How To Ensure Tender, Juicy Chicken

In my humble opinion, chicken is one of the hardest meats to cook properly. In addition to making sure it is, in fact, cooked, you want your chicken to be juicy, tender, and retain all of its flavor. This 7-step method put together by Shared will ensure that your chicken is all of those things!

source: Serious Eats / Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

Step 1: Brine

Although this step isn’t completely necessary, it will definitely make your chicken juicier and tastier. All you have to do is dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 4 cups of water, then pour the brine over the chicken breasts. Let them sit in a casserole dish for anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours, then remove them and dry completely before cooking.

Step 2: Pound

When cooking chicken breasts, you want the breast to be of even thickness. Use a mallet (or another hard, flat surface if you don’t have one) to pound the chicken on a cutting board.

Step 3: Season

Seasoning is a huge part of how the chicken will taste. For a simple chicken breast, you can simply sprinkle on some salt and pepper. You can also use whatever herbs or spices you have lying around.

Step 4: Ready The Pan

Heat a regular-sized pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, lightly coat the bottom of the pan with either olive oil or butter.

Step 5: Cook

Once the pan has been oiled, turn the heat down to medium. Transfer the chicken breasts into the pan and cook them for about one minute on each side.

Step 6: Cover And Cook

Once you’ve flipped the chicken, turn the heat down to low. Cover the pan with a tightly-fitting lid and let the chicken continue to cook for about 10 minutes. During this time, it’s important that you do not remove the lid at all.

Step 7: Let Sit

Once the 10 minutes are up, turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Leave the pan covered and let it sit for another 10 minutes.

After those 20 minutes are up, your chicken is done! It will be juicy, moist, and packed with delicious flavors. As a general rule of thumb when it comes to chicken, the inside of the meat should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the chicken breast should be completely white (no pink areas).