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How to Cook Chicken

How to Cook Chicken

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Chef Tim Love shares his tips for the staple protein

Ali Rosen

Tim Love

It’s among the most basic, everyday items that people cook, and yet even the best home cooks sometimes get stuck in a chicken rut. We spoke to chef Tim Love to try and ensure we are getting everything we can out of this staple.

His most important piece of advice is to make sure you’re not scared of cooking it properly. "I think people get nervous about chicken so they tend to overcook chicken," says Love.

He also advises that home cooks should branch out more when it comes to picking their cuts of chicken. "To me I think the biggest opportunity to have more flavor and a little more finesse with the dish is to use alternate cuts like chicken thighs and chicken wings... And it’s also a lot cheaper," he says .

One foolproof trick is to brine the chicken up to 24 hours, because "if you overcook it a little bit it’ll be more forgiving."

Watch the video above for more tips! And you can watch more videos with chef Love from his partner, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.

Any time you&aposre handling raw meat, whether frozen or fresh, safety should be top of mind. Fortunately, we can all take a collective sigh of relief, because the USDA says it is fine to cook chicken from frozen, just keep in mind that the cooking time will be about 50 percent longer. 

However, chicken should never be cooked from frozen in a slow cooker or microwave. The former cooks too slowly, allowing the meat to spend too much time in what&aposs known as the temperature danger zone, the range between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F in which bacteria is most likely to grow. The latter quicks food too quickly, meaning the interior of the chicken may not have enough time to reach the safe minimum internal temperature (165 degrees F), before the rest of the chicken is done. You can defrost meat in the microwave, but it will need to be cooked immediately after so that it is not left in the danger zone for too long. 

How to Cook a Whole Chicken

This is our Test Kitchen&aposs tried-and-true method on how to bake a whole chicken. Then you can make a roast chicken dinner in five easy steps, with five (or fewer!) ingredients.

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

Preheat the oven to 375ଏ. Make sure to note how much your bird weighs, as this determines how long to roast a chicken in the oven. Set the chicken in a shallow roasting pan ($13, Target), breast side up. Tie the drumsticks together with cooking twine ($5, Williams Sonoma) so the chicken keeps its shape and to ensure even cooking without overdrying the limbs. Since the wings are small and will cook the fastest if they&aposre sticking out, tuck the wing tips under the bird so they don&apost burn.

Test Kitchen Tip: Sometimes gizzards or other internal organs are stuffed in the cavity of the chicken remove this packet before cooking and discard or save for another use.

Why You Should Never Rinse Your Chicken

In the past, recipes recommended rinsing pieces of chicken or turkey (or the entire bird&aposs cavity) with water and patting it dry with paper towels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture changed its stance on this practice. Research shows rinsing poultry can spread bacteria by splashing contaminated water onto the surrounding areas. If any moisture is present on your bird when you remove it from the packaging, simply pat it dry with paper towels, and throw away the paper towels immediately.

Step 2: Season the Chicken

While the oven is preheating, brush the chicken with olive oil or butter and season with salt, pepper, and (if desired) crushed dried herbs, such as thyme or oregano. Try the lemon-herb or spice rub variations in our roast chicken recipe.

Test Kitchen Tip: Always wash your hands, countertops, and utensils in hot, soapy water between each step of food preparation. Bacteria on raw poultry, meat, or fish can contaminate other food that is exposed to the same surfaces.

Step 3: Cook Chicken in the Oven

Place the chicken in the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Cooking times vary by weight. Cut the string and cover with foil to prevent overbrowning after 1 hour.

How long to roast a chicken at 375ଏ:

  • 2½- to 3-pound chicken: Roast 1 to 1¼ hours
  • 3½- to 4-pound chicken: Roast 1¼ to 1½ hours
  • 4½- to 5-pound chicken: Roast 1¾ to 2 hours

Make it a Meal: Cut 1 lb. red potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 medium peeled turnip, and 1 medium onion into 1-inch chunks. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper toss to coat. Arrange vegetables around chicken in the pan for the last 45 to 50 minutes or roasting your chicken, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Make Sure the Chicken Is Done

The chicken is done cooking when the juices run clear, the chicken is no longer pink, and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. However, don’t rely on these tests alone. Always check the doneness of roast chicken by inserting a meat thermometer ($15, Target) into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 170ଏ. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all poultry is safe to eat at 165ଏ, but our Test Kitchen found thigh meat was a better texture when cooked to 170ଏ. For an accurate read, insert the oven-going thermometer in the thigh before you start roasting (it stays in the whole time).

Step 5: Let It Stand

Before serving, allow the whole roasted chicken to stand, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the bird for moist, tender meat. Carve and serve. If you have leftover baked chicken, store cooked chicken in an airtight container ($9, Bed Bath & Beyond) in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Freeze it if you&aposll be using it later than that.

