how long to boil chicken tenders

How long to boil Chicken Tenders?

Last Updated: February 5, 2024By

Chicken tenders are a popular and versatile ingredient in many dishes, from salads and sandwiches to stir-fries and pasta. However, cooking chicken tenders can be tricky, especially if you need to figure out how long to boil them. Boiling chicken tenders is a great way to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat, but getting the timing right is vital to avoid ending up with tough, dry, or rubbery chicken. In this article, we’ll guide you on how long to boil chicken tenders and some tips and tricks to help you always achieve perfectly cooked and delicious chicken.

What Are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders, also known as chicken fingers or strips, are a versatile cut of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are tender and juicy. They have a mild flavor that pairs well with various seasonings and sauces. These tenders are easy to prepare and cook quickly, making them convenient for busy weeknights or quick meals. They can be fried, baked, grilled, or boiled and are often served as main dishes or protein-rich additions to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Chicken tenders are a delicious and versatile ingredient that enhances various dishes’ flavor, texture, and nutrition.

Factors to Consider When Boiling Chicken Tenders

To ensure proper and safe boiling of chicken tenders, consider size, thickness, freshness, altitude, and water boiling point. More extensive and thicker tenders take longer, so adjust the cooking time accordingly. Frozen tenders require thawing before cooking, and altitude affects the water boiling point. Ensure the chicken is fully submerged in boiling water and maintains a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

How To Boil Chicken Tenders?

Boiling chicken tenders is a straightforward cooking method that results in tender and versatile poultry. To boil chicken tenders, start by placing them in a pot of cold or lukewarm water, ensuring they are fully submerged. Add seasonings like salt, herbs, and aromatics to infuse flavor into the meat. Bring the water to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer.

Cook the tenders for 10-15 minutes, adjusting the time based on thickness. It’s crucial to check the chicken’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer, ensuring it reaches a safe 165°F (74°C). Once cooked, immediately transfer the tenders to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and preserve their juiciness. Finally, in your favorite recipes, you can use boiled chicken tenders in various dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, soups, or protein components.

How Long To Boil Chicken Tenders?

how long to boil chicken tenders

The cooking time for boiling chicken tenders can vary depending on size and thickness. You should boil chicken tenders for 10-15 minutes. However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F (74°C) for fully cooked chicken. The cooking time may also need to be adjusted based on other factors, such as whether the chicken tenders are fresh or frozen, the altitude you are cooking, and any additional ingredients you’ve added to the boiling water. To be safe, always check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer before consuming it.

How To Easily Remove Tendon From Chicken Tenders

Removing the tendon from chicken tenders can be tricky, but there is an easy method. Here’s how:

  1. Start by locating the tendon, which is a thin, white, fibrous strip that runs lengthwise through the chicken tender.
  2. Use a sharp knife to make a small incision on one end of the tendon.
  3. Grab the end of the tendon with a paper towel or kitchen towel to get a good grip.
  4. Hold the chicken tender with one hand and use the paper towel or kitchen towel to pull the tendon out of the tender with the other hand. You should be able to pull the entire tendon out in one piece.
  5. If the tendon breaks, use the knife to make another small incision and try again.
  6. Once you have removed the tendon, you can cook the chicken tender as desired.
  7. Removing the tendon from chicken tenders can make them more tender and easier to eat. It’s a quick and easy process that can be done in just a few simple steps.

How Healthy Are Chicken Tenders?

Chicken tenders are a healthy choice when cooked and consumed in moderation. They are a good source of protein, essential for building and repairing tissues. However, the healthiness of chicken tenders depends on preparation and moderation.

Battery-fried chicken tenders can be high in calories, fat, and sodium, contributing to weight gain and health problems. Grilled, baked, or boiled chicken tenders without added fats and oils provide a healthy and nutritious protein source. Considering portion size when consuming chicken tenders is crucial, as overeating can lead to weight gain and health issues. A serving size of 3-4 ounces is typically recommended.

Chicken Tender Nutrition Facts

Here are the approximate nutrition facts for a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of boneless, skinless chicken tenders that have been boiled without added fat or seasoning:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 100
Protein 18 g
Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fiber0 g
Sugar0 g
Sodium50 mg
Cholesterol 50 mg
Vitamin D 0%

What if I Overboil Chicken Tenders?

