I Tried Beyond Meat’s New Chicken Tenders — And They’re Incredibly Chicken-y

published Oct 12, 2021
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Credit: Laurel Randolph

Meatless meat is all the rage these days — especially when it tastes and looks just like the real thing. And while I was skeptical when products like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (developed and manufactured by tech companies) first came on the market, I must say I’ve enjoyed many-a-vegan burger since then. Over the last several years I’ve decreased my meat-eating to once a week or so, and plant-based meats just make the shift that much easier.

Beyond Meat offers burger patties, ground beef, and sausages that appeal to shoppers looking to decrease their meat intake. Successfully emulating beef and pork products, the next step was clear: It was time for them to tackle chicken. After launching limited versions of their plant-based chicken in restaurant chains like Panda Express and A&W, Beyond Chicken Tenders is Beyond Meat’s first poultry-style offering sold in grocery stores. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bag of their chicken tenders and test them out at home.

Credit: Laurel Randolph

Beyond Chicken Tenders are sold fully cooked and frozen in bags of six tenders. They can be heated in the oven, microwave, or air fryer — I opted for the oven for my first tasting. Per the instructions, I preheated to 425°F and placed the frozen tenders on a wire rack set atop a baking sheet. After baking them for eight minutes and flipping once, mine were still cold, so I flipped once more and baked them for four more minutes.

The first thing I noticed about the tenders is that they don’t quite look like chicken tenders — they look more like oversized chicken nuggets. After taking a few bites, that’s exactly what they reminded me of. The breading is classic chicken nugget-style and crisps pretty well in the oven, while the interior emulates the ground chicken interior of a nugget. Why didn’t they just make chicken nuggets? I guess we’ll never know, but who doesn’t like a giant nugget? More importantly, they are super chicken-y. Is it possible that these taste more like chicken than chicken does? They honestly might.

Credit: Laurel Randolph

I enjoyed my Beyond Chicken Tenders taste test and was, once again, blown away by how good companies are getting at making plant-based products that taste like actual meat. I feel confident that most small children (and many adults) could easily swap from their usual frozen chicken nuggets to these bad boys without incident. And while the oven worked just fine, I imagine that they would get especially crispy in an air fryer.

My only gripe is the price relative to the bag size. One bag contains six tenders and costs $4.99. While it claims one serving is two tenders, that’s just three servings, and the freezer section is full of better bargains. If I had a chicken nugget-obsessed kid, I could imagine spending a bundle on these. That being said, this isn’t chicken, and I’m not sure you can put a price on the swap from low-cost poultry to plant-based — it’s just not a one-to-one.

If you’re interested in trying the latest in plant-based meat, then I encourage you to give Beyond Chicken Tenders a taste. The tenders are available in the frozen aisle of select Walmarts, Harris Teeters, and ShopRites, with availability expanding later this year.