Chef Jimmy’s Tips for Perfect Chicken, Every Time

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Here at Home Chef, we think that chicken often gets accused of being boring unfairly – especially the lean breast meat. They’re often overcooked until dry and chewy, which might explain why this healthy and affordable protein option doesn’t get more love at the dinner table. We’re putting a stop to all that, though! Chef Jimmy is here with his tips on how to cook juicy, tender chicken breast each and every time. With a little practice and care, chicken breast might just might go from zero to hero in your playbook for fast and delicious weeknight meals.

 

Problem: Under or Over Cooking

Getting a sense for how long to sauté any cut of meat can be challenging for a beginner – particularly with chicken breast, since there’s not much wiggle room between done and overcooked. The fix is to use an instant-read thermometer, many of which can be found at an affordable price. Take the reading as soon as you think the meat is done, and aim for the center of the breast with the probe. You’re aiming for 165°F. Once you’ve reached your goal temperature, be sure to tent it with foil while it rests and you finish the rest of the meal. An extra step, we know – but you’ll thank us later when you have moist, piping-hot chicken to dig into!

 

Problem: Bland Results
Starting with a good sear is always a great move when it comes to upping the flavor profile of any protein, especially with lean cuts like chicken breast. To achieve this, make sure to pat the chicken dry and sprinkle liberally with your preferred seasoning blend while your pan preheats. You’re looking for it to be hot enough so the chicken sizzles when it his the pan, but not so hot that your cooking oil smokes. The Maillard (a.k.a. browning) reaction that results will create savory flavor compounds that otherwise wouldn’t be present. Bonus: the brown bits left in the pan will help form a killer pan sauce to drizzle on top of your perfectly cooked chicken.

Problem: Dry Sliced Chicken

Did you make sure to not overcook your chicken by using a thermometer and still end up with dry results? The culprit might actually be not letting your bird rest enough before serving, which results in all the flavorful juices to spill onto the cutting board. To solve this issue, let chicken to rest at least five minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute within, which is also a good tip across the board for any quick-cooking protein.

Ready to put your new cooking knowledge to the test? Check out some of our favorite chicken recipes here!