This recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Tenders is simply seasoned and easy to cook. You’ll have chicken ready in no time! Serve them with fries, rice, in sandwiches or salads, and you’ll have the perfect dinner that was prepared with minimal effort.
Chicken tenders might be one of my favorite cuts of chicken. I love the softer texture, and the fact that they are smaller than chicken breasts and cook up quicker. Kids love these, and I serve them in all types of ways that the whole family enjoys.
This pressure cooker chicken tenders recipe is no-fuss, and easily dressed up with your favorite seasonings. I’m using just salt, pepper, and oregano for a classic chicken flavor.
Other Instant Pot chicken basics are these Instant Pot chicken thighs, and this easy Instant Pot whole chicken. Both recipes are great, I make them all the time, and they have been reader’s favorites for a while now!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s Simple – Minimal ingredients and steps are needed to be successful in making instant pot chicken tenders.
- It’s Delicious – The Instant pot does such a great job cooking chicken that is tender, juicy, and flavorful.
- It’s Versatile – Cooked chicken tenders can be eaten as is, dipped in your favorite sauces, or used in your favorite chicken recipes. You can also adjust the seasonings to your own tastes. I’ll give some suggestions below.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Breasts and Chicken Tenderloins?
The tenderloin is a distinct section of meat from the chicken that comes from the underside of the breast. If you are disassembling a whole chicken, you might see that there is a separate muscle there. This muscle gets less use, and is, therefore, more tender than the rest of the chicken breast.
Chicken tenders are smaller than chicken breasts, and therefore cook faster and more evenly. One chicken tender can range in weight between one and four ounces, making them excellent for portion control and perfectly sized for eating with your fingers.
Ingredients in Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Tenders – They’re called mini chicken fillets in the UK. You’ll need about 2 pounds/900g of chicken tenders for this recipe.
- Olive Oil – we’ll quickly brown the chicken in olive oil before pressure cooking to get that nice, brown crust.
- Salt and Pepper – Simple seasonings let the chicken flavor really shine.
- Oregano – a bit of dried oregano goes in many of my chicken recipes. I love the flavor.
- Water – You’ll need 1 cup of water for a 6 quart instant pot, and 1 ½ cups for an 8 quart pot.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
- Turn On the Instant Pot: Set the Instant pot to SAUTE on normal.
- Add Chicken: Heat olive oil in the pot, then add the chicken tenders. Season them with salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Saute: Brown the chicken tenders for 1 or 2 minutes on each side. This step is optional, but recommended for better texture and locking in the flavor.
- Deglaze: Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Deglaze the pot by adding a little bit of water and scraping off any bits of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Set Up Instant Pot: Place the trivet in the Instant Pot, and add the rest of the water.
- Add The Chicken: Return the chicken tenders to the Instant Pot, stacked on the trivet.
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 3 minutes.
- Manual Release: When the cooking program ends, quickly release the steam. Remove the tenders from the Instant Pot, serve, and enjoy!
Total Time for Cooking Instant Pot Chicken Tenders
This will depend on your Instant Pot model, but for me, it takes about 6 minutes to brown the chicken and deglaze the pot and then 10 minutes for the machine to get up to pressure. Then the three minute cook time. So, in total this should take you about 20 minutes to make!
How to Trim Chicken Tenderloins
Chicken tenders are an amazing cut of chicken, but they can be annoying because of that thick, white tendon they have in the middle. While it’s totally acceptable to cook chicken tenders with the tendon in, eating them is much more enjoyable if the tendon is removed.
There are a couple different ways to remove the chicken tender tendon easily.
- Cutting out the Tendon is tricky, but it can be done with a very sharp knife and some patience. Generally, the tendon is long and goes the entire length of the tender, so it can take time to get it out cleanly while leaving the piece of chicken intact.
- Pulling out the tendon is quicker and much easier. Use a knife to cut around the top of the tendon so that you can get a hold of it. With one hand, use a fork or knife to hold the chicken in place, and with the other hand, pull the tendon out. You may need to use a paper towel to grip the tendon as it can be slippery!
How To Serve Pressure Cooker Chicken Tenders
I like to serve these right out of the pot with our family’s favorite dipping sauces.
This copycat Cane’s Sauce is addicting and totally perfect for any kind of chicken dipping.
Kids will love these Instant Pot chicken tenders with just a bit of ketchup on the side.
Variations on this Pressure Cooker Chicken Tender Recipe
You can add any seasonings that you love to add more flavor to this recipe. White meat chicken has the ability to soak in any flavors that you want to add to it, making it a versatile protein. Try these:
- Italian Seasoning
- Smoked Paprika and Onion Powder
- Cajun Seasoning
- Lemon Pepper
Looking for more ways to cook chicken tenders? I have them!
Best Side Dishes for Chicken Tenders
The great thing about these chicken tenders is that they go well with just about anything!
Honestly, whatever sides your family loves will be perfect. Don’t stress about it, chicken tenders taste great with everything.
Enjoy the simplicity and ease of these Instant Pot chicken tenders for a simple weeknight dinner. Don’t forget to Pin this recipe so more people can enjoy it too!
- 2 lbs (900g) chicken tenders they're called mini chicken fillets in the UK
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup (250ml) water See Note 3
- Instant Pot
- On the Instant Pot, choose the SAUTE setting on normal to heat the Instant Pot.
- Heat olive oil in the Instant Pot, then add the chicken tenders. Season them with salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Brown the chicken tenders for 1-2 minutes on each side. This step is optional but recommended for better texture and locking in the flavor.
- Remove the chicken tenders from the Instant Pot.
- Deglaze the pot by adding a little bit of water and scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Place the trivet in the Instant Pot, and add a cup of water.
- Stack the tenders on the trivet (or use a steamer basket if you prefer).
- Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 3 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take around 5 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking. When the cooking program ends, quickly release the steam.
- Remove the chicken tenders from the Instant Pot, serve and enjoy!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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