasts

Chicken breast has a high nutritional worth and flexibility. It is popular among athletes since it is a high-protein and low-carbohydrate food.

Moreover, the least affordable portion of the bird is the boneless breast. You may prepare chicken breast in a variety of ways, including grilling, frying, boiling, and as well as baking in the oven.

There are several reasons to eat chicken breast. To begin with, it is low-fat, making it perfect for individuals who are trying to lose weight.

Secondly, chicken breast is a good source of vitamins such (D, B-6) and minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, in addition to being an excellent source of protein.

What is Tenderloin?

Chicken tenderloin is the portion of the chicken from which chicken poppers or tenders are made. It is a strip of muscle lying beneath the chicken breast. As a result, chickens have two tenderloins.

If you aren’t an experienced chef, you could overlook them since they are very small. Only once the bone separating the chicken breasts is removed can the tenderloins be seen. 

Comparison Table: Chicken Breast Vs Tenderloin

The comparison table below gives clear differences between chicken breast and tenderloin.

Category Chicken Breast Tenderloin
Taste Bland Nutty and Sweet
Texture (when cooked) Dry and Coarse Tender and Juicy
Size Twice the size of Chicken Tenderloin Half the size of Chicken Breast
Location Pectoral major (the outer muscle) Pectoral minor (the inner muscle)
Protein content  High  High
Nutritional  Highly packed Moderate (just vitamin traces)
Sodium Moderate to low High

Differences Between Chicken Breast and Tenderloin

Now, let’s take a look at the differences between these two popular chicken parts.

Flavor and texture

Both of these parts will usually have the same flavor. It will get difficult to distinguish between the two, but there is a little variation in flavor.

Chicken tenderloin is more flavorful while the chicken breast is notoriously bland when eaten exclusively. Hence, its high absorbing characteristic allows it to swiftly replicate the flavor of any sauce or seasoning with which it is cooked.

In terms of texture, tenderloin is softer and juicier than chicken breasts. Tenderloins demand a bit of extra care while prepping and cooking because of their delicate nature. Another notable difference is the darker color of the chicken tenderloin.


The chicken tender is a fraction of the size of a normal chicken breast. Besides, the chicken tenderloins come in pairs, but it’s still a small piece.

On the other hand, the chicken breast is bigger. And a single side will comfortably serve two individuals. Though, if you have children, tenders are the best option for them.


The fat content of chicken tenderloin is higher than that of chicken breasts. However, the latter is preferred mostly by those who want to lose some weight. The former has more calories than chicken breasts, despite its tenderness.

Nutritional value

Naturally, this is something that many people are concerned about.

So, despite the fact that the breast is low in calories, it is high in nutritious content. Zinc, vitamin B-6, vitamin D, and calcium are also present. If you consume the tenderloin, you can expect it to have the same nutrients but in a lesser quantity.

Cooking methods

The cooking methods of both chicken breast and tenderloin may differ. Here’s how:

Chicken tenderloin

Chicken Tenderloin

It’s worth noting that the method you prepare them may differ. So, here are some of the finest methods to prepare chicken tenderloin.

Bake it:

Baking is one of the healthiest ways to prepare chicken tenderloin. 

So, if you’re going to bake the tenderloin, you’ll need to marinate it first. Lemon juice, herbs, and spices are some of the best options.

After that, cover it for about 30 minutes to ensure that it marinates properly. Soon, you may line your baking pans with parchment paper and bake as needed.

Then you’ll want to bake it at a high temperature of 400℉. Keep baking until the meat reaches a temperature of 165℉. 

Poach It:

This is also one of the healthiest and most effective ways to prepare it. If you’re poaching the tenderloin, there is no need to add any oil.

It’s the simplest technique for cooking chicken once again.

Water must always be added to the chicken before adding the garlic and turmeric, as well as the aromatic vegetables. After that, let it cook gently, preferably on moderate heat. This ensures that it will cook for around 45 minutes.

Steam It:

Steaming is another way to cook the tenderloin properly.

Remember that the meat does not require any extra oil. When you follow this approach, you can be sure that your chicken tenderloin will taste delicious and juicy.

Also, the key is to add the rosemary, thyme, and oregano before bringing it to a boil.

This means you may go out after steaming the chicken for 10 minutes or until it’s properly done. We recommend the ways mentioned above since the tenderloin is already fatty and salty, thus, if you want to make it work, you need to cook without using any oil.

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a better choice in case of healthiness. While cooking the chicken breast, you must be careful so as not to make it too unhealthy. Again, you don’t want to overcook it, so be cautious with whichever method you choose.

Grill It:

You’ll need to grill it if you want it to work. Grilling the chicken breast is one of the finest techniques out of all the options we have. You may cook it with or without using oil in this method.

As a result, the meat tenderizer will help in softening the meat. You may also add some spices of your choice throughout the cooking process to make it more juicy, tasty, and luscious.

Bake It:

Another popular method for preparing this chicken breast is to bake it.

When it comes to baking, there are different techniques you may employ to make it moist and tasty. Always keep in mind that we want it to be a moist and sensitive breast.

It’s also one of the softest parts of the chicken, absorbing just the right amount of flavor. Even if you bake it, keep in mind that baking takes the least amount of time.

Related Questions

What is the difference between chicken breast and tenderloin?

Chicken tenderloins are smaller and more delicious than chicken breasts. When purchasing one over the other, you will also find that chicken tenderloin is more expensive. A chicken breast makes a better choice than chicken tenderloin in terms of nutrition.

Can I use chicken tenderloins instead of breasts?

You may use chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts.

However, keep in mind the marinating and cooking times. Chicken tenderloins are smaller than chicken breasts, which implies that the marinating and cooking time will be reduced.

Which piece of chicken is healthiest?

The healthiest portion of a chicken is a fresh breast. It has around 140 calories, 3 grams of total fat, and just 1 gram of saturated fat in a 3-ounce skinless chicken breast.

How do you remove tenderloin from the boneless chicken breast?

Here’s how you can remove tenderloin from a boneless chicken breast:

  1. Place the breast portion on a chopping board and lay it flat. It might be beneficial if you put the flat side down. You’ll primarily notice the tenderloin when it’s nice and flat. They’re mainly attached to the breast and use the tendon as well.
  2. After that, you must place your hand firmly on the chicken breasts. The tenderloin will be easier to remove if you cut across the breast.
What is the difference between chicken tenderloin and breast protein?

The protein content of chicken breast is greater than that of chicken tenderloin. Chicken breast has 25.5 grams of protein, whereas chicken tenderloin has 17.9 grams approximately.

What is the difference between chicken breast and tenderloin (nutrition)?

Tenderloins differ in calories and quantity of other nutrients when it comes to nutrition. They have more calories than chicken breasts due to a larger fat content, and they don’t have the same nutritious value.

Chicken breast is rich in potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B6 and D. Chicken breast is healthier in general.

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