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How to cook moist and tender chicken breasts

March 19, 2021

I’ve too often eaten tough, dry chicken breasts. How about you? And it’s so disappointing when it happens. Because moist and tender chicken breasts are oh so delicious.

Here are some tips for cooking chicken breasts right every time.

Pound to an even thickness.

If you’re planning to cook on the stovetop, this is important. It makes sure that the thinner parts don’t get terribly crispy, dry, or worse… burnt. Instead, it cooks evenly. You can pound chicken with a meat tenderizer or use what you have on hand - a rolling pin, the back of a heavy pan, a wine bottle, etc. Pound until an even thickness all the way through the breast.

Season with dry spices just before cooking.

A simple sprinkling of salt and pepper keeps things simple. But, the sky’s the limit for zesty chicken. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Add some garlic powder and paprika for a little twist. 
  • Go Italian with parsley, oregano, and basil. 
  • Add some celery salt, thyme, and basil for a country flair.
  • Embrace Indian flavors with equal amounts of smoked paprika, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, onion powder, dry mustard, fennel seeds, and garam masala. Then add just a pinch of ginger.
  • Add cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, and cloves for a Middle Eastern touch.
  • Or maybe you’re thinking tacos. In that case, go for garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Cook low and slow.

On the stovetop: Put some oil in a pan and heat to medium (I personally love stovetop cooking with ghee). Cook the seasoned breasts for 1 minute without moving. Then, turn and cook for 1 more minute on the other side without moving. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes. Don’t lift the lid! Don’t peek! Once 10 minutes is up, flip the breasts and cook covered with no peeking for 10 more minutes. Now check the temperature for doneness (165F).

In the oven: Preheat the oven to 250F. For oven cooking, I recommend brushing the breasts with melted butter before seasoning. Then, put them in a covered pan and bake for 60-90 minutes or until the thermometer reaches 165F.

Use a thermometer.

You really should do this with meat. It is a sure way to not overcook meat. And, meat thermometers are affordable, starting at just $10. Chicken is done at 165F.

Rest.

You must, must let your beautiful cooked chicken breasts rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to absorb fully into the meat and create nice tender, juicy bites for the lucky dinner guests.

Want to go even more moist? Brine for the juiciest chicken breasts possible.

Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a handful of salt. Put the chicken breasts in for 15-30 minutes before seasoning and cooking. Then, remove from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. That’s it! You can also use buttermilk for brining, too. 

The time is right. Miller’s chicken breasts are 10% off right now

The discount is for buying one pack AND for the bundles of 3, 6, 10, 20 and 40 packs.

Have any secrets of your own for cooking chicken breasts? I want to know!

Marie Reedell

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