Master Guide: Cooking Juicy Chicken Tenderloins in Your Instant Pot

Looking to whip up a quick, flavorful dinner? You’re in the right place. We’re diving into the wonderful world of Instant Pot cooking, specifically focusing on chicken tenderloins. This versatile protein is a favorite in many households, and we’re about to make it even more appealing.

There’s a reason why the Instant Pot has become a kitchen staple. It’s a game-changer for those busy weeknights when you need a meal on the table fast. With our guide, you’ll discover just how simple it is to create tender, juicy chicken tenderloins in your Instant Pot.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand your Instant Pot: Utilize the Instant Pot’s various features to cut down cooking time by up to 70%. Ensure enough liquid is added for efficient steam production and familiarize yourself with the Instant Pot models and their unique features for optimal use.
  • Preparing the chicken: Quality chicken tenderloins, ideally organic, free-range and boneless determine the success of your dish. Proper cleaning, followed by an enriching marination process, further enhances the taste.
  • Cooking the tenderloins: Carry out the water test to ensure the Instant Pot’s functionality, followed by the sautéing and pressure cooking of tenderloins. An ideal timing for chicken tenderloins in an Instant Pot is 10 minutes of pressure cooking.
  • Serving: Practice appropriately timed pressure release for juicier results and let the cooked tenderloins rest before serving to enhance flavour. Pair them with quick side dishes for a balanced meal.
  • Safety measures: Regularly check essential components of the Instant Pot for defects and ensure safe methods for pressure releasing to prevent accidents or mishaps.
  • Cleaning and maintenance: Thorough post-cooking cleaning and regular inspections of the Instant Pot enhances efficiency and longevity, keeping it in top shape for consistent results.

Understanding Your Instant Pot

The power tools in your kitchen arsenal can offer you exciting dining possibilities. Your Instant Pot offers such a capability for delicious meals, like tender and juicy chicken tenderloins. To best utilize this convenience kitchen tool, a little understanding goes a long way.

The Basics of Pressure Cooking

Pressure cooking, at its core, is a method of cooking using liquid in a sealed pot to create steam. This steam build-up results in intense pressure and temperature, for example, in the Instant Pot, it can go as high as 10.2 – 11.6 psi. This high pressure significantly cuts down the cooking time by as much as 70%.

An essential strategy in pressure cooking, like preparing chicken tenderloins in an Instant Pot, is to ensure enough liquid is added to produce steam. Generally, for most recipes, this entails a minimum of 1 cup of liquid, typically water, broth, or sauce.

Instant Pot Models and Features

An Instant Pot comes in various models, each adding unique features. The Instapot Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Ultra, and Max models all have pressure-cooking abilities, while features such as yogurt capability, sous vide precision cooking and high altitude adjustments make some models more versatile. However, every model, no matter the features, is adept at cooking chicken tenderloins quickly and easily.

Common features across most models include slow cooking, pressure cooking, rice cooking, and sauté/browning. Conversely, specific models offer extra programs like egg cooking, cake baking, and sterilizing.

In selecting an Instant Pot, consider the size – they range from 3 to 8 quarts – catering to different family sizes or meal preferences. Also, the array of programmable settings allows flexible meal preparations according to your schedule and recipe requirements, ensuring you a hot, home-cooked meal with little fuss.

Preparing Chicken Tenderloins

Delving further into the process of cooking chicken tenderloins in an Instant Pot, it’s essential to focus on the initial preparation stages to guarantee a flavorful outcome. Here are two main factors to consider: the selection of the right chicken tenderloins and appropriate methods for cleaning and marinating.

Selecting the Right Chicken Tenderloins

Choosing top-quality chicken tenderloins is your first successful step towards a savory dish. Fresh, full-sized tenderloins make for the tastiest Instant Pot chicken. These tenderloins, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches wide, cook evenly and offer a succulent bite. When purchasing, inspect the meat carefully. It should possess a pink hue and have no lingering foul odor. Avoid products labeled as “enhanced” or “seasoned,” since they often contain extra sodium or preservatives.

Ensure your chosen tenderloins are boneless, as bones can interfere with the Instant Pot’s pressure cooking process. Remember, organic, free-range chicken tenderloins are the top-rated choice, praised for their superior taste and ethical farming practices.