Test Kitchen Tip: Rather than cooking the whole chicken, if you want to make roasted chicken breast or roast other bone-in chicken pieces, we also have a great guide on how to bake chicken. Then you&aposll know how to bake chicken breast in the oven and how long to roast chicken legs.

Now that you know how to roast a chicken, you can get creative with your new seasonings as much as you want. For inspiration, try our delicious roasted chicken recipes such as orange-sage or fiery lemon. All you&aposll have left is to figure out what side dishes you&aposll serve with it.

How to Cook Chicken Breasts

People are often afraid of undercooking chicken breasts and other poultry, so they overcook them&mdashand then poor chicken breasts get a bad rep! But they don't have to be dry and boring: You just need to know how to cook chicken breasts right. One of the easiest ways to cook chicken is in the oven: Not only is baking chicken a healthy way to cook the meat, it&rsquos also super simple to customize&mdashadd whatever seasonings you like. Just follow this basic recipe and experiment with different flavors each time. You'll be set for all your weeknight dinners: Add the chicken to a salad or grain bowl, shred it up and toss it with pasta, or sandwich it in a quesadilla (one of Ree's favorites!). You can also create your own sheet pan dinner&mdashcook the chicken breasts on a baking sheet with lots of veggies that'll cook in the yummy pan juices (try our Cajun Chicken Sheet-Pan Dinner and see what we mean!). Your whole meal bakes at the same time. Sure, there are tons of other ways to make chicken, but if you want to know how to cook chicken breasts with no mess and no fuss, this oven method is for you.

What temperature should I cook chicken breasts in the oven?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook best around 425˚. You want the oven to be hot enough to cook the chicken from the inside, while giving the edges a slightly golden crust.

How long does it take to cook a chicken breast?

To bake chicken at 425˚, you&rsquoll need about 25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. For an extra golden crust, you can also brown your chicken in an ovenproof skillet first and then finish baking it in the oven&mdashthis will take about the same amount of time (about 8 minutes in the skillet and 10 to 15 minutes in the oven).

How do I keep my chicken juicy and moist?

Since chicken breasts are lean, you don&rsquot want to overcook them or else they&rsquoll be dry. And don&rsquot be tempted to cut into the centers as the chicken cooks to check for doneness&mdashyou'll just release those precious juices. You should also let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking to evenly distribute the juices before serving.

Do I need any special equipment to cook a chicken breast?

Nope! For this simple oven method, all you need is a rimmed baking sheet. You should also have a meat thermometer: Insert it into the center of a breast to check for doneness (the USDA recommends 165˚ for poultry).

How can I flavor my chicken breasts?

Use whatever you like! Experiment with spices, dried or fresh herbs, garlic, a breadcrumb coating, or cheese. Chicken doesn't need a marinade, but you can use one if you like. Whatever you do, just don't forget to season your chicken with salt&mdashit makes a big difference in flavor.

Ingredients of Masala Chicken

  • 750 gm chicken
  • 2 cup chopped onion
  • salt as required
  • 2 inches cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1/2 cup minced tomato
  • 3 teaspoon coriander leaves
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 teaspoon kasoori methi powder

How to make Masala Chicken

Step 1 Wash and clean the chicken

To make Masala Chicken, first thoroughly wash the chicken under running water. Now put it in some warm salted water and allow it to rest for 10 minutes and throw the water away and wash again. This helps to remove the smell of the chicken.

Step 2 Saute whole spices

Add oil and ghee in pan and heat over medium flame. When the oil is hot enough, add bay leaves and both the cardamom and cinnamon. Saute for a minute and then add finely chopped onion into it. Cook till onions turn pink. Then add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a minute and then add chicken pieces in it. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes until it turns white.

Step 3 Add spices in frying chicken

Quickly, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, cumin powder, and salt to taste. Stir to mix all the ingredients well with the chicken. Cook for a minute and then add finely chopped tomatoes and green chillies (slit and halved). Now reduce the flame and cook covered for 6-7 minutes and then uncovered till the chicken is browned.

Step 4 Cook for 2-4 minutes with closed lid and serve hot

Add one cup water and cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2-4 minutes until the chicken is tender and soft. Remove the lid and garnish with garam masala powder, coriander leaves, kasoori methi powder and cook on high flame till the oil separates. Your Masala Chicken or Chicken Masala is ready. Enjoy with butter naan, rice or roti.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ¼ tablespoon ground black pepper

Season the inside of the chicken with a pinch of salt. Place the chicken onto a rotisserie and set the grill on high. Cook for 10 minutes.

