I wasn’t overly impressed by the the last product from Gardein that sported the Ultimate moniker; their Ultimate Burger was all promise and no follow through. I typically find that the bigger the hype plastered on a product’s packaging, the less great the contents will be.
Enter stage right then, these plant-based tenders from Gardein, also with the Ultimate name. To say I wasn’t expecting much was an understatement. Roughly nine tenders come in a resealable (yes!) freezer back.
Cooking: Cook them in the oven or air fryer. You won’t want to microwave these, but that’s a good thing (keep reading). I opted for the latter as the air fryer always yields a better result than the oven.
Taste and texture: Wow, take everything I said about Gardein’s Ultimate burger and reverse it. These tenders are impressive. The first thing that strikes you is the thick riotously crisp breading that thunders with crunch on every bite. This is fun stuff.
The interior is juicy, and the texture is quite impressive. It never veers into that spongey/rubbery mess that tenders and nuggets can risk. The taste is an enjoyable savory one with gentle garlic notes. There’s no pronounced meat-substitute flavor aka this one from Gardein which is all bitter wheat gluten.
Verdict: I’m not one for hyperbole, but these knocked my socks off. These are hands down the best meat free chicken product for me. They’re actually better than many *real* chicken nuggets I’ve tasted through the years, delivering a better crunch, a more enjoyable interior texture and a fabulously savory bite. I think Gardein knows they have a bit on their hands, as the product retails noticeably above the rest of their line up. I paid $7.99 for these.
Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’N Tenders cooking and ingredients
Are Gardein Ultimate Chick'N Tenders good?
Absolutely – these are excellent. For my money these are currently the very best plant-based chicken product around right now. The crunchy exterior, the enjoyable interior, they excel a number of actual chicken based nuggets I’ve tried.
Other Gardein products
- Gardein Plant-Based Chili review
- Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Jerky
- Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’N Filet reviewed
- Thai yellow curry with veggie chicken
- Gardein Ultimate Chick’N Tenders – the best yet?
- Gardein Crispy Golden Chick’N Nuggets – average at best
- Marie Callender’s Meatless Gardein Be’f Pot Pie review
- Gardein expand out of the freezer aisle with new soup
- Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Burger review
- Asian salad with soy sauce fried Gardein tenders
- Asian salad with Gardein seven grain tenders
- Gardein Sweet And Tangy Barbecue Wings review
- Fajitas with Gardein chicken strips
- Asian salad with Gardein chicken strips
- Caesar salad with Gardein Seven Grain Tenders
- Gardein Breakfast Saus’age Patties review
- Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y
- Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders review
- Review: Gardein Meatless Chick’n Strips
- Review: Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground
- Review: Gardein Home Style Meatless Meatloaf
- Review: Gardein Skillet Meals Asian Style Chick’n Fried Rice
- Review: Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Burger
- Review: Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Sliders
- Review: Gardein Lightly Breaded Turk’y Cutlets
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC – Utah’s biggest and oldest online food magazine; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I started Shop Smart to catalogue my adventures in the grocery store and kitchen. Follow along on Instagram too!