Eating cooked chicken breast is a simple way to add healthy protein to your meals. It is possible to cook the chicken only in water or with some seasonings to add more flavor to the broth. The secret is to let the breast cook long enough, until the meat is all white inside. Once ready, you can serve it whole, sliced or shredded.
- Chicken breast.
- Vegetable or chicken broth (optional).
- Chopped onion, carrots and celery (optional).
- Herbs (optional).
- Salt and pepper.
Part 1 of 3: Putting the Chicken in the Pan
Step 1. Do not wash the chicken breast before cooking it
Maybe you've learned how to wash chicken, but that's just enough to spread germs and bacteria all over the kitchen. When you wash it, the splashing water can contaminate the sink, countertop, arms, and clothes with bacteria. It's best to avoid this step so you don't risk food poisoning.
Chicken meat contains bacteria such as salmonella. A small exposure is enough to make you sick, so don't take chances
Step 2. Cut the chicken in half, into quarters or cubes to speed up cooking
This step is optional, but it helps to greatly reduce the preparation time. Use a sharp knife to cut the piece into the size you want, depending on the dish you want to make.
- If you want to shred the chicken, it's best not to leave the pieces too small, as it takes more work afterwards. However, it's nice to cut it into small pieces to use the meat in a salad or wrap.
- Use a board designed only for cutting meat, reducing the risk of contaminating other foods. Bacteria such as salmonella may not come off the board even with washing. If you cut vegetables there later, they can become contaminated.
Did you know?
Whole chicken breast takes up to 30 minutes to cook, while smaller pieces cook in up to ten minutes.
Step 3. Put the chicken in a medium or large pot
First place the meat in the pan and then top up with water or broth. Arrange the chicken on the bottom in a single layer.
If you need to make several layers to make it fit, it's best to use a larger pot. Otherwise, the meat may be undercooked
Step 4. Cover the chicken with water or broth
Gradually pour water or broth on top, being careful not to splash. No need to overdo it - just cover the entire chicken.
- If the water evaporates, you can add more as needed.
- The water you splash can spread bacteria such as salmonella.
- You can also use chicken or vegetable broth.
Step 5. Add a special flavor to the meat with spices, herbs or chopped vegetables if you like
This step is optional, but it makes all the difference in flavor. At the very least, add salt and pepper to the water, but the chicken is even better with dehydrated seasonings, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, paprika, cayenne, garlic, etc. To make the taste unbeatable, chop onions, carrots and celery and add them to the water.
- After cooking the chicken, you can save the water or broth to use in other recipes if you want, such as soup.
- If the vegetables are uncovered, add more water.
Step 6. Cover the pan
Use a lid that fits snugly over the pan to prevent steam from escaping, making the chicken better cooked.
Use a dish towel or tongs to uncover the pan without burning your hand. Also, don't put your face near the steam as you can get burned
Part 2 of 3: Cooking the Chicken
Step 1. Bring the water or broth to a boil over medium to high heat
Place the pan on medium to high heat until bubbles begin to form on the surface of the water and steam condenses on the lid, which takes a few minutes and indicates that the water has started to boil.
Do not leave the broth or water boiling for a long time, as this will allow all the liquid to evaporate. Watch the pan so that you can lower the heat as soon as the boil rises
Step 2. Lower the heat to cook the meat
The chicken should continue to cook over a low heat. Leave the heat on low and keep an eye on it for a few minutes to see if the water or broth is bubbling slightly.
Do not leave the pan unattended on the fire, even at this time. Be careful not to let all the liquid evaporate and the meat burn
Step 3. Check the temperature of the chicken breast with a cooking thermometer after ten minutes
Uncover the pan and take a piece of chicken from the side of the pan. Stick the thermometer in the middle of this piece and see the temperature, which should be 75°C minimum. If not, return the meat to the fire, cover the pan again and continue cooking.
- If you don't have a cooking thermometer, cut the chicken in half to see if it's still pink inside. Of course, nothing is as accurate as a thermometer, but you can tell if it's still raw or if it's on point.
- Most likely, the larger pieces will not be ready at this point, but the smaller ones should already be cooked through.
if the chicken overcooks, it gets tough and hard to chew, so it's best to check it out even if you suspect it's still raw.
Step 4. Continue cooking the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 75°C
The chest was not ready in ten minutes? Leave it on the fire and test it every five or ten minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of the pieces:
- A chicken breast with skin and bones needs to cook for about 30 minutes.
- A skinless, boneless breast needs to cook for 20 to 25 minutes. If it's cut in half, it probably only takes 15 to 20 minutes.
- A skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 2-inch pieces should be done in about ten minutes.
when the chicken is fully cooked, the meat is white inside (not pink).
Step 5. Remove pan from heat
Turn off the heat and use a dish towel to hold the handles of the pan without getting burned. Put it on a cold stove burner or a pot rest and wait for it to cool.
Be careful when picking up a hot pan as you can get burned
Part 3 of 3: Serving or shredding chicken
Step 1. Take the liquid out of the pan
Carefully pour the water or broth over a strainer, going slowly so as not to splash. The chicken and all vegetables are retained in the sieve. Place it on a clean bench and discard or keep the broth.
- If you want to save the broth for an upcoming recipe, transfer it to a clean bowl with a lid. It can go to the fridge or to the freezer.
- Discard vegetables used to flavor the water.
another option is to use a fork, slotted spoon, or tongs to pull the chicken out of the pan.
Step 2. Transfer the chicken breast pieces to a plate
Use a fork to take them out of the sieve and pass them onto a plate. Be careful not to touch the chicken as it must still be very hot.
If you prefer, you can return the chicken to the empty pan. For example, it is more practical to shred it inside the pan if you are going to add sauce later. That way, you can make the sauce in the same place, without messing up any more dishes
Step 3. Let the meat rest for ten minutes
That way, it cools down a little and it's easier to handle the part. Set an alarm and allow the chicken to cool during this time. Then you can serve it or shred it.
To add a sauce, you don't have to wait as long as you don't touch the chicken. However, do not turn on the heat before the chicken has rested for ten minutes, as this will not harden the meat from overcooking
Step 4. Serve the chicken whole or cut it into pieces
Once the breast has cooled, you can serve it however you like, either whole or sliced.
If you like, add more spices or add a sauce. How about a barbecue sauce or white sauce?
you can use cooked chicken in salads, snacks or wraps.
Step 5. Shred chicken with two forks to add to tacos or make sandwiches
Hold the piece with a fork in one hand and shred it with the other fork until it is the way you want it. Finally, put the finishing touch to your recipe.
You can also use a knife to help with the task of shredding the chicken if you prefer
- If the chicken breast is frozen, it's best to leave it in the fridge for nine hours so it can thaw safely before cooking. Another option is to use the microwave in the defrost program.
- Chicken that is cooked only in water can taste like nothing. It's much better to put some vegetables or broth in the pan and season the breast with your favorite spices.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the chicken to avoid salmonella contamination. Wash or disinfect knives, forks, plates, and the counter where raw meat has landed.
- Store the chicken breast in the refrigerator for up to two days without problems. Don't want to eat meat during this period? Put it in the freezer.