What are the Best Ways to Make Chicken Breast Taste Good?
There’s a reason that chicken is one of the most widely used meats. Chicken is such a versatile meat - it can be served chilled in chicken salad, shredded for a comforting chili or soup, or roasted for a crispy delicious roast chicken. One of the most popular cuts of chicken to prepare, however, is the chicken breast. Chicken breast is high in protein, low in fat, and can be prepared in so many ways. Whether you’re cooking for a large group, meal prepping for a family, or making individual meals, chicken breasts are a great option. The chicken meat is perfect for leftovers and can be used in chicken salad or in a hearty soup if you happen to have leftovers after a main meal. These simple suggestions are the best ways to make chicken breast taste good.
Chicken isn’t difficult to cook, but there are a few common mistakes people make that can ruin a good cut of meat, and they are super easy to avoid. There are also a few easy tips that you can use when preparing and cooking chicken that will ensure a delicious, perfectly cooked chicken breast.
Here are the best ways to make chicken breast taste good, every time!
Make sure your Chicken is Properly Defrosted Prior to Cooking
This one may seem like a no brainer, but we’ve all been there - you get home from work only to find that the chicken you defrosted that morning is still ice in the middle…no big deal, it’s mostly thawed, fine to cook, right? Technically, yes. But when you cook a chicken breast that is unevenly thawed you’re going to have a hard time making sure the meat is evenly cooked. You’ll likely wind up with rubbery, overcooked ends and a breast that may still be undercooked in the middle! It might take some planning in advance, but if your chicken has been frozen prior to cooking, one of the easiest ways to ensure a great flavor is to let it thaw completely before preparing it.
Buy a Meat Thermometer
If you struggle with constantly making undercooked or overcooked chicken, a meat thermometer is a game changer. It’s important to always cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, to avoid the possibility of food borne illness. But cooking chicken too long results in a rubbery, tough, overcooked piece of meat. Unless you’re a master chef or possibly a psychic, you likely have a tough time telling when the chicken is ready. For as little as $12 you can ensure that your chicken is perfectly cooked every time, and take the guesswork out of it! Avoid consistently ruining a delicious meal with overcooked chicken by investing in this simple and easy to use tool.
Marinate, Marinate, Marinate!
Marinating chicken is a simple and easy way to build a whole meal around a delicious chicken breast. Chicken is such a versatile meat that it can either blend in to the rest of the meal, or really stand out and MAKE the meal. A perfectly marinated chicken breast definitely stands out.
If you’re making a stir fry or chicken bake, tenderizing your chicken prior to marinating makes it even more tender and juicy. Simply cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces, coat evenly with about one teaspoon of baking soda per pound of chicken, and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse the chicken under running water, pat dry, and use your favorite marinade or seasoning mixture to flavor. You’ll be amazed at how juicy and tender your final product will be!
Marinating your chicken breasts prior to cooking is a great way to inspire the rest of the meal. An Asian-inspired marinade pairs perfectly with stir fried vegetables, and a Greek marinade begs to be served with some simple roasted potatoes and sautéed greens.
While technically speaking, a marinade can be wet or dry (known as a dry rub), marinating chicken in a liquid marinade helps to tenderize the meat at the same time as allowing the flavors to soak in. There are several pre-made and paleo-friendly marinades that you can purchase, and it’s super easy and cost effective to make your own marinade at home, too! We love a base of olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. You can place the chicken breasts in a freezer bag with the marinade and allow to sit (refrigerated of course) for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight) prior to cooking. This allows the flavors to really infuse into the chicken breast, and allows the acidity of the lemon juice to tenderize the meat.
Buy High Quality, Pasture Raised Chicken
C’mon, you knew this one was coming! If you regularly read our blog, you’ve likely read about how raising chickens on pasture not only results in healthier birds, but also tastier chicken. The reason for this is the wholesome, nutritious, and varied diet that foraging on pasture provides. While conventionally raised chickens are fed a diet of chicken feed, no matter how high grade that feed is, it just can’t compare to a chicken’s natural diet of worms, bugs, grasses, nuts and seeds. These chicken delicacies might not sound very appetizing to a human palate, but they sure do make for happy and well-fed chickens. And you can even have it delivered directly to your doorstep!
In addition to imparting a complex and savory taste to the meat, this wholesome diet also results in meat that is healthier for human consumption. Pasture raised meat is higher in vitamins and minerals and lower in saturated fat, making it a healthier AND tastier alternative to factory farmed chicken.
Whether you’re cooking your chicken breasts as the main focus of a meal or preparing them ahead of time to be used in chicken salad or stir fry, these helpful tips should help your chicken breasts come out full of flavor and perfectly tender. You don’t have to be a master chef to make chicken breast taste good every time - just make sure you’re using fresh, pasture raised chicken breasts, defrosting them fully prior to cooking, and using a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect cooking temperature for juicy and tender chicken. Using a marinade or dry rub prior to cooking adds an extra burst of flavor and can be customized to complement any type of meal.