Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast: Which is Better?


Many people tend to think that chicken breast is healthier than chicken tenderloin. This belief was further reinforced by popular food shows, where chefs recommended eating the leaner chicken breast meat over the chicken tenderloin.

Even though chicken breast is lower in calories and saturated fat than chicken tenderloin, it is not necessarily the healthier option. Here’s a closer look at the nutrition facts of both chicken breast and chicken tenderloin to help you decide which one is the better choice for your diet.

What Is Chicken Tenderloin?

Chicken tenderloin is a cut of the chicken breast that comes from the underside of the breast. Because it sits closer to the skin, it tends to be moister and juicier than the breast part. Due to its higher fat content, chicken tenderloin may also be more flavorful than chicken breast.

In terms of nutrition, one serving of chicken tenderloin has about 120 calories and 7 grams of fat. It also contains 20 grams of protein and about 25 percent of the RDA for calcium and iron.

What Are Chicken Tenderloins Used For?

Chicken tenderloins can be used in a variety of ways. Their usage includes the following:

1. Grilling/Frying

Because of its high-fat content, chicken tenderloin can be easily pan-fried and grilled. This makes it ideal for dishes like chicken kabobs, chicken strips, or chicken fajitas.

Related: Can You Grill Frozen Chicken?

2. Baking/Roasting

Chicken tenderloin can be baked or roasted. This makes it a good option for dishes like chicken piccata, chicken parmesan, and teriyaki chicken. It can also be used in stir-fries, soups, and pasta dishes.

3. Stir-Frying

This can be done with or without the addition of sauce. It is ideal for dishes like sweet and sour chicken, kung pao chicken, and General Tso’s chicken. When stir-frying, the chicken tenderloin should be cut into smaller pieces as it cooks much more quickly than chicken breast.

4. Barbecuing

Chicken tenderloin is well suited for barbecuing. It can be marinated in a variety of sauces and then grilled to perfection. Barbecued chicken tenderloin is ideal for dishes like honey garlic chicken, chipotle chicken, and jerk chicken.

5. Broiling

Chicken breast and chicken tenderloin can both be broiled, although the latter is better suited for this method of cooking. Depending on the recipe, chicken tenderloin can be marinated and then placed under the broiler. It is also sometimes coated in a breadcrumb mixture and then placed under the broiler.

What Is Chicken Breast?

Image Courtesy: Lance Holley

Chicken breast is a type of meat that is typically lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than other types of chicken. This makes it an ideal option for those looking to eat a healthier diet.

The meat of the chicken breast is white in color and can be prepared in many different ways, from grilling and baking to frying and sauteing. When cooked properly, chicken breast is juicy and flavorful.

What Are Chicken Breasts Used For?

Chicken breast has many purposes and is used in a wide range of dishes. The following are the main uses:

1. Grilling

Chicken breast is a very versatile meat that can be prepared in many different ways. One of the most popular uses for chicken breast is grilling. Grilled chicken breast is always a crowd-pleaser, whether it is served as part of a summer barbecue or paired with a fresh salad for a light lunch.

2. Baking

Another popular way to cook chicken breast is to bake it in the oven. This cooking method is ideal for those who are looking to prepare a healthy meal as it does not require any added fats or oils. Chicken breast can be baked whole, or it can be cut into smaller pieces and baked as chicken tenders.

3. Frying

Chicken breast can also be fried, although this is not the healthiest way to prepare the meat. When frying chicken breast, it is important to use a healthy oil, such as olive oil, and not to overload the pan with too much chicken.

4. Sauteing

When sauteing chicken breast, it is important to use a non-stick pan so that the meat does not stick to the bottom and burn. Chicken breast can be sauteed with vegetables, such as onions and peppers, or it can be cooked on its own.

5. Soups and Stews

Chicken breast can also be used in soups and stews. Depending on the type of soup or stew, the chicken breast may need to be cut into smaller pieces or shredded before being added to the pot.

6. Salads

Chicken breast also works well in salads, particularly green salads or chicken Caesar salad. When adding chopped or shredded chicken breast to a salad, it is important not to overcook the meat, or it can become dry and tough.

7. Sandwiches

Chicken breast is also a popular ingredient in sandwiches, both cold and hot. Chicken breast can be chopped, shredded, or sliced and used in a wide range of sandwiches including chicken salad sandwiches, cold sandwiches with sliced chicken, and panini.

What is the Difference Between Chicken Breast and Tenderloin?

When it comes to chicken tenderloin and chicken breast, both have their own unique flavor. But they have their own differences too, which will be discussed below.

  • Texture and Taste: Chicken Tenderloin is much more tender than chicken breast. This is because of the difference in muscle fibers of each part. Chicken breast has more dense muscle fibers which will give a chewier texture. Tenderloin has less dense muscle fibers and therefore is much softer.
  • Cooking Methods: You can cook chicken breast in many ways, like grilling, frying, baking, etc. However, tenderloin is best cooked using moist methods like slow cooking, stewing, or braising. This is because if you try to cook it using dry methods, the meat will become tough.
  • Nutritional Value: Chicken breast is leaner meat and has more protein than tenderloin. Tenderloin has more fat than chicken breast but is lower in cholesterol. This makes chicken breast a healthier option.
  • Price: Chicken breast is usually cheaper than tenderloin because it is more widely available. Tenderloin is less common and therefore costs more. When making your purchase, you should consider the taste, texture, and nutritional value to choose the right one for your needs.
  • Versatility: Chicken breast is more versatile than tenderloin. This is because it can be cooked in many different ways and you can use many different ingredients to prepare it. Tenderloin is best cooked using moist methods and is not as versatile.
  • Sodium Amount: Chicken tenderloin has more sodium than chicken breast. This is because it contains more connective tissue which holds onto the salt. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, then you should opt for chicken breast.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Both chicken breast and tenderloin are good sources of vitamins and minerals. However, chicken breast is a better source of niacin, vitamin B6, and riboflavin. Tenderloin is a good source of zinc, iron, and phosphorus.
  • Fat Content: Chicken breast has less fat than chicken tenderloin. This is resulted from the composition of the muscles and covering in chicken breast, which is very rich with connective tissues. For example, it contains almost 30 percent fatter than chicken breast.

