Have you ever been unsure whether to choose chicken tenderloin or breast? The ribs and bones hold them together but are frequently sold separately. If you don’t cook chicken often, it’s easy to make a mistake at first glance.

There is a noticeable size difference between the two cuts once. Aside from this, there are other differences as well. This article will guide you on the differences between the two to easily recognize which.

What is chicken tenderloin?

chicken tenderloin

Chicken tenderloin is the meaty part of the chicken hidden behind the breasts. Only when the bone is taken away from the breast can you see them. The two small muscles that make up chicken tenderloins are called the pectoralis minor.

There are two tenderloins on each chicken. You can gently pull the thin, long pieces out of the breastplate. They are pretty small so you might miss them.

It is often called “chicken tenders,” but this is not the appropriate term. The chicken tender is also a fried dish made from this cut or any other cut of white meat from the chicken. It is better to call it by the appropriate term, “chicken tenderloin,” rather than “chicken tender.”

What is chicken breast?

Uncooked Chicken breast fillet, raw poultry meat steaks. Black Wooden background. Top view.

The chicken breast, which is generally chopped in half and served separately, is located next to two tenderloins on the plate. Lean meat can be rough and dry if it isn’t cooked properly. The versatility and nutritional value of chicken breast make it a popular ingredient. It’s a popular choice for athletes because of its high protein content and low-fat content.

Boneless chicken breasts are more popular than bone-in chicken breasts because they are easier to prepare and have a wide range of cooking options. On the other hand, the bone-in cut is regarded as tastier and less expensive.

What makes chicken breast and chicken tenderloin different?

Even though the chicken breast and chicken tenderloin come from about the same parts of the chicken. They are still different. Here are some of these:


Compared to the conventional chicken breast, the chicken tender is around 4-5 times smaller. Hence, chicken breasts are significantly bigger than chicken tenderloins. Also, they’re much thicker. It is estimated that, on average, they are twice the size of the tenderloin. Moreover, the chicken tenderloin has a large end that narrows near the bottom.

Meanwhile, the chicken breast will be more substantial at one end and begin to thin down at the other. No matter how you slice it, it’s a crucial portion of the animal because of its size and the abundance of tender, delicious meat it contains.

Chicken tenderloin with garlic and lemon, garnished with parsley.Chicken with garlic and lemon. Overhead view.
chicken tenderloin

Calorie content

Regarding calories, chicken tenderloin has more than that chicken breast. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to choose chicken breast, which has fewer calories. The opposite is best for athletic people. For them, tenderloin is better than chicken breasts because they usually look for more calories and not for people who want to lose weight.

Texture and flavor

The chicken breast and tenderloin taste similar, so it will be hard to tell them apart. But tenderloin is soft, so it needs to be cooked with that in mind. If you cook it too long, you might end up with dry chicken. Moreover, its color is a bit darker, leaning on peach. Meanwhile, the chicken breast is better for grilling.

Nutritional content

Nutritional content is a common concern among the general public. For people with cardiac conditions, it is worth noting that tenderloin has a high sodium content.

Although chicken breast is low in calories, it packs a nutritional punch with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Zinc, vitamin B-6, vitamin D, and calcium are among these, while tenderloin, on the other hand, has only a few of these nutrients.

chicken breast
chicken breast

Chicken tenderloin and breasts: differences in nutritional value

In general, a serving of chicken should be about 4 oz. The table below shows how many calories and other nutrients are in tenderloin and breast for a portion of 4 0z.


Chicken breast, 136; chicken tenderloin, 332

Total fat

Chicken breast, 3g; chicken tenderloin, 20.1g


Chicken breast, 51 mg; chicken tenderloin, 518.2 mg


Chicken breast, 25.5g; chicken tenderloin, 17.9 g


Chicken breast, 378.8 mg; chicken tenderloin, 247.2 mg


Chicken breast, 0.4 mg; chicken tenderloin, 1.3 mg

Vitamin B-6

Chicken breast, 0.9 mg; chicken tenderloin, <0.5 mg


Chicken breast, 82.8 mg; chicken tenderloin, 49.9 mg


Chicken breast, 31.8 mg; chicken tenderloin, 27.2 mg

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to use chicken breast for tenderloin and vice-versa?

Some recipes call for the use of both cuts, so long as you aren’t too finicky. These foods will necessitate special preparation and cooking. Marinate the chicken tenderloin for a longer period than the breast to get the best results.

How are chicken strips and chicken tenderloin different?

Chicken strips are another name for chicken tenders. The word “strips” can describe any part of the chicken cut into thin strips. Most of the time, the chicken breast is the best part to use to make “chicken strips.”

So, the main distinction between the two is that tenderloins are a specific muscle along the breastbone, while chicken strips are just strips of chicken meat.

Chicken breast or Tenderloin, which is healthier?

As a protein-loading, muscle-building, and nutritionally-rich meat, chicken breast is your greatest option. Breast meat is higher in protein and lowers in fat. Hence, it is a healthier option than tenderloin in terms of nutritional value.


The major differences between the two are that: a chicken tenderloin is much larger than a chicken breast. Also, the tenderloin is more slender and narrow than the sirloin. Meanwhile, chicken breasts are about half the size of tenderloins. This part also has more vitamins and is slimmer than thigh meat.

Even though the chicken breast and the smaller tenderloin muscle are slightly different, you can use either. As long as you know the difference and are willing to make the necessary changes, the results should be good either way.