When it comes to chicken there’s some very important chicken cooking tips, tricks, hacks, and rules that you need to follow. Check out these 20+ chicken cooking tips!
20+ Chicken Cooking Tips
Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Secrets to Cooking Chicken That’s Delicious
When it comes to cooking chicken you want to make sure that you follow a few simple safety rules to make sure that your chicken stays fresh. In addition to keeping your chicken fresh there are a few chicken cooking tips that will have you making the most delicious chicken you’ve ever made!
Many of these chicken cooking tips and tricks have been passed down by my mom, my grandma, my aunts….and a few from my food safety days as a manager at Target.
20+ Chicken Cooking Tips
1. To ensure even cooking, start with cutlets or breasts that are uniform in thickness and size.
Use a kitchen scale to make sure your pieces are the same size. Most recipes call for 4 – 6 oz. pieces.
2. To achieve even thickness, butterfly thick chicken breasts by cutting across them horizontally with a sharp knife. Do not cut all the way through. Instead, open the two halves so they lie flat. Then place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound flat with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the entire piece is the same thickness.
3. Never thaw frozen chicken at room temperature as this will allow harmful bacteria to grow. Instead, place frozen chicken in a glass dish and defrost in the refrigerator.
4. Allow 24 hours for a 3-4 lbs. whole chicken to thaw; 12 hours for frozen parts.
5. Don’t use the same permeable wood cutting board you use for your vegetables and other food items to prepare chicken. Choose a glass or other impermeable surface instead to protect against bacteria.
6. The acids in marinades help break down the protein fibers in chicken meat. Marinating your chicken prior to cooking will tenderize the meat and add lots of great flavor to your recipes. Wine, vinegar, and fruit juices are all excellent ingredients to use in marinades.
7. After your chicken has marinated, be sure to discard all remaining liquid rather than continuing to cook with it.
8. Always cook chicken to temperature, not by time. Internal starting temperatures can vary widely, which can affect the total cooking time quite a bit. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to make sure your dish has reached at least 165 degrees F.
9. 165 degrees F is the minimum recommended safe internal temperature for chicken. However, some cuts are better at slightly higher temperatures. Here are some general guidelines:
165 degrees – boneless chicken breasts
170 degrees – bone-in chicken breasts
175 thighs & drumsticks
10. Cook fresh or previously frozen chicken within 2 days of purchasing it.
11. Don’t refreeze previously frozen chicken meat. Double check before buying meat at your grocery store to determine if it has been frozen and defrosted.
12. Refrigerate chicken within 2 hours of cooking it.
13. Many recipes require searing the chicken over high heat prior to cooking to brown it. Don’t let those beautiful, delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan go to waste! Deglaze the pan with some wine or chicken stock when you are done searing. This is the key to rich and delicious pan sauces and gravies.
14. Those tasty brown bits left on the bottom of the pan after roasting or pan frying chicken or other meats are called “fond.” Fond is your friend!
15. Before roasting a whole chicken, be sure to rinse the inside cavity before seasoning and stuffing. Then, pat the outside dry with paper towels to help the skin brown nicely. Water left on the skin will turn to steam inside the oven, which will inhibit browning.
16. It is not necessary to rinse chicken prior to cooking it. In fact, rinsing is discouraged because this can cause germs to splatter around your food prep area. However, you should still rinse out the cavities of whole birds before seasoning and stuffing them.
17. Use parchment paper when oven roasting chicken breasts to prevent them from drying out. A sheet of parchment paper placed under the meat will protect it and help keep it moist.
18. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes prior to roasting. This will help the meat roast evenly throughout.
19. Starchy side dishes like pasta, rice and potatoes are ideal for chicken recipes with pan sauces because they help soak up all that delicious flavor. For a great low carb alternative, try garlic mashed cauliflower instead.
20. Chicken, like most meats, needs to “rest” when it comes out of the oven to allow the juices to be re-absorbed. To rest, place your meat on a serving plate and tent a large piece of aluminum foil over it. If you want tender and juicy chicken, don’t skip this step!
21. The amount of time chicken needs to rest after cooking will depend on size. Smaller pieces will require less time (5-10 minutes) than a whole bird, which may take 20-30 minutes.
Do you have any chicken cooking tips, tricks, hacks, or secrets? Share in the comments below and I’ll add them to the ever growing list here– and, of course, if you’re a blogger I’ll link your tip back to you!
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Wednesday 28th of September 2016
This is a great, comprehensive list of how to cook chicken. I'll definitely have to keep these in mind the next time I cook chicken, thank you for sharing.
Friday 10th of June 2016
Not thawing chicken at room temperature ever again, I didn't realize that it was easier for bacteria to grow on it at that point. Luckily, I don't think it has been a problem so far. Is there a particular reason to defrost it in a glass dish compared to other dishes?
Saturday 11th of June 2016
I think because glass holds the cold temperature better.