You Might Stop Buying Skinless Chicken Breasts After This

Image of raw chicken.snowpea&bokchoi via Flickr

Chicken takes the cake as one of the most versatile and healthiest proteins to eat every day. Like shrimp, you can bake it, roast it, fry it, stew it, or grill it, knowing that you’re getting nutrients through a lean meat. If we were to guess what makes up your weekly meal lineup, chicken breasts would be at the top.

Are we right? They are cheap, cook fairly quickly and easily, and can feed an entire family. Where some folks run into problems, though, is with the taste. They’re cooking up struggling chicken that has no flavor, is rubbery, or is dry as a bone. That’s enough to put anyone off!

Warnings from doctors and nutrition experts have made people wary of eating chicken with the skin on it, so they go boneless and skinless. But according to cooking pros, that’s where you’re making your mistake, and it is a one-way ticket to Blandsville. (And this tiny amount of fat on white meat actually isn’t terrible for your diet.)

What should you do instead? Cook it with the skin left intact!

Wondering why? Before you give that notion a thumbs-down, know that you don’t have to eat the skin once the chicken is on your plate. The skin (and bone) helps to seal in flavor and moisture as it heats up, and that little bit of fat in the skin crisps up and turns brown.

But there are a couple of tricks when it comes to getting your skin-on chicken breasts just right. When roasting them in the oven, you want to make sure the temperature is at 375°F. You can either let them cook completely in the oven or pan sear them first, allowing them to brown and kicking up the taste.

If you’d rather stick to the stove top, just be sure to use slow, low heat along with a fat like butter or olive oil. You won’t be disappointed with how tender your meat turns out.

Before you heat things up with the method of your choice, treat your fowl to a marinade or brine. You do not want to skip this step! Either peel the skin back and give the bird a generous dose of seasoning with dried or fresh herbs, rub it down with citrus, or soak it in a tangy vinegar or salt bath.

And don’t be afraid to salt it— you won’t dry it out. Dry brining can be done 24 hours in advance for a magical effect, and a wet brine can go longer before you decide to roast, barbecue, or do as you wish with your bird.

If you’re worried about it drying out or you’ve come close to it, try making a pan sauce to rescue your chicken. (Check out this one-pan chicken Marsala recipe!) On your next run to the grocery store, be a rebel and go with some skin for your chicken breasts.

Have you been dedicated to the skinless, boneless chicken breast club? Are you willing to convert to the skin-on side? What’s your trick for keeping chicken breasts moist?