Cleaning and Marinating

Before cooking, it’s important to clean the chicken tenderloins properly. Rinse them under cold water and pat dry using a clean kitchen towel, removing any residual blood or unwanted tissue. However, to be on the safe side, avoid rinsing poultry too frequently, as it could spread bacteria around your kitchen.

Marination is a decisive phase that enriches the taste of your tenderloins. It’s a process of infusing the chicken with seasonings and marinades, that can really transform your dish from good to exceptional. A simple marinade could include ingredients like lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs such as thyme and rosemary. For maximum flavor saturation, it’s best if you marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes before pressure cooking in the Instant Pot. If you have extra time, consider marinating the chicken overnight in the refrigerator for a richer flavor profile.

After gaining a concrete understanding of these preparation steps, you’ll be ready to cook your chicken tenderloins in the Instant Pot, setting the stage for a meal guaranteed to delight.

Cooking Chicken Tenderloins in Your Instant Pot

Moving directly from your detailed preparation, you’re now ready to learn the actual cooking process, focusing on using your Instant Pot.

The Water Test

This pre-cooking step tests the functionality of your Instant Pot, ensuring it’s ready to cook your marinated chicken tenderloins properly. Pour two cups of water into the pot, seal the lid, and set the vent position to “sealing”. Select “steam” or “pressure cook” and set the timer for two minutes. Once the time is up, allow the steam to release naturally, then remove the lid. If the water has been heated and steam was released, your Instant Pot is working correctly.

Steps for Cooking Chicken Tenderloins

From water testing to the actual cooking, the process is straightforward. Firstly, turn on your Instant Pot and choose the “Sauté” mode. Pour some olive oil into the pot, let it heat for a minute, then add your marinated chicken tenderloins.

Sauté each side of the tenderloins for about three minutes until they become golden brown. Once sautéed, remove the tenderloins and add a cup of chicken broth into your pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any stuck bits – they contain concentrated flavor!

Carefully reposition your chicken tenderloins in the broth, ensuring they’re equally distributed in the liquid. Seal the lid, check the vent is set to “sealing”, then select “Pressure Cook” or “Manual”, depending on your Instant Pot model.

Timing and Temperature Settings

The appropriate duration for cooking your chicken tenderloins in an Instant Pot rests at 10 minutes on “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” setting. After the time elapses, allow the steam to release naturally for at least five minutes. Then, carefully quick-release the remaining steam before removing the lid.

Serving Your Instant Pot Chicken Tenderloins

Let’s transition from the preparation to presenting your meal. By understanding the advantages of quick vs. natural release, allowing the chicken to rest before serving, and complementing it with thoughtful side dishes, you’ll ensure an unforgettable culinary experience.

Quick Release vs. Natural Release

The moment your Instant Pot signals the end of cooking, you’re confronted with a decision: Quick Release (QR) or Natural Release (NR). QR refers to the instant venting of pressure, accessible by moving the venting knob to the venting position. NR, on the other hand, means allowing the pressure to decrease by itself. It may take up to 25 minutes. When it comes to chicken, NR often provides juicier results. Remember, it preserves moisture, making it ideal for chicken tenderloins.

Resting Chicken Before Serving

Hold on! Don’t dig into your chicken tenderloins immediately after they’re out of the pot. Let them rest for about 5 minutes. It might seem counterproductive, but it’s a vital step. You’re allowing the chicken to reabsorb the juices that might otherwise run out onto the plate, drying the meat. By letting it sit, you’re ensuring a juicier bite every time.

Side Dish Suggestions

It’s time to provide your plate with some balance – the perfect companions to your tender chicken tenderloins. Some ideas include fluffy rice to soak up that delicious chicken broth, steamed veggies for a color and nutrition boost, or a simple green salad for a refreshing crunch. When you’re eager to enjoy your perfectly cooked chicken tenderloins, these quick sides round out your plate seamlessly. Remember, it’s all about achieving a complete and balanced meal.

Safety Tips for Pressure Cooking

While the Instant Pot simplifies the process of cooking chicken tenderloins, ensuring proper safety measures is of utmost importance. The following are some essential tips pertaining to pressure cooking and the use of an Instant Pot to further augment your culinary skills.

Checking the Seal and Components

An optional yet essential task involves thoroughly checking your Instant Pot’s seal and other key components before initiating the cooking process. Start by assessing the seal located in the lid; ensure it’s clean, intact, and properly placed. Upon noticing cracks or damage on the ring, replace it immediately to prevent any operational mishap.

