# 1 Worst Way To Cook Chicken Breasts, According To A Chef – Eat This Not That


Chicken breast is one of the healthiest lean proteins you can eat. In addition to being a great source of protein, it’s also a great source of vitamin B, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that when cooked properly, chicken breast is delicious and super versatile. It works as a main course and is also a popular addition to sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Looking to perfect your chicken cooking game? We chatted with Chef Yasmeen AlSawwaf about the most common mistakes made when cooking chicken breasts, counting down to the absolute biggest mistake. (Be sure to come back after reading this article, to browse the 33+ Best Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes for Weight Loss!)


Seasoned Chicken Breasts after they have already been cooked means that salt and / or spices and marinades will not stick or penetrate the chicken. The result? A less tasty and fairly bland chicken.

What to do instead: AlSawwaf explains that seasoning chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rubbing spices or marinades before cooking is more effective than seasoning after cooking.

“[This way], the spices have time to penetrate and flavor the chicken properly before cooking, ”she says.“ You can also sprinkle the chicken breast with a thin layer of flour afterwards to create an extra layer that will absorb everything. excess moisture in the chicken breast and keep it from sticking to the pan, creating a nice golden color for the chicken breasts. “

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pan-fried chicken

As AlSawwaf explains, the goal is to cook chicken at a high temperature quickly to lock in moisture. If you start cooking it in a cold pan, it will take longer for the chicken to cook and start to brown, causing it to dry out quickly because it has been cooked longer than it should.

AlSawwaf adds that cooking chicken in a small pan, whether it’s cubed or whole chicken breasts, means the pan will fill up quickly. She describes this as “overloading the pan” and explains that this will make your chicken boil because there is no space for the poultry to brown properly.

“The result is a bland white chicken that hasn’t had the chance to experience the Maillard reaction, which is the caramelization and browning of the outer layer of a protein, adding that intense depth of flavor that we all crave for. cooking, ”says AlSawwaf.

What to do instead: AlSawwaf recommends a practice called “conditioning the pan,” which means placing it on the stovetop and heating it before adding the fat.

“The amount of fat added to the pan is related to the meat you are cooking and whether it has a natural marbling,” she explains. “Since chicken breast is lean meat, we would need more fat than a marbled steak, for example.”

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Pieces of fried chicken breast on a frying pan.

AlSawwaf emphasizes that the goal is to cook the chicken as quickly as possible in order to retain moisture. Once the pan heats up, place the chicken breast presentation side down.

“Cook the presentation side until it is golden brown and golden brown. While cooking, leave it without pushing it and let it brown on its own without disturbing it,” she advises. Once the chicken has developed this golden brown crust, it will come out of the pan on its own and be ready to flip over to the other side.

What to do instead: “When we saute something on a pan, we usually flip it once,” AlSawwaf continues. “Turning several times during the process of cooking a chicken breast will disturb the heat of the pan, because every time you turn the meat on the other side, the pan cools slightly.” For this reason, keep the chicken breast on one side intact, turn it over when that side is ready, then continue on the other side.

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cooked chicken breast

To get perfect results when cooking meat and poultry, AlSawwaf says the thickness of the protein should be even to ensure even cooking. Therefore, leaving the chicken breast larger and thicker in one area and considerably thinner in another is a mistake, as you will get uneven results. The chicken breast will be dry, overcooked, and sometimes even burnt in the thinnest areas and raw in the thicker areas. It doesn’t really sound appetizing!

What to do instead: “The best way to ensure that chicken breasts cook evenly is to fluff or mash them into a uniform thickness,” says AlSawwaf. Keeping a larger chicken breast as is and cooking it will require an extended period of time, which causes the aforementioned problem of some areas being overcooked or burnt and others being dry.

RELATED: 13+ Best Healthy Chicken Pie Recipes For Weight Loss

frozen chicken

“Cooking chicken breasts cold, or worse, completely frozen, is a recipe for overcooked and dried chicken breasts first,” says AlSawwaf. “There is no escape, it will be 100% dry.”

By the time the heat of the pan heats the chicken, thaws it, and then cooks it, the outer layer of the chicken will already be overcooked and dry. AlSawwaf adds that cooking frozen foods directly on the pan will increase cooking time by 50% and require more maintenance.

What to do instead: As mentioned earlier, AlSawwaf emphasizes that the goal is to cook chicken breasts quickly to lock in moisture and achieve a chewy, tender and juicy chicken breast.

If you are working with frozen chicken breast, it is best to thaw it until it is at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

RELATED: 30 Healthy Stuffed Chicken Recipes To Make Tonight


We have come to the worst offense when it comes to cooking chicken breast! Not being sure how long a chicken breast will cook can lead to overcooking, resulting in dry and unpalatable chicken breasts.

“If we followed the previous four points, we would cover all of our bases to make sure our end result is a chewy and tender chicken breast,” says AlSawwaf. “Overcooking chicken breasts is the worst mistake you can make, because once you overcook them, it’s impossible to fix.

What to do instead: After cooking the chicken breasts, put them back if you plan to slice them before serving. AlSawwaf explains that not letting the chicken breast sit properly would waste all of your hard work trying to get a perfectly tender chicken breast.

“Cut it into slices immediately after cooking [lets] all the juices that would have kept the chicken breast moist seep in, which completely defeats the purpose of our efforts, ”says AlSawwaf. There’s no way to bring those juices back, so being patient for at least five minutes makes all the difference.

AlSawwaf notes that it’s common to be apprehensive when cooking chicken because we don’t want to risk undercooking it, but as a result, people often end up overcooking it. “Having a thermometer to monitor the internal temperature is a sure way to make sure your chicken is perfectly done without overcooking and drying it,” says AlSawwaf. “The optimum internal temperature for chicken breasts and all poultry breasts should be 170ºF. “

Once it reaches 170 ° F, remove the chicken breast from the heat to let it rest. “Letting the chicken breast sit for at least five minutes before slicing it will trap the juices inside and ensure a tender chicken breast,” says AlSawwaf.

Here are some other ideas for perfect chicken cooking:

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