A roasted or fried chicken is usually better with the skin on, but the fat content is high and adds unnecessary calories to your food. That's why many cooks choose to remove the skin and create healthier chicken dishes. In some cases, the recipe even asks to remove the skin from the chicken – or asks for the skin alone. So, if you want to be healthier or if you need the skin to prepare certain dishes, it's always good to learn the right techniques to remove it.
Method 1 of 3: Removing the Skin from a Whole Raw Chicken
Step 1. Place chicken on a clean cutting board
Before starting to remove the skin, it is important to prepare the area where you will be working. Wash the board (or any other surface you plan to place the chicken on) to avoid contamination. When the surface is clean, place the meat on the cutting board with the breast facing down.
- When working with chicken or other types of meat, the best option is to use a plastic chopping board as it is easier to sanitize and does not trap bacteria easily.
- If you are washing a plastic board, use a chlorine-based cleaning solution such as bleach and water. Add a tablespoon of bleach to every three liters of water to create a product that yields up to two weeks.
- For washing a wooden cutting board, the best option is a quaternary ammonia disinfectant. Dilute the product with water as instructed to create the solution to clean your board.
- Dry the item completely before placing the chicken in it.
Step 2. Start by cutting the skin from the neck
With a long, sharp knife, separate the skin from the other tissue on the bird's neck. You will need to slide the knife under the skin to separate it from the rest of the chicken. Keep cutting until you reach one of the wings underneath.
Use short, precise movements, especially if you want to keep your skin intact
Step 3. Cut the wing at the first hinge
When you reach the first wing joint, use the knife to cut it and completely separate it from the skin. Remove the bone and flesh from the inside of the skin and continue separating, turning it inside out to make things easier.
After separating one wing, repeat the entire process with the other
Step 4. Separate the skin from the flesh over the chest area
After separating the two wings, you can continue peeling the skin from the chicken breast. If you don't need it for another recipe and don't care if it's intact, use the knife to remove it from the chicken's breast, leg and back.
If you want to keep it intact, use a tablespoon instead of a knife to separate it from the meat. Slide the spoon handle between the skin and meat to separate them, but be very careful. Even if the spoon is blunt, it can still break the skin if you're not careful. Leave areas that don't separate easily intact
Step 5. Cut the skin from the back
The area in the middle of the chicken's back is usually quite hard, so you will need to take the time to cut it carefully with your knife. Work slowly and carefully, pulling the skin back gradually to ease the process. Pull the skin as high as you can to completely separate it from the meat on the bird's back.
If you used a spoon, you will need to go back to using the knife to cut the skin in the middle of your back. The spoon is not strong enough for this. If you don't want to damage it, make very small cuts
Step 6. Cut the skin at the ends of the legs
When the skin is completely loose around the chest and back, use the knife to cut it from the area covering the tip of the bone on each leg. After cutting the skin at the tip, continue to use the knife to separate it from that area.
Cut completely around the bone so the skin comes off easily over the entire area
Step 7. Cut the hip joints and break the chicken's legs
When the skin has separated enough, you can remove the legs. Cut each one at the hip joint to loosen it better. With one hand, break the joint, then separate it from the skin and place it on the cutting board.
It is important to use a sharp knife to cut these joints. It's good to sharpen yours before this Step
Step 8. Pull the entire skin off the chicken
When the legs are completely removed, you are ready to remove all the skin from the chicken. Pull it from your neck as if you were putting on a sock. If you find areas where it's still stuck, use the knife to carefully separate it and keep pulling.
If you're removing the skin just to make the recipe healthier, throw it away. If you need another recipe, follow the instructions for what to do next
Method 2 of 3: Removing the Skin from Individual Pieces of Raw Chicken
Step 1. Pull the skin on one side of the chicken breast
Place the chest on a cutting board with the skin facing up. Choose one side and hold the skin to gently pull it away from the flesh.
Don't worry if it doesn't come out all in one piece. Just take the rest and pull until everything is removed from the chest
Step 2. Hold the skin on the side of one leg joint
It is important to start at the joint where the skin is most firmly attached to the leg. Hold it securely in the joint connection area and pull in one go. If you have any resistance, use a knife to separate it.
If you feel your fingers slipping, use a paper towel to get more traction. It can also be helpful to dip your fingers in the salt, but put the salt in a small bowl and discard the rest after use so as not to contaminate it with bacteria from the raw bird
Step 3. Pull the skin from the fleshiest part of the thigh
To separate the skin in this area, you must hold the fleshy part, not the bone. Holding it firmly, pull it towards the bone until it comes out. It should come out without breaking, but if it ends up breaking, just grab the rest and pull again.
If any small part gets stuck in the bone and you want to remove it, use a knife to scrape it off
Method 3 of 3: Removing the Skin from Cooked Chicken
Step 1. Allow the chicken to cool
You can easily remove the skin from a hand-cooked chicken, but it's important to make sure it's not too hot to handle and doesn't burn. After cooking the bird, let it cool for approximately ten minutes.
- You'll know you've cooled off enough when you can play without discomfort.
- To ensure that the chicken retains enough heat to be eaten, you can cover it with a piece of aluminum foil while it cools.
Step 2. Use a knife to cut the edge of the skin
Cooking chicken helps loosen the skin from the meat, and there may be an edge by which to hold the skin effortlessly. However, in some cases, the skin may not be loose enough, and you will need to slide a knife gently between the area of contact with the flesh. When the skin lifts, hold it with your fingers.
It is usually best to cut the cooked chicken into pieces before you start peeling it off
Step 3. Remove the skin
It's usually very crispy when cooked, so in most cases it's easier to take it off after cooking the chicken. Pull the skin from side to side of the bird to remove it. It probably won't come off all at once, and you may need to repeat the process a few times to remove all the skin from the meat.
Leaving the skin on the chicken while it cooks helps keep the meat juicier and tender. If you remove it before eating, you will get the same benefits as removing it before cooking meat
- If you're in a hurry, it's easier to buy chicken pieces without the skin.
- If you don't want to touch raw chicken, wear latex gloves. Just be sure to take them out and throw them away before handling anything else in the kitchen.
- It is more difficult to skin the chicken's wings as it is an area with little meat. If you want to make your wings healthier, try removing the skin after cooking them.