How Long to Boil Chicken Tenders: Learn Here

Chicken Tenders

Boiled chicken tenders can become part of many different chicken recipes. You can consume them by themselves with the seasonings you like as well. However, to do that, you should boil them correctly.

Both the time and the temperature are important when you boil your chicken tenders. And we will tell you everything you need to know about boiling perfect chicken tenders in this guide!

You shouldn’t need more than 10 minutes to boil chicken tenders. The time will, however, depend on the size and thickness of the pieces as well. Thinner tenders will cook in as fast as 8 minutes.

How Long to Boil Chicken Tenders on the Stove?

One of the most common ways to boil chicken tenders is on the stove. This is so simple that you can do it even without any cooking experience whatsoever.

You can either use frozen chicken tenders or room-temperature ones for this recipe, depending on what you have available.

Prepare a bowl that is stove safe and large enough to accommodate your chicken tenders. Fill three-quarters of the bowl with water and bring it to a boil.

Once the water starts boiling, add the chicken tenders into the bowl. Cover the container with a lid and give it between eight and ten minutes to boil.

You can go past this time with a few more minutes, depending on how you want your chicken to be cooked.

Chicken tenderloin

Can You Overboil Chicken Tenders?

The general rule says that the more you cook it, the more tender it becomes. However, be careful to not cook it too long because it can become dry and lose its flavor.

Speaking of flavor, feel free to add some salt to the water you boil the chicken in if that’s your preference. Just don’t add a lot of it because you don’t want to end up with chicken tenders that are way too salty.

You can try the chicken tenders with a fork to see if they are cooked all the way through. This method is extremely helpful if you are boiling thick chicken tenders and you are not sure how much time they need to get cooked entirely and evenly.

The chicken tenders will be cooked well when their internal temperature gets 165 degrees F.

If you have a kitchen thermometer, you will be able to determine the temperature of your meat and therefore know when it is all the way cooked. Some models also make a sound to warn you that your meat is done.

How Long to Boil Chicken Tenderloins to Shred?

If you want your chicken meat to shred as you boil it, you will have to increase the time a bit. Thin chicken tenders get to a texture that shreds easily in 20-25 minutes.

If you are cooking thicker tenders you can boil them for even more than 30 minutes. The good news is that you will not have to guess much when you aim for shredding chicken.

When it gets to that fragile texture, your chicken tenders will start falling apart as you are boiling them. If that doesn’t happen, you will notice that you can easily pull them apart with a fork.

However, you will notice that even after 10 minutes of boiling your chicken, it will still be easy to shred it once you get it out of the water.

Giving it more time will make your chicken meat more tender and even easier to shred but it will also make it drier, which is an aspect you should definitely consider.

Dry chicken can work for certain dishes such as stews and soups where you incorporate it into a liquid base. However, it can taste blunt and unsatisfying in a dry dish.

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Tenders?

If you are using frozen chicken tenders, you don’t need to adjust your recipe at all.

Feel free to submerge your frozen chicken inside the boiling water and it will defrost and start cooking almost instantly.

But you might need to give it 2 minutes more to get all the way boiled since the freezing temperature is below a regular room temperature meat and will slow down the cooking process.

We suggest defrosting chicken tenders before adding them to the boiling water. That way, the difference in temperature will not be big and they can get cooked smoother.

If you place frozen chicken tenders into boiling water the meat might lose part of its properties. And you will end up with a meal that is not as nutritious.

How to Boil Chicken Breasts?

Chicken breasts tend to be thicker than chicken tenders. Therefore, it is a great idea to cut them into thinner pieces before you start cooking them.

By doing so you will make sure not only that they cook faster but also that they get cooked all the way through in an even manner. If you don’t want to slice the chicken breast raw, you can cut into it the top surface so it gets cooked inside easier.

Regarding the boiling method, there are no differences between boiling chicken tenders and boiling chicken breasts.

You will still have to bring the water to a boil before you add the chicken breast. Then, give it about 10 minutes to get cooked. If your chicken breast is too thick, you might have to cook it for 15-20 minutes.

Check with a fork or a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken breast is cooked all the way through before you pull it out of the water and continue to use it in other recipes. Or eat it plain.

How to Boil Chicken Breast to Shred?

If you want shredded chicken breast, you will have to boil it for 12-15 minutes, depending on how thick your meat is.

Add salt to the water as it will help your chicken breast to shred once it is cooked. After you pull the meat out of the water, give it about 5-10 minutes to cool down before your start shredding it. Or cutting it the way you want.

It is highly important to let it cool down so it has the proper texture and temperature for shredding and cutting as you need.

Keep in mind that ultimately, all types of chicken breast or chicken tenders will shred fairly easily as long as it is cooked all the way through.

However, by giving it a few more minutes to boil, the meat will shred even easier. And you might also notice that it comes apart as you are boiling it as well.

It all comes down to how much time you have to cook your meal. And what kind of texture you need your meat to have to integrate well with the rest of the ingredients.

How Long to Boil Boneless Chicken Breast?

Chicken Breast vs Tenderloin

Most chicken breast is sold without the bones. You will also find it in a file version and already cut into thinner strips that you will be able to cook easier and faster.

If you buy a whole chicken, you will have to portion it yourself, though. In this case, removing the bones is one of the most important things you will have to do before you start preparing and cooking the meat.

If you are cooking chicken breast without bone, you should expect it to boil for about 12-15 minutes by following the method presented above.

On the other hand, cooking chicken breast with the bone attached to it will take about 20 minutes. And if the meat comes in a thicker chunk you might have to boil it even more.

Keep in mind that when you boil chicken breast with the bone attached to it, the meat will come out off the bone. And you will end up with plain chicken breast anyway.

Therefore, if you don’t want to struggle with removing the bone when the chicken breast is raw, because you find it to be rather difficult, you can always boil it as it is and remove the bone once it is cooked all the way through.


You can use chicken breast in many recipes and boiling it the right way is an essential step. By following the tips in this guide, you can be sure that you will not fail. And you will end up with a perfectly boiled chicken breast.

Cut your chicken tenders or breast to pieces in the sizes you need. Then, add them to different salads, soups, stews, or as part of pasta or pizza toppings.

The sky is the limit when it comes to how you can use chicken tenders. So, allow yourself to get creative if you want to impress your guests and family with a delicious meal.

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