During that time, quickly mix together the butter, 1 tablespoon of salt, paprika and pepper. Turn the grill down to medium and baste the chicken with the butter mixture. Close the lid and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (83 degrees C) when taken in the thigh with a meat thermometer.

Remove from the rotisserie and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

How To Cook Chicken Breast In A Pan ?

Chicken breast is a staple protein that I add to my salads, pasta, tacos or eat on its own with vegetables all the time. It is crazy healthy, filling and satisfying. Salads topped with chicken are my favorite. And most of the time I don’t have time or don’t feel like putting all the effort into grilling chicken breast. That is when I resort to this flawless method of cooking the chicken breast in a pan.

There is a trick to cooking chicken breast. Overcook them and you will end up with chewy, dry, rubbery shoe soles.

So here is an answer on how to cook chicken on a pan. This no- fail pan-roasting technique is amazing. Chicken breasts come out perfect every single time. They are moist and delicious. This method is basic and foolproof. The chicken is cooked quickly on medium heat in a pan for 1 minute undisturbed, then flipped and cooked covered on low heat for 10 minutes. Chicken is poached from inside out in its own juices in a covered pan. After 10 minutes are over let he chicken rest in the pan while still covered off the heat. Do not remove the lid and peep. This is an essential step to keeping all the moisture in pounding the chicken a little bit prior to cooking also helps with tenderizing it.

This recipe of pan cooked chicken breast is a plain canvas. You can make your chicken as bare or as intricate as you wish. Drench chicken breast in flour for a subtle golden crust. Add herbs like rosemary, thyme or parsley. Spice it up with cayenne pepper.

This recipe is easy, works every single time and chicken breasts come out tender, juicy and moist.

Wondering how long to cook chicken breast in a pan to perfections? Find out in this article ?

Remove the chicken from the broth, and peel the meat from the bones once it's cool enough to handle. Return the bones, skin, neck and wingtips to the pot, and continue simmering for another hour. Cover the deboned meat, and refrigerate it.

Strain the broth, and pour it back into the pot. Taste the broth it should have a rich chicken flavor. If it doesn't, simmer it for another hour until it's reduced by 1/3, and taste it again. Season with salt and pepper when it's ready.

What’s the difference between boneless, skinless chicken breasts and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts?

All chicken breasts aren’t created equal. How long you cook your chicken breast in the oven depends largely on its weight and whether it’s boneless, skinless or bone-in, skin-on. While the two types of chicken breasts are neighbors in the meat case, they couldn’t be further apart in flavor and appearance. Bone-in, skin-on might feel more intimidating to cook, but the fat rendered from the skin and the intact bones generally make for juicier, tastier baked chicken breast. Read on for how long to bake each variety to achieve the best results possible.

How to Bake Chicken Pieces

Most nights of the week you just need to know how long to bake chicken breasts, thighs, or drumsticks, not necessarily a whole bird. Prep and bake chicken for a hands-free entrພ, and while it&aposs baking, whip up a veggie side dish.

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken Pieces

Arrange chicken pieces, bone sides down (if using bone-in cuts), in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan ($14, Walmart) or shallow roasting pan. Brush chicken pieces with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, you can also sprinkle the pieces with crushed dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, Italian seasoning, or herbes de Provence.

Step 2: Bake Chicken Breast, Legs, and Thighs at 375°F

For meaty chicken pieces such as breast halves, drumsticks, and thighs, preheat the oven to 375ଏ. Bake the chicken pieces, uncovered, for 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature tested with a meat thermometer ($15, Target) reaches these temperatures:

  • Bone-in drumsticks and thighs 175ଏ
  • Skinless, boneless thighs 170ଏ
  • Bone-in chicken breasts 170ଏ
  • Skinless, boneless chicken breasts 165ଏ

Use the 45- to 55-minute guideline for all your chicken pieces, but check the internal temp to stop baking before they get overcooked. How long you&aposll bake a chicken breast at 375ଏ will vary depending on if it&aposs bone-in or boneless, so use the thermometer for the final say.

Serve baked chicken immediately and refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Test Kitchen Tip: We&aposve found that the best temperature to bake chicken breast, leg, and thigh portions is 375ଏ. However, if you&aposre in a hurry, here&aposs how long to bake chicken at 400ଏ: Follow Step 1, above, then bake the chicken pieces, uncovered, in the 400ଏ oven 25 to 30 minutes, until no longer pink or until chicken is done (using baked chicken temperatures above).

How to Store Baked Chicken

If you have leftover baked chicken or were just getting a headstart on future cooking, you can store it for later. Store cooked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Freeze it if you&aposll be using it later than that.

To freeze baked chicken, wrap chicken pieces individually in waxed paper. Divide wrapped chicken between two large freezer bags ($12, Bed Bath & Beyond), removing as much air as possible from bags. Label and freeze up to 4 months.


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