Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

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Using the Instant Pot to cook chicken tenderloins from frozen or fresh is a fast and easy way to prepare chicken that is juicy and cooked perfectly in a flash.

» You might like these Instant Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers or Instant Pot Olive Garden Chicken Pasta.

Cooked Chicken Tenderloins

Many of us don’t plan ahead enough to defrost chicken in time to prepare it for dinner. It’s so much easier not to do the defrosting part at all. That’s not a problem with the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook chicken very quickly, it can be done from frozen and it turns out really good.

I rarely thaw chicken before cooking anymore, since it’s really unnecessary when cooking in the Instant Pot. It takes just a few minutes longer than cooking thawed chicken and it turns out just as juicy and tender.

I realize this isn’t our typical recipe, as there are only 2 ingredients, but I also guarantee it’ll be the one you come back to again and again, when you forget how many minutes to cook it for. That’s because chicken is one of those easy dinner ideas that can be used in just about any recipe.

Chicken tacos anyone?

shredded chicken tacos

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

Necessary Ingredients

You can cook as many chicken tenderloins in the Instant Pot at once as you need to. It takes the same amount of chicken broth to cook 4 pieces as it does for 30 pieces. Just don’t go past the fill line.

Instant Pot with Ingredients

The only things you need for this recipe are:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper

If you don’t want to use chicken broth or don’t happen to have any on hand, that’s not a problem. You can just use water. It won’t give as much of a rich seasoned flavor, but it’s still very good.

Additions & Variations

You can add any manner of different spices as well. Try:

No matter what flavor combo you want to try, you still need at least 1 cup of water in your pot. So keep that in mind when you add sauces, they are in addition to the water. This will mean that your sauce will turn out a bit watery and will have to be cooked down or thickened with corn starch.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in the Instant Pot

The process for making frozen chicken tenderloins in the Instant Pot is the same as making it from thawed, you just need to add a little bit of extra time to make sure the chicken gets up to the correct internal temperature. Following these easy steps.

before and after cooking
  1. Pour one cup of chicken broth into the inner pot.
  2. Place the frozen chicken tenders in the liquid.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any other desired seasonings.
  4. Lock the lid and turn the vent to sealing.
  5. Press the “pressure cook” button and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes (8 minutes for more than 15 tenderloins).
  6. When done, verify that the internal temp of the chicken is at least 165 degrees.

What to Use Chicken Tenderloins For

One of the best things about chicken tenderloins is that they can be used for so many different dishes. Once you’ve got this method down, you’ll be making them all the time. When they come out of the Instant Pot, you can serve them whole with a dipping sauce, or add sauce and seasoning so them.

Cooked Chicken Tenderloins

This gives you the most versatility because you can cook a lot of plain chicken in one go and then use it for many different meals throughout the week.

Use chicken tenderloins to make:

Those are just a few ideas. I’m sure you can come up with hundreds more. You can also add seasonings and sauces directly to the inner pot to flavor your chicken. You might try adding BBQ sauce directly to the pot, or add Italian dressing for a zesty chicken.

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Cooked Chicken Tenderloins

Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Tenders

Using the Instant Pot to cook chicken tenderloins from frozen or fresh is a fast and easy way to prepare chicken that is juicy and cooked perfectly in a flash.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.84 from 31 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 6 mins
Pressurize Time 10 mins
Total Time 19 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 pound chicken tenders frozen (350g)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Pour the broth into the inner pot. Place the chicken in the water and season with salt and pepper.
  • Close and lock the lid. Set the vent to sealing.
  • Press the pressure cook button and set to 6 minutes. It will take about 5 minutes to come up to pressure.
  • After cooking, allow a natural pressure release.
  • Serve chicken tenders whole or shred for shredded chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 18gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 314mgPotassium: 362mgVitamin A: 27IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken
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Cooked Chicken Tenderloins

8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

  1. Pam R. says:

    5 stars
    I’ve used my Instant Pot for years, but wasn’t convinced frozen chicken tenderloins would turn out well. Boy, was I wrong!! This simple recipe is not only a huge time saver, but the chicken tenderloins turned out incredibly juicy and tender! I added a couple TBS of butter prior to cooking, but that’s the only alteration to this wonderful recipe. Very glad I gave this a try!

  2. Jillian says:

    Can’t wait to try your method! Last week I used timing for regular size frozen chicken breasts and my poor little tenderloins turned to rubber, now my jaw hurts from chewing so much all week, lol. One question: How long do you allow for natural release? Do you wait til the little metal thingy drops, or for a certain amount of time? I don’t want to make rubber chicken again, haha. Thanks!

    • Laura says:

      Hi Jillian. I do a natural pressure release, which means letting the metal pin drop. However, it only really needs a 5-10 minute release, so you can let the rest out yourself if you’re in a hurry.

  3. Eric says:

    How do you deal with the tender running through the chicken tenderloin? Are you able to remove it after cooking?

    • Laura says:

      You can remove it carefully with a knife (even from frozen) before cooking, but I usually will just remove it after cooking, if it’s bothersome. Sometimes you don’t notice it.

  4. Meg says:

    3 stars
    Maybe this should be obvious, but this recipe only works for chicken tenders that come frozen in a bag. If you buy chicken tenders at the grocery store (more cost-effective) and then freeze them, they will be clumped together and the recipe won’t work. The inner ones won’t cook, and the outer ones will. I had to add like 8 minutes onto the recipe, and some are overcooked now unfortunately.

    • Laura says:

      The ones I used in this recipe were a block of frozen tenderloins that were clumped together. You can see them in the images. They turned out well for me, all cooked through and none were overcooked.

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