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What is the best way to cook chicken breasts so they are tender and juicy?

asked by Crispy about 4 years ago
25 answers 9559 views
Wholefoods user icon
added about 4 years ago

Baked or boiled(poached). Are you cooking breast with the bone-in or boneless?

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 4 years ago

First of all, leave the skin on. And hopefully the breast bone is still attached. Skinless, boneless breasts are doom from the beginning. Saute in butter or olive oil or combination of both. You might want to dust them in Wondra (superfine) flour first. Season with salt and pepper. If the skin is still attached you can slide some herbs (like tarragon) under the skin before cooking or maybe a paper thin slice of lemon. Deglaze the pan juices with white wine.

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added about 4 years ago

If you like garlic, I suggest adding some finely diced garlic (the kind that comes in its own juices.) I sauté my chicken breasts with freshly ground pepper, a mix of chipotle pepper and sea salt, and that garlic and my chicken breasts come out flavorful and juicy every time.

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added about 4 years ago

Try this: http://www.foodrepublic...

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

And don't forget to let them rest after cooking!

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Oops, saw that ChefOno already implied that in his answer...

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added about 4 years ago


Implied, yes, but you're absolutely correct and I should have been clear about that. They need a good 10 minutes' rest before carving lest too much juice will be left behind on the board.

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added about 4 years ago

If you have boneless, skinless breasts cook them en papier for 25 to 30 min at 325F. I season them with fresh herbs, perhaps a piece of lemon or a bit of wine or oil or even salad dressing before sealing each in baking paper. The juices are. are all preserved & unlike brining, no salt is needed.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 4 years ago

But salt is good. Cooking chicken by any method you still need salt or it will taste insipid. It doesn't season itself. Especially with the skin gone.

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added about 4 years ago

You can do all the recommended prep work, but in the end if you do not start with a high quality chicken, you may not get the results you desire. The way chicken is grown, the breed and how it is processed has a huge impact on the moistness, tenderness and flavour of the chicken. In all the years and (no exaggeration) hundreds of thousands of pounds of chicken I have cooked, I have proved this time and time again. At least start with a good organic chicken, which will have not been fed by-products that effect the quality and taste. Believe it or not, chicken needs to rest on the bone after slaughter to allow the meat to develop flavour and tenderness (same as aging beef or pork) . . .conventional chicken is rushed through and never rested. Look for names like Eberly Poultry (East coast), they take the time to process their organic chickens correctly. You may find that all the prep methods recommended will not be needed to give you the moist, tender chicken you seek.

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Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added about 4 years ago

Usuba, Eberly is a bit hard to come by in my neighborhood. What do you think of Murray's Chicken?

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added about 4 years ago

Murray is good, though Eberly is better.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

What do you think about Empire Kosher chicken (I live in San Diego and the only organic brands I see in the stores are Rosie's and Trader Joe's Free Range Organic; Empire Kosher seems like the only other option)?

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Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added about 4 years ago

Kristen, quality aside, be careful when it comes to kosher chicken. Part of the koshering process is to pack the chicken in salt. This, in essence, brines the chicken for you (which is why kosher chicken is so yummy!). If you brine the chicken you're essentially double-salting it and will likely find it too salty for your liking.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Never fear, I never re-salt kosher chicken! I often use them b/c it saves me the trouble of brining. I do sometimes find the texture to be kind of weird, and I don't know if it's a) a result of the kosher process, b) something specific about Empire brand, or c) my imagination. I was curious what others thought about Empire Kosher vs. these other organic brands.

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Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added about 4 years ago

For what it's worth, my go-to chicken is Murray's which I brine. The few times I've used Empire I've also found it to have a slightly odd texture so it's not just you.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Well, glad to know it's not my imagination!

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 4 years ago

If you live in San Diego, surely there is a Whole Foods close by. Go with their air dried chicken. Even with "organic" chicken up to 20% of body weight can be water and you don't really want to pay for that. It's a bigger problem with supermarket hens but just think about it.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

I find Empire to be really strange, too. I bought one and won't buy another. (I also thought it was too salty, even without any additional salt on my end.) ;o)

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion, pierino. I am technically in a 'burb outside of San Diego and Whole Foods is a little outside of my usual rounds (I'm usually carting around a 3-yr. old with a short attention span so I try to keep the shopping ultra-local) BUT it's not really THAT far and it sounds like it's worth a try.

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added about 4 years ago

@pierino - It is against USDA regs to allow more than 10% pick up of moisture (includes air-chilled, which most systems use sprayed water to facilitate chilling). I can tell you that it is hard to maintain that high a level in chicken especially organic, due to the rest time between chill tanks and packaging. They must declare the % of moisture pick on their labels by law. Rosie, which is now owned by Perdue Chicken company in Maryland, last I tried is a good chicken. Bell & Evans and Smart Chicken are the only two air chill that I am aware of at the moment.

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added about 4 years ago

Cook on the bone http://charlottejulienne... or sous vide