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Cooking Chicken -- The Basics

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Old 09-12-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
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Default Cooking Chicken -- The Basics

Are there general guidelines for cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts? Like cook at "x" temperature for "y" minutes?

I have looked around at different recipes and see quite a bit of range, but am looking for just a general go-to guideline that will make the chicken "good."

Sometimes when I cook chicken it turns out great and tender and moist and good. And other times it is tough and chewy and stringy and gross. And I haven't been able to figure out what the reason is. Too high a temperature, too low, too many minutes, not enough minutes, etc.

Thanks
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:04 PM   #2
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I wish I could help but my chicken is a family joke around our house. Especially after the dog grabbed some off my husband's plate and then proceeded to choke on it. We use a lot of bbq sauce here.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TERAPET View Post
I wish I could help but my chicken is a family joke around our house. Especially after the dog grabbed some off my husband's plate and then proceeded to choke on it. We use a lot of bbq sauce here.


I have the best success when I grill mine:

Preheat the BBQ, high heat
Pound the chicken breasts to flatten them a bit, salt & pepper both sides
Turn the heat down to medium and oil the grill
Cook the chicken over the heat for about 7 minutes per side

I've got another "foolproof" bake-chicken-breasts-in-the-oven recipe somewhere; will dig it out and post.
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Last edited by Fressca : 09-12-2010 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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I tried and true method offered by a member years ago was to pack the breasts in a pan, rolling the thin bits under so everything is the same thickness. Cover tightly and cook at 350 (pre heated) for 20 min. Check. You can pre-marinate or season or leave plain. Another option if you just want to saute (in a pan sprayed with cooking spray or a plain teflon one) is to pound the breast with a cooking mallet or just a rolling pin or wine bottle to an even thickness. This will cook super quickly- basically just till white on each side. Good luck.Oh and also remember that the chicken still cooks a bit from the residual heat inside and the pan so err on the side of just cooked versus well done
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Make sure the chicken is completely thawed. If you cook BLSL chicken breasts that you brought home from the grocery today, they may be partly frozen inside. They do have a different texture cooked from frozen that I don't care for.

If you want the chicken to pick up any flavor, marinate it before cooking.

If you have a George Foreman grill, preheat the grill and grill for 7-10 minutes. Check to make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees F at 7 minutes and keep checking.

To poach chicken BLSL chicken breasts, put in a pan with a lid, add 1-2 cups of water, bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover and cook for 9-14 minutes. Again, check for internal temp of 165 degrees.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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Thank you all so much for all of these great tips! I'm going to try all of these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TERAPET View Post
I wish I could help but my chicken is a family joke around our house. Especially after the dog grabbed some off my husband's plate and then proceeded to choke on it. We use a lot of bbq sauce here.
Thank you for the laugh! Much needed today.

I like all the different options included here, from baking to grilling to saute. I'm going to see if I can find an indoor electric grill that isn't non-stick (so far they all are, but still searching ).

Thanks again everyone! I'm determined to learn how to cook more, and to actually have it be edible & enjoyable.
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Last edited by skygirl : 09-12-2010 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
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Thank you from me also. I will have to try to your tips and perhaps save the family supper.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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I have finally figured this out!! My chicken has always been dry too! I do ok with a whole chicken, but chicken breasts are just awful.

First, I think it's the chicken. We found a local "Jerusalem" market, except ours is actually Islamic. We really like their chicken. Next to theirs, believe it or not, my favorite chicken comes from Aldi. Our store just started carrying boneless breasts of chicken that was NOT frozen. I haven't messed up a chicken using theirs yet.

I like to butterfly mine for two reasons: 1. It's an actual portion size and my family is fooled into thinking they're getting the whole breast. 2. It cooks faster.

I season it was BBQ sauce or other favorite spices. Just garlic salt works great and I add extra garlic powder so as not to salt it too much. On a skillet it cooks in about 7 minutes per side. In the oven I give it 30 minutes at 350.

I have NEVER had chicken come out cooked enough at the recommended 20 minutes for a full breast at 350.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:20 PM   #9
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You guys may already do this but a quick fix from the dried out chicken breast blahs is to put the chicken breasts in a baking dish and dump a few cups of salsa (whichever flavor and amount of salsa doesn't really matter) on top and bake at 350 for 25 min (or so, I live at high altitude so I usually have to cook them 30min). Yummy with peach mango salsa, green salsa, regular red salsa. Serve with a dollop of fat free sour cream if you like. They turn out tender and juicy.
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:07 PM   #10
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I second the butterfly-ing technique. They cook more evenly and if you cut them all the way, it is a smaller portion and just as satisfying.
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancerindenver View Post
You guys may already do this but a quick fix from the dried out chicken breast blahs is to put the chicken breasts in a baking dish and dump a few cups of salsa (whichever flavor and amount of salsa doesn't really matter) on top and bake at 350 for 25 min (or so, I live at high altitude so I usually have to cook them 30min). Yummy with peach mango salsa, green salsa, regular red salsa. Serve with a dollop of fat free sour cream if you like. They turn out tender and juicy.
That sounds really yummy, I'm going to try that!
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:42 PM   #12
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I found a good recipe on recipes.com. I've tweaked it to make it my own:
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika

(you can adjust the spices as needed, even add different ones in)

Combine all ingredients in a large ziploc back, mix well. Add the pieces of chicken and shake until they are thoroughly coated, preheat the oven to 450 with a glass baking dish and 2 tsp of butter or margarine or oil, butter tastes the best LOL. When the oven is preheated add the chicken to the glass dish and bake for 18 minutes, turn the chicken over and bake for an additional 18 minutes.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:11 PM   #13
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I just stick with 350 and 20-30 minutes, checking semi-often. I really don't time much of anything in the kitchen. My general rule is, 350 degrees, and when I can smell it deliciously from outside the kitchen, it typically needs an additional two minutes and it's done. Works for chicken, cake, cookies, casserole, whatever. My boyfriend HATES this method, but it's always worked for me.


ETA Lauren201: I have ALWAYS wanted a chinchilla!! I instead settled for a rabbit and he's such a grump, lol.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:12 PM   #14
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When I cook white meat I try to get the thin cut cutlets so that their all an even thickness. I broil them in the oven turning every 5 minutes or so until their cooked through (and I always put tinfoil on the pan first for easy clean up). I brush Hoisin sauce on mine the last time I turn them, but that's just personal preference.
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliana View Post
I have finally figured this out!! My chicken has always been dry too! I do ok with a whole chicken, but chicken breasts are just awful.

First, I think it's the chicken. We found a local "Jerusalem" market, except ours is actually Islamic. We really like their chicken. Next to theirs, believe it or not, my favorite chicken comes from Aldi. Our store just started carrying boneless breasts of chicken that was NOT frozen. I haven't messed up a chicken using theirs yet.

I like to butterfly mine for two reasons: 1. It's an actual portion size and my family is fooled into thinking they're getting the whole breast. 2. It cooks faster.

I season it was BBQ sauce or other favorite spices. Just garlic salt works great and I add extra garlic powder so as not to salt it too much. On a skillet it cooks in about 7 minutes per side. In the oven I give it 30 minutes at 350.

I have NEVER had chicken come out cooked enough at the recommended 20 minutes for a full breast at 350.
Is that Jerusalem placed happened to be called Jerusalem bakery?
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