First off, let’s clear up what exactly a chicken tender is. The term “chicken tender” often gets used interchangeably with “chicken strip” or “chicken nugget,” but they’re actually not the same thing. A chicken tender (also known as a chicken tenderloin) is a whole cut of chicken taken from a small muscle located behind the breast meat. Chicken strips and nuggets, on the other hand, are often produced from sliced or ground chicken from other areas.
When I visited my local Costco Warehouse here in Issaquah, Washington, I was able to find four different types of chicken tenders–one frozen and three fresh. But when I glanced online, I noticed that there are even more frozen options to be found there. So, depending on where you shop, you’re sure to find several different options to choose from.
Whether fresh or frozen, all of the Costco chicken tenderloins discussed in this article are sold raw and must be fully cooked before serving. Please be aware that consuming chicken under 165°F is a common cause of food poisoning. Investing in a meat thermometer is recommended for anyone who prepares chicken regularly.
Frozen Chicken Tenders
Most of the time when people talk about Costco chicken tenders, they’re talking about the classic Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins, which come in 6-lb bags in the frozen section. These chicken tenders are ice glazed (which helps them to retain moisture and freshness), not breaded, and they contain nothing but chicken, water, and kosher salt. In stores, these bags are currently priced at $17.99 per bag.
The Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins are also available on Costco.com for a few dollars more, at $21.99.
These Tyson Panko Breaded Chicken Tenderloins are most likely available at many Costco Warehouse locations, but I wasn’t able to find them in stock at my local spot. Online, they run at $24.99 per bag.
When shopping online, you can also find bags of Crescent Foods Halal All Natural Breaded Chicken Tenders for $20.99.
Fresh Chicken Tenders
In addition to the frozen options discussed above, I was also able to find three different kinds of fresh chicken tenders at my local Costco.
These Kirkland Signature Fresh Boneless & Skinless Chicken Tenderloins are currently available for $3.79 per pound and are advertised as being 99% fat free…
There’s also an organic version of Kirkland Signature’s Fresh Chicken Tenderloins, which are available for $5.99 per pound…
And finally, I also found a Kirkland Signature and Foster Farms-branded package of fresh chicken tenderloins for just $1.99 per pound…
Unfortunately, these fresh chicken tenders are not available on Costco.com, as Costco only sells meat online that can be shipped frozen. Check out your local Costco Warehouse fresh meat section (located near the deli) to find these fresh options.
Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins
The most common type of chicken tenders purchased at Costco are their frozen Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins, so those are the ones we’ll be focusing on for the rest of this article.
If you’ve got a bag of Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins waiting in your freezer, we’re here to offer a few of the most delicious ways to prepare them.
But first, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of these chicken tenders…
Calories & Nutrition
First off, the chicken used to produce these chicken tenders is raised with zero antibiotics (which we love). Additionally, they contain zero added hormones or steroids, and the chickens were hatched, raised, and harvested in the US.
Each 6-lb bag of Costco chicken tenders contains about 24 servings, making each serving about 4 oz.
In one 4-oz serving, you’ll be consuming 100 calories from 1 gram of fat, 75 mg of cholesterol, 200 mg of sodium, and 23 grams of protein.
Best Ways To Prepare Costco Chicken Tenders
Based on what we’ve gathered from loads of different Costco shoppers, we’ve determined that the three most popular ways to prepare Costco chicken tenders are baking, air frying, and pan frying. But these aren’t the only methods you can use. If you’re a fan of grilling and barbecuing, you can absolutely prepare them that way as well.
Regardless of how you decide to prepare your chicken tenders, just remember that you should always make sure they’ve reached at least 165°F before you eat them. Consuming undercooked chicken can easily cause food poisoning, and none of the chicken tenders sold at Costco are precooked.
1) Baked Chicken Tenders
By far one of the easiest, healthiest, and most delicious ways to prepare frozen chicken tenders is to bake them in the oven.
This recipe from The Feathered Nester shares a classic and simple method for preparing chicken tenders in the oven, and it takes just 25 minutes total! The recipe is even customizable, so you can exchange the recommended spices for your own blend to create your own unique recipe.
The basic technique for baking Costco chicken tenders in the oven involves heating your oven to 350°F and baking them for about 15-20 minutes.
2) Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
If you’re an air fryer fanatic, then you’ll definitely want to check out this recipe from Costco Kitchen.
Air frying Costco chicken tenders according to this recipe involves about 20 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cook time (10 minutes per batch with two batches). So, it’s a bit more involved than some other air fryer recipes, but the results look and sound totally amazing!
3) Pan Fried Chicken Tenders
If you’re like me, then you might prefer making just about everything in a pan on the stove. For me, it just always feels easier than having to preheat something and wait.
Luckily, you can totally pan fry your Costco chicken tenders! Check out this method a Redditor describes…