If you overboil chicken tenders, they can become inflexible and dry. However, there are a few things you can do to salvage them:

  • Cut them into smaller pieces: If the chicken tenders are overcooked, cutting them into smaller pieces can help to make them more tender and easier to eat.
  • Use a sauce: Adding sauce or gravy to the chicken tenders can help to add moisture and flavor, making them more enjoyable to eat.
  • Shred them: Overcooked chicken tenders can be shredded and used in recipes such as chicken salad, soups, or casseroles.
  • Use broth: If the chicken tenders are too dry, you can try reheating them in chicken broth or stock to add moisture and flavor.

How To Store Chicken Tenders?

Proper storage of chicken tenders is vital to maintain their quality and safety. Here are some guidelines for storing chicken tenders:

  1. If you have purchased fresh chicken tenders you plan to use later, store them in the refrigerator. Place the chicken tenders in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator, typically the bottom shelf.
  2. If you have cooked chicken tenders you plan to wait to eat, let them cool to room temperature before storing them. Please place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  3. If you have leftover chicken tenders in the refrigerator for over four days, discard them.
  4. To freeze chicken tenders, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or place them in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Be sure to label the package with the date, and store the chicken tenders in the freezer for up to six months.
  5. When thawing frozen chicken tenders, please place them in the refrigerator to thaw slowly. This will help prevent bacteria growth and maintain the quality of the chicken.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating Chicken?

Chicken is a popular and versatile source of protein that can be prepared in many ways. However, eating chicken every day may have some side effects on your health, such as:

  • Increasing your cholesterol levels. A small study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that white meat chicken increased LDL “bad” cholesterol levels like red meat does. This can also have a direct impact on your risk of heart disease.
  • Exposing you to bacteria contamination. A study by Consumer Reports analyzed more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased from grocery stores in the United States and found that 97% of them harbored bacteria, some of which were resistant to antibiotics and could cause food poisoning.
  • Raising your risk of weight gain. A study from Loma Linda University compared the body mass index (BMI) of different diet types and found that vegetarians had a lower BMI than meat-eaters. The non-vegetarian participants consumed more saturated fat, trans fat, and less fiber than the vegetarian participants.
  • Increasing your chances of developing cancer. Some studies have suggested that eating chicken, especially if it is cooked at high temperatures or charred, may increase the risk of breast and colorectal cancer due to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic compounds.
  • Reducing your intake of plant proteins. Eating chicken daily may crowd out other sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy, which are rich in fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other nutrients that may benefit your health.

Therefore, it is advisable to moderate your chicken consumption and vary your protein sources to include more plant-based options. You should also choose lean cuts of chicken, remove the skin and fat, and cook it in healthy ways, such as baking, grilling, or steaming, to avoid adding extra calories and harmful substances.


Do Chicken Tenders Cook Faster Than Breasts?

Chicken tenders typically cook faster than chicken breasts due to their smaller size and thinner cut.

How To Use Tenderloins?

Tenderloins can be used in various ways, such as grilling, baking, or sautéing, and can be seasoned or marinated to add flavor.

How Long To Boil Raw Chicken Tenderloins?

Raw chicken tenderloins should be boiled for about 8-10 minutes or until their internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

How to Reheat Boiled Chicken Tenderloins?

To reheat boiled chicken tenderloins, place them in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel, then microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until heated through, or reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

How Long Does It Take To Boil Chicken Tenders For Shredding?

Chicken tenders can be boiled for 20-25 minutes for shredding or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), making them tender and easy to shred.


Chicken tenders are a versatile and nutritious protein source that can be boiled, grilled, baked, or sautéed. To maintain tenderness and juiciness, cook, season, and store them properly. Additionally, consider portion size and balance for a healthy and nutritious diet.

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Claire Lower

Claire is LiveandFeel Senior Food Editor. She has a BS in chemistry, a decade of food journalism experience, and a deep love for mayonnaise and MSG. As a Senior Food & Beverage Writer for liveandfeel, where I generate exciting content covering topics such as culinary trends, recipes, and perhaps even health and wellness aspects related to food. that not only informs but also captivates a sizable audience.

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