Have you ever thought you got the chicken out of the freezer for dinner and then realized about 30 minutes before dinner you hadn’t? Girl, I feel you. The first time I went to use our Instant Pot, I realized the chicken tenders were still frozen. But, guess what?! You can cook frozen chicken tenders in your Instant pot!
As busy moms, life can be so chaotic. Kids going in all directions and yet, they are still hungry. What?? Geez, I mean, I just fed you this morning! What is up? I love easy and simple meals, because this Mama doesn’t want to spend all day with meal prep. Using my Instant pot is my favorite way to cook chicken tenders and creates quick meals for your busy family.
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So if you have frozen chicken tenders or frozen chicken breasts or chicken thigh meat and an Instant Pot you can cook the chicken frozen. It’s also a great time saver! The best part to me though, is that it is a healthy meal for your family.
How to Cook Your Frozen Chicken Tenders in Your Instant Pot
The first step is to break apart any chicken that is together. If you can’t pull them apart, put the chicken in a cup of water (cold) for 20-30 minutes, and they will break apart. This is important because if not the chicken may not cook evenly.
Second, grab a cup of liquid. You can simply use water or chicken broth. Either works really well. I like using the chicken broth because it gives the chicken tenders a little more flavor.
Instant Pot Instructions
Fill the bottom of the pot with 1 cup water or 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 pound of chicken. You don’t need the trivet. You can simply throw everything in the Instant pot. For best results, I try to add the chicken in a single layer in the bottom of the pot.
Cook it on high pressure for 6 minutes. If you have a “poultry setting’, you can choose that setting. Let it “natural pressure release” for 5 minutes. Yes, it is that easy! Make sure after the 5 minutes to quick release your instant pot in case there is still steam in the pot. Use tongs to remove the cooked meat from the inner pot after the 5 minutes is up.
If you are adding more than 1 pound of chicken, make sure and adjust your cooking time and add another cup of liquid
This cooking process will make your chicken tenders SO tender and juicy. If you want to make sure your instant pot chicken tenders are fully cooked, you can use a digital thermometer and make sure your chicken is an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How awesome is that Mama? You can have your meal prep done and on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Other Types of Chicken You Can Use
You can use any type of chicken in your Instant Pot. The thicker the chicken, you may want to adjust your cooking time just a little bit. Our favorite chicken in the instant pot includes:
- Fresh chicken breast
- Chicken thighs
- Boneless chicken breasts
Cooked Chicken Meal Ideas
There are so many options for meals when you cook the chicken tenders. Here are a few of our family’s favorite meal ideas.
Chicken Caesar salad: Simply pick up a Caesar salad mix at the grocery store and add the baked chicken to the top.
Chicken tacos : You will need shredded chicken for this recipe. The best way to do this is use your hand mixer and shred your chicken. It’s super fast and the kids think it’s fun to help with. In a bowl, add taco seasoning and some of the cooking liquid until it is the consistency your family likes.
I simply heat flour tortillas and grab a cup of salsa, shredded cheese and some sour cream and dinner is done.
Chicken strips: My kids love the chicken tenders with some fruit or vegetables. Sometimes I will add Garlic powder or Italian seasoning to the chicken tenders to give them some more flavor
Mama, the next time you forget to take out the frozen chicken tenders, no worries You can have a delicious dinner in less than 30 minutes, and you can use any leftovers the next day for lunch. If you want to freeze the chicken tenders, simply put them in a freezer bag and put them in your freezer.