I recently accidentally ended up with a bag of frozen chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts when I was planning to use for a chicken chili verde 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
- 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.
Ingredients & supplies you need:
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2.5 lb bag of frozen chicken tenders (we used the Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tenderloin)
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
An instant pot
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Tenders
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.
Start by pouring 1 cup of chicken broth into the bottom of the instant pot or pressure cooker. You won't need to insert your rack for this recipe.
If I was using fresh chicken I’d add a little more liquid, but since these are frozen you only need 1 cup of broth.
Definitely do not use less than 1 cup of broth since that’s the minimum needed to allow your pressure cooker to create the steam and pressure needed to properly cook the chicken.
Add the frozen chicken tenders to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, I love to use long-handled rubber tip tongs for the job.
You might also hear these called chicken tenderloin and those terms (chicken tenders or chicken tenderloin) can be used interchangeably.
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.
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.
Shredding 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?
Storing and Freezing Extra Chicken
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!
Other Recipes You'll Love:
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 2.5 lb bag of frozen chicken tenders
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Place the chicken on top of the broth and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pot.
- Turn Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook (depending on model) and Pressure Cook the chicken for 6 minutes.
- After it's done cooking, do a Natural Release for 5 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure in the pot.
- Remove the chicken with tongs and use in your favorite recipe! This especially works well for shredding chicken for casseroles, salads, and soups.
This recipe works best when you're cooking at least 1 ½ lb- 2 ½ lb of chicken tenders, if you're reducing the number of chicken tenders in the recipe, it would also reduce the cooking time.
This recipe is meant for individually quick frozen chicken tenderloins, not a block of frozen chicken tenders.
It's ok to substitute water or juice (like apple or pineapple) for the chicken broth and to skip the salt and pepper depending on what recipe you need the chicken tenders for.
Cooked chicken tenders can easily be shredded for recipes by using two forks, meat claws, or shredding them in a hand mixer or stand mixer.
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Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 139Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 21mgSodium 572mgCarbohydrates 1gNet Carbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 9g