How to cook chicken breasts so they're juicy and tender, but fully cooked?

I've always been worried about undercooked chicken, so much so that it ends up being dry after I take them out of the oven. How can I make juicy and tender chicken breasts that are also fully cooked? In particular, when baking them.

Jennifer
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5 Comments

Food52-Community May 4, 2021
Hi Jennifer! One more thing to add here, which is this article about how to best cook chicken breasts: https://food52.com/blog/21850-6-ways-to-your-juiciest-most-flavorful-chicken-breast — it's full of great tips like Kristen W.'s and MMH's. Hope you find it helpful, and happy cooking!
 
Kristen W. May 4, 2021
I think brining the chicken (either sprinkling generously with salt or soaking in a saltwater solution a day or two ahead) is your best insurance against dry chicken. It helps the meat stay juicy and also boosts the flavor considerably. I prefer a dry brine (sprinkle with salt), and a good ratio is one tablespoon of Diamond crystal kosher salt per 5 lbs of bird, so you can just scale that down to the weight of the breasts. Sprinkle with the appropriate amount of salt and leave in the fridge for 24 hrs (a whole bird can go for 48 hrs but that would probably be excessive for just breasts).

One other thing that will help is resting your meat after you pull it out of the oven. I rest a full roast chicken for 15-20 min after I pull it out of the oven; for just breasts maybe 10-15 min would do. That will also help the juices redistribute themselves evenly which will help keep them nice and juicy. You can tent the chicken loosely with foil while you rest it if you don’t want it to lose too much heat, though I never tent a whole chicken, as it retains heat very well and tenting does tend to soften the skin.

Best of luck - chicken breasts are a bit tricky to perfect but those tips will make the process much more forgiving!
 
Kristen W. May 4, 2021
Oops, I just noticed that resting the meat was already mentioned below! Yes - that!
 
MMH May 4, 2021
I agree with Kristen. I like dry brining & for crispy skin, let the chicken sit uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours.
 
MMH May 3, 2021
Use a meat thermometer & roast to 160 degrees. Remove from the oven & tent with foil. Let rest for 20 min.
 
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