Cooking With Chicken Tenderloin and Breast

If you happen to buy chicken that is not cut up into small pieces, don’t worry, it’s easy to do at home.

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side up.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the breastbone.
  3. Turn the chicken over and flatten it out.
  4. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces: 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 4 breast pieces.

After you cut your strips or slices, it’s time to cook! Chicken tenderloins and breast meat are both very versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Chicken Tenderloin vs Breast: Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing between chicken breast and tenderloin, it really depends on your preferences. If you are looking for leaner meat with more protein, then the chicken breast is the best option for you.

On the other hand, chicken tenderloin is more tenderer and juicier, making it a great choice when you are looking for a dish that is tastier and more flavorful. When it comes to prices, chicken tenderloin will often cost more than breast, although this can also depend on where you buy your chicken.

However, both of these cuts are healthy and delicious options when it comes to eating chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Prepare Chicken Breast?

Chicken breasts are a versatile and healthy protein that can be cooked in a variety of ways. You need to know how to prepare chicken breast properly so you can get the most nutrition and flavor out of it. If you are looking for information on how to prepare chicken breast, the first thing you need to do when preparing chicken breast is to remove the skin.

The skin is high in fat and calories, and it also contains a lot of cholesterol. Removing the skin will help to reduce the fat and calorie content of the chicken breast. Once you have removed the skin, you can either cook the chicken breast whole or cut it into smaller pieces.

If you are cooking chicken breast whole, you will need to cook it for about 30 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Cook Chicken Tenderloins on The Grill?

To cook chicken tenderloins on the grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Season the chicken as desired with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until fully cooked.

How To Cut Chicken Breast for Grilling?

To cut chicken breast for grilling, start by removing the skin and any excess fat. Then, slice each breast horizontally across the grain into ½-inch thick pieces. Finally, season the chicken with salt and pepper before grilling.

How To Cut Chicken Tenderloin?

There are many ways to cut chicken tenderloin, but the most common is to cut it into thin slices. To do this, first, remove the skin from the chicken. Next, cut the chicken into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick.

Be sure to cut against the grain of the meat to get the most tender slices. Finally, cut the slices into small strips or chunks for easy cooking. 

How To Cook Chicken Tenderloins on The Grill?

Whether you are preparing chicken for a quick weeknight dinner or for a special occasion, cooking tenderloin on the grill is one of the best ways to cook this versatile meat. Chicken tenderloins are a lean and healthy option that is perfect for grilling.

When cooked properly, they are flavorful, tender, and moist. In order to cook the best chicken tenderloins on the grill, there are a few things you will need to do. First, make sure that your grill is properly preheated before you begin cooking.

If your grill is not hot enough, the meat will come out tough and chewy. It’s also important to choose high-quality chicken tenderloins with no added flavors or fillers.

How Much Chicken Should I Eat Per Week?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount of chicken you should eat per week will depend on factors like your age, activity level, and dietary needs. However, the USDA recommends that adults consume about 26 ounces per week.

Of course, if you’re interested in maintaining a healthy weight or eating in accordance with the USDA’s recommendations, it can be helpful to monitor the amount of chicken that you eat each day. Keep in mind that a single serving of chicken is about 3.5 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. If you’re preparing your chicken at home, try measuring out portions with a food scale to stay on track with your goals.

If you’re pregnant, the recommended amount is 100 grams or a single serving of chicken per day.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Chicken Tenderloins?

Chicken tenderloins are a lean, low-fat source of protein that can be a healthy addition to your diet. Four pieces of chicken tenderloin contain about 11 grams of protein and only 11 grams of fat. One serving of chicken tenderloins (11 grams) contains about 11 calories, making them a low-calorie source of protein.

How Many Chicken Tenders Per Person?

If you are planning on serving chicken tenders as a main dish, you will need to figure out how many chicken tenders to prepare per person. A good rule of thumb is to plan on two chicken tenders per person. This will ensure that everyone has enough to eat and that there are plenty of leftovers.

What Is the Difference Between Chicken Tenderloin and Breast?

The biggest difference between chicken tenderloin and chicken breast is that the tenderloin contains less fat, which makes it a healthier option. Compared to chicken breasts, chicken tenderloins are much easier to cook, as they do not need to be pounded or flattened out.

How Many Chickens Breast Per Person?

When selecting chicken breasts for a large gathering, you should plan on 3 to 4 chicken breasts per person. Chicken breast is slightly more expensive than chicken tenderloin, but it goes a long way. If you are trying to save money, chicken tenderloin is an excellent option.

While chicken breast may be lighter and more tender, the juicy flavor of chicken tenderloin makes it a favorite in many households.


The choice between chicken breast and tenderloin really comes down to personal taste. Depending on how much time you have to cook, as well as your preference for particular cuts of meat, the chicken breast or tenderloin each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

However, both options are healthy and delicious, so whichever you choose, you really can’t go wrong!

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.