Are you wondering how these plant based tenders taste? I’d been eyeballing them for a while before finally biting the bullet and buying some a few weeks ago. In this Beyond Chicken Tenders review, you’ll get my thoughts on how they taste, how they compare to real chicken, what the texture is like, and whether or not I’ll buy them again.
This is not a sponsored post, by the way. These are just my personal, honest, unswayed opinions. But overall, I am a big supporter of the Beyond Meat company and what they’re doing to create delicious, sustainable sources of protein that appeal to the masses.
And their gluten-free products I’ve tasted have all been surprisingly good.
Side note: I’ve been gluten-free off and on my whole life due to stomach problems. But after a lot of trial and error, I’ve determined that I don’t have an intolerance and that most of my lifelong stomach issues are due to irritable bowel mainly triggered by stress. There seem to be some food intolerances as well, but I won’t dive into that here.
Suffice it to say, I’ve been slowly but surely trying some of these vegan foods that I couldn’t or didn’t try until now. Now, let’s dive into the review.
Beyond Meat Chicken Tenders Review
I baked these bad boys in the oven for about 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 5-6 minutes. My oven generally takes longer to bake, and I prefer stuff like this extra crispy. Here are some before and after photos.
I actually wanted to let them go a little longer and get darker, but I was worried they would dry out.
Appearance – 10/10
These have the same appearance as most any other chicken tender. At a glance, you simply can’t tell they’re plant based. There’s also a slight variation in the shapes which I like.
Feel – 8/10
They felt crispy and had a little “give” to them when I picked them up. But they were a little oilier than I would have liked.
Bread coating – 7/10
The breading was super crispy and tasty. And I liked the fact that it wasn’t too thick or thin. My only issue was that it didn’t adhere very well, and some of it slid off, probably due to the oil. That was a little off-putting.
Taste – 10/10
These vegan chicken tenders get a 10/10 as far as flavor goes. I wouldn’t change a thing. Yes, they tasted that good! They have the perfect amount of salt balanced with other seasonings, like a bit of pepper with a hint of garlic. After another quick glance at the ingredients, I saw they contained garlic, onion powder, paprika, and other spices. They are also super juicy on the inside.
Texture – 6/10
Here’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, when it comes to plant based meats trying to mimic the real thing. For me, this was my least favorite part of the Beyond Meat Chicken Tenders.
While the inside was ultra juicy, they were a little on the rubbery side. I wouldn’t say they were chewy or hard to eat. They just had that “squishiness” that sometimes accompanies vegan meat. The best way I can explain it is that a real piece of chicken tends to “tear,” whereas these had somewhat of a “pop” or a “snap” when biting down.
Overall Opinion of the Beyond Chicken Tenders
I give the Beyond Chicken Tenders an overall score of 8/10. The flavor was great, and that’s the most important part to me. But I wasn’t super crazy about the texture or the oiliness. I wonder if the breading sliding off was just a fluke, but it would be nice if that were an improvement as well.
So while I do recommend them, I don’t know that I will buy them again. But that’s mainly because I’m not a big consumer of frozen nuggets and tenders overall. I prefer sandwiches and patties.
I’d likely try another brand of vegan chicken nuggets or tenders first and see how they compare.
Frequently Asked Questions about Beyond Chicken Tenders
How should you cook Beyond Chicken Tenders?
Oven bake. The instructions say to bake at 425 for 8 minutes total, flipping halfway through, until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (Website says 165 degrees, and I’m unclear on why there’s a discrepancy). Every oven varies, and I had to cook them longer to get the crispiness I was looking for.
Microwave. According to the package, you can microwave one serving for 1-1 & 1/4 minutes on high, then allow to sit for 1-2 minutes before serving. But the website clearly states microwaving is not recommended.
Air fry. If you have an air fryer, these will cook much faster and probably come out crispier. Cook at 360 degrees F for about 5 minutes.
Deep Fry. Beyond Meat recommends heating up cooking oil to 350 degrees F and fry in a fry basket for 3 minutes & 40 seconds until the inside reaches 165 degrees F.
Are Beyond Chicken Tenders healthy?
Anyone who makes the claim that these chickenless tenders are healthy is really pushing the envelope. But … if you limit yourself to one serving – which is only two tenders (80 grams) – and only eat them occasionally, I don’t think they’re necessarily unhealthy.
However, I don’t really think people eat these to be healthy.
They’re processed, high in sodium, and while they’re not technically considered high in fat, they do have a moderate amount at 12 grams per serving.
They contain a decent amount of protein and fiber and a touch of iron and potassium. But other than that, you’re basically eating frozen processed food that lacks a ton of nutrition.
Are Beyond Chicken Tenders better for you than meat?
Compared to other meats, the Beyond tenders have:
- 40% less saturated fat than most regular tenders
- No cholesterol, antibiotics, or hormones
For that reason, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are better in most situations than regular poultry or beef. Most people on a standard American diet could benefit from eating less meat anyway.
But beyond that, they are a much more sustainable option than real beef, chicken, or any non-human animal for that matter.
Here are some stats about these vegan chicken strips and what they use as far as natural resources when compared to regular meat:
- 93% less land
- 99% less water
- 46% less energy overall
- 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger
It’s hard to argue with the many ways these tenders benefit not just animals killed for food but the planet and our future in general.
Do Beyond Meat’s Chicken Tenders taste like real chicken?
This is a question with a double answer – yes and no.
Okay, here’s the thing. They don’t taste like real chicken to me. However, they taste very similar to real frozen, processed breaded chicken patties and tenders that I’ve had over the years.
Will someone believe they’re real chicken in a taste test? Maybe. But I’m pretty doubtful myself. I’m sure Beyond Meat did its own set of taste tests before releasing it to the market, but I couldn’t find any information on that.
Also, I think it’s important to point out that most vegans – particularly those who’ve been vegan for a long time – are more than happy to put aside their expectations of something “tasting like the real thing.” In fact, most don’t want something too reminiscent of meat.
If you’re just dipping your toes in the plant based world or thinking of going vegan, it’s important to adopt this attitude and allow your palate to adjust to the different textures and flavors of meat substitutes if you plan to be a consumer of them.
What are Beyond Chicken Tenders made of?
Here’s a snapshot of their ingredients, taken from their website.
Where can I buy Beyond Chicken Tenders?
They’re available in most grocery stores; just look in the freezer section. But you can also get them in restaurants. Just ask your server what they use for their vegan chicken.