Similarly, carefully check the steam release valve and float valve, which play vital roles in pressure building and releasing. These components must be clean and move freely to function effectively. Remember, operational errors emerge, primarily when component defects prevail, hindering a safe cooking environment.

Releasing Pressure Safely

The pressure release component of pressure cooking is where the utmost care needs exercise. Moving towards the concluding stage, pressure releasing involves two methods: Quick Release (QR) and Natural Release (NR). Remember to use a long utensil, such as a wooden spoon, or wear heat-resistant mitts when using the QR method, ensuring your hands remain at a safe distance from the steam vent.

Alternatively, for the NR method, sit back and let the pot reduce pressure naturally without human intervention. However, keep away from the Instant Pot during this process, as a sudden steam burst might occur. Remember, safe execution of these steps will not only protect you from harm but will also enhance the flavors of your delicacies and give you a memorable cooking experience.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Instant Pot

After serving up your scrumptious Instant Pot chicken tenderloins, you’ll likely have to deal with the aftermath in your kitchen – cleaning up. Here, we’ll also chat about some tips and tricks to make your Instant Pot last longer.

Post-Cooking Clean-Up

After cooking a batch of delicious tenderloins, cleaning your Instant Pot goes beyond just a wipe-down. Before proceeding, remove the sealing ring and inner pot. Submerge them alongside the lid in warm, soapy water. A gentle scrub, primarily focused on the ring and the valve, eliminates lingering food particles. For stubborn stains, a mixture of baking soda and water does the job. Similarly, the steam rack benefits from a good rinse after use.

On the device’s exterior, a damp cloth suffices to remove fingerprints or smudges. Take note, water on the cooker base can harm the electric elements, avoid direct contact. Furthermore, utilize a cotton swab for hard-to-reach areas.

Making Your Instant Pot Last

A well-maintained Instant Pot not only cooks efficiently but also stands the test of time. Regular deep-cleanings, especially post-cooking, influence its longevity. Above all, regular inspection of the sealing ring proves crucial. This silicon ring can suffer wear and tear over time, possibly affecting your pot’s capability to reach the necessary pressure. Replacing it every 12 to 24 months, depending on usage, helps keep your cooker in top shape.

Additionally, make sure the steam release valve and float valve are unobstructed prior to each use – a quick rinse is enough. Storing it in a dry, cool place helps as well. While it’s tempting to leave the pot on the countertop ready for the next meal, dust and kitchen grime can accumulate if left out for long periods.


So, you’ve mastered the art of cooking chicken tenderloins in your Instant Pot. You’re aware of how the Quick Release and Natural Release methods can impact the tenderness of your chicken. You’ve learned the importance of letting the chicken rest before serving and how the right side dishes can elevate your meal. You’ve also understood the value of safety while using your Instant Pot, knowing how to check the seal and components before you start cooking. You’ve grasped the methods of pressure release and why it’s essential to use the right utensils. Finally, you’ve delved into the cleaning and maintenance of your Instant Pot, ensuring it’s well cared for and ready for your next culinary adventure. Now, with all these tips and techniques at your fingertips, you’re set to make the most out of your Instant Pot and enjoy delicious, perfectly cooked chicken tenderloins every time.

How do I prepare chicken tenderloins in an Instant Pot?

You can prepare chicken tenderloins by adding them into the Instant Pot, along with desired herbs and spices, and water. The article contains specific steps and the necessary cooking duration for the chicken to be properly cooked.

Do I use Quick Release or Natural Release when cooking chicken in an Instant Pot?

The choice between Quick Release and Natural Release method depends on your cooking preference. However, for chicken tenderloins, it’s recommended to use Quick Release to prevent overcooking.

Why is it important to rest the chicken after cooking?

Resting the chicken after cooking allows for the redistribution and absorption of juices, resulting in a more flavorful, juicy chicken tenderloin.

What safety measures should I consider when using an Instant Pot?

Before starting, check the Instant Pot’s seal and components to ensure good condition and proper fit. It’s also important to use proper utensils when releasing pressure to avoid accidents.

How should I clean and maintain my Instant Pot?

To keep your Instant Pot in optimal condition, remove and clean the sealing ring and inner pot. It’s also important to regularly inspect components like the sealing ring and follow proper storage practices.