Learn how to cook chicken tenders in an Instant Pot, the quick and easy way! You'll love this easy method for cooking Instant Pot frozen chicken tenders to be used in other recipes like casseroles, chicken salads, sandwiches, and more. It's a Whole Lotta Yum!
Instant Pot Chicken Tenders Recipe
I recently accidentally ended up with a bag of frozen chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts when I was planning to use them for a chicken green chili casserole.
At first, I was a little disappointed for grabbing the wrong bag, but since I regularly make frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, I knew I could easily make Instant Pot frozen chicken tenders too.
I realized that not only do I love cooking with frozen chicken tenders, I actually prefer cooking with them when I needed shredded or chopped chicken for a recipe.
Here’s why using instant pot frozen chicken tenders for recipes is so amazing:
- Frozen chicken costs less than fresh
- Frozen chicken tenders cost less than frozen chicken breasts
- They're terrific for assembling meal prep recipes and freezer meals for later.
- Chicken breasts are often irregular sizes whereas chicken tenders are a uniform size
- Using your Instant Pot or a pressure cooker to cook frozen chicken tenders makes them really moist and ideal whether you need them sliced in a recipe or shredded.
Chicken Tenders Instant Pot Ingredients
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 2.5 lb bag of frozen chicken tenders (we used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tenderloin)
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- An Instant Pot
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tenderloins
Instant pot frozen chicken tenders cook up lickety-split and I know will become a recipe you use time and time again for salads, casseroles, soups, and other meal favorites.
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of water or chicken broth into the bottom of the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. You won't need to insert your rack for this recipe.
Step 2: Add the frozen chicken tenders to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, we recommend using long-handled rubber tip tongs for the job.
Step 3: Turn your Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook (depending on your IP model). Close and tighten the pressure cooker lid and cook the chicken for 6 minutes on high.
Step 4: Once the cooking time is done, do a natural release for 5 minutes and then remove the lid. Remove the chicken tenders from the Instant Pot and let it cool slightly before slicing or shredding the chicken. Enjoy!
- You might also hear these called chicken tenderloin and those terms (chicken tenders or chicken tenderloin) can be used interchangeably.
- This recipe works best if you're cooking 2 lb-2 ½ lb individual frozen chicken tenders at one time. The cooking time will change if you're perhaps cooking just 4 chicken tenders or a block of frozen solid chicken tenderloins.
- It's easy to change up the flavor of the chicken depending on how you're using them after cooking! Feel free to add Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, or your favorite spice rub mix.
Shredding Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
While you can definitely shred the chicken tenders with a fork or even something like these nifty meat claws, if you have either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, you can quickly and perfectly shred the chicken in under 30 seconds.
Who knew shredding chicken could be so fast and easy?
How to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Tacos: Shred the cooked chicken tenders and use them as the primary filling for soft or crunchy tacos. Garnish with lettuce, salsa, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.
- Chicken Salad: Dice the chicken tenders, add a dressing and your favorite mix-ins like celery, cranberries, grapes, or nuts, and serve them over salad greens.
- Chicken Wraps: Use large lettuce leaves or tortilla wraps to bundle the chicken tenders with other ingredients like avocado, tomato, cucumber, and a drizzle of sauce or dressing.
- Pasta with Chicken: Slice the chicken tenders and mix them into your preferred pasta recipe. They work well in both cream and tomato-based sauces.
- Chicken and Rice: Serve the chicken tenders over a bed of steamed rice. Complement with a side of stir-fried vegetables or a light salad.
- Chicken Tenders Sandwich: Place a couple of chicken tenders between two pieces of bread or a bun. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite sauce or mayo for a quick and tasty sandwich.
Chicken Tenders Instant Pot Storage
Storage: While you might not need an entire bag of frozen chicken tenders for the recipe you’re making, it’s so easy to get them cooked all at once and then store the remaining cooked chicken in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for later use.
Freezing shredded chicken is super easy and a great way to keep extra on hand when you need it for a last-minute recipe.
To freeze shredded chicken :
Put the chicken in quart size freezer bags and squeeze the air out of the bag to help it last as long as possible. Frozen shredded chicken should keep for about 2 months.
We also LOVE to use our Seal-a-Meal to store pre-cooked frozen chicken! Vacuum sealed chicken pieces will last in the freezer for about 9 months.
Cooking instant pot chicken tenders from frozen is such an easy and economical way to have extra chicken on hand whenever you need it for a recipe. Let us know how things work for you and your pressure cooker!
Frozen Chicken Tenders Instant Pot FAQs
How do you keep chicken from getting chewy in Instant Pot?
- Correct Cooking Time: Overcooking chicken can result in tough, chewy meat. Make sure you're cooking your chicken just until 165 F or even a few degrees less since they keep cooking during rest time.
- Natural Release: Instead of quickly releasing the pressure, which can toughen the chicken, let the pressure release naturally for at least minutes before opening the vent.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Don't pack too many chicken tenders into the pot at once. Cooking too few chicken tenders will also overcook the meat! That’s why our recipe is ideal for a 2-2.5 lb bag of frozen chicken tenderloins.
- Resting: Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to rest before cutting into it. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, making it tender and juicy.
We have a TON of chicken tenderloin recipes on our website! They're easy, quick cooking, healthy, and cheap.
- Air fryer chicken tenderloin
- Pan fried chicken tenders
- How to cook chicken tenders
- Air fryer BBQ chicken tenders
- Healthy baked chicken tenders
- Blackened chicken tenders
- Air fryer chicken tenders (no flour)
- Air fryer chicken tenders (keto)